Navajo Religion

Topics: Ritual, Religion, Navajo people Pages: 4 (1193 words) Published: May 26, 2014
Curiously, the Navajo peoples have no word in their language that can be directly translated to "religion", in the way we perceive it (Wyman 536). Rather, the term 'religion' refers to their world view. Anthropologists define religion as a set of attitudes, beliefs, and practices dealing with supernatural powers. The Navajo do not divide the secular from the holy; life and religion are one in the same.                The Dine religion has a deep connection with the supernatural. Gods, spirits, monsters, and other supernatural beings play a large part of their everyday life.                 The Diyin Dine'e, or the "Holy People", are viewed as gods by the Navajo. The term used for the deities does not imply that these are virtuous gods, but that they are powerful and dangerous. It is considered the duty of humans to preserve a harmonious connection with the Holy People (Wyman 539). The Navajo are polytheistic; however the Changing Woman is possibly the most cherished deity. Her twin sons, Monster Slayer and Born For Water, their father the Sun, and her make up some sort of "Holy Family" which is often seen in myth and ritual (Wyman 539). There can be confusion about which Diyin Dine'e appears in certain myths and rituals because different names are occasionally used to represent the same deity (Wyman 539). The Navajo have a heavy sense of animism, which is the belief in spirits. Nearly everything in the universe contains a human-like inner form (Jones). This inner-form is very similar to the concept of a soul. Aside from natural phenomena, such as mountains and plants, material objects such as arrowheads can even contain this in-lying "soul" (Wyman 539). However, death and ghosts are greatly feared in their society (Onoforio-Grimm 1801). The dead are buried promptly without any accompaniment of a public ceremony. (Adams 253). To keep the deceased from returning, all of their possessions would be destroyed or rendered useless. This would be done so personal...
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