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The Mountain Chant: A Navajo Ceremonyby Washington Matthews
Synopses & Reviews
The Mountain Chant is a nine-day Navajo healing ceremony, one of several major rites undertaken only in winter. Aside from curing disease, it brings rain and invokes the unseen powers for general benefit. Though perhaps practiced less often now than better-known ceremonies such as the Night Chant, it is by no means forgotten.
Fully faithful to the original book published by Washington Matthews over a century ago, this edition contains the story of the wandering hero upon whose exploits the Mountain Chant is based, a description of each of the nine ceremonial days, and original song text and translations.
"Each Navajo ceremony builds on a specific story, which in turn contributes to a network of interlocking narratives as poetically rich as the Homeric epics or the Arthurian cycle. Non-Navajos are only now beginning to fathom the extent of that poetic richness as we learn more about the nature of ceremonial Navajo, with its formulaic virtuosity, its rhythmic cadences, its deep allusiveness to enduring human values, and the spellbinding thrust of its stories."
- Paul Zolbrod, from the foreword
Book News Annotation:
The Mountain Chant is a nine-day Navajo healing ceremony undertaken only in winter. Matthews, an army major and one of the earliest Anglo recorders of Navajo culture, describes not only procedures and objects used, but emphasizes the ceremony's vision of humankind's place in a broader scheme. A foreword compares Navajo folklore themes with themes from ancient and modern Western literature. Includes b&w and color illustrations. Originally published in 1887, this volume contains two sections suppressed from the original edition due to suggestive content of the ritual. No index.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
This updated volume discusses the nine-day winter Navajo healing ceremony intended to cure disease, bring rain, and invoke the unseen powers for general benefit.
The Mountain Chant is a nine-day Navajo healing ceremony intended to cure disease, bring rain, and invoke the unseen powers for general benefit. This edition contains the story of the wandering hero upon whose exploits the Mountain Chant is based, a description of each of the nine ceremonial days, and original song texts and translations.
Includes bibliographical references (p. xxi-xxii).
About the Author
Washington Matthews (1843-1905), an army major and surgeon, was conversant in Navajo and was one of the earliest and best Anglo recorders of Navajo culture.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Foreword by Paul Zolbrod
Note on the Orthography of Navajo Words by Washington Matthews
Orthographic Note by Robert W. Young
Myth of the Origin of the Dsilyídje qaçàl
The Great Pictures of Dsilyídje qaçàl
Original Texts and Translations of Songs
Addendum: The Suppressed Sections
What Our Readers Are Saying
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