To the urban shaman, ceremony is a fancy user interface. It’s sole purpose is to affect others in a manner to positively influence their perception of your practice. Do the spirits require ceremony? No. Is ceremony required to heal others? No. Do I need to perform a ceremony to journey and seek guidance from the spirits? No.
Does ceremony have value? Yes.
The spiritual healing process is broken down into four stages:
- A person requests the shaman to help them with their illness.
- The shaman consults with their spirit contacts and requests aid on the person’s behalf.
- The spirits locate fragments (parts of the person’s spirit that have been lost during their experiences in the physical layer) and offer to replace them.
- The person accepts the lost fragments and reabsorbs them into the whole.
If all of these can occur without ceremony, then how does it have value?
People are spirit entities, but this experience in the physical layer (our current reality) often hides this understanding from us. Some of us need a physical representation of the work. They need to have something they can experience in order to make a connection between the work and the result. Ceremony is the tool that provides this.
Ceremony is what prepares the physical mind, which in turn allows the recipient’s spirit to accept the work being done.
This isn’t faith. This isn’t about having to believe. Ceremony is used specifically to prevent the mind from blocking the work. Some people can fully believe in the shamanic healing process but still need the ceremony for their mind to accept it.
Our brains are dependent upon processing input. Most people do not easily “tune in” to their spirit sense, so the brain relies on physical input in order to understand that something has happened. As bound spirits experiencing the physical realm, mental acceptance permits spiritual acceptance.
Some may always need it. Some may not need ceremony after the first experience with spirit. Some minds may be open to the work without need of additional evidence at all.
The shaman is the bridge, the facilitator, the one responsible for initiating the healing process and for ensuring the healing is accepted. By using ceremony, they are able to increase the chances of success.