Native American Church
The concept of religion is indeed mystic because it is entirely influenced by personal opinions, beliefs and sentiments. We love to respect what we believe with utmost sincerity and dedication.
The Native American Church or the Peyote Religion is a material embodiment of such a strong religious sentiment. Peyotism had its origin in the state of Oklahoma and it is quite famous and familiar with the Native Americans. This indigenous religion makes use of the entheogen peyote. Entheogen peyote is a spineless cactus with hallucination effects.
The Real Essence Of The Peyote Religion
History reveals that during Pre-Columbian times, Peyote was used in form of a dual medium. It was used to come in direct association with the supernatural and was used as a form of medication as well. However, the credit goes to the Apache people who in the middle of the nineteenth century initiated the spread of the Peyote religion to the Great Plains area of the United States. It is difficult to provide a definite statistic but it can be emphatically stated that the religion is being widely practiced in more than fifty Indian tribes and the number of devotees who have accepted the religion with great enthusiasm and admiration varies between 100,000 and 300,000.
Each Native American tribe has its own way of believing and accepting the Peyote Religion. They worship Jesus as a Native American hero who has been given the status of a spiritual guide and guardian of the human generation. In fact, the Peyote Religion is a diversification and detached concept of indegeneous religion where values and ideals have been greatly emphasized. Peyote religion teaches man the essence of care for the family, self-support through work, restriction of alcohol and avoidance of drugs used for recreational purposes.
The Native Americans celebrate the Peyote religion with great zeal and enthusiasm. The ritual they follow includes praying to God, water rituals, meditation and singing peyote songs. However, the end of the ritual on Sunday morning is quite interesting for it ends with an extremely palatable breakfast. The principal motto of this religion is communion with God who is responsible for the well being of the entire human race. This religious endeavor also involves a healing procedure, both physical and mental.
The American Native Church Movement
Quannah Parker is known to have founded the American Native Church Movement. He became an ardent follower of the Peyote religion after he went through a visionary experience of Jesus Christ. This happened when Parker lay wounded in a battle with federal troops. But how did Parker come in close association with the Peyote Religion? The plant Peyote contains hordenine and tyramine, phenylethylamine alkaloids and when applied in a combined form can work wonders on infectious wounds. A medicinal man thus applied Peyote on the wounds of Parker and at this particular juncture Parker saw Jesus standing in front of him and asking him to repent for his heinous misdeeds and other vices in life
This is where the American native church movement had its dawn when Parker desired to carry the religion to the Indian American inhabitants. The words and teachings of Parker include the doctrines of the core of the American Native Church and the “Peyote Road”.
In short, the Native American Church is not only a place of worship. It is an altar where human values like love, sacrifice and compassion are worshipped and shared successfully with great enthusiasm.
Joseph Paige © 2006