Naming Ceremony

Dear All,

The significance of names is demonstrated in the Native Tradition.


Naming Ceremony

"Children were very precious to the Woodland peoples, and special care was taken in naming them. In some Woodland cultures the highest-ranking woman named each child in the community, but in other groups there were professional namers who had great skill in choosing a name that would suit the child. When the child reached adolescence, he or she might receive a new name, communicated by a spirit during a vision quest, a time of solitary prayer and fasting." [1]

The Ceremonial Naming of a child was a very special occasion in the traditional Native American's life. Very often the name connected with the inherent nature manifested by the child and noted by the elders, or sometimes it referred to a particular event in his life. At times a name was passed on from old to young, but it was an important feature that all true Indian names were to be "earned". One therefore took great care not to earn a name that would prove to be an embarrassment, but rather one that would inspire respect in one's friends and allies or alternately fear in one's enemies. Often the choice of a name linked the person to various aspects of Nature such as animals, birds, trees, insects or even to such lofty cosmic elements as Sun, Moon, and Stars.[2]

[One may read the account of a precious occasion of the naming of a young infant by Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi.]

"While Yogis at the castle, who had the opportunity of being with Mother on this trip, were busy telling others about this amazing journey, Shri Mataji saw some of Her children from Rome and other parts of south Italy. A young couple brought their one month old baby in front of Mother, "He will be a great Sahaj Yogi. Look how quiet he is - like a saint. He will be a great saint." Angelo(Angel)was the name to which Mother, after a small pause said, "An Indian name as well...Devdoot." She further explained that the name meant 'messenger of God'". (Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, Cabella, Tuesday, August 21, 2007)

[1]Sita,Lisa.Indians of the Northeast:traditions, history, legends, and life.Milwaukee, WI 53212 USA.Gareth Stevens Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-8368-2646-9 p.44
[2]White Deer of Autumn. The Native American Book of Life. Hillsboro, Oregon 97124-6074. Beyond Words Publishing, Inc.1992. ISBN 0-941831-43-4 (v.2)pp.38,39.

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