According to the Navajo religion, the Universe is a very delicately balanced thing. If this balance is upset, some disaster - usually an illness - will follow. To restore the balance and harmony means performing one of the many Navajo chants or ways. These complex ceremonies involve the use of herbs, prayers, songs and sandpaintings.
The sandpainting is done in a careful and sacred manner, according to the ancient knowledge of the art. As the patient is seated atop the completed sandpainting, the medicine man bends to reverently touch a portion of a figure in the sandpainting, and then moves to touch the patient, transferring the medicine and power.
As this is done, the sickness falls from the person and harmony returns. Then, before the sun sets the sandpainting is erased with a sacred feather, and the patient rises to walk in beauty once again.
Size: 18-1/8 in. x 18-1/8 in.
Father Sky and Mother Earth
Father Sky and Mother Earth appear in many sandpaintings throughout most of the Navajo Ways, including the Shooting Way, Mountain Way and Blessing Way. They are invoked because of their strength and all-pervading importance.
In the body of Mother Earth are the four sacred plants - corn, beans, squash and tobacco and in the body of Father Sky are the constellations, including the Milky Way, the sun and moon. Slight variations within the painting often occur due to different artists' interpretations of any given ceremony.