Monday, April 23, 2012

The Story Ceremony

The Story Ceremony

Going to the story ceremony no longer carries the importance as it once did, but people still revere and practice this ritual across America. All tribes, classes, genders, and ages partake in the story ceremony. Communities must build a specific type of temple in order to view new story ceremonies. Screening new stories in non-approved venues is absolutely forbidden. The procession of entering the temple builds up the importance of the story.

Admittance requires an exchange of goods, carefully collected by a temple novice who often physically separates herself from the ceremony goers. Society discourages individuals from going alone, so people usually enter in familial, social, or sexual groupings of two or more. The group proceeds from the entrance to a large nave. Here groups can purchase a sacrament, usually specially prepared corn and a carbonated beverage, to consume before and during the ceremony. Bringing outside sacrament is absolutely forbidden. When ready the group enters a darkened labyrinth and must find the correct ceremony room. Several ceremony rooms exist within each temple. It is forbidden to enter a ceremony room that an individual is not of age to enter, or any other room besides the one chosen before entering the temple. The entrance to the ceremony room itself is at the back of the room, but a hallway leads to the front of the room. Groups must then turn around and walk up stairs to choose their seats in the room. The seating is arranged in rows looking toward the front of the room. At a predetermined time, the ceremony begins. Ceremonies can last from an hour and a half to over three hours.Once over, the participants exit the temple through a door located within the ceremony room.

In addition to being a way to impart or reinforce values, the whole procession is an allegorical ritual of rebirth of each individual. Each must gain admittance, travel back to the room, gestate, and then reemerge with a higher sense of being.

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