Even though there are many distinct Native American tribes and cultures, their overarching spirituality boils down to respect for nature. This is where they came from, and this is what continues to sustain them. Many of their practices and beliefs revolve around nature, from how they are healed to how they mature. Studying all tribes and cultures in-depth would be difficult, but we hope to give you some basic information on Native American spirituality below.
Native American Spirituality 101
Each tribe has its own take on how the world and human beings came to be. The Cherokee people believe that in the beginning, there was a large floating island held by four ropes over the middle of a vast ocean. The Great Spirit asked all life to stay awake for seven days and seven nights, those who could were rewarded. Afterward, humans appeared. The Navajo tribe believe that we are currently living in the Fourth World. The first people of the first three world were animals, insects, and masked spirits. The first man and woman from the first world were made from the meeting of different clouds.
Spirits and Gods
The Native Americans revere many deities. There are ones for trickery, hunting, and healing. “The Great Spirit” is a concept many subscribe to and describes an all-encompassing higher power. There are also many other individual spirits in their belief system. Quite a number of them are animals, who they believe guide mankind.
— EC (@enlightened_c) October 8, 2017
Native American tribes don’t really use the term medicine man. They use a specific word in their language that roughly translates to “mystery man.” For example, the term that the people of the Navajo tribe use is “hatáli.” These people are not only healers, but others within their tribe believe them to be bridges to the spirits. Their jobs within their tribe include: educator, historian, healer, and prophet. They can also leave their bodies to communicate with spirits.
When young boys reach puberty, they embark on a vision quest. This is a rite of passage for these young boys to receive guidance from higher powers, to reflect on themselves and grow spiritually, and to find a direction for their future. Medicine people can also go through spiritual journeys to communicate with the spirit world. They become the enemy of bad spirits and the protectors of common men.
UFO HUB uploaded a very informative video on Native American beliefs that featured Edmore Green. Mr. Green talked about his people and their culture, and how they still thrive today:
The holistic and natural way of Native American spirituality is something we can all learn from. We might not believe in every aspect of their spirituality, but we can certainly take on some of their core values. Try incorporating a respect for nature and the desire to live a harmonious life into your spiritual practice.
How do you feel about Native American spirituality? Are there aspects of it you think you can apply to your everyday life? Tell us what you think in the comments section below!