The Concept of Hózhó


§ Let's begin with the Navajo concept of hózhó.(1) Hózhó is considered a state of order in the Navajo (Diné) world. (2) The Navajo world is in constant flux between the states of hózhó and hóchxó. Illness results usually in the absence or loss of hózhó therefore requiring a ritual to re-establish the harmonious state for the one sung over with the help of the Diyin Diné'e . (3) For this purpose, sandpaintings are used as the vehicle by which the process and performance of healing (the connection) is accomplished.

§ Sandpaintings are a vital part of the preservation and restoration of hózhó and much care is taken in their creation. Sandpaintings are created from the center outward, the center is completed first and the other pieces added (Holy People, corn, and so on) until the painting is finally framed by a border. I have allowed you to mimic this process by moving through the project. Remember to view the paintings at the top of each section as you move along. As you move on, the sandpainting will become more complete as will our discussion of performance and your performance as well. Now that I have "centered" our discussion with the key concept of hózhó, let's move on.

Notes:

1. For the proper pronunciation you can load a small sound sample by pressing the mic below.

2. Again, this is another sound byte of the proper pronunciation of a term. "Diné" means "the people" and what the Navajo call themselves.

3. It should be stated here that I am briefly explaining a rather large philosophical concept in the Navajo tradition for the sake of this discussion not becoming to lengthy.