By Trudy Griffin-Pierce
To the Navajo, sandpaintings are sacred, residing entities that mirror the interconnectedness of all residing beings—humans, crops, stars, animals, and mountains. This e-book, now to be had in paperback, explores the circularity of Navajo proposal in sandpaintings, Navajo chantway myths, and tales mirrored within the celestial constellations. superbly illustrated by means of the writer, this well-documented publication explores the non secular global of the Navajo, their ceremonial practices, and their conceptions of time and stellar movement. Griffin-Pierce exhibits how the photographs of sacred sandpaintings not just speak the temporal and spatial dimensions of the Navajo universe but in addition current, in visible shape, Navajo rules approximately relationships between nature, self, and society. "Griffin-Pierce's strategy is very unique, bringing this fabric jointly in an cutting edge and inventive demeanour whereas grounding it holistically in the context of Navajo global view."?M. Jane younger, writer of symptoms from the Ancestors: Zuni Cultural Symbolism and Perceptions of Rock paintings
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Extra resources for Earth Is My Mother, Sky Is My Father: Space, Time, and Astronomy in Navajo Sandpainting
The clan is important in establishing social identity; Navajos state their clan affiliations as well as their name when meeting a Navajo stranger. It also plays a major role in the regulation of marriage and the rendering of assistance to defray the expenses of a large, costly ceremonial. But the clan is not a ritual unit that controls specific ceremonials or ritual paraphernalia. Thus, the disappearance of a clan does not mean the extinction of a ceremonial. Furthermore, the medicine man, or chanter, functions on an individual basis rather than as part of an organized priesthood.
Many Navajos reject the concept of "religion" not only because of its association with a way of life that was forced upon them in the 1800s, but also because the religions to which they were introduced were characterized by dogma, exclusivity, and an emphasis upon salvation in a spiritual world far removed from the earthly environment. " He objected to the use of the English words religion, myth, and medicine man in connection with Navajo ceremonialism because of their negative connotations. When asked about diné binahagha', which is usually translated as "Navajo religion," he replied, "That means 'moving about ceremonially'" (in Frisbie [1987: xxiii]).
On a human level, one of the most important premises of relations with one's relatives is just such an emphasis on reciprocity; the value placed upon taking good care of relatives must not be underestimated in Navajo culture. Earlier, I mentioned that the worst thing a Navajo can say of an individual is, ''He acts as if he has no relatives" (paraphrase of Kluckhohn and Leighton 1962:100). The highest expression of maturity and responsibility is proper treatment of one's relatives. Because of the supreme importance placed upon kinship, aspects of nature are often personified as relatives.
Earth Is My Mother, Sky Is My Father: Space, Time, and Astronomy in Navajo Sandpainting by Trudy Griffin-Pierce