Shooting Way

Encyclopedia Article


Also spelled "Shootingway," the Shooting Way is a curing ceremonial complex from the Holyway classification that is performed to heal the patient’s sickness and restore balance and beauty into the world. The Shooting Way is a complex of chants that includes the Male Shooting Way Chant (na’at’oee baką́jí), the Male Shooting Way Ugly (Na’ átoee baką́ji hochǫ́ǫ́jí), and the Female Shooting Way Chant. It should be noted that the sex of the patient does not influence which of these chants are used. Rather, it appears to be based on the sex of the characters in the myth attached to the chant.

The Male Shooting Way chants are performed to cure people who have inopportune contact with snakes, arrows, or lightning. These are dangerous as they are associated with supernatural beings. The Male Shooting Way Ugly is performed to cure illnesses caused by witchcraft and ghosts.

Although there are recorded fragments of the Female Shooting Way chant and even a sandpainting schema associated with the Female Shooting Way ceremonial, the actual practice of this branch is less well known and less practiced than the male cycles of this healing ceremonial. In general, the Female Shooting Way is meant to alleviate illnesses provoked by association with menstruating women, or when a pregnant woman comes into contact with lightning, its effects, or curing ceremonials that are inappropriate for pregnant women to attend.

Photo Credit: 

""Home of the Buffalo" rug (from Shooting Way ceremony)," photograph, Farmington Museum (2004_93_1). Farmington Museum, Farmington, NM. All rights reserved. Use with permission only.

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