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Lara Beth Henderson 042699 Intro to Religion Final Writing Assignment Native American religions and witchcraft are alike in many ways First of all both are nature religions meaning they both hold nature sacred and many of the symbols and ideas come from nature Starhawk says that The Old Religion as we call it is closer in spirit to Native American traditions Both religions teach its followers the importance of understanding and action Through reading Starhawk and Black Elk essays in the textbook it easy to see the meaning of understanding and action Each of these elements are crucial to the beliefs of the follower Black Elk was a holy man of the Lakota people of the Sioux tribe He writes of rituals and beliefs of his people in his book The Sacred Pipe The sacred pipe is very important symbol to his people It symbolizes the medicine wheel all four directions living in the same space Pinches of tobacco are placed in the pipe along with grains and seeds for all relatives and the pipe takes on new meaning It also symbolizes how everything in the universe is unified The pipe is very important in the lamenting process which is discussed in Black Elks writings He goes into great detail about lamenting It is looked at as a quest for healing answers and as a rite of passage If a person wishes to lament they must seek the right aid and advice otherwise something could happen Black Elk says that if it is not done correctly a serpent could come and wrap itself around the lamenter Serpents appear in religious stories and teachings and often used as a means of punishment or a catalyst for change In this case it would help the lamenter understand how important it is that lamenting is done correctly AAll the powers of the world the heavens and the star peoples and the red and blue
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