Belief Systems of The Apache
Updated: Nov 26, 2018
I work in two areas of the world, Scotland and New York Sate in the USA. So as I have an interest in both culture and history started to think. Many spiritual issues in our past helped to create legends and religions. We always think of the Celts and the Native North American Indians as Spiritual. But do we have any real idea of what their beliefs actually were? The North American Indians comprised of 500 tribes or nations and the Celts comprised of 8 countries and regions, room for a lot of different belief systems. So, over the next few millennia I am going with the help of contributors cover as many of these beliefs as possible.
Starting today with the Apache tribe from North America.
The Apache are among the most well-known of Native Americans and tend to live in the American Southwest and the Great Plains of the American Midwest. They are highly spiritual, often using song and dance to reach their creator and invoke supernatural powers which are neutral and useful for many things such as of curing. Invoking these powers involves the use of: complex recitations, rituals, singing and dancing. Prayers are often used to also influence the realm of spirits.
The Creator, Ussen, is connected to all things and exists beyond human comprehension. Further he is believed to have created everything within four days. Traditionally represented by the Sun. The Creator also made the deities along with two planes of reality, the spiritual and the material. Everything in both planes has spiritual energy so men, in a sense, are “spirits” in the material. People’s ancestors act as guides and live within nature so that they continue to live after death as do all beings. Among the most well-known of the spirits are animals, not to be confused with the belief in animal spirit guides. The Coyote is viewed as a trickster and is replaced with The Fox in some stories. Occasionally the figure is helpful and can shift between human and animal forms. The Big Owl is akin to the bogeyman of children’s stories and is said to take children away. There are other animal stories and play some influence within the lives of Apaches.
Apaches believe in a cyclical time, consisting of peaks and valleys alongside the four seasons. The Medicine Wheel is a representation of this. The Wheel was used in many instances and represented the interconnectedness of the Universe and Ussen through the Spiritual Path also called the Red Road. For the Apache, communication with spirits is important and they recognize a connection between all things, whether here or in the spiritual realm. Understanding this interconnection is a big aspect to Apache beliefs as even the animals, rocks, mountains, vegetation, and sky have spiritual energy. There is a lot that can be taken from this and this post only simplifies a deep and impactful culture where beliefs are not simply aspects to life but represent the most fundamental reason for why they do things as they do since they work to connect their spirits with all around them.
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