Two Traditions

Jerrold E. Levy

in In the Beginning

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 1998 | ISBN: 9780520211285
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520920576 | DOI:
Two Traditions

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This chapter uses the myth motifs of the Navajo healing ceremonies to classify the various ceremonies according to whether they include shamanic themes of soul loss, possession, and trickster figures. The Coyote-Begochidi tradition does not represent a survival from the distant hunting and gathering past so much as an adaptation that took place to cope with important new problems which became acute during the transition to pastoralism. The Blessingway is concerned with peace, harmony, and good things, and should exclude all evil. The Holyways include all chants that utilize sandpaintings, paintings of anthropomorphic figures on the body of the patient, and beads of turquoise and white shell given to the patient during the ceremony. The Lifeways are specifically for injuries from accidents, sprains, strains, fractures, and so on. The Evilways are used against illness caused by the ghosts of the dead.

Keywords: Navajo; myth; healing ceremony; shaman; Coyote; Blessingway; Holyways; Lifeways; Evilways

Chapter.  17428 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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