In this book the author discusses the place of science in rituals and mantras.
Using structural analysis he shows that rituals in general, whether religious, political, social or otherwise have common structural patterns. These patterns are shared by poetry, music, dance and gymnastics, but not by language. Consideration of animal rituals and pathological (compulsive) rituals leads him to propose a general theory which unifies all ritual-like activities.
He also introduces the concept of ritual instinct which can be make the theory simpler and more elegant.