Thoughts and quotes from Ritual: Power, Healing, and Community by Malidoma Somé

I just finished reading this short book and man am I excited to read the rest of his books. I don't know much about ritual in terms of spirituality so his perspective is very enlightening and challenges a lot of my Western ideals. For example he suggests asking "the gods or God" for assistance before imparting on a journey, which sounds a lot like praying to me and that is something I've always been uncomfortable with, like when seeing it displayed frequently by Christians. However considering it within the spiritual understanding that I am already comfortable with opens me up to it as a beneficial possibility within my own life. For example I am already comfortable with the idea that everything is connected and asking "the gods or Gods" for assistance could be a way to become more comfortable with that idea by acknowledging that you are not separate and that you are not in control, that a world interconnected by spirit, love, or "the gods or God" in its totality, ultimately determines how your journey will play out.

Here are some great quotes from the book:

"For example, behind the might-looking corporations are a group of wealthy people whose personal lives are lived in marginality. To maintain the show of corporate power, they must give up something of themselves, their spirit. These people start to become invisible because they are mere instruments of the power being displayed, the power being made visible. They take a back seat to the corporation's need to be powerful. They then begin to lose touch with their own souls, with the world of the invisible. This is why they are marginal. The greatest needs ends up being expressed by these people and through these people.

It is the action of those in power that produces the poor, the menial worker, the man and woman in debt and the homeless. Misused power triggers its exact opposite as if that opposite needed to be there to highlight the dysfunctionality of its creator. The menial worker, the man and woman in debt, the poor and homeless exist, as if they must, to highlight the person in power. The person who displays this kind of power needs more help than those who are, more or less, the casualties of this power display."
- Malidoma Somé

"More often than not, we think pain is a signal that we must stop, rather than find its source. Our souls do not like stagnation. Our souls aspire toward growth, that is, toward remember all that we have forgotten due to our trip to this place, the earth. In this context, a body in pain is a soul in logning. To shut down the pain is to override the call of the soul. When this happens it is a repressive measure taken against oneself, which has somber consequences." - Malidoma Somé

I also really enjoyed learning about the grief ritual of the Dagara with the griefers, containers and other role players. There was a somewhat funny but really compelling account of an implementation of a Dagara grief ritual by Western men facilitated by Michael Meade and Malidoma. It was compelling because of how the men involved, in some ways, went out of bounds of the Dagara ritual because they had so much unreleased grief.

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