BE: For many years I organised the solstice and equinox ceremonies without missing a single one of them. Many incredible things happened and many people were inspired and harmonized with nature. So I know how these are important. There are many things that have to be considered here as this is not a simple question. So I will attempt to give some indications, but I can only touch the surface of this question which is a vast and complex subject.
First, ceremonies really are completely logical and beneficial when performed on the land where people are living with their gardens and trees. The community feeling and context are essential. That was one of the first things I would do in starting a ceremony, create this feeling, even if a bit artificially at first, but after a few days of ceremony people would be right in there. But the feeling could not be maintained and with time I stopped doing this as the energy required to create the right ambiance and feelings was only temporary and yet required a lot of energy. People have lived for generations in a world wrought with separation and mistrust, so creating community spirit is not a given thing. It dissipated because there is not the land and continued relationship to the land to anchor that feeling as people would come for the ceremony and then leave. In a community, ceremonies are very important. They offer a context where people can meet, celebrate, exchange goods, share dances, music, art work and songs, seek out the promised love, have fun and discuss important issues. The communion with nature as a group is very beneficial for harmonizing with nature and all Native American ceremonies do this.
Secondly, the ceremony must be imbued with meaning and logic. Occult practices are not beneficial. People must understand why things are done and for what reason. Otherwise, we are like sheep, getting the wool pulled over our eyes. Many ceremonialists today are doing things because tradition dictates that it be done in a specific way without really understanding why. This is not beneficial. This is encouraging occult practices (with obscure and hidden intentions) that enslave the mind and prevent us from thinking and understanding life. It is to be understood that Man (both men and women) have been created in the likeness of Great Spirit and have the power to co-create the world in beauty and happiness. Occult practices negate our divine origin and make us dependant on a religion, person or practice.
Third, a community ceremony does not replace one’s responsibility in establishing our reason for being on the earth. This is an ongoing meditative practice that all people need to undertake and maintain. I have written extensively on these issues in my last book that is awaiting funds to be translated into English . Hopefully we will do this soon. The important thing to understand here is that spiritual sovereignty is essential in becoming a true, real human being or ‘Man’. No ceremony can give you this although some rites of passage help in achieving some understanding of the process. I have noticed that dependency on a ritual or religion can prevent a person from asking him or herself the questions that lead to this understanding, that is: who am I, what am I doing on earth? These questions all have to answer for themselves and no ceremony can give us that answer, although some may create a helpful context.
Thus a little food for thought, although very succinct, if we consider the complexity of the question.
Peace and light