Karen Turner PHD | Native Spirituality
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Native Spirituality

Native Spirituality

Native Spirituality: The Medicine Wheel

Native Spirituality: The Medicine Wheel

Psychological Articles as Solutions to Types of Discrimination

by Boomeryearbook.com

Native spirituality relates to the spiritual and religious beliefs of the Native Americans of North America and Canada that have evolved over thousands of years. Psychological articles tell us that while these beliefs vary widely among the dozens of practicing Native American tribes they also share a commonality that has resulted from the first American continent migrations that increased trade and interaction between widely dispersed peoples, and thus spread belief systems and helped reduced some types of discrimination.

Psychological articles inform us that Native Spirituality has a few fundamental ideas upon which belief structures are constructed. The central beliefs being that the Earth is the mother of all life alongside the other commonly held conviction that a Great Spirit created this world and all its inhabitants. Additionally, all living things, animals and plants included, (i.e., anima belief) with no types of discrimination, have spirits that have to be revered and respected. Furthermore, all living things in this world are interconnected though a Circle of Life, which is represented by the Medicine Wheel.

The Medicine Wheel shows that in essences, existence and life are circular, with each side of the Wheel representing a different stage of the life journey. Psychological articles explain that the east is a child’s birth and the initial years of his life represented by the daily birth of the sun. The south is the lifetime of childhood indicating intellectual development. The west is adult life and the reflective stage or inward looking thought. The north shows the maturing of life with its accompanying spirituality. The sides of the circle are equal and indicate no type of discrimination. The center of the wheel is of paramount importance as it symbolizes Earth mother and the Great Spirit Creator. Psychological articles tell us that its position in the center of the Wheel thus highlights the importance of these constructs in the birth of life and its continuing nature and journey.

From its philosophical roots concerned with “being” and the nature of reality, Native Spirituality has developed a number of basic moral concepts and rituals:

o Earth is the Mother of Life, who has her own identity and value and must be properly looked after.
o A plant or animal’s spirits must be respected when its life is being taken or being consumed by rituals such as offerings of tobacco, sacred plants and herbs.
o Prayers of thanks must be performed readily and frequently.
o Families are of intrinsic value and respect must be shown to every individual.
o Gifts are frequently given to both solidify arrangements as well as to show deference.
o Ceremonies are of central importance for both individual and community life
o Respect must be shown to others with differing beliefs.

Although originating with abstract concepts, psychological articles tell us that the practice of Native Spirituality is heavily steeped in spiritual significant acts and rituals; the transmission of which follows the oral, (not written) tradition and is handed down from generation to generation over hundreds of years. The primary carriers of this knowledge are the Shamans, the spiritual leaders or ‘clergy’ that play a central role in the conduct of rituals and rites of passage. These rituals can range from ceremonies celebrating marriage, mourning death, coming of adulthood etc, which are conducted in specific places made for this purpose. Sweat lodges, Arbors, Long houses (for special occasions), Sundance and Naming are among the most important of ceremonies which are conducted in ‘Pow Wow’s or the term used when Native Spiritualists gather for celebrations and social interaction.

Native Spirituality encompasses virtually every aspect of the followers individual and community life such as clothing, food consumption, medical and health practices, symbols, weapons, and reverence of all natural objects being viewed as scared thereby making no type of discrimination between different life elements. For Native Spiritualists we all belong to Mother Earth.

Religious Symbols: One World Many Faiths

Religious Symbols: One World Many Faiths

The Psychological Article on Native Spirituality is part of Boomer Yearbook’s continuing series of psychological articles on World Religions, Spirtuality, and Solutions to Types of Discrimination. We believe knowledge is power. We’d love to hear what you think.

BoomerYearbook is a Psychological Articles based-Informational Social Network Website for Baby Boomers. Connect with old and new friends, or expand your mind and ward off senior moments and elderly problems with dream analysis and online optical illusions and brain games provided by clinical psychologist Dr. Karen Turner. Join the Website for Baby Boomers to stay informed, receive your weekly newsfeed, and let your opinions be heard.


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