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In Black Panther, there was a ceremony where...

the new king was buried

What was the purpose of the ceremony?

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  • Spoilers!! + It's needed for the visions to happen Feb 16, 2018 at 12:58
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    Yeah @Metro Boomin Feb 16, 2018 at 17:06

3 Answers 3

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The purpose of the ceremonial burial is to travel to the "Ancestral Plane" so that the new king may consult with his ancestors.

In both cases, Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and T'Challa, the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), meet and speak with their fathers, N'Jobu (Sterling K. Brown) and King T'Chaka (John Kani). In Black Panther's travel, his father transforms from a black panther, and there are other ancestors present.The presence of the black panthers harkens to the origin story of Wakanda at the beginning of the film.

A third burial travel occurs when Black Panther is buried in snow. During that vision, he confronts his father about the murder of his uncle, Killmonger's father.

Black Panther on the Ancestral Plane

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  • Yes, the panthers were in the tree the first time, and one drops down and becomes his father. The second time, his father is on the ground and in human form.
    – Majaii
    Feb 19, 2018 at 16:54
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    From a mystical/superstitious standpoint, being buried seems like a great way to commune with the dead. Mar 28, 2018 at 22:04
  • I wonder what would happen if you won the challenge, and were crowned king, but your dad wasn't dead. Would you speak to older ancestors? Would you commune with former kings, even if not your own ancestors? Would nothing happen? Mar 28, 2018 at 22:06
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The act of burial is purely ceremonial and symbolic, and is not needed to travel to or have visions of the Ancestral Plane.

In Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Shuri's consciousness travels to the Ancestral Plane upon ingestion of the heart-shaped herb despite her not being buried. Relevant dialogue:

Nakia: Shouldn’t we be burning incense or something?

Nakia: Are you sure you don't want me to bury you?
Shuri: No. I need you to have access to my chest. Just in case I go through cardiac arrest.

The ceremonial burial symbolizes the Black Panther's journey to the Ancestral Plane, which is just one of the many planes of the afterlife. The Ancestral Plane-afterlife connection is expounded upon in this post: In Black Panther, what is the Ancestral Plane?.

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It can be safely concluded that you need to have visions before you can become king. And for that you need to be buried.

I have a theory. Somehow, the ancestral plane, soul stone and that herb are somehow connected.And seeing how T'Challa's mother is afraid that he is not covered properly (completely in snow), I feel that taking that herb has side effect that can be avoided by covering in some material (sand or snow).

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  • My guess was burying the king was acting like an isolation tank, so all of his senses were deprived correctly before he enters in an altered state and have the visions.
    – kikirex
    Feb 18, 2018 at 19:09

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