With Thanksgiving next week, we look at some of our favourite Native American rituals and traditional beliefs…
Dreamcatchers are crafted from willow wood, and adorned with beads, stones and feathers. It is believed that the good dreams are clear and know their way through the dreamcatcher, and when the feathers ruffled at the bottom of the dreamcatcher, it indicated that a beautiful dream was passing through. Bad dreams are thought to get trapped in the web of the dreamcatcher and remain there until the sun rises, causing them to evaporate with the morning dew.
Smudging is a way of cleansing a space before a ritual. This is done in order to purify a person’s mind, body and soul by removing any negative energy as well as centring ourselves for the healing process. Smudging is done to call upon the spirits of sacred plants to help drive away unwanted forces. Plants commonly used to smudge with include tobacco, sage, sweetgrass and cedar.
Animals play a huge part in Native American spirituality, and form the basis of their horoscopes (unlike our astrological ones which are based on constellations). Represented in their zodiac include the bear, owl and snake. Furthermore, ‘totems’ are spirit beings that can come in many forms including animals. Native Americans believe that a person is connected with an animal, called a spirit guide, who helps us on our path in life in order to reach our goals. Your totem animal is with you for life – both physically and spiritually.