What is evil? Is it an action? Yes, killers, rapists, child molesters and many others commit acts of evil, but does that mean the individual performing the acts is evil? I have no generalizing answer to this; I suppose it differs from case to case. The urge to do something bad can come over anyone, but most of us have mechanisms, some that we were born with and some that society taught us, that prevent us from acting on those urges. There are however mental disorders where a person lacks these mechanisms.
When a person who is, for all intents and purposes, of sound mind and still does the unthinkable, without being plagued by feelings of remorse or having any consideration for anyone other than themselves, that, to me, is true evil. Evil that stays, gets absorbed by the land, lingers…
Yee naaldlooshii, the Navajo skinwalker is a witch that’s thoroughly skilled in the black arts. The word yee naaldlooshii means literally “with it, he goes on all fours” and refers to the skinwalker’s alleged ability to “change skins”, take on animal form.
A yee naaldlooshii is a very specific type of witch. It’s an ’ánt’įįhnii, a practitioner of the Witchery Way, a.k.a. the Corpse-poison Way. Most often the “art” is learned from a parent or grandparent and most practitioners are male.
There is absolutely nothing cute or cozy about the Corpse-poison Way. It’s all about curses and disease and like the name implies, they use powdered corpses, known as ’áńt’į “corpse poison”. The best ’áńt’į are the corpses of children, especially twins; the best body parts for it are the fingerprints and the bones of the back of the skull.
Still not sick to your stomach? How about the initiation into the Witchery Way, which involves murdering a close relative, usually a sibling? Other crimes associated with this “art” are necrophilia, grave-robbing, and incest.
According to some, when an ’ánt’įįhnii attains the highest level of “priesthood” and have committed murder, they are referred to as clizyati, “pure evil”. They are no longer human.
The skinwalker is driven by revenge and jealousy. They try to harm anyone they feel have wronged them in any way and they put curses or those they envy. The powder they carry, the corpse-poison, is said to look like corn pollen used in blessing ceremonies. Navajos are afraid to be outside with lots of people around, like at a market. A skinwalker could blow its powder in someone’s face without being noticed and the victim would then get sick and possibly die, and there wouldn’t be anything showing up the post mortem toxicology test.
The most common animal forms of the skinwalker are coyote, wolf, owl, fox or crow but the yee naaldlooshii is said to have the power to change into any animal they choose.
Some believe a skinwalker also has the ability to steal a person’s face. It is said that if you lock eyes with a skinwalker they can take over your body.
Sometimes a skinwalker is described as a perfect representation of the animal whose form it has taken, others say there are always tell-tale signs. Sometimes the gait of the animal isn’t quite right and most commonly it’s the eyes that look different. A skinwalker in animal form may not have reflective eyes like most animals do, but it does when it’s in human form.
According to legend, a skinwalker has the ability to read human thoughts and they possess the ability to make any human or animal sound they want. They are said to use this ability to lure people out of the safety of their homes.
The Navajo rarely talk about skinwalkers with outsiders, and not even much among themselves as it is believed that talking about skinwalkers draws their attention. Yet there are quite a few stories of encounters with skinwalkers circulating.
Sometimes the skinwalker tries to get inside a house and attack the residents, other times it remains outside and bangs on the walls, knocks on the windows and climbs onto the roof. Sometimes a strange animal-like figure is seen outside the window, looking in.
A skinwalker can also attack a vehicle and cause an accident.
The skinwalkers are described as being fast and agile and they are practically impossible to catch. Regular bullets just won’t hit them and they are said not to leave tracks behind to follow.
To actually shoot and kill a skinwalker requires a bullet dipped in white ash but even then hitting it is practically impossible. Another way of killing a skinwalker is if its name was known. Pronouncing their full name would cause the skinwalker to three days later either get sick or die for the sins it has committed. But when the human body of something that is no longer human dies, does that mean the evil is gone?
Evil like this doesn’t just go away. Every thought, feeling and action leaves behind energy and energy cannot be destroyed. It spreads and infests and grows, it’s a vicious cycle.
Drop the ego, it’s an illusion anyway. Live to serve others, not yourself.