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Native American Witchcraft
Native American witchcraft was basically allied with the religious beliefs of the natives of the region. In fact religion and witchcraft were alike in many ways. Both the witchcraft and the religious beliefs held the nature sacred. Many of their symbols and ideas came from nature. Old religion was closer to the spirit of the Native American traditions and witchcraft.
Each region of Native America had its unique kind of witchcraft which used different kinds of amulets and charms. They had their own rituals and masks. The practitioners of witchcraft wore costumes specific to the region. They had their own carvings, totem poles and performed ceremonies according to the area where they lived. In spite of all these regional differences they all shared a sense of awareness and oneness with their land, plants and creatures of Native America.
They looked to their land for providing them the raw material for their magic and witchcraft. The material included herbs, stones, feathers and bones besides articles for preparing the medicines, tools and other instruments such as charms, costumes and masks. The witches had deep faith in the power of nature and tried to maintain a sense of unity with its invisible forces.
The witches and medicine men used several methods and tools to diagnose the ailments of the patients such as crystal rocks and using their trembling hands in a state of trance. Some times they chanted some sacred hymns while diagnosing the diseases.
The shamans, usually women, served the community by performing ceremonies to cure several diseases and ward off evil influences over the weather and the harvest. Herbs used to be an important medium of curing the sick persons.
There is also a reference to a sacred pipe which was very important symbol of witchcraft. Sacred pipe symbolized the medicine wheel and all the four directions in the same space. Pinches of tobacco along with some grains were placed in the pipe which was also used for lamenting.Owl had a very important place in the witch craft of those days. Owl was considered a symbol of bad luck. An owl sent by a witch could not be killed.
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