I was bored.
Why the new colors? Ah, therein lies the tale.
These four colors--white, blue, yellow, and black--are the four colors of, well, everything, in the Navajo worldview. Much as the Chinese have the five gods of the directions (Blue Dragon, Red Phoenix, White Tiger, Black Turtle, and Gold Dragon), the Navajo have four chief gods, each associated with one of the directions. In the Fourth World (the one before this one--they have one more than the Hopi), those gods were even called by the name of the colors, starting east and going clockwise to north:
- The Fourth World's "White Body" is Talking God, Maternal Grandfather of all the gods.
- The Fourth World's "Blue Body" is Water Sprinkler, the Hopi's Kokopelli, and god of rain.
- The Fourth World's "Yellow Body" is Growling God, Talking God's brother.
- The Fourth World's "Black Body" is Black God, god of fire and hunting...and probably, also, the Hopi's Masauwu (and perhaps, therefore, also the Aztecs' Mixtlantecutli).
It's funny how, merely by knowing the basics of some Navajo mythology, most of the theories of comparative religion are blown straight to hell.
I think I'll stick with the new scheme. Why?
Shił yá'át'ééhgo, he replies, showing off that he knows how to say "because I like it" in Navajo.
I was gonna do a thing discussing the peculiar intellectual challenges posed by the Navajo gods, the Diyin Diné'e. But I realized it was sort of weird (not for me, but for people that don't know where the Cave is), so I changed my mind. It reminds me, though, of "energy beings", as they appear in science fiction.