A Quick Look At 3 Facets of Navajo Medicinal Practices

Balance in life and with Mother Earth is the core of the Navajo healing practices. The Diné (Navajo people) see illness as an imbalance within the body, therefore they seek to bring balance back to the patients’ life. Below are three different practices of the Diné.

Medicine Men

Medicine Men begin their journey in their practice as an apprentice. They assist their mentor by gathering the needed herbs and materials for healing, learning sacred chants, and travelling with their mentor in order to observe their behavior. This relationship between apprentice and mentor is sacred, as it is vital for the continuation of their way of life.

As they progress throughout their lives, they continue to perfect their knowledge, chants, and practices. The medicine men fully understand their humble duty as those who transfer healing power in order to restore harmony within the body rather than a practitioner who creates it. They vow to pass their knowledge on to future generations.


The Blessing Way- a ceremony performed for those who seek prosperity. If one feels as though they need an extra booth towards positive energy, they may seek out this ceremony to have harmony on their side. It is performed in the same manner as it has been for thousands of years.

The Enemy Way- a ceremony to remove negative energy or to exorcise a ghost from a person’s life. If one feels that they are being dragged down by negative energy (possibly depression), they can seek to have the negative force removed from their life.

The Night Way- this is one of the longer healing ceremonies. It takes place over nine days, where each day includes different, smaller healing practices. It’s a thorough ceremony that ensures the patient will be cured by the ninth day from any energy that was plaguing them.

For more information on chants, click here.

Sand Paintings

The sand paintings are performed during the healing ceremonies as a way to transfer healing to the patient. They are drawn in the surrounding area using plants, minerals, and other crushed materials. This is the medicine man’s way of drawing on the sacred spiritual beings for their help in healing the patient. The overall process is sacred, as each painting holds enormous meaning and power.

The Diné history reaches back thousands of years, all passed down through sacred chants. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the traditional practices of the Navajo people. We encourage you to learn more about their fascinating history.