Rain Dance – Storytelling for Everyone

Native American

Native American rain dances have been around for centuries as a ceremonial ritual to help with the growth of harvests, and can be appreciated now in an exhibition or commemoration of Native American history.

The Reasoning of the Rain Dance

A rain dance is one of the most famous ceremonial dances of choreographed movement which once held the responsibility of appealing to the various Native American gods. The rain dance in particular was a way to gain favor and summon rain to come down and nourish the crops that would serve as sustenance for a specific tribe.

The Cherokees in the Southeast are one tribe famous for using the rain dance for rain induction and the cleansing of evil spirits. Since the crops were the livelihood of many Native Americans, the special dance seemed like a reasonable activity for those hoping to get the very best out of their harvest.

Cherokee legend dictates that the amount of rain received each year was filled with the spirits of the tribe’s past chiefs, and that as the raindrops fall, these good spirits battle evil in a transitional spiritual plane. For this reason, the rain dance is considered to be religious, and many of its elaborate versions could invoke acts of uncommon, extreme worship of spirits by those specific dancers.

Details of Native American Rain Dances

When the Native American Relocation took place in the United States during the 19th century, many of these traditional dances that were so special to the Indians were considered to be backward and dangerous by those of the modern world. In turn, the government banned many of the Native American dances, but the rain dance was able to continue as the tribes masked it as a different dance when government officials interrogated them. Depending on the region being persecuted, the rain dance covered up for other illegal dances such as the sun dance. It all became interchangeable – confusing to the outside world, but still impressively organized and reverent to the Native Americans themselves.

Like many aspects of tribal life, certain elements of the earth are represented in their dances. Feathers were used to represent wind, while turquoise on their costuming was used to symbolize rain. Since rain dance traditions have been continued via an oral history, the specific traditions of each tribe’s rain dance have evolved as the story has been passed down. However, the main symbols of feathers and turquoise, and the same mentality and purpose of dance has successfully continued downward.

Apparently early Native Americans found success in their rain dance, as they have been credited by scientists as being some of America’s earliest meteorologists. Those Indians who lived in the Midwest often knew how to follow and track various patterns of weather, and sometimes bartered with settlers of the new world – a rain dance in exchange for some modern items.

Learning About Rain Dances

Today, many school children learn about rain dances by experiencing one first hand. Though far from the traditional dance meaning and environment, teachers sometimes incorporate a Native American lesson into history class. This usually involves the listening of a traditional tribal song and then quizzing the children on what they have just heard. What instruments were used? What were the different sounds? What type of people made this sound? Why?


Source: https://dance.lovetoknow.com/Native_American_Rain_Dances

Author adminPosted on October 18, 2021Categories History, Legends, Nature, SeasonsTags Indigenous Peoples Day, Native American, rain dance

The Sunflower – Storytelling for Everyone

Meaning and Myth

Clytie, Greek Nymph

Admiration and Devotion

As they turn their bright faces to follow the sun, sunflowers are also symbols of admiration and steadfast faith. People from a variety of cultures and religious faiths associate sunflower meaning with dedication and unwavering devotion.

Admiration and devotion can extend beyond religious faith. So, sunflower meaning can also represent loyalty and devotion to another person, a group of people, children, or even animals. It can also mean dedication to a professional calling or hobby.

Spiritual Meaning of the Sunflower

As they turn to face the sun, sunflowers remind people of those who seek deeper spiritual understanding and enlightenment. Often growing in fields full of other sunflowers, they represent devotees to a given faith.

Associated Spirit Animals

Sunflowers share traits and symbiosis with certain wild animals and insects. For example, moths, bees, butterflies, and beetles all rely on sunflowers for nourishment and in turn, they pollinate the flowers, thus extending their life force.

On a spiritual level, sunflowers share synergies with the bee spirit animal because they are symbols of devotion and dedication, as well as happiness. In addition, they are associated with the monarch and swallowtail butterfly spirit animals because of their orange and yellow hues and connection to the spiritual realm. Finally, sunflowers are associated with the hawk and eagle spirit animals because they symbolize spiritual ascension, and they all play an important role in Native American culture.

Sunflower in Inca Mythology

In 1532, the explorer Francisco Pizarro discovered giant sunflowers in Peru. They were sacred to the Iocal Inca People. For the Incas, the sunflower was in the image of Inti, their sun god. In fact, Incan priestesses wore sunflower-like discs made with pure gold on their breasts to honor Inti.

Native American Sunflower Meanings

For the Native Americans, sunflowers were also sacred, and they were included in spiritual rituals, including the Sun Dance. Sunflower seeds were an important food source, which they ground to make into flour. In addition, the plant was used for medicinal purposes and for building materials.

Sunflower in Greek Mythology

In Greek mythology, the sunflower is associated with loyalty and devotion. In one story, a nymph named Clytie is besotted with the sun god Apollo, and she tries to follow him everywhere. Unfortunately, Apollo loses interest in her and falls in love with another nymph named Leucothoe.

Heartbroken and jealous, Clytie tells Leucothoe’s father about the affair. Naturally, the protective father moves to break off the relationship between his daughter and the sun god. Enraged at the interference, Apollo turns Clytie into a sunflower.

Yet, even as a flower, Clytie continues to turn her gaze constantly towards the sun god.


Source: https://www.uniguide.com/sunflower-meaning-symbolism/

Author adminPosted on August 13, 2021Categories Legends, Myth, Nature, SeasonsTags greek, Native American, sunflower