RITES OF PASSAGE
A rite of passage is a ceremony which marks a transition point in the life of an individual. Many rites of passage mark biological changes; birth, maturity, and death. Others are religious and/or cultural in nature; bar mitzvahs, baptism, confirmation, achieving a drivers license, marriage, etc. Around the world, rites of passage are woven into the fabric of tribal and indigenous culture and are a way to honor the spiritual, social, and physical transformations that members experience.
"If you don't initiate the young, they will burn down the village to feel the heat."
~ African Proverb
So how are rites of passage created in a culture where our roots are so diverse and we often cannot put aside days if not weeks to fully dive into an initiatory process? By clearly defining the intention of the event and weaving in traditional elements of initiation, a "container" is formed in which self-reflection, spiritual connection, and healthy support is created. With this, an individual or small group feels a sense of closure of the past self, a transition state into a "new" self, and finally the elevation of the re-birthed self. Drawing upon common practices of the global tribal community as well, ancient ways are brought forth for the benefit of the initiate. If you are feeling connected to the idea of a rite of passage for yourself or someone close to you, I encourage you to contact me. Rites of passage are available to all of us no matter our stage of life. As the inner calling to mark a transition in
As girls and women, we are blessed with tangible points of transition in our lives and yet it is easy to let these points slip by. For our maidens, marking the transformation into woman-hood by celebrating menarche is an opportunity to create a positive imprint of the mystery and magic of the life giving cycle, honor one's unique body, and welcome our girls into a sisterhood of women. A moon-time ritual is a beautiful opportunity to bring together close family and friends to celebrate the maiden with foot baths, henna, massage, stories, and laughter!
Even if the first moon-time has passed, this event can be celebrated at any point in a teen's life. In addition, there are other points that can be marked with a rite of passage such as the transition into high school or college, a significant life event, or if there is simply a deep calling to celebrate something important to a young woman.
Our young men are often overlooked when it comes to their maturation from boyhood into manhood. Without strong and intense rituals such as those in indigenous cultures, our boys are often left to self-initiate themselves into adulthood. Ideally, this rite of passage would take place over a number of days and there are wilderness schools that offer this level of intensity (for both boys and girls). A rite of passage for boys ages 12-15 incorporates aspects of the classic hero's journey, connecting to nature, self reflection, and other ritual aspects that are often divined ( an aspect that I have incorporated to make these rites more personalized).
Pregnant mama's work so hard!! A mother-blessing has its basis in the Native American tradition of a "blessing way" which is a celebration to honor a woman's transition into motherhood. In our culture, baby showers which focus on the baby's material needs are the norm, while the huge transition a woman undergoes in becoming a mother is often overlooked. A mother blessing is a way to draw together all women (mothers or not) across generations to be present with the mama-to-be and nourish her as she nourishes her growing baby. Mother blessings can include men and children and are not just for first time mothers. A mother blessing often incorporates massage, henna, food, stories, cording, poems, personal sharing, as well as many other creative activities.
All hail the crone!!! As the ideals around aging are being challenged and gradually shifted in our society, the ancient archetype of the wise woman is re-emerging. As decades of experience crystallize into wisdom and self assuredness, women ages 50 and over are embracing their role as elders in the community. This is an exciting time as women of this age report feeling more solid emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. A croning ceremony may contain elements of symbolic passage, guided meditation, food, gifts of initiation, divine readings, and other magical elements!
"The circle is the form of nature. In nature, all things move in cycles. There are the seasons, day and night, life and death. Light moves into darkness, returning to light."
A Gradual Awakening, Steven Levine
It goes without saying that these rites of passage are the most personal, intimate, and emotional events of ones life. So why would anyone want a stranger to be involved? It is in these most intimate moments that we often need someone just to be PRESENT with us. A kind word, a gentle gesture, or compassionate silence can make all the difference to someone who is in the role expectant parent, grieving spouse, newly born, or passing over. As a Birth Doula and Massage Therapist, I find that the most valuable resource I have to offer beyond learned skill is presence and healthy support.