Blessing Way Tree, detail, 1997, Elsie Holiday, ET513.61
Photo: Kirstin Roper, © NHMU

Blessing Way

Hózhǫ́ǫ́jí (the Blessing Way) is central to the complex system of Diné (Navajo) ceremonies, chants, and rituals. There are 12 different versions of this ceremony, many now extinct, dealing with different aspects of mental and spiritual health. The Blessing Way can also be performed to invoke all that is good and positive for the Diné and the universe. This ceremony is performed frequently and at all stages of life, for example, over an expectant mother, over a young person entering the military, or over a new home. Its songs recount the Diné emergence into this world and the origin of the ceremony itself. It begins with the importance of the hogan, which represents the Diné universe, and ends with a song that reiterates Diné life in harmony. The ceremony should be preceded by a Naayée’ k’egho (Protection Way) ceremony to release negative ways of thinking so the Blessing Way can replace them with positive ways of thinking.

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