About Rites of Passage
Rites of passage are an innate part of being human. They can be defined as a conscious, ceremonial acknowledgement of moving from a less developed stage to a more developed stage. They are an ancient form of cultural renewal and personal development and can be found across all cultures and all times. At their most basic, a rites of passage is characterized by three stages: separation (leaving the familiar), threshold (the testing time) & reincorporation (or return).
Traditionally, a rites of passage ceremony that celebrates the change from adolescent to mature adult are rooted in earth, in wild nature. In this form, an initiate goes out into the ‘wild’ for some time, alone and with only the bare minimum needed to survive. This rite is traditionally also rooted in community—leaving community, held by community during solo time, and returning with gifts for community.
To experience a true vision fast or wilderness rites of passage is an authentic initiation into maturity, a way to see one’s true purpose, to re-member who one is and what one’s place and work in the world.
Rites of Passage in the Modern World
Nature-based rites of passage have been culturally ‘lost’ in modern times as we have become divorced from a sacred connection to the earth. However, many of us still intuitively (though less consciously) enact it out ourselves, as it is a basic psychological need. Many more of us sense the shallowness or ‘flatland’ of a culture that is devoid of genuine, culturally sanctioned rites of passage.
A number of great thinkers today have said that humanity is at a threshold, in a collective rite of passage. We are in a time of Great Turning, when we are being called to consciously shift from a techno-industrial, dominator society to an eco-centered, life sustaining society. Not only are we being called to shift, our very survival as a species depends on it!
To be ‘initiated’ in a culturally appropriate form of a vision fast is to re-discover one’s own powerful inner compass to navigate and co-create in these times. When we slow down and enter sacred space, we begin to see the mirror of nature—how and what we experience during this ceremonial time literally reflects US, in our truest nature. The metaphoric mind (our perceptual, creative, imaginative, symbolic mind) taps into ways of knowing that the rational mind cannot reach. It taps into the energetic evolutionary field of creation itself, guiding our personal unique expression of what culture needs to evolve and survive.
Because we are gaining access to a field of knowing that is far beyond our own personal minds, because we are supported and share with a community of like-hearted people, and because the design of Nature flawlessly reflects back to us our own true self. Wilderness Rites of Passage are a tremendously powerful tool for awakening self and thereby awakening culture. They are a critical component of the new culture.
For more information about rites of passage trips offered through New Moon Rites of Passage, click here.