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The Significance of Ritual

Ritual plays a very important role in the process of finding respite from the madness of society and discovering nature as a part of one’s self. Ritual allows an individual the opportunity to slow down and pay attention, to acknowledge the sacredness that is always there. Group rituals or ceremonies bring several people together to share all aspects of the ceremony creating a place where a common sprit arises in all participants.

In most cultures rituals are performed to mark significant changing points in seasons and in lives. In some Native American cultures rituals are done around events such as birth, naming, renaming, puberty and marriage. These rituals help make the individual aware of his/her contribution to the life of the people and the meaning of life in general. The purpose of ceremonies is not entertainment but attainment- specifically of the good life. They are the essence of the lives of these Native American peoples

Prayer, Song and Sacrifice

Native American prayer is spoken with respect to all creatures, elements and the universe. The words are chosen and listened to carefully creating a conduit for the force of the words and their images to travel between speaker and listeners to become "one thought." This may be termed "collective mindfulness" because each individual’s thoughts are directed to a collective thought and objectives. There is great power in this "collective mindfulness," it has the ability to transform and vitalize.

Blessing is prayer asking for power or strength. It invokes the mysteries and the unseen powers. While blessing one names the elements what are a part of their harmony and knowledge. One prays for themselves and for others because when others are strong, they are strong too.

Song is a means to release emotion. When songs are sung with an objective in mind they take on a force which is very mysterious. Songs are important in ceremony because when one is moved by great forces, ordinary speech no longer suffices.

Silence is also sacred, the only way one can learn the language of the wind, trees and streams is to be silent for a long time. Symbolism is the only way to communicate the spiritual. Symbols carry a message which couldn’t be passed on by words.

Sacrifice is giving something of one’s self for free, knowing that they are connected to everything else. They recognize that they will suffer momentarily so that someone else will not have to.

Our own healing

We assist individuals to create adaptations of these ceremonies to provide modern people an opportunity to see for themselves the connection to the earth and the wisdom in nature. No matter if they can’t see directly the connection to all life or understand what they are making an offering to, they do come away with a more intimate relationship to nature, to the members in their group and to themselves. As well as having caused a shift in the energy of the universe when a group gets together to pray, creating "collective mindfulness."

We need to rediscover our connection to the earth and all things; this is the way we are to heal.