More about men's rites of passage.
Anthropologists tell us that throughout most of known human history, cultures marked life’s significant changes with rites of passage, and that one of the critical moments was the passage from childhood to adulthood and initiation into the adult community. Extensive physical, psychological, and spiritual preparation was followed by an intense, spiritually charged, ceremonial rite of passage, which most commonly took place in a wilderness setting away from the village. The intent was both to mark the fact that a major life transition was occurring and to empower the initiate to fully and consciously embrace his or her new life role.
Through such powerful processes, people were assisted in letting go of attitudes, behaviors, and self-concepts from previous life stages that would not serve them or their communities in their new life roles. Concurrently they were guided in identifying and strengthening the skills, wisdom, psychological resources, and spiritual connection necessary for claiming their new status and effectively fulfilling their new roles. Upon their return, they and their communities knew that in some essential way who they had been — both personally and in terms of their societal role — had died and a new self with new wisdom and gifts to contribute to the community had been born.
Our secular, contemporary world is marked by a dearth of meaningful, emotionally and spiritually empowering rites of passage to help people realize the potential fullness of each of life’s stages. We expect people to move from one ill-defined life stage to another, largely on their own, with little psychological and spiritual preparation. There are two areas where this lack seems to me most detrimental to personal and societal well-being: They are the ambiguous passage from adolescence into adulthood and the equally amorphous passage from career-focused adulthood into the senior years.
My own experience with men's rites of passage has been through Illuman. See their events page for a list of upcoming M.R.O.P. opportunities. I highly recommend this experience. Stay tuned for further details on upcoming rites of passage for men in this region.