Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Final Stop for the Shapeshifters World Tour - Skinwalkers

Hi! Denise Golinowski here with this month's edition of Myth Perceptions.

The final stop on the Shapeshifters World Tour brings us home from Europe to explore the myth of the Navajo Skinwalker.

Skinwalkers are Navajo witches who have chosen evil instead of healing. It is said Native Americans are reluctant to talk about the skinwalker myth, perhaps for fear of retribution. The information I read revealed that a witch can only become a skinwalker through murdering a family member. The power gained enables them to change shape and use the powers of the animal. The most frequently listed forms are that of coyote, wolf, fox, crow, or owl.

If a person is foolish enough to stare into the eyes of a Skinwalkers they could lose control of their body and will. Skinwalkers seek to frighten, kill, maim, or control others. They have no other desire. They can take most any form they choose and are said to lure people away from safety using the voices and/or appearance of loved ones. Legend says that the only way to kill a skinwalker is with a bullet dipped in white ash or by saying their full name before shooting them.

The majority of articles I discovered on the web repeat the same basic information with little about motivation or intent. The one clear picture is that a skinwalker has no goal except power. The saying "power corrupts" certainly appears to apply; these witches lose or surrender their humanity in pursuit of the power of the skinwalker.

Of all the shapeshifters I've presented and researched for the Shapeshifters World Tour, the skinwalkers are the most disturbing for me. They were certainly a unsettling ending to the tour, but perhaps the cautionary tale contained within their mythos is a useful one. Power is a seductive and destructive mistress.

Well, it's been a winding road, but the Shapeshifters World Tour has reached it's final stop. I hope that it's been entertaining and informative. I know I've learned quite a lot, and I've also "unlearned" a lot of what I'd expected when first setting out on this tour.

The biggest take-away for me is the realization that most of the shapeshifter myths I'd been taught were not about humans shifting into animals, but more often of mythical creatures shifting into humans. What does it say about our ancestors or ourselves that we would think divine or magical creatures would find being human so very attractive? Of course, the intent isn't always benign, but there is a touch of ego in there, don't you think?

I haven't decided where Myth Perceptions is going to be headed next month, so all I can ask is that you come back to check and see. Please feel free to leave me your thoughts about Skinwalkers or about the Shapeshifter World Tour in general. Or just say hello.

NEWS FLASH:  Friday's the day! Collector's Item will be released by The Wild Rose Press for all eformats on May 17th. Yeppers, Release Day is almost upon us and I'm going to be celebrating with a Virtual Release Day Party! Speaking of ego, there will be a lot of tweeting and posting about the world of Collector's Item, but there will also be prizes. Drop by Golinowski's Gambol or Denise Golinowski/Author on fb to find out more.

Denise Golinowski is a reader and writer of fantasy and romance. Collector's Item is being released by The Wild Rose Press in all electronic formats on May 17th, 2013!

Her first enovella, The Festival of the Flowers: The Courtesan and the Scholar is also available  through the Wild Rose Press. You can visit her blog at Golinowski's Gambol.

1 comment:

  1. Tony Hillerman wrote a bunch of great books about Western Indians, and mentions skinwalkers in them. And I'm sad you're done with this series - I've enjoyed it a lot!