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Hanwi, Sioux Moon Goddess

3 min read

Hanwi is the Moon Goddess of the Sioux Tribe of Native American Indigenous people, an ancient and deeply spiritual people.
There are three main groups in the upper Midwest of the United States today: the Dakota to the west, the Lakota to the east, and Nakota between them.
Just like the moon pierces the darkness of the night it is believed that Hanwi pierces the darkness of your soul and protects you from negative beings.
She is a goddess of the moon.
The moon is intrinsically feminine and represents fertility, dreams, emotions, and transformations, as well as the rhythm of natural cycles.
She is also the Goddess of motherhood, feminine power, and watches over women during their monthly cycle.

Hanwi means “Night Sun” and she is married to Wi, the Sun god. Her name “Han” means darkness and “Wi” means sun.
As story goes, Hanwi’s husband dishonored her by allowing a mortal to take her seat in the sky. So she often hides part of her face in shame, thus allowing for the phases of the moon.
The Sungod Wi, fell in love with a mortal woman named Ite (or Iktomi, depending the story you heard) who had charmed him, and the charm made her the most beautiful woman on earth rivaling even Hanwi herself.
Wi allowed her to take Hanwi’s place at his right side at a banquet of the Gods.
When Ite arrived at the banquet, she took the place beside Wi before Hanwi had a chance to sit down. Enchanted by her beauty Wi allowed this and, when Hanwi saw Ite sitting next to her husband in a place of honor she was deeply ashamed and hid her face in humiliation.

This caused a great disruption among the Gods.
The Sky god Skan, the ruler and judge of the gods, was outraged, he condemned Wi for his dishonorable behavior and banished Ite to the underworld.
As a result, Skan divided the universe.
Instead of traveling together across the sky, Wi and Hawni now travel alone. Wi rules by day and Hanwi rules by night and, by separating the two, he gave Hanwi her place as the moon in the night sky.

To this day, Hanwi the Moon Goddess moves through the night sky still a beautiful woman.
However, she is still filled with humiliation and on some nights turns sideways so we don’t see her face, thus creating the phases of the moon, that represent women of various ages (child, maiden, mother, and crone).
When the sun is farthest away she faces the sun and we have a full moon.
It is also said that the moon has more piercing light because it pierces darkness, and this is believed to be what Hanwi will do for you, pierce dark or negative beings and protect you from them….

Images from web – Google Research