NAVAJO RELIGION: a Study of Symbolism [SOLD]

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Gladys Amanda Reichard (1893 - 1955)
  • Subject: Diné - Navajo Nation
  • Item # C3190V
  • Date Published: Second Edition, hardback, first printing, November 1963
  • Size: One volume, 804 pages, 18 charts, 29 figures
  • SOLD

NAVAJO RELIGION: a Study of Symbolism by Gladys A. Reichard

Publisher: Pantheon Books, Bollingen Series XVIII

Second Edition, hardback, first printing, November 1963, one volume, 804 pages, 18 charts, 29 figures.

Foreword by Oliver La Farge


This work is the eighteenth in a series of books sponsored and published by Bollingen Foundation.  The Bollingen Series includes original contributions to scholarship, translations of works heretofore unavailable in English, and new editions of classics.


From the Slip Cover


“By means of an exhaustive study of the symbols to be found within Navaho legend and ritual, Gladys Reichard arrived at this scholarly and comprehensible interpretation of the complex religion of that tribe.

“She acquired a unique familiarity with the Navaho language, semantics, and point of view; and her participation in their ceremonials gave her first-hand knowledge of the exorcistic as well as sanctifying character of their symbols.

“This book, therefore, discusses with rare authority the attitude of the Navaho toward his place in the universe, his obligation to his fellow men and to his gods, and his conception of the supernatural.  And, perhaps even more significantly, it reveals how, through symbolic ceremonial practice, the Navaho achieves a harmony with his world, his deity, and the universe.

“Gladys Reichard was born in 1893 and in 1925 earned the Ph.D. at Columbia University, where she was a student of Franz Boas.  During nearly three score years she spent frequent long periods of research and study among the Navaho Indians on their reservation in Arizona.  She died July 25, 1955 at Flagstaff.”

“The reader of Navaho Religion cannot fail to gain an increased understanding of and respect for a religion, vastly different from our own, which still exists as a living force within the geographical boundaries of our country.”    Southwest Review

“Professor Reichard . . . has produced a report, at once so comprehensive, so sensitively interpretative, and so enjoyably readable, that it can be recommended with enthusiasm to anyone who wishes to become acquainted with Navaho thought and ways.”   Sewanee Review




excerpt from the bookPart One - DOGMA


1.   Navaho categories

2.   World view

          The universe

          This world

3.   The nature of man

          Man’s origin

          Theory of reproduction

          Man’s constitution

          Life cycle

          Death and the dead


4.   Pantheon: characteristics of supernaturals

5.   Pantheon: types of supernaturals

          Persuadable deities

          Undependable deities

          Helpers of deity and man

          Intermediaries between man and deity

          Unpersuadable deities

          Dangers conceived as deities

          Beings between good and evil

          Order of monsters, dangers, and beings-in-between

          Gods as Sun Manifestations

6.   Theory of disease




7.   Theory of curing

          Intrusion of evil


          Attraction of good


8.   Ethics


          The concept of honor

          Sex morals

          Animals and plants




9.   The nature of symbolism

          Place and position

          Time and timing


10.  Sex, dominance, and size

11.  Alternation, reversal, and negation

12.  Color and precious stones


           Precious stones

13.  Color combinations

          Paired colors

          Sequence in quadrant arrangement

          Sequence in Maltese cross arrangement

          Sequence in linear arrangement

          Sequence in verbal order

          Sequence in outlines

          Color associations

14.  Number

          Even numbers

          Odd numbers

          First time

15.  Perceptual symbols

          Light and seeing

          Sound and hearing

          Odor and smell

          Food and taste

16.  Wood, formula, and myth


Part Three – RITUAL


17.  Song

          Origin of song

          Function and types of song

          Content and structure of songs

18.  Prayersticks


          Invocatory offerings

          Offering and reward

          Deposit of offerings

          Talking prayersticks

19.  Classification of ceremonies

          Distinguishing symbols

20.  Organization of ritual

          The chanter’s bundle



          Rite and ceremony



Condition: very good condition, some tears to slip cover

excerpt from the book

Gladys Amanda Reichard (1893 - 1955)
  • Subject: Diné - Navajo Nation
  • Item # C3190V
  • Date Published: Second Edition, hardback, first printing, November 1963
  • Size: One volume, 804 pages, 18 charts, 29 figures
  • SOLD

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