Foundations of Ritual

with Dr. Daniel Foor

April 16 – June 9, 2021


Ritual is both art and discipline, cultivation of personal intuition and renewal of ancestral knowledge, instinctual and learnable. The styles and approaches to ritual are as diverse as people, human and otherwise, and the only ‘wrong’ ways to approach may be those that become untethered from love, wisdom, and relationality.

In the spirit of kind, inclusive, and non-dogmatic learning, this course is for anyone seeking to strengthen their foundational skills in ritual arts. Course material assumes no prior knowledge. Content may also be useful to priests, educators, and practitioners of diverse traditions in search of fresh ways to transmit basic teachings.

Topics include relational etiquette, protection, invocation, trance, prayer, offering practice, and a dozen other elements found in many approaches to ritual arts. Participants can expect to learn skills you can apply in everyday devotions as well as flexible frameworks in which to share about your experiences and approach to the sacred. Although some material may overlap with teachings found in the Ancestral Lineage Healing and Practical Animism, this shorter course focuses on fundamentals relevant to both of those courses and beyond. For participants in either courses who feel behind the curve with ritual skills, this is also a response to that need.

The approach to ritual arts is animist in that the emphasis is on relationship, and rooted in a feminist, decolonizing, anti-racist, LGBTQI-friendly, class-aware, earth-honoring ethic without being overly intellectual.

This course provides an excellent foundation in safe, effective and respectful ritual. I appreciated both the theory and the practical application examples that were given. I am a minister and have done ritual before. That said, I gained a new perspective from this class. It has helped me to expand my view of ritual from something only done in spiritual practice to a way of interacting with life itself.

– Joseph G., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


Introduction to Ritual in Theory and Practice
  • Discuss different approaches to ritual, ceremony, and spirit work
  • Introduce an animist frame that emphasizes ritual as relationship
  • Consider keys elements of ritual from a creative, artisan perspective
  • Start to craft a basic personal ritual to explore key elements in practice
  • Enjoy resources from diverse practitioners on the nature of ritual
Boundaries, Protection, and Ritual Safety
  • Discuss boundary practice with both living humans and spirit people
  • Affirm the reality of dangerous forces and people, seen and unseen
  • Learn different strategies and practices for increasing ritual safety
  • Consider the role of fear in establishing safety in the seen and unseen
  • Explore perspectives from different ritualists on boundaries and safety
Invocation and Appealing to the Powers
  • Notice parallels between invoking living humans and the spirits
  • Reflect on your own ancestry for familiar styles of invocation
  • Explore personal edges around voice, rejection, and vulnerability
  • Start to practice different styles of invocation with people in your life
  • Consider examples of different styles of ritual invocation
Trancework and Relational Etiquette
  • Learn ways to navigate states of awareness conducive to trance
  • Consider parallels with your ways of relating with the living
  • Increase discernment on who is ritually helpful to relate with
  • Explore what may unfold once in contact with the spirits
  • Practice different, less cultivated modes of spirit contact
Sustaining Intimacy and Regulating Intensity
  • Learn ways to increase and nourish the level of connection
  • Explore offering practices that are right for your specific life
  • Identify ways to build and diminish trust with the powers
  • Practice ways to ground, disengage, and decrease intensity as needed
  • Consider ways that long-term relations with the powers can unfold
Speech and Song, Intention and Prayer
  • Deepen on the topic of clear ritual motivation and intent
  • Practice skills for spontaneous, potent prayer for self and others
  • Explore basics of song and vocalization in partnership with the spirits
  • Consider implications and advantages of tending a basic altar/shrine
  • Find ways that work for you to start to vocalize with the powers
Authenticity, Calling, and Honoring Limits
  • Explore the connection between spiritual power and honesty
  • Learn one framework for destiny and personal soul-level gifts
  • Consider strategies for getting clear on your specific destiny
  • Beyond clarity, call in backing toward fulfillment of your calling
  • Examine ways to know your personal place as well as your limits
Traditions, Teachers, and Established Practices
  • Consider pros and cons of work with teachers, traditions and practices
  • Learn ways to increase good outcomes when risking involvement
  • Assess for resonance with your ancestral and cultural inheritance
  • Notice links between early life experiences and level of trust in teachers
  • Identify next steps for deepening with your practice and learning

In these times it feels like the unseen forces, like those of Big Nature and Ancestral Wisdom are making all kinds of effort to get our attention. How do we, the living humans, respond? Are these forces dangerous? What can we do to acknowledge them and create bridges between our lived experience and the palpable power of these unseen forces? This course provides information and safe practices that help to answer these questions.

– Diana, Maryland, USA

Course FAQ

It’s ok! The live calls are optional, and Q&A calls with Daniel are recorded (video and audio) and transcribed into a pdf. Small group breakouts and community calls are not recorded. You can attend as many or as few calls as you like. You can also go back and revisit all of the course material at any time.

No, this course is for personal ritual and healing work, and does not presume to train people to guide this work for others.

At this time, we are unable to offer CE credits, although we are looking into it for future offerings.

Yes. We are strongly committed to keeping the work accessible to people of diverse backgrounds and variable means. If you need financial assistance beyond the available payment plans please see our scholarship application.

If you would like to join us in keeping this work accessible or if you have enjoyed financial assistance previously and now wish to extend this gift to others, please consider a donation to our scholarship fund.

Yes! We provide a transcript and notes for each lesson, a transcript for each live call (all TTS suitable), and the videos in the lessons include optional closed captioning.

Our offerings at Ancestral Medicine are rooted in feminist, decolonizing, anti-racist, LGBTQI-friendly, class-aware, international, earth-honoring ethics and a heart-aware and non-dogmatic spirit that seeks to meet each participant’s unique life experiences and ancestral storylines. Resources included with each lesson will favor ancestrally diverse voices both within and outside the field of psychology, and the weekly community calls include options for BIPOC and LGBTQI-only small discussion groups.

It surpassed my expectations. Not new to spirit work, shamanism specifically, I was eager to see your perspective through the ‘foundational’ lens. It brought a very welcome, fresh perspective in a wonderfully inclusive, accessible and engaging format. I was super impressed with the multi-media options, platform and professional delivery. Your style of teaching, sense of humour and great depth of knowledge helped me see a few of my blindspots for which I am deeply appreciative. I’ll be back for more in your following trainings. Many thanks to you and your team for delivering a fantastic learning experience.

– Robin C., Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, GB

About the Instructor

Dr Daniel Foor

Daniel Foor, PhD

He is a licensed psychotherapist, doctor of psychology, and the author of Ancestral Medicine: Rituals for Personal and Family Healing. Since 2005 he has led ancestral healing intensives in eight countries, trained over sixty practitioners, and supported thousands with ancestral reconnection through online teaching and sessions. Daniel is an initiate in the Òrìṣà tradition of Yoruba-speaking West Africa and has learned from teachers of Mahayana Buddhism, Islamic Sufism, and the older ways of his English and German ancestors. He lives with his wife and daughters in Western North Carolina, homeland of Cherokee peoples.