The Story of Skywoman
By Jasmine Wood
Before earth began, there was only the Skyworld.
One day a hole opened up and through this hole fell Skywoman. As Skywoman fell, she left behind everyone and everything she had ever known. The only remnants of her whole world was a small bundle she clutched tightly to her chest as she fell, spiraling endlessly downward through darkness.
Most of us now recognize the link between our actions as a collective human race and the stability of our planet, Mother Earth, the place we all call home. Over consumption runs rampant in western societies around the world. We must teach our children, the future caretakers of the planet, that another way of living is possible.
Before change can occur, a shift in perception must first take place. I want to share an ancient story. It is a creation tale. But, it is much more than simply a story, it represents a different way of looking at the world.
This is the story of Skywoman*.
From depths far below her, there were many eyes gazing up at a speck of dust falling toward them in a shaft of light. As she grew closer, the animals realized that it was a woman falling, black hair billowing behind her.
The geese consulted with one another and decided that they must help her.
They rose up together, wings beating in unison to gently break her fall. Skywoman landed in the warm, soft embrace of the goose’s feathers. With the knowledge that they would not be able to float above the waters with Skywoman on their backs for long, the geese called a council.
All the animals gathered round to discuss how to provide a home for Skywoman.
A great turtle arrived and offered his shell for Skywoman to rest upon. The council of animals recognized that Skywoman was not fit to live in the water and needed land. They decided to attempt swimming downward to the farthest depths to retrieve some mud from the bottom and bring it back to the surface to create a piece of land.
The best of the divers, otter, beaver, and sturgeon all tried but could not hold their breath long enough to bring back any mud. Last on the list to try was muskrat. No one had put much faith into his attempt as he was one of the weaker swimmers of the bunch.
Muskrat had been under water for a while when the animals started to worry. Suddenly, they saw bubbles begin to rise and then muskrat’s body floated up to the surface. He had given his life in order to help the human!
The animals saw that he clutched something in his paw.
It was a patch of mud for muskrat had reached the bottom! Turtle called for Skywoman to put the mud on his back. Skywoman spread the mud across the back of the turtle’s shell.
Moved by the generosity of the animals, Skywoman began to dance. She sang a song of thanksgiving, her feet slowly caressing the earth. As Skywoman danced her thanks, the earth grew beneath her feet until the whole earth was formed.
The earth formed in combination with the generosity of the animals and Skywoman’s deep gratitude. Together they formed Turtle Island, Planet Earth, our home.
Like any good guest, Skywoman did not come empty handed.
In the bundle that she clutched closely while she fell were fruits, seeds and twigs from the Tree of Life in Skyworld. She scattered the seeds all over the new earth and carefully tended to each one until the earth was transformed from brown to green. The plants flourished and many more animals came to live here with food being so plentiful.
Skywoman did not just come bearing seeds and fruit, she was also pregnant!
The earth that she had helped create with her gratitude would become the home of her children and all of her ancestors. In many ways we are all the ancestors of Skywoman, except we have forgotten her story and its teachings.
The story of Skywoman reminds us that we must be grateful for the many gifts of the earth, we must practice gratitude in our daily lives, and we must teach our children her story!
By establishing a deep gratitude in our children’s hearts, we are able to foster a reciprocal bond with the earth. Our children will respect and nurture the earth and in reciprocity she will provide for their needs long after we are gone.
Till Next Time, Be Well!
*This story was adapted from a Potawatomi Creation Myth. The Potawatomi are a native people of the North Eastern United States.