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Boethius, Navajo, healing


The title "Boethius among the Navajo" may require some explaining. This essay comes from my teaching of "The Healing Journey," a cross-disciplinary course on suffering and healing. Taking a page from Viktor Frankl, the course centers on the role of meaning in responding to illness and grief and in promoting recovery. Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy has represented the classical tradition in the course, and the social science readings included, among others, an essay entitled "Navaho Medicine" by Donald Sandner, a Jungian analyst. In addition, Sandner's book, Navaho Symbols of Healing, provides a detailed, careful study of Navajo medicine men and healing ceremonies. Reading these works in conjunction has led me to view the Consolation in a Navajo context.