"The whorls at the tips of our toes hold us to the Earth. Those at our fingertips hold us to the Sky. Because of these, we do not fall when we move about."
- A quotation from a Navajo man to James McNeley (1981:35)


For the record, there is absolutely NO connection between the Navajo Healing Ritual, Big Star Way, and the Roswell or Corona crash. As I have stated in the "Long Hello" section of this site, the title, Big Star Way, suggests the interpretation of dreams and omens, and it is only through my own association that I mention both within the same context

Navajo Cosmology and Star Lore

Big Star petroglyph

Big Star

For your edification, I have done some research on Navajo Cosmology, which is fascinating, and I would recommend reading whatever you can find on the subject. The Navajo religion is very complex, and because most Navajo hold it sacred, "outsiders" know very little of it. The majority of this information was taken from two sources:

  1. The Dine (Navajo) Education Web
  2. Gill and Sullivan's Dictionary of Native American Mythology

To give you a basic foundation, here are some concepts:

The creation of stars and the 37 recognized Navajo constellations were by Black God, also known as Fire God. Black God wore a mask, on which the Pleiades found their place on his forehead.

Common motifs that appear in Navajo Sand Paintings are based on these constellations. Sand paintings are beautifully symmetric and highly geometric artwork. Their purpose is for use in healing ceremonies, where a clean sand base is place in a ceremonial Hogan (Navajo house).

Photograph of a Navajo hogan

A Navajo hogan

Crushed minerals of many colors are used to construct pictures or patterns associated with mythological figures in the healing ceremony. The painting is blessed by passing pollen or cornmeal over it, and the person to be healed walks to the center of the painting and sits in its center. The concept here is that the sand painting's magical figures are transferred to the sick person, thereby curing the malady. See some samples of this incredible art.

The creation of the heavens occurred long ago, when Black God was carefully taking the stars from out of his bag and placing them in the sky. Impatient Coyote (a trickster in most Navajo stories) appeared and took the bag that contained the stars from Black God and carelessly tossed them into the heavens. This act explained the random placement of stars in parts of the sky, and the recognizable patterns of constellations in other parts of the sky.

The Navajo perceive the universe as an all-inclusive whole in which everything has its own place and unique and beneficial relationship to all other living things. Humans, animals, plants, and mountains are harmonic components of the whole. It is the responsibility of humans to honor and maintain this balance (Griffin-Pierce 1992a:29).

Religion is not a separate entity to be believed in or subscribed to; it is ever present. It could no more be separated from the traditional Navajo's daily life than eating, breathing, sleeping, or the ground he walks on which gives him substance, the sun which gives him warmth or the summer lightning which gives him fear. Religious rites and practices are an essential element in nearly every aspect of traditional Navajo culture, pervading it to such an extent that, paradoxical as it may seem, it was several decades before white Americans living among the Navajo realized they possess any form of worship at all (Locke 1992:45).

"There are actually two Big Stars. One is called Mother and is visible in the early morning and the other is called Father and is visible during evening twilight" (Mitchell 1999:32). In sand paintings and Navajo blankets Big Star appears as a square diamond.

Continuing with the sky motif, the number four is sacred to the Navajo; there are four sacred cardinal directions; The North quadrant contains the Horned Star or comet, which represents hope and spirituality, and is associated with sacred songs and protection. The Southerly direction holds the constellation of the Pleiades, or sometimes known as the Seven Sisters, which is symbolic of planning, organization, communication and the planting of seeds. In the East is the Great Divine Star, or Big Star, which is a metaphor of positive thinking and the development of the senses. Finally, in the West we find the Cluster of Stars and Galaxies, which represent life, and are affiliated kinship and life cycles.

The Navajo universe is comprised of two groups of beings: the Earth Surface People, or human beings, and the "Diyin Dine C," who have supernatural powers

Some background on the Roswell Crash:

The Roswell crash continues to be a matter of contention between believers and skeptics. On July 4th, 1947, something crashed into the parched desert of New Mexico 50 miles north of Roswell. As to what it is that crashed really depends on who is telling the story.

The Air Force contends that the alleged flying disc was a highly sophisticated weather balloon as part of project MOGUL. MOGUL was a top-secret project whose purpose was to test high altitude weather equipment that supported a radar target constructed of aluminum foil and balsa wood. According to military experts, with a little imagination, the destroyed remains of the MOGUL weather balloons could easily have been mistaken for the debris of a flying disc. Flying disc (saucer) stories were inundating the news at the time, and there was an underlying public panic concerning these extremely fast and high flying aircraft. Reports of flying discs from Air Force pilots notwithstanding, the military needed to get a handle on the situation to avoid public alarm. Indeed, it was in the best interests of the Air Force to make the constant sightings of UFOs go away.

According to the faithful, a rancher named Matt Brazel heard a horrific explosion one night, which frightened his cattle and horses to the point of frenzy. The next day, Brazel followed a debris trail of silver material strewn several miles across his ranch. Brazel called the town sheriff, who in turn notified the Air Force.

Major Jesse Marcel, of the 509th Bomber group at Roswell Army Airfield responded to the call and drove out to Brazel's ranch. The two drove across the debris field to its apex, and to their astonishment, found a damaged flying disc and three alien bodies. Major Marcel collected the debris in his pickup truck, drove it back to his home some 25 miles away, and showed it to several neighbors and the local fire department. According to Marcel, the debris consisted of some metallic material with very unusual properties in addition to some tiny "girders" adorned with unintelligible "hieroglyphic-like" inscriptions.

Major Jesse Marcel with debris

Major Jesse Marcel with debris. Photo by James Bond Johnson, Ph. D., July 8, 1947

Marcel authorized recovery operations immediately, and oversaw the extrication of the dead bodies, and notified the media that the Air Force had "captured" a "flying disc", and was in the process of collecting the debris and transporting the three alien bodies to Wright Patterson Air Force base. Newspapers and radio stations picked up the story and within hours, the Roswell crash was national news.

Shortly thereafter, Marcel received a call from his commanding officer, a General Ramey, who ordered Marcel to squelch the story and replace it with the weather balloon "cover-up". Ramey held a press conference that featured Colonel Marcal amidst the wreckage - not of a crashed flying disc, but of a project MOGUL weather balloon.

General Ramey with debris

General Ramey with debris. Photo by James Bond Johnson, Ph. D., July 8, 1947

Here is the story as recorded by the San Francisco Chronicle - July 9, 1947:

"The many rumors regarding the flying disk became a reality yesterday when the intelligence office of the 509th Bomb Group of the Eight Air Force, Roswell Army Air Field, was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disc through the co-operation of one of the local ranchers and the Sheriff's Office of Chaves county.

"The flying object landed on a ranch near Roswell sometime last week. Not having phone facilities, the rancher stored the disc until such time as he was able to contact the Sheriff's office, who in turn notified Major Jesse A. Marcel, of the 509th Bomb Group Intelligence office.

"Action was immediately taken and the disc was picked up at the rancher's home. It was inspected at the Roswell Army Air Field and subsequently loaned by Major Marcel to higher headquarters."

Shortly thereafter the Roswell phenomenon was silenced by headlines declaring that the Air Force was erroneous in its original report, and in fact what had crashed on Brazel's ranch was a high altitude weather balloon. Nevertheless, countless witnesses, one of which is Marcel's 11 year old son, have come forward since, to verify the story and alert the public to the alleged extreme measures the Air Force used to silence those who had seen the debris or heard the story. Unfortunately, most major characters involved are now deceased save for Jesse Marcel's son, who recalls the fantastic event and the strange material his father brought home that night.