Foundations of Ritual

an Eight-Week Course with Dr. Daniel Foor

September 26 – November 18, 2019

registration open through Oct. 21

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 will 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 they can apply in their everyday devotions as well as one flexible framework with which to think and share about their experiences and approach to the sacred. Although some of this material may overlap with teachings found in the Ancestral Lineage Healing and Practical Animism online courses, this shorter course focuses on ritual fundamentals that apply in both of those terrains and beyond. For anyone in either of those courses who feels behind the curve with approaches spirit work, this is also a response to that need.

The approach to ritual arts is animist in that the emphasis is on relationship, and the material is rooted in a feminist, decolonizing, anti-racist, LGBTQI-friendly, class-aware, earth-honoring ethic without being overly intellectual or politicized. We’ll proceed in heart-aware ways that seek to meet each participant’s unique life experiences and ancestral storylines. 

Daniel has been immersed in ritual arts for over 25 years and has had the good fortune to train with teachers (ongoing) from diverse lineages. For more on his background see Daniel’s bio. This particular course covers a lot of what he wishes someone had shared with him in a clear and efficient way when he was first getting involved in ritual arts as a teenager. 

Learn About the Course

How it Works

The heart of the course consists of eight weekly lessons (see below for full descriptions) released on Thursday mornings. Each includes an instructional video (40+ minutes) with a ritual exercise, homework, and questions for reflection, as well as a ‘further resources’ section (PDFs, video clips, blog posts, movie recommendations) highlighting diverse perspectives on that lesson’s focus. Once released you can engage the lessons at any time.

A live 60-minute conference accompanies each lesson (8 total) to provide connective space for Q&A and discussion of course material. These are held on Mondays, alternately at 6pm and 4pm Eastern time. You don’t need to make the in-person sessions to enjoy the course, as it’s possible to submit questions that get spoken to during the live conferences. All lesson videos include closed captioning and transcriptions, and all live conferences will be recorded, transcribed and shared with course participants within two days.

Course participants can connect with other learners through a private Facebook group, map and connect feature within the course, and all registrants enjoy unlimited ongoing access to all course content after completion.

Course Schedule

September 26 – November 18, 2019

Lessons: Released on Thursdays at 9am Eastern time.

Live conferences: Mondays at 4pm or 6pm Eastern time, alternating weeks. Live attendance is optional; recordings and transcripts will be posted within 48 hours.

Click on calendar for specific dates and times (scroll to September). If it’s helpful, here is a timezone converter.

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Cost and Value

By enrolling in this course, you’ll enjoy:

  • Eight 30-minute-long instructional course videos, each with closed captioning, accompanying transcript, and audio version
  • Eight live hour-long group support conferences with Dr. Foor and course supporters (using the free Zoom video conferencing platform)
  • Recordings and transcriptions of each of the eight live Q&A sessions
  • A wealth of additional multimedia resources (articles, websites, interviews, additional videos) with each lesson
  • Optional opportunities to engage with other learners in the private Facebook group and participant map-and-connect feature
  • Ongoing access to all course material

The cost for participants age 25 and under is $225. For those 26+ the cost is $275. This is to keep the work accessible to younger learners. Registration operates on an honor-system and each registration type includes an optional four-month payment plan. All registration information can be found on the registration page.

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 application for payment plans and partial scholarship spaces. 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.


Course Overview

September 26 – November 18, 2019


Lesson One: 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
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Lesson Two: 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
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Lesson Three: 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
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Lesson Four: 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
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Lesson Five: 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
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Lesson Six: Speech and Song, Intention and Prayer

  • Consider the critical importance of clear ritual motivation and intent
  • Learn skills for spontaneous, potent, connective prayer for self and others
  • Explore basics of song and vocalization in partnership with the spirits
  • Reflect on cultural implications of ritual speech and song
  • Find ways that work for you to start to vocalize with the powers
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Lesson Seven: 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
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Lesson Eight: 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

About the Instructor

Daniel Foor, PhD, is a licensed psychotherapist and a doctor of psychology. He has led ancestral and family healing intensives throughout the United States since 2005 and helped thousands of people to restore healthy and empowering relationships with their ancestors. He is the author of Ancestral Medicine: Rituals for Personal and Family Healing (Inner Traditions, 2017).

Over the past 25 years Daniel has trained with teachers of Mahayana Buddhism, Islamic Sufism, and diverse indigenous paths, including the older ways of his English, Irish, and German ancestors. He is a student of Yoruba culture and makes regular pilgrimages to work with elders in West Africa as an initiate (ọmọ awo) of Ifá, Ọbàtálá, Ọ̀ṣun, and Egúngún in the lineage of Olúwo Fálolú Adésànyà Awoyadé from Òdè Rẹ́mọ. For more info see: Daniel’s full bio.