Ancient Mysteries Unexplained Sacred Chants of the Navajo : Mountain Chant: A Navajo Ceremony

Sacred Chants of the Navajo : Mountain Chant: A Navajo Ceremony

Sacred Chants of the Navajo : Mountain Chant: A Navajo Ceremony
Catalog # SKU1812
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Washington Matthews
ISBN 10: 0000000000
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Sacred Chants
of the

The Mountain Chant:
A Navajo Ceremony

Dr. Washington Matthews

The First Americans used chants and dances for prophecy, medicine, make changes to the weather, and calls to the gods or prayers, similar to the methods used in Buddhism and Hinduism. Yet little in depth study has been accomplished on the First American practices, as has been done in the Asian religions.


1. The ceremony of dsilyidje qacal, or mountain chant-literally, chant towards (a place) within the mountains-is one of a large number practiced by the shamans, or medicine men, of the Navajo tribe. I have selected it as the first of those to be described, because I have witnessed it the most frequently, because it is the most interesting to the Caucasian spectator, and because it is the best known to the whites who visit and reside in and around the Navajo country.

Its chief interest to the stranger lies in the various public performances of the last night. Like other great rites of the shamans, it has its secret ceremonies of many days' duration in the medicine lodge; but, unlike the others, it ends with a varied show in the open air, which all are invited to witness. Another ceremony which I have attended, and which the whites usually call the "Yaybichy Dance" (Yebitcai), has a final public exhibition which occupies the whole night, but it is unvaried. Few Europeans can be found who have remained awake later than midnight to watch it. Such is not the case with the rite now to be described. Here the white man is rarely the first to leave at dawn.

2. The appropriateness of the name dsilyidje or tsilgitce-towards (a place) within the mountains-will be better understood from the myth than from any brief description. "Dsilyi'" may well allude to mountains in general or to the Carrizo Mountains in particular, to the place in the mountains (paragraphs 9 and 38) where the originator of these ceremonies (whom I often find it convenient to call "prophet") dwelt, or to the name of the prophet (par. 41), or to all these combined. Qacal signifies a sacred song or a collection of sacred songs.

From the many English synonyms for song I have selected the word chant to translate qacal. In its usual signification hymnody may be its more exact equivalent, but it is a less convenient term than chant. The shaman, or medicine man, who is master of ceremonies, is known as qacali or chanter-el cantador, the Mexicans call him. In order to keep in mind his relationship to similar functionaries in other tribes I shall, from time to time, allude to him as the priest, the shaman, or the medicine man, following the example of other authors. To all ceremonies of a character similar to this the term qacal is applicable. It would seem from this that the Navajo regard the song as the chief part of the ceremony, but since the Americans, as a rule, regard all Indian ceremonies as merely dances and call them dances, I will, out of deference to a national prejudice, frequently refer to the ceremony as a dance.


Myth of the Origin of Dsilyidje Qacal.
The Ceremonies of Dsilyidje Qacal.
The First Four Days
Fifth Day
Sixth Day
Seventh Day
Eighth Day
Ninth Day (until sunset)
Last Night
First Dance (Nahikaï)
Second Dance (Great Plumed Arrow)
Third Dance
Fourth Dance
Fifth Dance (Sun)
Sixth Dance (Standing Arcs)
Seventh Dance
Eighth Dance (Rising Sun)
Ninth Dance (Hoshkawn, Or Yucca)
Tenth Dance (Bear)
Eleventh Dance (Fire)
Other Dances
The Great Pictures of Dsilyidje Qacal
First picture (home of the serpents)
Second picture (yays and cultivated plants)
Third picture (long bodies)
Fourth picture (great plumed arrows)
Sacrifices of Dsilyidje Qacal.
Original Texts and Translations of Songs, &c.
Songs Of Sequence.
First Song Of The First Dancers.
First Song of the Mountain Sheep.
Sixth Song of the Mountain Sheep.
Twelfth Song of the Mountain Sheep.
First Song of the Thunder.
Twelfth Song of the Thunder.
First Song of the Holy Young Men, or Young Men Gods.
Sixth Song of the Holy Young Men.
Twelfth Song of the Holy Young Men.
Eighth Song of the Young Women Who Become Bears.
One of the Awl Songs.
First Song of the Exploding Stick.
Last Song of the Exploding Stick.
First Daylight Song.
Last Daylight Song.
Other Songs and Extracts.
Song of The Prophet to the San Juan River.
Song of the Building of the Dark Circle.
Prayer To Dsilyi' Neyani.
Song of the Rising Sun Dance.
Instructions Given To The Akaninili.
Prayer of The Prophet To His Mask.
Last Words of The Prophet.

Softcover, 8" x 10¾", 160+ pages
Perfect-Bound - Large Print 14 point font - + Illustrations

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