Navaho dating practices

In the door-way an old blanket hangs, like a curtain, in place of a door.

But the opening of the door is not a simple hiatus, as many descrip-tions would lead one to suppose.

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Piñon or ponderosa pine logs serve as the larger timbers for the framework, with juniper often taking a minor role in the construction. Perhaps the men who constructed it for today's Enemyway ceremony used Army-surplus camouflage because of its military association, for the patient is, after ail, a Desert Storm veteran suffering from recurrent nightmares.

Outside the north wall of the hogan, a man in sunglasses mounted on a palomino stallion keeps the curious away so that the evil unleashed by the ceremony will have a direct path to return northward, the direction of evil and power.

Surveying the crowd, he can hear muffled singing inside the hogan led by an Enemyway singer with a reputation for successful ceremonies, enhanced by the fact that he is an ex-Marine who barely escaped death in Vietnam.

The hogan is a sacred home for the Diné (Navajo) people who practice traditional religion.

Every family even if they live most of the time in a newer home -- must have the traditional hogan for ceremonies, and to keep themselves in balance.

The Navajos used to make their houses, called hogans, of wooden poles, tree bark and mud.

The doorway of each hogan opened to the east so they could get the morning sun as well as good blessings.

Today, many Navajo families still live in hogans, although trailers or more modern houses are tending to replace them. The habitations of the Navahoes are usually of a very simple character.

The most common form consists of a conical frame, made by setting up a number of sticks at an angle of about forty-five degrees.

An opening is left on one side of the cone to answer as a doorway.

The frame is covered with weeds, bark, or grass, and earth, except at the apex, where the smoke from the fire in the centre of the floor is allowed to escape.