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Navajo Ghost Beads

navajocodetalkersadmin on March 18, 2015 - 10:00 am in Folklore

Any serious research about the Navajo people will eventually include something about Navajo ghost beads. When learning about the Navajo culture, one is going to encounter fascinating aspects of history and society. The Navajo ghost beads are one of the most enduring traditions of the Navajo. Even a brief introduction into the meaning of and significance behind these beads provides a wealth of interesting information.

Navajo Ghost Beads

The most straightforward definition of Navajo ghost beads is that they are meant to symbolize the connection between humanity and nature. They are not beads in terms of what most people consider beads to be. They are actually dry juniper berries. Once these berries have been properly dried out, they are strung together in order to create the Navajo ghost bead necklace. Wearing these necklaces is supposed to grant an individual peace, protection, and similar pieces of good fortune.

Someone who is wearing a necklace made from Navajo ghost beads will have the ability to keep evil spirits away, prevent negative energy from overwhelming the wearer, and even safeguard the individual from nightmares. The juniper berry has been a staple of the Navajo diet for hundreds of years. The berries themselves are also used in natural remedies against such ailments as diabetes.

The juniper berry is an important component in traditional Navajo spiritual beliefs. Early Navajo culture was very firmly rooted in matters concerning an ongoing relationship with the spirit world. A number of rituals and other practices were held that were meant to keep evilness and other dark elements at bay. Wearing a Navajo ghost bead necklace made from juniper berries was just one of the ways in which the Navajo people accomplished this. Juniper berries make up the Navajo ghost bead necklace, but that was not the only way in which juniper berries were used in these spiritual rituals. Dried juniper ashes were also applied to the skin before making any trips into the darkness of the night. Spreading juniper ashes around the bed was also believed to provide an additional level of protection from evil spirits, bad dreams, and other undesirables.

Navajo ghost beads are still widely available to this day. These necklaces represent a powerful element of Navajo spiritual beliefs. At the same time, they offer a small but profound piece of history from the Navajo people. These necklaces speak volumes of culture, spiritual beliefs and history, which is a lot coming from something as unassuming as a necklace.

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