Sand Painting

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A component of Navajo medicine which is meant to address the spiritual cause of illness
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It is the final sandpainting done in elaborate ceremonies that might require nine days, with a new sandpainting done every day.
It is to fight against chaos that this sandpainting is being created.
The sandpainting is ready to be inhabited by the gods.
The boards help focus the power of the sandpainting onto the ill person.
With words, with prayers, with songs he creates another sandpainting in the air, a complex, sacred pattern that summons the gods.
The gods recognize themselves in the sandpainting of Mother Earth and Father Sky.
And from the sandpainting, the gods flow into the ill person.
When the healing is finished, the sandpainting must be obliterated.
In nighttime ceremonies, such as the Big Star Chant, the sandpainting must be started after dark and obliterated before dawn.
The medicine man reaches out a wooden staff with a prayer feather, touches it to the sandpainting, and stirs the sand.
That he does, yet I think Harvey offered me the best key to understanding his achievement when he told me that he was trying to bring sandpaintings to life.
The decision to focus on the abundant ritual sources, on myths and sandpaintings, gives us little of the empirical base upon which the Navajo built their cosmological structure.