The Order of the White Moon Goddess Gallery Presents


Ataensic (Sky Woman)


By Jayme DePaolo


A Level 1 Final Project for Moonflower Ministry


(© 2024.  All original material on this site is under copyright protection and is the intellectual property of the author.)


              A painting of a turtle and other animals

Description automatically generated

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Creation Myth Art by Autumn Whiteway



Native Names: Sky Woman, Atahensic, Ata-en-sic, Ataentsic, Ataensiq, Aataentsic, Athensic, Ataensie, Eataentsic, Eyatahentsik, Iaataientsik, Yatahentshi; Iotsitsisonh, Iotsitsisen, Iottsitison, Iottsitíson, Atsi'tsiaka:ion, Atsi'tsiakaion, Ajinjagaayonh; Iagen'tci, Iagentci, Eagentci, Yekëhtsi, Yagentci, Awenhai, Awenha'i, Awenha:ih; Wa'tewatsitsiané:kare; Aientsik, Aentsik


Origin: Native American (Iroquois, Huron/Wyandot, Ojibway, Haudenosaunee, Susquehannock, Anishinaabe)


Background Information: Ataensic is revered as a Sky Goddess in multiple Indigenous traditions. She is associated with marriage, childbirth, and often connected with The Divine Feminine in Native American creation mythology. The Huron derivative ‘Atahensic’ means ‘First Mother’ and the Seneca called this Goddess ‘Eagentci,’ meaning ‘Ancient-bodied.’ 



Symbols & Associations:

      The Moon

      The Earth

      The Sky & Stars


      Childbirth, Fertility & Marriage

      Corn & Sweetgrass


Creation Myth:

The creation myth of Sky-Woman/Aetensic varies significantly across stories told throughout many Indigenous tribes across North America. Although the basic myth is similar among them, all the tribal variations recount the details slightly differently. This re-telling will focus on the main similarities across the many Indigenous tribes throughout North America as well as some of the significant, note-worthy discrepancies.


In the beginning, there was a realm of people who lived above the Earth on a ‘Sky-Island.’ This ‘Island’ existed as a type of Otherworld/Heaven, and the people who lived there had supernatural powers and special abilities, akin to Gods and Goddesses. A giant, magnificent tree thrived in the middle of Sky Island, decorated with magical, shimmering fruits that provided the people with light, although because the tree was considered sacred, fear of punishment encouraged the people to avoid harming the tree.


An Oneida variant of the story indicates that one day, a pregnant woman encountered the tree and asked her husband to dig roots from the magical tree to satisfy her cravings. Although the husband was afraid of angering the spirits, he did so after worrying about being seen had passed, but his digging caused an enormous hole to open up around the base of the tree. When he told his wife what had happened and she approached to investigate, she fell forward into the hole and down into the lower world below.


The world below Sky Island was said to have been a dark, Water World inhabited only by animals and vast, deep oceans. As she fell through the hole into the world below made by the uprooted tree, the animals occupying the lower world peered up to the lights reflected by the tree-fruits and saw Aetensic plummeting towards the dark waters below. Water birds, specifically the Loon or Swan, swooped up to rescue her and brought her to the back of a Giant Sea Turtle where she was taken to rest. Aetensic requested help from the animals of the Water World to bring back soil from the bottom of the ocean so that she might create a new place to live, as she was close to giving birth and unable to return from the Sky World above that she’d fallen from. Loon tried first to dive down to the bottom of the ocean to retrieve soil, but was unsuccessful and had to return, followed by Beaver and Otter. Muskrat, however, was the first to muster courage and skill necessary to complete the task and returned from his deep dive with both a fist and mouthful of soil from the ocean floor, although the labor and depth of his journey resulted in his death. Spreading the earth upon the edges of Turtle’s back, Aetensic breathed life into the new foundation and created a wide expanse of dry land that came to be known as ‘Turtle Island,’ or Earth. She gave birth to a daughter who came to be known as ‘Earth Woman’ and eventually, Earth Woman became pregnant with twins.


