Rites of Passage
Though initiation was forgotten in the West for a long time, more and more people are rediscovering its power as a catalyst to help us pass from life to death and back to life again—dying to the false self so the True Self can live fully. Rites of passage take many forms, but they often include periods of solitude, fasting, rituals to symbolize letting go and dying, and council (sacred dialogue with a guide and other initiates). Initiation frequently takes place in nature, whether deep wilderness or a retreat setting.
Rites are not to be entered into lightly. It is important to be psychologically stable first before having your familiar, egoic identity shaken. I encourage you to find a trustworthy spiritual teacher to guide you through this experience when you are ready. There are now many groups offering structured rites of passage or vision quests for men and women. Here are a few you may wish to explore:
- School of Lost Borders
- Animas Valley Institute(founded by Bill Plotkin)
- Red Bird Foundation(founded by Paula D’Arcy; for women)
- Illuman(for men)