top of page




Ceremony is an essential part of traditional Native healing. Because physical and spiritual health are intimately connected, body and spirit must heal together. Traditional healing ceremonies promote wellness by reflecting Native conceptions of Spirit, Creator, and the Universe. They can include prayer, chants, drumming, songs, stories, and the use of a variety of sacred objects.

Healers may conduct ceremonies anywhere a sick person needs healing, but ceremonies are often held in sacred places. 

Mt. Shasta incense

sacred architecture

Buddha Statues Carved into Mountainside

Temples are designed to dissolve the boundaries between man and the divine. A temple is not considered to simply be the abode of God, but also part of God. Therefore by implication the whole universe is identified with the temple's design and actual fabric. The ground plan, site location (and its relation to shade and water), its vertical elevation relating to mountains, etc. are all important aspects to a temple.

The Puranas state that, "The gods always play where groves are near rivers, mountains and springs". Sacred sites are therefore usually associated with water, shade and lakes are often considered to be sacred and certain lakes have healing and purifying powers. Certain rivers, such as the Ganga, have descended from the heavens and their sacred waters are needed in the temple tank.

Caves are places of great sanctity. Most of the earliest surviving shrines are rock cut caves. In later temples the garbagriha was designed to resemble a cave and as such was small and dark and the surfaces of the walls were unadorned and massive. The garbagṛha is a place that encourages meditation which is possible only in solitude. Approaching the shrine is a movement from open spaces to a confined small space; from light to darkness, from a profusion of visual form and decoration to the visual simplicity of the cave. From this sanctuary the implied movement is vertical, to the symbolic mountain peak directly above the image of the god. This movement upwards is linked to the idea of enlightenment which is identified with the crowning finial of the temple - the amalaka or Śikhara.

The concept of spirituality in the system of sacred architecture in India is something that goes beyond the mere static relations between inert objects and space as found in other architectural traditions. The relationship of objects with one another and space in India's sacred architecture extends to include higher entities said to be in charge of various aspects of universal affairs, all of whom carry out their work in accordance with the will of God.

bottom of page