||"The stories within these books have the poignancy of new discoveries as well as the unworn imagination of the ancestors. The commentary has the sharp edge of modern thought and the intricacy which results from the intellect being woven through the ritual complexities of tribal life. The purpose of constructing thresholds that bring this world together is to find the powers that can heal the rends in tribal as well as modern communities." --Michael Meade, from the Introduction Versed in the languages of psychology, comparative literature, as well as ancient mythology, healing, and divination, Malidoma Patrice Some bridges paths between the ancient tribal world of the West African Dagara culture and modern Western society. Ritual is written with wild imagination, careful critical reflection, and intuitive insights that will force the reader to encounter the world anew.
|Editors Note 1
||In what Robert Bly calls", the greatest and most detailed book about ritual that I have ever read", Malidoma Patrice Some--who is well-versed in the languages of psychology and comparative literature, as well as ancient mythology, healing and divination--bridges paths between the ancient tribal world of the West African Dagara culture and modern Western society.
||The more ritualized our space, the more ritualized our lives. I am suggesting that a space (cultural space or community space) in which ritual is the yardstick by which life is measured puts the people living in it in a constant state of ritual energy that sanctifies their lives. A sacred life is a ritualized life, that is, one that draws constantly from the realm of the spiritual to handle even the smallest situation.
||I was less than three when it happened. The event was so terrifying to me that I felt only Grandfather could protect me. I instinctually sensed the protective power of his knowledge, which only comes with age, as I constantly hid behind him. I could no longer feel safe with just my father.
||This extended essay, an argument for ritualization, is by a graduate of the Sorbonne and Brandeis University, Malidoma Patrice Some, who recalls the rituals he grew up with as a member of the Dagara tribe of West Africa. Through these stories, many of which center on his grandfather, Some reveals how ritual works--for the individual, the family, and the community. He shows how this door to the Otherworld, the world of the spirits, is essential for a life that is vital and that has energy. He contrasts the tribal experiences of indigenous peoples with those of the industrial peoples of the West, in a kind of reverse-anthropology, commenting: "Wherever there is technology, there is a degeneration of the spiritual." Some then draws on his more recent experiences as a workshop leader to show that ritualization can take root in the everyday lives of Westerners. The uniqueness of Some's perception and his convincing arguments make this book stand out as both an interesting collection of stories via personal memoir, and a trenchant analysis of modern spirituality.
|Editors Note 5
||In this remarkable book, Malidoma Some explores the essential role ritual plays in maintaining community and examines the structure common to all ritual. By telling stories of the rituals of his native West African Dagara culture, and of his own experiences in the tribal community, he makes a convincing case that the lack of ritual in the Western world is a fundamental reason that the fabric of society is unravelling. "The hurt that a person feels in the midst of this modern culture should be taken as a language spoken by the body," writes Some. "Our soul communicates things to us that the body translates as need, or want, or absence. So we enter into ritual in order to respond to the call of the soul." The name Malidoma means "he who is to be friends with the stranger/enemy," and Some, who has doctorates from the Sorbonne and Brandeis, abandoned his teaching career at Brandeis at the instruction of village elders to devote himself completely to speaking and, with his wife Sobonfu, conducting workshops on ritual.