Navajo Healing Ceremonies

Navajo Indians have been using music ceremonies as a form of
healing for a long time. Musical ceremonies are used to perform many different
tasks and are for religious purposes but one that I would like to focus on is
the healing ceremonies performed by the Navajo people. They call themselves the
Diné and they are a part of the largest Native American tribe covering New
Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah. Most Native American ceremonies are for men
or women and are majorly based on gender but the Navajo have “co-ed” ceremonies
as well (Dr. Debra Welch).

Their ceremonies can last many hours or days even. One
ceremony involves a cactus called peyote and it can be used to heal pain. A ceremony
was used where people took peyote around a fire and danced. It was used to
mediate and could cause visions. http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=a01_1226950881
This is a remake and was not recorded during the ceremony but it has the lyrics
in a translated form http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6z-eyG8xVhk
and are for the most part the same lyrics of the ceremony. Dr. Debra Welch
stated that the Peyote ceremony like most Navajo ceremonies was “to heal the
mind” more than the body because the mind effected the body so much and is from
the old vision quest. If someone is in good spirits they tend to be healthy.
Peyote ceremonies are usually open to all members of the Native American Church
but outsiders are not permitted. The peyote is said to have gained its healing
power from the “road man” who referred to his fireplace which is where the
peyote came from. http://www.jstor.org/stable/649717?seq=11&Search=yes&searchText=Ceremonies&searchText=American&searchText=healing&searchText=Native&list=hide&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3DNative%2BAmerican%2Bhealing%2BCeremonies%26Search%3DSearch%26gw%3Djtx%26prq%3Dhealing%2BCeremonies%26hp%3D25%26acc%3Don%26aori%3Da%26wc%3Don%26fc%3Doff&prevSearch=&item=4&ttl=3064&returnArticleService=showFullText&resultsServiceName=null

Blessingway is another Navajo ceremony used for healing and
is most commonly used. It is used to bless and ensure good health https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5Fb8J98R6k.
Dr. Debra Welch described it as a ritual that turns girls into women. But it
can also consist of the Holyway ritual which it used to restore life and health
http://www.hanksville.org/voyage/navajo/ceremonials.php3
. http://www.folkways.si.edu/TrackDetails.aspx?itemid=13259
this song wasn’t a Navajo song but was used in a ceremony that would heal much
like the Blessingway and Holyway did. Also the Navajo had a crystal gazer that
would diagnose what was wrong when someone was sick. Dr. Debra Welch stated
that it was to help the older people go to the hospital and get medical help.
Dr. Debra Welch stated that an Is’win buffalo hat was used in very sacred
ceremonies to heal and that it could never touch the ground.

The Navajo Christian church uses prayer as a means of
symbolically healing. There are three religions that do the healing ceremonies
and they are the Sa,’ah  Naagháí Bik’eh
Hózhó. There are three different religions in all that trust me it’s just all
written in one word. These religions value kinship and use it in the
ceremonies.  http://www.jstor.org/stable/649717?seq=3&Search=yes&searchText=Ceremonies&searchText=American&searchText=healing&searchText=Native&list=hide&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3DNative%2BAmerican%2Bhealing%2BCeremonies%26Search%3DSearch%26gw%3Djtx%26prq%3Dhealing%2BCeremonies%26hp%3D25%26acc%3Don%26aori%3Da%26wc%3Don%26fc%3Doff&prevSearch=&item=4&ttl=3064&returnArticleService=showFullText&resultsServiceName=null
the process uses the “affective engagement with other people and with spiritual
world through emotional expression” to heal in ceremonies. There must be an
understanding selfhood to be able to be healed by a ceremony because it is an
emotional process more than a physical one. The bases of it is the well being
of some and that is healed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mr4FI0DHMh4
is a dance that originated from the
healing dances and has be changed so it can be performed. The ceremony helps to
restore relationships and the mental well being of someone and sometimes the
use of herbal medicine. The singing and dancing of the ceremony helps bring
everyone closer together and heal the mind as the herbal medicine heals the
body. With the mind in a better state the herbs work better to heal the body.
Most Navajo ceremonies are very private and only the close family member can
attend.

Today there are hospitals they go to heal but the ceremonies
are still practiced to bring everyone together and to heal the mind and like
the dance above have become more for pleasure which still helps the mind. The
Native American use the ceremonies to help keep their traditions and to heal
the mind. All of it is very scared and is not allowed to be videotaped and it
is very hard to find recordings of it.  http://www.folkways.si.edu/healing-songs-of-the-american-indians/music/album/smithsonian gives a list of healing songs that have
been recorded.

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