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Teaching SpiritsUnderstanding Native American Religious Traditions$
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Joseph Epes Brown

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195138757

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195138757.001.0001

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A Unity of Experience

A Unity of Experience

Purification, Expansion, and Identity through Ritual

(p.107) 7 A Unity of Experience
Teaching Spirits

Joseph Epes Brown

Emily Cousins

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the unity of experience in Native American religious traditions. Native American traditions stress a unity of experience. Where such traditions are still alive and spiritually viable, the dimension and expression of the sacred is present in all of life's necessary activities. When the elements of time, place, language, art, and the metaphysics of nature come together, however, as they do in ritual activities, the experience of the sacred is intensified. The three cumulative possibilities that must be accomplished by spiritually effective rites: purification, expansion, and identity are mentioned, as are initiation rites, and humor in Native American rites.

Keywords:   Native American culture, religious traditions, spiritual rites, initiation rites, humor

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