The coyote is a symbol in Native American culture in many creation stories always playing the central role as hero, creationist, or devious trickster. Some of the traits of the coyote are similar to many human faults that we all can relate too from lust to greed. The coyote is a reminder that not all living things can be trusted and sometimes even the most altruistic intentions can become corruptible.
In the myth The Coyote and the Spying Moon he is portrayed as a trickster god who stepped forward to be the moon in the sky to assist people in order to work late into the evening.
It soon became evident that the coyote was not doing this out of the goodness of his heart. But instead was causing mischief on his friends below by tattling on their deceptions and spying on the women bathing at night.
It was after that final discovery of his spying the people decided that he could no longer be the moon and was taken down from the sky.
But the coyote one day being a flirty devil attempted to impress the ladies by juggling his eyes up high in the air. One day he threw one of his eyes so high, it got stuck in the sky and became the star Arcturus. So even now legend claims he is still keeping one eye on us all.
As I was in a deep slumber early the other morning I thought heard laughter and thought, “Wow! It’s 5:30 in the morning our neighbors like to party.”
As I began to awake a little more it was clear that it was not laughter but the sound of coyotes across the street. It sounded like they had caught their morning feast as they howled and snarled in the cold wind.
“Honey! Do you hear that?”
My husband rolled over, “What?”
“Oh! It’s geese!”
“Geese! It’s not geese! It is coyotes!”
“Birds. Dear. Just birds. Go back to bed.”
I rolled over and attempted to go back to sleep. “Yes. Honey. Geese in -15 Celsius weather. Yes. Dear.”
I believe at that moment the coyote was being a devious trickster that had cast its magical spell on my sleeping husband. As I walked the kids to school that morning we could hear the coyotes chatting in the distance.
My kids moved a little closer to me as the noise grew louder!
“Do you think they are looking at us for breakfast?”
“No. You are too sweet. But just to be on the safe side if you see one in the school playground back away slowly, put your hands up high to appear bigger, go inside, and find a supervisor.”
Just as the myth states the coyote is always watching and people have to be on the lookout for what could be right before our eyes in this city landscape. You never know what devious tricks they could be up too and cause harm within the blink of an eye. Coyotes are sly, they can blend in the snow, and you never know when they could be watching you with their eye in the sky.
Do you have a favorite mythological animal or character? What lessons have you learned from their great myths?