Written by Sherrie Locke on 1 T’zi (Dog), June 2014
A ritual is a series of actions in a religious or spiritual ceremony, but can also be any procedure that is followed on a regular basis. A ceremony is usually a ritual with spiritual or religious intent, and is devotional in nature.
People perform many rituals on a daily basis, from your morning ritual to the things you do the same general way, every time whenever possible. For women, it may also be beauty and personal care. The examples are endless. These are rituals.
You can, on a daily basis, also add other rituals that benefit not only your physical body and environment, but which also open you up to expansion in other realms, help and assistance from ancestors, communication with your higher self and connection with all things. Special ceremonies have been performed for aeons to mark special events, dates, seasonal beginnings, births, deaths and myriad purposes in between.
For special events, you can choose to gather special foods, flowers or things related to what you are doing. They may be for healing, such as in a plant ceremony, or a rite of passage of some sort, which is lacking in most Western cultures. We from indigenous heritage find these rites of passage very useful. They let you know you current responsibilities in the tribe or family unit.
In Tewa culture, there is never a family slot unfilled. When a grandmother passes, one of the mothers (usually the eldest) becomes the grandmother and the eldest daughter then becomes the mother. So there is always someone to speak to regarding things you would ask Grandmother, Grandfather, Mother, Father, Aunt or Uncle. For instance an Aunt or Uncle would be consulted if the subject were an inappropriate question to ask a parent or grandparent.
This also puts the family in a mindful state, which produces the proper guidance for the one who seeks it. So in each family and tribal unit, there is a resource available to be tapped and utilized. My cousins and I used to laugh and say the tribe was in trouble when become the elders. Well, we have matured and have built on what we were taught as children, with the added wisdom of what we had to overcome in our generation. We are the extension of our family and tribe. Our life is also our resource. Now we are prepared. If this was practiced more in today’s society we wouldn’t be in the state we are currently in.
We do ceremony to remember. We do ritual to transform and strengthen ourselves.
Aho! Mitakuye Oyasin! ~SL 2014