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Navajo Medicine Man

navajocodetalkersadmin on April 28, 2014 - 10:00 am in Navajo Rituals

The medicine man from the Navajo tribe makes use of different approach to heal sick people. Their beliefs brought up unique and interesting ways to cure a particular sick Navajo member. The Navajo people perform different healing ceremonies. Find out more about their medical practice.

Navajo Medicine

In the present days, Navajo medicine remained preserved as numerous Navajo people relied on their traditional medicinal procedures as the main healing source. But modern residents in the nation of Navajo were associated with contemporary medicine to their own society as Western clinics and hospitals were established on a reservation for the past centuries.

Healing and medicine have been integrated with both spiritual and religious beliefs in which it takes the shamanism form. Such cultural ideologies deemed the health as ingrained in some supernatural forces that are related to universal harmony and balance. The significance of spiritual aspect allowed the healing practices of Navajo people as well as the Western medical procedures to coexist.

Navajo HataIii has been the traditional medicine men called upon in order to conduct healing ceremonies. Every man starts training as the apprentice to the old practicing singer. While on the apprenticeship stage, he will assemble medicine bundles (or jish) which are essential to do ceremonies. At the same time, he is responsible to assist his teacher until he was deemed prepared enough to conduct independent practices.

In his entire life, the medicine man only learns some chants as each of them requires great effort and time to perfect and learn. Their songs will be orally passed down into traditional Navajo people from one generation to another. Unlike some medical practitioners of American Indian, they do not rely on personal powers and visions. The healer will act as the facilitator that can transfer power coming from Holy People directly to the patients for restoration of harmony and balance. Healing practices can be performed in the ceremonial Hogan. Medicine men usually receive payment for providing healing services.

Previously, healing can be exchanged for sheep. Today, money payment became widely accepted as compensation. Women have also the right to become a healer in terms of medicinal practice.

On the other hand, the Navajo people also have hand tremblers who play the role of medical diagnosticians. At times, they have been called upon for verification of the illness through drawing on a sort of divine power in themselves as what they received from a Gila Monster. Some common services could have been provided through prayers, herb usage and songs. During the diagnosis, the hand trembler is going to trace symbols present in a dirt as he holds the ‘trembling arm’ over his patient. The arm movement signifies that there is a new symbol drawn or possible identification of illness. After finding out the solution, the patient could be called as the singer or herbalist that should perform the healing ceremony.

The Navajo medicine man has been the dominant factor when it talks about their lives. Just like other primitive people, they have been intensely religious. Medicine men should be versed in the religious mysteries.

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