Additional details from an Iroquois version of the story indicates that when Earth Woman became pregnant with the twin boys, one represented an aspect of Good, while the other represented an aspect of evil and the birth of the 2nd, evil son killed Earth Woman when he was born through her armpit. Distraught by the death of her daughter, Aetensic buried Earth Woman on Turtle Island and reared her infant grandchildren who she’d named ‘Sapling,’ and ‘Flint.’ Determined to light the world with his mother’s memory, Sapling, the Good Twin, fashioned the Sun, Moon and Stars from the likeness of his mother’s face and Sky Woman watered them with her tears, providing light, guidance and support to the dark, watery world of Turtle Island before her grandchildren went on to populate the new Earth-Island that she’d landed on and created.



When to Work with Atahensic:

      To Manifest Fertility/Abundance with the Birth of a New Project/Idea


       To Assist with Grief after Loss of a Child/Loved One


      To Assist with Birth or Rearing/Raising Children


      To Connect with the Divine Feminine Spirit (specifically with her Mother Aspect)


      To Connect with the Elemental Energies of Earth & Water


      To Request Strength, Courage & Wisdom during New Journeys & New Beginnings


Ritual/How to Work with Aetensic:

Work with Aetensic when you desire to 1) Manifest New Projects or Ideas 2) Receive Assistance with Courage, Strength & Wisdom for Navigating New Adventures or Ventures 3) Receive Help Managing Grief/Loss. Aetensic reminds us that although painful, TRANSITION and CHANGE are natural parts of life and that we’re resilient enough to transcend our lowest moments of suffering into New Beginnings.


Original Ritual - Fertility & Abundance

Intention/Purpose: To Manifest Fertility/Abundance with the Birth of a New Project/Idea


Materials Needed: (Not required, but will enhance the working)

1.     Candles - Blue/Turquoise, or Silver

2.    Herbs - sweetgrass or cedar

3.    Small cup/bowl of rain or ocean water

4.    Feathers - white or black (Loon, Heron, Tern, Swan, other Waterbirds)


Ritual Structure:

      Introduction/Opening - Begin by clearing the ritual space with incense, sound or method of choice. Cast a protective circle around the ritual space with a wand, athame, crystal or tool of choice by imagining a ring of white light extending from the implement and protecting the space from anything negative that should enter. If desired, ask the guardians of each element to be present during the ritual and light the candles for each element while calling in their presence and energies.


      Invocation & Ritual Body - Light the Blue/Silver Candle for Aetensic and ask for her to send Abundance and Prosperity and bless ALL new ventures and projects with Fertility, Growth and Expansion towards the complete fruition of bright new goals. Focus your attention on any new projects, ideas, tasks, plans, etc. that you’d like to bring abundance or new life to and recite the invocation to Aentensic. During the invocation, visualize what it would look like to have each new project or goal ripen to its fullest, most positive conclusion, how you would feel during the shift into fulfillment and what the result of achieving victory would encompass.


Aetensic, Primordial Goddess of Sky and Earth

I request aid of your blessing to breathe life on ALL New Ventures in my life

Bring Speed and Abundance so that the fruits of my labor

May blossom Into the Paradise of my tomorrow

Aid me in the creation of a brilliant future

Made rich by the growth and renewal of new ideas and bright beginnings

Carry with me the spirit of your rebirth from Sky to Earth

And with it, plant within me the ability to nurture and nourish

ANY new beginning that I see the need to Manifest

For, as you, I am a creature of your Divinity

And both Creature and Creation of the Earth


Following the invocation, burn the list of items/projects to manifest if desired on a fire-safe plate or vessel and burn the sweetgrass as an offering to Aetensic, using the feather to fan the smoke skyward towards the heaven where it can be received by Source. Focus on the intentions & projects/new ideas manifesting as the paper and sweetgrass is consumed in the flames and scatter the ashes or keep for later use if desired. Dip your fingers into the bowl of rain or ocean water and touch to the crown, third eye and heart chakra and focus on receiving the blessing of Aetensic to give birth to new life, symbolic of when she passed through Sky World into the Water World that would contain Earth. 


      Closing - Offer thanks to Aetensic for her presence and assistance with providing vitality, life, abundance and prosperity to your new adventures and projects. Provide an offering to her if desired (tobacco is customary in Indigenous practices, but may also include seeds, sweetgrass, fruit or herbs). Close the circle when finished.



Video Recreations of The Creation Myth of SkyWoman

  1. Autumn Whiteway (Ojibwe Traditions)-
  2. Kahawidance (Oneida Indigenous Traditions) -


Resources -



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