• kjoannerixon

Ceremony


I read TRAIL OF LIGHTNING, and then I read a number of articles about TRAIL OF LIGHTNING, and in the course of reading about the controversy over the use of Navajo teaching as story content (specifically figures like Coyote written as characters in a pop apocalyptic novel), I remembered reading CEREMONY years ago and loving it (although Silko, and the main character in the book, Tayo, are not Navajo, they're Laguna Pueblo, there are Navajo characters in the book and discussion of belief systems). And then, just a few weeks later, a friend asked me if I'd ever read CEREMONY. So I had it on my mind so much that I had to go back and re-read it.


I still love it, of course. This is a book to read slowly, multiple times. It's intricate, layered, vivid, nurturing and harsh by turns. The gorgeous descriptions of the desert landscape are enough to make it worth reading, and then of course there's so much more wisdom than that here. Tayo pursues a ceremony to drain the poison from his soul, and in the process the book itself becomes a ceremony to drain the poison from the world.


This is an especially important read for white people. As white Americans we have a choice: to live out the dream of the destroyers, or not. Re-reading it again after many years, I think this book was formative for me in a way I didn't appreciate the first time I encountered it. It rewards re-reading, because this choice isn't one you make just once. You have to keep making it, and I'm grateful to have a guide.


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