Intro to Religion
Final Writing Assignment
Native American religions and witchcraft are alike in many ways. First of all, both are nature religions, meaning they both hold nature sacred and many of the symbols and ideas come from nature. Starhawk says that The Old Religion, as we call it, is closer in spirit to Native American traditions.@ Both religions teach its followers the importance of understanding and action. Through reading Starhawk and Black Elk essays in the textbook, it easy to see the meaning of understanding and action. Each of these elements are crucial to the beliefs of the follower.
Black Elk was a holy man of the Lakota people of the Sioux tribe. He writes of rituals and beliefs of his people in his book The Sacred Pipe. The sacred pipe is very important symbol to his people. It symbolizes the medicine wheel, all four directions living in the same space. Pinches of tobacco are placed in the pipe along with grains and seeds for all relatives and the pipe takes on new meaning. It also symbolizes how everything in the universe is unified. The pipe is very important in the lamenting process, which is discussed in Black Elk’s writings. He goes into great detail about lamenting. It is looked at as a quest for healing, answers, and as a rite of passage. If a person wishes to lament, they must seek the right aid and advice, otherwise something could happen. Black Elk says that if it is not done correctly, "a serpent could come and wrap itself around the ‘lamenter’." Serpents appear in religious stories and teachings and often used as a means of punishment or a catalyst for change. In this case, it would help the lamenter understand how important it is that lamenting is done correctly.
AAll the powers of the world, the heavens, and the star peoples, and the red and blue sacred days; all things that move in the universe, in the rivers, the springs, all waters, all trees that stand, all the grasses of our Grandmother, all the sacred peoples of...