Drannehilty wrote the following as part of a larger post on ritual, “Here in largely Taoist Hong Kong, the personal shrine to one’s ancestors and to various deities is ubiquitous. In a majority of households and businesses, it provides a physical place where the simple lighting of incense, making offerings such as fruit, and saying prayers or honoring one’s ancestors can not only be a routine act but be fully integrated into daily life. Indeed, Hong Kong — Heung Gong – translates as “Fragrant Harbor”, and is attributed to the incense in the air. Whether to deity or to the acknowledgment of one’s ancestors and thus heritage–rootedness, a sense of continuity and place, and honoring of the wisdom that has gone before–it serves to deepen the experience of living.”
Ritual aids us to stay connected to the Ancestors, Pachamama, and our communities. It provides a vehicle for remembering and acknowledging the presence and help of others, and a means for friends and family to express concern and offer support. Ritual also enables us to open our hearts to healing.
Ritual is fundamental to healing in traditional cultures. Anthropologists sometimes distinguish shamans from medicine people by suggesting shamans do not use ritual for healing, and medicine people do not “journey”. The truth is far more complex. In our contemporary world, categorical differences are often misleading, obscuring the free flow of knowledge and shared experience between individuals and cultures.Many shamans utilize rituals to connect to Spirit, to aid clients in becoming receptive to healing, and to join the Ancestors. Many medicine people seek guidance from the Spirits.
Unfortunately, clients are often uncomfortable with ritual. It is important to explain in detail the ritual one wishes to perform, and to seek the client’s approval before conducting ritual. It is also useful to encourage clients to bring friends or family to appropriate rituals. This helps to make the many threads of support and caring visible to those wishing healing.
Our days are filled with rituals, many unseen and unacknowledged. Healing rituals seek to openly embrace the many beings who journey through life with us, acknowledging their love and compassion, and in doing so, reminding us we are not alone.