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The Navajo Night Way Ceremony -- Anonymous

an excerpt from
(Poem #344) The Navajo Night Way Ceremony
In beauty                                       may I walk
All day long                                    may I walk
Through the returning seasons                   may I walk
Beautifully I will possess again
Beautifully birds
Beautifully joyful birds
On the trail marked with pollen                 may I walk
With grasshoppers about my feet                 may I walk
With dew about my feet                          may I walk
With beauty                                     may I walk
With beauty before me                           may I walk
With beauty behind me                           may I walk
With beauty above me                            may I walk
With beauty all around me                       may I walk
In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty,
                                    lively,     may I walk
In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty,
                              living again,     may I walk
It is finished in beauty
It is finished in beauty
-- Anonymous
translated by Jerome K. Rothenberg.

The entire text of this chant can be found at
[broken link]

Here's an essay on the Navajo religion, filched (as usual) from the Web:

Native American languages do not have a word for `religion' because
their religion, their spirituality, is inseparable from, and completely
integrated into, their life. The Indians speak of the Navajo Way, or the
path marked with sacred corn (maize) pollen. The focus of Navajo ritual
is on health and well-being. The Navajo were originally  hunters and
gatherers before they learned to farm and later to herd sheep. A sick
hunter is likely to be a dead hunter. So health was understandably
important. The Navajo today use modern Western medicine for healing
wounds and illness, but turn to traditional Navajo religion for the
cure. For the Navajo, having a broken leg set or receiving chemotherapy
treatments for cancer is merely treating the symptoms. The cure must
involve more fundamental questions. At the heart of the Navajo  way is
the concept of harmony, the need to be in right relationship. This
concept is often translated as `Beauty' in English. The proper state of
the universe is harmony, balance, and equilibrium. Opposites are always
present: bad/good, male/female, Mother Earth/Father Sky. These opposites
complement each other and are needed for equilibrium. When everything is
in harmony, there is good. When things get out of kilter, there is evil.
So when illness or bad luck strike, there is some underlying disharmony
which must be put to right.

        -- Sister Pamela Clare, Society of Saint Francis
[broken link]

28 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Fiona Flower said...

Dear Sirs

Re: The Navajo Night Way Ceremony

One of our composers, Jonathan Dove, would like to set this text to music.
Please advise if there are any copyright implications.

Thank you.

Fiona Flower
Peters Edition Limited

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