Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Navajos

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The Navajo sandpainting article discussed the whole story behind the Navajo sandpanting ritual. The Navajo sandpainting ritual involves the belief in Holy People. Holy People fall into different classes with regard to their relationships to human beings. These ceremonies are elaborate events often lasting several days and requiring accurate execution. There are three main types of chants that exist in the Navajo tribe. The first of these chants is the Blessingway chant. This chants prevents disease and other misfortune by drawing in the blessings of the Holy People. The second type of chant is the Holyway chant. This chant is for the neutralization of any potential malevolence of Holy People and transform it into beneficial power. The third and last type of chant is the Evilway chant. This chant is to exorcize Holy People in situations where their malevolence has erupted. Holy sandpaintings are usually created on the floor of a ceremonial hogan and these sandpaintings usually depict Holy People in them.

The average sized sandpainting takes about four to five men and about four hours to finish. During the sandpainting ceremony, the individual for whom the chant is held may sit in the middle of the painting. Through the painting, the Holy People draw evil out of the individual being sung over and then infuse them with good. Healing is the main purpose of the majority of the Navajo religious life. Navajo ceremonies usually cause people to have feelings of strength and good.

The Navajo view every aspect of the world as constantly in motion. The Navajo ceremonies raise an underlying attentiveness to a formalized religious expression. Ceremonial paintings are never permanently placed on a surface or are they allowed to remain intact overnight. There has been a form of commercialized sandpainting that has helped to create a domain within a culture. Even some commercial paintings have incorporated Christian themes.

The Peyote ceremony has consisted of an all night prayer meeting in a tepee, lodge, or a hogan around a crescent moon shaped mound of earth, a sacred fire and a special Grandfather Peyote button and at dawn there is a water ceremony. The tradition is that a Peyote meeting is normally instigated by a sponsor who presents the Roadman, who is the leader of the all night ceremony.

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