In this transcription of the Medicine Rite, the most sacred ritual of the now vanished Winnebago Indians, anthropologist Paul Radin captured a poetic source of profound importance to the understanding of mystical experience. Performed by medicine men upon the initiation of a member to their cult, this secret rite recapitulated the mythic origins and heroes of the Winnebago while integrating those present with the ancestral forces. Available for the first time in paperback, Radin’s book offers an authentic rendering of these prayers and ceremonial procedures and guides readers in appreciating their rich symbolism.
This text, recorded in 1908 through an interpreter, is the recollection of Jasper Blowsnake, a former medicine man hesitant to commit the once mortal sin of repeating the Medicine Rite. In the introduction Radin describes the events surrounding Blowsnake’s recitation and sets the rite within its historical context.