Ceremony : Top Ten Quotes
“'You understand, don't you? It is important to all of us. Not only for your sake, but for this fragile world.'” (p. 36)
The medicine man Ku'oosh tells Tayo it is important for him to have the traditional ceremonies to cure his sickness. It is not a private consideration, because everyone is a part of the whole tribe, and the tribe will suffer if he does not get well. Furthermore, it is an event that will affect the whole world, for everything is interconnected.
“Rocky understood what he had to do to win in the outside world.” (p. 51)
Rocky is the favorite of Auntie, but he is not attracted by native ways. He wants to make it in the outside world as a college football star.
“Everywhere he looked, he saw a world made of stories, the long ago, time immemorial stories, as old Grandma called them. It was a world alive, always changing and moving. . .” (p. 95)
Tayo sees the landscape alive because he has been told the ancestral stories about each place, rock, and creature. They are all sacred, part of his religion and everyday experience.
“In that hospital they don't bury the dead, they keep them in rooms and talk to them.” (p. 123)
Betonie warns Tayo that he does not want to go back to the veterans’ hospital. It would be better to have a ceremony.
“'Witchery works to scare people, to make them fear growth.'” (p. 126)
Betonie tells Tayo of the white witchery, the evil black magic that works by fear of the natural world.
“'They only fool themselves when they think it is theirs. The deeds and papers don't mean anything. It is the people who belong to the mountain.'” (p. 128)
Betonie says that it is an illusion that whites own the land. The bond of the native people with the mountain is ancient and unbreakable.
“He took a deep breath of cold mountain air: there were no boundaries; the world below and the sand paintings inside became the same that night.” (p. 145)
Tayo is becoming whole after Betonie's ceremonies. He feels at one with everything around him.
“When the mountain lion stopped in front of him, it was not hesitation, but a chance for the moonlight to catch up with him. Tayo got to his knees slowly and held out his hand.” (p. 196)
Tayo asks the mountain lion for help in getting the cattle back from the white rancher.
“As far as he could see, in all directions, the world was alive. He could feel the motion pushing out of the damp earth into the sunshine—the yellow spotted snake, the first to emerge, carrying the message on his back to the people.” (p. 221)
Tayo comes back to life during his healing ceremony, and he sees the earth the way he was taught as an Indian. The creatures, like the snake, share the world and give their messages to people.
“Tayo's heart beat fast; he could see Josiah's vision emerging, he could see the story taking form in bone and muscle.” (p. 226)
Tayo has rescued the spotted cattle, and he begins to see his Uncle Josiah's plan for their future take shape and actually manifest before his eyes. He has the power now to make stories come true.