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G Catlin - Native American Indians - Rattling to heal



Type of Spiritual Experience


The man in this story died and which is not surprising since he was dying already, but Catlin records cases when the people are just sick, where the process is successful.

A description of the experience

Illustrations of the Manners, Customs and Condition of the North American Indians – G Catlin 1848

Several hundred spectators including Indians and traders, were assembled round the dying man, where it was announced that the medicine man was coming.

We were required to form a ring, leaving a space of some thirty or forty feet in diameter around the dying man, in which the doctor would perform his wonderful operations; and a space was also opened to allow him free room to pass through the crowd…

He approached the ring with his body in a crouching position with a slow tilting step. His body and head were entirely covered with the skin of a yellow bear, the head of which – his own head being inside of it – served as a mask; the huge claws of which were also dangling on his wrists and ankles.

In one hand he shook a frightful rattle and in the other he brandished his medicine spear or magic wand; ……

The source of the experience

Native American Indians

Concepts, symbols and science items




Science Items

Activities and commonsteps


Music therapy