The Medicine Man
By: Rosie Yellowhair
Sand on board, 24"h x 12"w, 35"h x 23"w Framed
The hataal (sing) is a sacred ceremony. A ceremony can be done within a Hogan or a home. It is performed for either healing or a blessing. Hataals are performed by a medicine man who is a mediator between the patient and the Holy One. The medicine man is usually hired by the patient or the patient’s family who is needing a blessing or healing ceremony. The medicine man will occasionally have an apprentice or two to assist him.
Some ceremonies do not require a sandpainting. Whereas, others might require several sandpaintings a day throughout the duration of the ceremony. When a sandpainting is required, the medicine man makes the specific one needed to cure an illness or provide protection. Chants and prayers are offered throughout the ceremony. The medicine man also prepares the herbs needed for the patient.
After the patient initially goes through a purification ceremony, she is then instructed to sit on the completed sandpainting. While chanting and praying, the medicine man gives the prepared herbs to the patient. Offerings of corn pollen are placed on the patient. With an eagle feathered fan, the medicine man touches the four directions of sandpainting. With the dust covered feathers, he then touches the afflicted parts of the patient’s body. The patient is asked to remove herself from the sandpainting and to go outside. She is instructed to face east and embrace Father Sky and Mother Earth. She remains outside until the sandpainting is gathered up and destroyed. Reverently and prayerfully, it is removed from the Hogan and given back to Mother Earth.
In this painting, prayers are depicted as making their ascent to the Holy Ones by way of corn pollen, the cornstalk, the eagle and hawk. Harmony has been restored and the patient can now “Walk in Beauty.”