This is part of a series of 6 paintings based on Native American legends. This painting is based on the legend: Coyote Spills the Stars. Here’s my retelling:
In the days of the earth’s beginning, when all creatures came up from the underworld, the Great Mother planned a sacred gathering. In preparation, she filled a jar with a countless number of stars. She selected a human being to carry the jar and place the stars neatly and carefully into the sky.
Coyote was fascinated with the jar and couldn’t keep away. The Great Mother, knowing how full of mischief he was, admonished, “Stay away from that jar!”
Coyote being Coyote, he waited until everyone was distracted with the festivities and crept closer and closer. He lifted the lid, just a bit, to take a little peek. When he looked inside, he was so astonished at the twirling, spinning, magical orbs of light that he accidentally knocked the jar over.
At first nothing happened and all of the stars stayed inside the jar. Coyote was so relieved! As he hurried to get the lid back onto the jar, it began to pulse, and then hum, and then glow! He was still hurrying, hurrying, when a few stars escaped from the jar and floated gently heavenward. Then the stars began to tumble out, faster and faster, until they were flying out of the jar by the millions, all shooting into the sky!
All of the creatures at the gathering were astonished. The Great Mother was astonished. They watched as the stars shot crazily into the sky in a disordered, chaotic dance!
And this is the reason the stars shimmer and glow with no order or pattern; some here, some there. And why Coyote still lifts his face toward the sky each night and howls with laughter.
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