Ritual Relations: Gods and Humans in the Mandan



1.    The Mandan as Symbolic Action

a.    Evokes a worldview

                                              i.     The nature of the universe – e.g., an understanding of time

                                            ii.     The nature of the gods

1.    Divine power (shakti)

2.    Divine illusion/play (maya)

                                          iii.     The nature of humans

1.    Open and transactive

b.    An interpretive approach to ritual: attempting to see the ritual from the standpoint of an insider, adherent

2.    The Mandan as Functional

a.    Provides comfort and security in context of uncertainty, threat, dangers

b.    Enacts and supports village unity, social harmony

c.    An explanatory approach to ritual: seeing the ritual from the outside, objectively, and identifying its causal factors