Essay on Black Elk's
A developed religion is an integrated system of belief, lifestyle, ritual activities, and social institutions by which individuals give meaning to (or find meaning in) their lives by orienting themselves to what they take to be holy, sacred, or of highest value.
The Black Elk’s religion is a developed religion in that it consists of both various beliefs and ritual activities as well as lifestyles of the followers. This religion consists of various aspects of Christianity and Lakota. This therefore entailed various aspects of healing and curing disease due to the power of the religion. This religion is concerned with ways off healing and curing by the medicine men in order to provide the society with that role of healing from various ailments and diseases. This religion therefore explores various means of healing and curing the sick in form of beliefs. The beliefs of healing by the magic power was a base of the Back Elk religion. This religion also contained matters relating to Indian warfare which highly attributed to the aspects of this religion. The religion entailed the dances which played part in ensuring that the musical part of the religion is taken good care of. Black Elk was involved in the traditional medicine thereby facilitating the healing component of this religion. This therefore gives much emphasis on medicine and traditional healing of the people in this society.
Black Elk’s religion contains both the aspects of Catholicism and the traditional religion thereby forming an integration of various beliefs with respect to ways of healing. This religion contains aspects relating to traditional healing which ensures that the people are well taken care of in times of sickness and ailments through beliefs. The combination of Catholicism and traditions helps in bringing out the exact and actual beliefs of the people in relation to the most practices and beliefs. The native content of beliefs and spirituality are clearly elaborated in this story thereby making it more elaborate.
In the context of beliefs, this religion entailed various aspects relating to religious representativeness as shown by myths concerning the compass direction and the various symbols like mountains and rivers in order to present the presence of God. This religion therefore reflected the importance of the six directions of the earth in order to represent the role of this religion in the society. The wisdom of the grandfathers was also taken into consideration by this religion giving it a sense of maturity and completeness in serving the actual purpose of the religion. The beliefs in this religion also consisted of the power to heal and maintain the lives of the people. The healing power is a very important component of this religion since Black Elk is was a medicine man who inherited the knowledge from his traditions.
In relation to the lifestyle of the followers of the Black Elk’s religion, the Indian warfare is glorified which may sound unethical. On the other hand this may make some sense of protecting the society from the enemies thereby it justified the basis of participating in that Indian war. The religion also takes ethics into consideration due to the fact that the role of the healer and medicine men is meant to take care of the lives of the people. The protection of the lives of the people therefore amounts an ethical code of this religion. The religion also appeals to the moral virtues in both the traditional and Catholicism aspects of life. The lifestyle therefore plays a role in presenting the moral and ethical virtues of the people in this society.
In the context of the rituals, this religion consisted of the traditional dance as well as the practices done by the medicine men or healers in order to cure various ailments among the people. The religion therefore takes into account both the traditional rituals as well as those in Catholicism in order to perform all the necessary stages where an individual is supposed to undergo. This religion also involved the Sun dance and Lakota culture through appreciation the traditional sacred rituals. The rituals helps in presenting the culture and beliefs of the people who embrace this religion. Black Elk participated in various ceremonies in performing the rituals which helped him to bring out the role of leadership in him.
The basic social institution of Oglala Sioux is religion where the story contains the religious activities both the traditional and the Catholicism aspects. This also entails the rituals and practices of Black Elk’s religion which helps to bring out the impact and the way this religion is presented. This religion also helps in understanding the community or society where Black Elk lived. The social institutions in the context of marriage are also portrayed in this story by reflecting the family or the marriage of Black Elk. These social institutions thus give the most basic way to present the backbone of the Black Elk’s religion especially in relation to the role it plays in the society.
Black Elk’s region gives meaning to his life by enabling him appreciate the role of a healer and a medicine man in the society. This religion also enabled Black Elk to become a religious leader in the society where he helped in presiding the ceremonies as well as performing rituals in the society. He therefore gained the necessary experience in relation to the morality and ethical code of the people in his society. This religion also played an important role on the lives of the people by enabling them to appreciate the culture and the moral aspects of the society. The religion also enabled people to get healing from the religious healer. The religion also enabled the people to understand the rituals in the religion thereby facilitating the observance of the ethical protocol and practices among the people. The religion also enabled the people to understand the effects of the war especially the Indian warfare which left many people dead, this therefore helps in discouraging warfare in the society.
The sacred in the Black Elk’s religion was shown using the six directions like north, south, east, west, above and below in order to show how holy the God was. These all directions shows the supremacy and the power of the God being adored. This was also symbolized by the use of a sacred tree as well as the wisdom of the grandfathers.
In conclusion this story gave an elaboration about the Black Elk’s religion which contains both the aspect of the traditional culture of Black Elk and Catholicism. This therefore helps in showing the role this religion played both in Black Elk’s life as well as the life of the people. The aspects relating to ethical code of the society is well covered in this story in order to guide the conduct of the people in the society. This therefore helps in discouraging the practice of unethical and immoral activities in the society.
Black, Elk, John G. Neihardt, and Elk Black. Black Elk's World. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2001. Print.