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Home  |  Gods   |  Native American Gods   |  Cherokee Gods   |  Unelanuhi : The Sun Goddess

Unelanuhi : The Sun Goddess

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At a glance

Description
Origin Cherokee Mythology
Classification Gods
Family Members N/A
Region United States of America
Associated With Sun

Unelanuhi

Introduction

The name Unelanuhi refers to the deity of time, and she was responsible for dividing the time into units. Her gaze through the sky is the reflection of seasons and the longing for departed nights. She is a healer who aids those who need help.

According to an ancient legend, the Earth had no sun until the spider woman “Wove a great web” and propelled “Unelanuhi” from deep within the universe into the sky. She spends most of her time with a mysterious lover who tends to her without erasing her identity. She soon discovers that her brother is her lover keeping a constant watch over her, and he continues to visit her every month even as the moon bathes in the desert.

The sun was the primary object of desire for the Cherokee. As she rose in the sky, they bowed to her and offered her gifts.

Family

Unelanuhi went inside the house after discovering her daughter dead at the doorstep, due to her overwhelming grief. However, the world once more went completely dark. People were no longer dying from heat. The ghost people informed the humans that they had to go to Tsusginai, the land of the dead, and rescue her daughter from the grave if they wanted the Sun to shine once more. When they encountered her in the ghost country, where the ghosts would often dance in a circle, they had to strike her with rods and put her in a box to bring back to her mother. They were instriucted to never open the box before they get to the Unelanuhi’s house. They followed the instructions, and when the daughter awoke inside the box while they were returning to her house, she sobbed and begged them to let her out. Although she begged for food and water, the crowd would not let her leave.

When she finally admitted to the people that she was suffocating inside the box, they lifted the lid to let her get some air out of fear that she would perish. She emerged from the box as a red bird, some have speculated a cardinal. When the Mother learned that her daughter would never return to Her, she cried so hard that a flood covered the whole Earth. Young people performed dances and sang their best songs in front of the Sun, but she was unconvinced. When a drummer finally changed the tune, Unelanuhi lifted her head in delight and forgot about her sorrow.

Other names

Unelanuhi’s name means “apportioner,” and her movement through the sky creates time. The origin of her name can be traced back to the spider woman, who took her from the underworld after other animals failed at creating suns.

Powers and Abilities

According to the Cherokee legend, Unelanuhi lived on a different side of the world when the animals of the world came together to seek the light of the sun. An opossum tried to bring it to this part of the world, but it burned its tail. A vulture also tried, but it got burned.

The spider woman spun a web that led her to Unelanuhi. After finding her, the spider woman tied her into a basket and brought her light to the world. Unfortunately, the new light was a curse as the extreme heat caused people to die.

Modern Day Influence

The tale of Unelanuhi is similar to that of Amaterasu, another Sun Goddess. She remained hidden from the crowd, much like Amaterasu, and would not come out. The Great Flood is a significant myth that is present in many cultures all over the world, and it is reflected in the tale of her weeping grief. The Cherokkee still hold the sun goddess with extremely high regard. Unelanuhi is also one of the very few female solar deities like Malina around the world across multiple civilizations.

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Disclaimer: While it is the intention of Mythlok and its editors to keep all the information about various characters as mythologically accurate as possible, this site should not be considered mythical, legendary or folkloric doctrine in any way. We welcome you using this website for any research, journal or study but citing this website for any academic work would be at your own personal risk.
Disclaimer: While it is the intention of Mythlok and its editors to keep all the information about various characters as mythologically accurate as possible, this site should not be considered mythical, legendary or folkloric doctrine in any way. We welcome you using this website for any research, journal or study but citing this website for any academic work would be at your own personal risk.
Disclaimer: While it is the intention of Mythlok and its editors to keep all the information about various characters as mythologically accurate as possible, this site should not be considered mythical, legendary or folkloric doctrine in any way. We welcome you using this website for any research, journal or study but citing this website for any academic work would be at your own personal risk.