What Are Some Facts About the Zuni Religion?


Quick Answer

Those who practice the Zuni religion believe that everything in the universe is sacred, and through their religious practices, they can maintain a sense of harmony and balance within the universe. Conversely, followers of the Zuni religion believe disharmony results from improper behaviors. Followers engage in prayer, use prayer sticks and offer thanks by sprinkling white maize meal mixed with pieces of seashells, coral and turquoise.

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Full Answer

The Zuni have four interlocking subsystems through which they maintain stability within the religion: curing societies, priesthoods, kivas and clans. They see the Sun Father and Moon Mother as the supreme beings and refer to them as "The Ones Who Hold Our Roads." Additionally, they observe several other deities, including Earth Mother, Old Lady Salt, White Shell Woman and Turquoise Man. Also among their deities are the War Gods and the Beast Gods.

The Zuni believe several of their deities are related. Moon Mother, for example, is the wife of Sun Father, who is in turn the brother of Old Lady Salt. White Shell Woman is Sun Father's mother.

The kivas within the Zuni faith perform a ceremonial dance four times throughout each year. The Zuni people also partake in pilgrimages to the Zuni heaven. Another ritual is the initiation of boys into one of six kiva groups. There are two stages to the initiation process, the first occurring when the boy is between 5 and 9 years old and the other when he is between 10 and 14.

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