It is tempting to assume that the dominance of Ritual Law
creates strictures for the individual, and that the person
is stripped of all independence by an overwhelming
'spiritual' tradition that dictates how and when the person
could act. Such an attitude would be incorrect. The very
fact that it is the individual who interacts with the spirit
world, and that the spirit world spoke first and foremost to
the growing person through rites of passage that we become
aware of the growth of responsibility. Encounter with the
spirit world guaranteed the validity of the spiritual
content of the Ritual Law, so that, for example, one would
learn very early in life that one belonged to the Bear Clan
or was located among the Thunder People.
The individual's encounter with the spirit world was
always interpreted as having social significance. Being
disrespectful toward one's ancestors was inconceivable,
since one was, in a special way, one's ancestor. One leaned
the tenants of Ritual Law as a way of harnessing the powers
beyond one's own experience for survival and growth.
Therefore one made oneself subordinate to Ritual Law as the
people determined it for the very personal reason that this
was one's way of progressing down the Path.