Rituals of Healing

Using imagery for health and wellness

Jeanne Achterberg Ph.D., Barbara Dossey R.N., M.S., FAAN,

and Leslie Kolkmeier,R.N.,MEd

titleOne additional review for a pioneering work regarding the essentials of guided imagery, the  “Rituals of Healing”. To add perspective regarding this subject is this quote from the 70’s by a well-known Harvard trained Ph.D., in Psychology turned mystic Ram Dass who offers a glimpse into this subject "I'm using spirit to find the rituals as vehicles for living life in spirit - I am not using rituals to get to spirit”. Rituals of Healing is a gem and invites us all into ritual and the spirit in healing. If this isn’t enough to engage you then please read more!

The book “Rituals of Healing” follows Ram Dass' beliefs in finding healing spirit through ritual as vehicles. The ground for guided imagery is the inner ground of one's deepest self, psyche, or soul. Culturally each of us brings a definition from which we pursue our own sense of identity and purpose for living. Being grounded in aspects of positive affirming beliefs regarding one's capacity to experience a deep well of healing energy opens up vast resources of healing potential both on a cellular level as well as mental. “Rituals of Healing” gracefully takes one into the art of making whole and making holy ones healing journey. In Chapter one we begin with Rituals for Modern Times and from there deeper into bodymind. In the second part of this book there is a very thorough manual like instruction on incorporating specific guided imagery techniques for specific illnesses. Wisely the authors have chosen to reference the skills once they have complemented those skills with inner healing skills.

Clearly one will bring to guided imagery one’s own approach. This book is the bedrock for orienting one through bodymind - an appreciation of one’s inner potential and offers a deeper narrative based on healing stories, rituals, and human experiences for what is unfolding in a container of care. Deepen!

Some additional comments as an afterthought


Ritual can become a part of many activities from the mundane to the sacred: From the morning coffee ritual to the morning sitting ritual. The ‘Healing Ritual” offers a bridge between both. As we begin to clarify and deepen our relationship to living and degrees of wellness it becomes evident that finding moments to deepen into space and place like environments there is a kind of surrender that brings in a call; a living nudge which we often refer to as a coming home. This finding of ritual sets up the importance of Ms Achterberg, Doosey and Kolkmeier’s work. Wellness is an intentional activity and can be raised up into a creative art form that carries with it a sense of purpose, and intentionality.

Why ritual is so relevant and the point of Healing Ritual is in integrating the call and accessing inner space which is where ritual blooms, and one finds voice to sanctify's one's dance with illness, healing and wellness. A useful metaphoric construct taken from Aizenstat and Bosnak's book “Imagination and Medicine” described by Michael Kearney is the  "Container of care". “The container of care is a channel for empathy, compassion and reassurance; it is to secure space in which the ego may begin to loosen its grip. There are three dynamic components of the container of care. These are: what we do; how we do what we do; and who we are as caregivers (ed. Beings}”.


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