"A sacred life is a ritualized life, that is, one that draws constantly from the realm of the spiritual to handle even the smallest detail," writes Malidoma Patrice Some in Ritual: Power, Healing and Community. The author is an African from Ghana, schooled in the West, who was chosen by his tribe to teach Westerners about ritual. As a medicine man and diviner in the Dagara culture, he has some prophetic and enlightening things to say about the loss of soul in modern society where speed, emotional repression, and the omnipresence of technology hold sway.
Some writes about the communal, familial, and individual rituals in tribal society where at least once a day people speak to the ancestors or address a word to "the shrine of nature." He outlines the essential elements of ritual and the important role community plays in grooming the spirit. He describes a Dagara-style funeral and the dynamics of grief that operate there.
Some believes that Westerners yearn for meaningful rituals to help us deal with death, loss, and displacement in the modern world. "Where ritual is absent, the young ones are restless or violent, there are no real elders, and the grown-ups are bewildered. The future is dim." The challenge is to find the indigenous person within and to forge new links with the Divine. Malidoma Patrice Some's book on ritual is a watershed work laced with insights about spirit and soul.