Indigenous Religions Vocab

Calumet:

A long-stemmed sacred pipe used primarily by many native peoples of North America; it is smoked as a token of peace.

Divination:

A foretelling of the future or a look into the past; a discovery of the unknown by magical means.

Holistic:

Organic, integrated; indicating a complete system, greater than the sum of its parts; here, refers to a culture whose various elements (art, music, social behavior) may all have religious meaning.

Libation:

The act of pouring a liquid on the ground as an offering to a god.

Shaman:

A human being who contacts and attempts to manipulate the power of spirits for the tribe or group.

Sympathetic Magic:

An attempt to influence the outcome of an event through an action that has an apparent similarity to the desired result (for example, throwing water into the air to produce rain or burning an enemy’s fingernail clippings to bring sickness to that enemy).

Taboo:

A strong social prohibition (Tongan: tabu; Hawaiian: kapu).

Totem:

An animal (or image of an animal) that is considered to be related by blood to a family or clan and is its guardian or symbol.

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