Navajo song ceremonial complex

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The Navajo song ceremonial complex is a spiritual practice used by certain Navajo ceremonial people to restore and maintain balance and harmony in the lives of the people. One half of the ceremonial complex is the Blessing Way, while the other half is the Enemy Way (Anaʼí Ndááʼ).

The Blessing Way[edit]

The rites and prayers in the Blessing Way are concerned with healing, creation, harmony and peace. The song cycles recount the elaborate Navajo creation story (Diné Bahaneʼ).

One of most important Blessing Way rites is the Kinaaldá ceremony, in which a young girl makes the transition to womanhood upon her menarche.[1] During the course of the ceremony, the girl enacts the part of Changing Woman (Asdzą́ą́ Nádleehé),[1] the powerful spirit woman responsible for fertility entering the world. The Kinaaldá ceremony includes the girl demonstrating endurance by ritualised running, each dawn over a period of several days, as well as a hair-combing ritual and the baking of a large corn cake.[1][2]

The Enemy Way[edit]

The Enemy Way (Anaʼí Ndááʼ) is a traditional ceremony for countering the harmful effects of ghosts (error: {{lang-xx}}: text has italic markup (help)), and has been performed for returning military personnel.[3]

The Enemy Way ceremony involves song, sandpainting, dance, and the powerful mythical figure Monster Slayer.[4] The ceremony lasts for several days and includes the enacting of a battle.[5]

Associated with the Enemy Way is a Girl's Dance, to which young men are invited by marriageable young women.[6] This derives from an aspect of the Monster Slayer myth, in which two captive girls are liberated.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Joanne McCloskey, Living Through the Generations: Continuity And Change in Navajo Women's Lives, University of Arizona Press, 2007, pp. 159–162, ISBN 0-8165-2631-1.
  2. ^ Alice N. Nash and Christoph Strobel, Daily Life of Native Americans from Post-Columbian Through Nineteenth-Century America, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006, p. 152, ISBN 0-3133-3515-X.
  3. ^ Robert F. Murphy (ed), American Anthropology, 1946-1970: Papers from the American Anthropologist, University of Nebraska Press, 2002, p. 111, ISBN 0-8032-8280-X.
  4. ^ Vincent Crapanzano, The Fifth World of Forster Bennett: Portrait of a Navajo, University of Nebraska Press, 2003, p. 238, ISBN 0-8032-6431-3.
  5. ^ a b Reginald Laubin and Gladys Laubin, Indian Dances of North America: Their Importance to Indian Life, University of Oklahoma Press, 1989, p. 423, ISBN 0-8061-2172-6.
  6. ^ Clyde Kluckhohn, Dorothea Cross Leighton, Lucy H. Wales, and Richard Kluckhohn, The Navaho, Harvard University Press, 1974, p. 228, ISBN 0-674-60603-5.