by John Aldrich
At each set of food runs Linda begins with a ceremony to bring everyone into alignment with the meaning and purpose of the activity we are about to undertake. Thus there are four ceremonies in the spring and four in the fall. The themes for these ceremonies are based on Navajo cultural traditions and differ for each season of runs. Besides bringing us into a sense of place and purpose, the ceremonies are instructive about various aspects of Navajo culture.
For the food runs this spring the theme has been "Our Journey With The Stars". The materials Linda prepares for each of these themes delve into the meaning the theme topic has for traditional Navajos. For example here's a short excerpt from the material for this food run: "Many Navajo constellations are depicted in human form providing principles and values for living. The Nahookos constellations represent family relationships similar to a mother and father in a home providing warmth, stability and security." Preparing for these ceremonies is thus both educational and spiritual.
Here is a graphic from the ceremony packet that depicts a Navajo constellation and its meaning.