Fire


Fire also figures ceremonially, and is then sometimes referred to as "the pokers," from the leading feature of placing pokers at the cardinal points around the fire. Heaps of firewood are placed at each side of the entrance inside the hogan, which is then closed with an additional blanket hanging in front of the ordinary blanket curtain. The singer, patient, and all present, strip to the breechclout (women remove the jacket only), and sit or lie around the fire, which is kept going until all of the firewood, previously carried inside, has been consumed. After producing emesis by means of a concoction and a feather put into the throat, the patient and those present repeatedly walk around the fire, and finally two of the men jump over it from each of the cardinal points. Thereupon all leave the hogan for a few minutes to sun themselves and rub their bodies with sand, and then return to the hogan for the close of the ceremony. This usually takes place in the forenoon, and during its progress none of the inmates of the hogan may leave it. One of the family remains outside to assist with anything that may have been forgotten. In some instances, too, ashes figure ceremonially, as well as in the preparation of bread, or spicing of some herbs. Ordinarily, however, they are removed from the hogan and thrown outside. Pgs. 66-67


An Ethnologic Dictionary of the Navaho Language; 1910, The Franciscan Fathers.