The Great Spirit
The Great Spirit is the supreme being and principal deity of Native American Indians. The Great Spirit is the supernatural being conceived as the perfect and all powerful originator and ruler of the universe. The Supreme Being is often defined simply as "God" in Western beliefs and is used with this meaning by many other religions and to refer to different deities.
The Great Mystery
The Great Spirit - Native American Culture & Belief Systems
Native American cultures were characterized by an intimate relationship with nature. The Great Spirit was perceived as the divine power that created the world. The religious beliefs and practices of the Native Indian tribes included Shamanism, Animism, Totemism, Fetishism and their rituals and ceremonies led by a Shaman, centered around hunting and animals. The creed or doctrine of these belief systems held that intelligent spirits inhabited all natural objects and every object is controlled by its own independent spirit. Spirits inhabit the sky, stars, sun, moon, rivers, lakes, mountains, forests, the animals, insects, fish, stones, flowers and birds. Some spirits are good and help men who please them whereas other spirits are bad and liable to wreck havoc on people and on tribes. Animals, refer to Power Animals, are singled out as powerful manifestations of the supernatural, including those seen in dreams or Vision Quests. Lesser spirits inhabited stones and plants and viewed as 'spirit helpers'.
The Concept of the Great Spirit
The Native Indian concepts of the Great Spirit varies from tribe to tribe who refer to the Supreme Being by a variety of different names. Some of their beliefs about the Great Spirit are derived from both patriarchal and matriarchal traditions. The Lakota Sioux believe that the Great Spirit is an amalgamation of a dominant Father sky god and Mother Earth. The Great Spirit is seen as both a male and female beings, separate, but part of one divine entity. Other tribes refer to the Great Spirit as "Father", "Old Man" or "Grandfather" and in these cultures the Great Spirit is perceived to be a man, or an animal, with human thought and speech.