Every year for as long as I can remember I’ve taken part in at least one ceremony; these range from firewalking, sweatlodges and kriya initiation to this year ingesting the spirit plant, ayahuasca – all of which have been to promote further growth in me.
Later this year I’ll be taught the basics of Sun Dancing in preparation for next year’s proper, 4 day long Sun Dance in Scotland – four days of prayer and meditation – which I expect will stretch my stamina and mental ability more than it’s ever before been stretched!
I may be an exception to the rule as I’m continually seeking more of me in these things, but my life is full – not only of experience but of coping skills for most situations and complete reverence for the sanctity of what is being offered. Participating in ceremony has allowed me to develop respect and a greater sense of responsibility in my life.
THIS is what I think is MOST missing in modern culture – not traditions of racism, bigotry and sectarianism which have been handed down from one generation to the next, without real meaning.
Somehow in just a few short decades we’ve seen a drop in respect and a complete lack of responsibility – and that’s only at the top of the tree; where accountability matters most, we’ve lost it.
As our governments set the examples we see no respect for human life nor the rights of any one individual, unless they can buy it. Corporations have more rights than a person; somewhere we lost the plot.
On the ground those in privileged positions of wealth sneer at those less fortunate; love thy neighbour has turned into fear. (Divide and conquer is still working well!)
Dis-empowering people has the knock-on effect of poor mental and physical health with a distinct lack of coping skills, while empowering them has a rather grand outcome; people begin to show self-care, solve problems, work as a community and are generally happier within themselves – whilst aspiring to aid the greater good, not primarily personal gain.
In the West we have no real rite of passage to mark entry into man or womanhood. We have no clear sign posts of what’s acceptable and what is not. We disrespect our elders, we lose clarity of thought and lack in purpose.
Without ritual celebrations of who we are as individuals we cannot hope to share peak experiences – those good reference points to help us through a difficult day; the confidence and satisfaction of doing something once thought impossible, well. All of this means so much to the individual and contributes to the wellbeing of their own community.
We can expect little or no positive reinforcement or peer support as there’s very little to connection to family or tribe.
Many of those I’ve worked with have felt isolated and fearful, with little confidence and even less in the way of support structures. They feel on the periphery – outcast and of meagre worth.
We can turn this right around with just a little effort.
Recently I attended the visiting Indigenous Grandmothers Fire Ceremony and was struck by the light in people’s eyes as they stood in pouring rain listening to every word, every offering made to the fire for the healing of this planet. I re-avowed there and then to re-connect people with ritual, to celebrate ceremony.
We, us humans, need these to feel part of everything. We are responsible for the state of our world and we are accountable to our grand-children for the way we leave it.
It is time now to reconsider what’s important.
As we stand by and watch the dwindling indigenous cultures – forced from their lands, their communities to make way for modern living – die out, we must remember; those are the life-support systems our world needs – the plants, the rituals, the community – more than anything else.
I invite you to join me in whatever way you can to increase our collective awareness of the impact we’re having on this planet, at this time.
I also invite you to share in creating rituals and ceremonies, encouraging others to participate.
I welcome your attendance at any of my events promoting personal empowerment and community nourishment.www.survivalinternational.org