Encircling Guardian

Encyclopedia Article


A component in most Navajo sandpaintings, the Encircling Guardian can be a creature, object, lightning, arrow, rainbow, or animal that encircles the edges of the painting and leaves an opening to the east. In the Navajo tradition, the east, the direction of the rising sun, is sacred. The Encircling Guardian protects the opening, through which the healing energies enter the ceremony.

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"Third Day Mountain Chant, circa 1965," photograph, (1990.01.1774). Hubbard Museum of the American West, Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico. All rights reserved. Use with permission only.

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