Observations placeholder

Charles Wilkes - Native American Indians - Healing ceremony

Identifier

001182

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

The following example shows how chanting is used to invoke a trance state.  The trance is induced in the patient – not the healer, the patient to a certain extent cures themselves by being open to healing.  The doctor is providing the means by which trance state is obtained – they are a facilitator. 

The following may be an example of tone singing used for healing.  It is an account of a healing ceremony performed by the Walawalla Indians Columbia River witnessed by a Mr Drayton who was part of the exploring expedition mentioned in the quote.  It was noted that the boy seemed to be very ill.

A description of the experience

Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition during the Years 1838-42 – Charles Wilkes pub 1845

Over him stood an old haggard squaw, who was singing in great excitement, while about a dozen men and boys were accompanying her with their voices in a sort of chorus, the rhythmical effect of which they increased by striking sticks together at regular intervals.

The music they produced sounded unearthly to the foreign bystander.

The squaw was all the time very busy about the lad, now bending over him and making all kinds of grimaces and now baring his chest to scoop out his disease, and now again falling on her knees before him and striving to draw out the evil spirit with both her hands.

She blew into her hands and then moved them over the patient in a peculiar manner as if she was tossing the noxious spirit away into the air.  Then again she would blow with her mouth on his neck downwards, making a quick spluttering noise and at last she began to suck his neck and chest in different parts.

Whatever we thought of this operation, the boy certainly got better.

The source of the experience

Native American Indians

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Symbols

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Commonsteps

Music therapy

References