Native American Rain Turtle Ritual

Native Americans believe that the earth can be influenced through ritualistic ceremonies.

The Native Americans culture is one that is rich in mysticism, spirituality and a strong belief in the natural powers of the earth. Many Native American tribes practice rituals that have been passed down from generation to generation. One of the best known of these ceremonies, the rain turtle ritual, is still considered sacred in many Native American tribes.

1 Significance

According to Native American culture, the rain turtle ritual is a ceremony that has the ability to change the weather and bring about rain even in dry, arid climates. The ceremony is typically performed at the beginning of the spring season as a prayer for rain and an abundance of crops. The rain turtle ritual is also performed in times of drought in the belief that performing the ritual is a direct method of appealing to God to send forth rain.

2 History in Native American Culture

While it is not officially known how the rain turtle ritual came to be, the ritual is said to have come about during the period of Native American relocation as the American government was first becoming established. During that time, the newly founded American government banned the Native American people from performing certain religious ceremonies. To protect their tribes from persecution, many tribes began performing the ritual as a means of appealing to the Gods for rain, while declaring it outwardly as a nonreligious ceremony.

3 Performing the Ritual

When performing the Native American rain turtle ritual, you must first select an area of dirt in the location where rain is needed. Once you have chosen the area, draw a turtle in the center of the dirt using a wooden stick or spear, including a head, four legs and the shell. In accordance with Native American custom, the turtle must face west or the rain will not come. Drive the stick that was used to draw the turtle into the center of the turtle's back and leave it standing in the dirt. Using a chosen chant, spin about the turtle three times in a clockwise direction, repeating the chant as you dance.

4 Masks

The rain turtle ritual is one of the few Native American ceremonies women are allowed to participate in. While each tribe varies in its customs and practices, most tribal members perform the ceremony wearing masks. As is the custom in many tribes, the masks for men are larger than those of the women to display dominance. Both, however are turquoise in color to represent rain and are covered in feathers to represent wind.

Rebekah Worsham began writing professionally in 2007 and has been published on eHow. She has expertise in the fields of law, parapsychology and the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction. She holds a degrees in law from Beckfield College.