Masauwu Pronunciation: maw-sow-uh Other names: Maasawu, Maasaw, Maasawi, Masaaw, Masao, Masau’u, Masauwu, Masawu, Masaw, or Mosau’u Also known as: Skeleton Man Tribe: Hopi Masauwu is the Hopi Death God, Earth God, door keeper to the Fifth World, and the Keeper of Fire. He is also the Master of the Fourth World (the Upper World). He was caretaker of the Third World, but he lost his humility and he was put in charge of the Underworld instead. When the Third World was destroyed he was given another chance and he became protector of the Fourth World. He is often described as wearing a hideous mask. He is usually handsome beneath the mask, but is sometimes described as a bloody, frightening creature. He also has benevolent attributes.
Some stories about Masauwu: He helped the Hopi settle at Oraibi and gave them stewardship of the land. He charged them to watch for the coming of the Pahana, the Lost White Brother, who went east but promised to return to help his people when all seems hopeless. Masauwu oversees the Hopi world including the earth’s surface and the Underworld beneath the earth. When the Hopi first came up from the Underworld the first thing they saw was the giant footprints of Masauwu. Every night Masauwu takes his flaming torch and walks clear around the edge of the world. He taught the Hopis about agriculture. He also warned them about the dangers of the world. Sometimes he is described as humorous and bumbling rather than frightening. Generally he is considered a friend to the Hopis and to humanity. He is trusted to care for the Hopi people in the afterlife.