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In some Native American traditions (Navajo, Hopi, Mohawk...) the skin-walker or yeenaaldlooshii is a human who is able to shapeshift into various animal forms through witchcraft. Skin-walkers are generally considered frightening, evil, dangerous, and difficult to kill.
Yeenaeldooshi means literally "with it, he goes on all fours" in the Navajo language. The Mohawk Indian word "limikkin" is sometimes used to describe all skin-walkers.
Possibly the best documented skinwalker beliefs are those relating to the Navajo yee naaldlooshii (literally "with it, he goes on all fours" in the Navajo language). A yee naaldlooshii is one of several varieties of Navajo witch (specifically practitioner of the Witchery Way, as opposed to a user of curse-objects or a practitioner of Frenzy Way . Technically, the term refers to who is using his (rarely her) powers to travel in animal form. In some versions men or women who have attained the highest level of priesthood then commit the act of killing an immediate member of their family, and then have thus gained the evil powers that are associated with skinwalkers.
The Yeenaeldooshi are human beings who have gained supernatural power by breaking a cultural taboo. Specifically, a person is said to gain the power to become a yee naaldlooshii upon initiation into the Witchery Way. Both men and women can become Yeenaeldooshi and therefore possibly skinwalkers, but men are far more numerous. It is generally thought that only childless women can become witches.
Owls can see what others cannot and this is a large part of Owl medicine. Owl’s ability to do this reminds us of the importance of both worlds: the physical as well as the spiritual, perhaps the known and the unknown. Our willingness and courage to transform the unknown in ourselves into the known is a true source of wisdom. The Zuni Pueblo people call the owl “the Night Grandfather” because he does his work at night. Clairvoyant properties and uncovering deception have always been associated with Owl. Its connection with wisdom comes from Owl’s ability to discern that which cannot be “seen.”
Wolf medicine has to do with deciphering information and finding new pathways for the benefit of the clan. Being part of a clan and exhibiting loyalty to it is some of the wisdom Wolf brings. And yet, even though Wolf is very loyal, it retains its individuality within the clan.
Coyote is called “the trickster” in numerous cultures. Life, however, is the real trickster and Coyote understands this. By accepting situations as they are and dealing with the unexpected willingly and eagerly, Coyote survives. Coyotes shows us that life is unpredictable and uncontrollable and that unexpected occurrences can be viewed as opportunities, not misfortunes. Coyote’s wisdom teaches us to live in the moment and wonder at it all.