A Comparison of Native American Thought anf Witchcraft

Table of Content

Native American religions and witchcraft have many similarities as nature religions. In both, nature is regarded as sacred and their symbols and concepts often come from the natural world. According to Starhawk, The Old Religion, which shares a similar spirit with Native American traditions, highlights the importance of understanding and taking action. This emphasis on comprehension and action can be seen in the writings of Starhawk and Black Elk in the textbook, demonstrating the crucial role they play in their followers’ faith.

Black Elk, a Lakota holy man from the Sioux tribe, explores the rituals and beliefs of his people in his book, The Sacred Pipe. The sacred pipe holds immense significance for his community, representing the coexistence of all four directions within a single space, mirroring the medicine wheel. When tobacco, grains, and seeds are placed in the pipe, it assumes a new symbolic meaning. It also represents the interconnectedness of all aspects in the universe. Within Black Elk’s writings, the lamenting process holds great importance as a quest for healing, answers, and a transformative rite of passage. To properly engage in lamenting, one must seek appropriate guidance and counsel to avoid any potential negative consequences. Black Elk warns that an error in this process could result in a serpent wrapping itself around the “lamenter.” Serpents often appear in religious stories and teachings as punitive or catalysts for change. In this context, it would serve as an instrument for the lamenter to comprehend the vital significance of correctly performing lamentation.

This essay could be plagiarized. Get your custom essay
“Dirty Pretty Things” Acts of Desperation: The State of Being Desperate
128 writers

ready to help you now

Get original paper

Without paying upfront

All aspects of the world, including powers, heavens, star peoples, and sacred days of red and blue; everything in motion in the universe and in bodies of water like rivers and springs; all trees and grasses that grow on our Grandmother Earth; and all the sacred beings throughout the universe: Please listen! This young man will request a sacred connection with all of you, so that his future generations can thrive and live in a manner that is pure and sacred (Black Elk, pg.131).

The Lakota people believe in the sacredness of nature and the interconnectedness of all things in the universe. This belief is described as a “sacred relationship” by Black Elk. They hold great reverence for nature, and this belief originated from Inyan and Skan, who are personified as Grandmother Earth and Grandfather Sky. Inyan represents primeval stone and Skan represents primeval motion, and wherever Inyan was, Skan was moving. These two figures symbolize all living beings. By participating in a circle where the sacred pipe is shared, individuals internalize the universe and experience the sacred relationship. At the conclusion of this process, gratitude is expressed to Wakan-Tanka, also known as Grandfather or the Great Mystery, for bestowing understanding and a meaningful relationship. Wakan-Tanka is omnipresent and serves as an unanswerable question regarding the origin of motion. The Lakota people constantly acknowledge the presence of the Great Spirit and strive to be mindful of it in their every action and moment.

Black Elk discusses the spiritual beliefs of his people, emphasizing the notion that everything is connected and must be approached with reverence. He explains the importance of understanding this sacred relationship, which can be attained through the process of lamentation. Both Witchcraft and the Lakota share similar spiritual beliefs, as explained by Starhawk and Black Elk. They both highlight the significance of acquiring knowledge and understanding prior to engaging in spiritual practices.

Approximately 35,000 years ago, the ideals of Modern Witchcraft first emerged. Throughout history, this spiritual group has faced a great deal of misunderstanding and unjust persecution. One example is the Inquisition, which was supported by the 1484 A.D. Papal Bull of Innocent VIII. This oppressive campaign mainly targeted women. Starhawk reveals that out of an estimated 9 million Witches executed, a staggering 80 percent were women and even included children and young girls who were believed to have inherited the “evil” from their mothers. The Inquisition was driven by a deep-seated hatred for women, which was unfortunately a common theme in medieval Christianity. The idea was that by punishing these supposed wrongdoers, one could gain favor with God. It is truly horrifying to realize the extent of the punishment and persecution these women endured for their beliefs, even if they had no affiliation with Witchcraft. In fact, women with freckles or moles were accused of being witches simply because these marks were associated with the devil. Many of these women lacked any understanding or involvement in Witchcraft.

Starhawk adopts an Ecofeminist perspective in her writings about Witchcraft, emphasizing the promotion of gender equality. In Spiral Dance, she provides ethical examples to illustrate her point. For instance, she highlights the importance of regarding sexuality as a manifestation of the life force and urging its embrace as sacred. The expression of sexuality should remain unrestricted but limited to love. Furthermore, Starhawk unequivocally condemns rape due to its violent nature, asserting that it not only inflicts harm on the victim but also on the Goddess. Additionally, Starhawk explores the ethics of stealing, revealing how Pagan followers incorporate the golden rule into their daily lives: treating others as they would like to be treated. Applying this principle to theft, it becomes evident that stealing not only harms individuals but also constitutes harm towards the Goddess.

In Witchcraft, as in other religions, comprehension holds significant importance for the practice.

In Witchcraft, the Goddess includes everything in the world, including its elements and beings, with no separation between flesh and spirit.

The central belief in Witchcraft is the interconnectedness of everything in the universe. Pagans hold a profound appreciation for nature. Starhawk emphasizes that meditation is viewed as a spiritual act, much like engaging in activities such as cleaning up litter or participating in protests for causes one believes in. Essentially, she urges individuals to not simply meditate, but to also put their beliefs into action – although this should only be done if there is a thorough comprehension of those beliefs.

Both Black Elk and Starhawk stress the interconnectedness of nature and humanity, expressing a profound respect for their environment and perceiving the entirety of the universe as an integrated entity. According to Black Elk’s affirmation, “The Goddess is not distinct from the world – She encompasses the world, along with all its elements.”

Cite this page

A Comparison of Native American Thought anf Witchcraft. (2018, Sep 11). Retrieved from


Remember! This essay was written by a student

You can get a custom paper by one of our expert writers

Order custom paper Without paying upfront