A rite of passage is a ceremony which marks the transition from one phase of life to another. As a coming-of-age ceremony it is often used to ease the tumultuous transition from adolescence to adulthood. It can also be used to refer to any of life’s transitions. There are many passages in our lives if we choose to mark and celebrate them.
I am often called to do initiatory rites of passage for young women, as well as, transitional rites for women looking to change career or relationship, or those looking to mark the passage from Motherhood into the wisdom of the Crone.
Initiation is defined in the dictionary as, “the rites, ceremonies, trials or instructions with which a youth is formally invested with adult status in a community, society or sect.” I extend that definition to include rituals and ceremonies that help adults transition to new life roles along the path of adulthood – all the way into meaningful elder-hood. My husband Chuck Ginsberg, working on the path of the ‘New Warrior’ co-facilitates with me for men, young and old.
When we design rite of passage experiences, we work to assure that initiates come out of the experience with a new and empowering story that helps them take responsibility for the decisions that set the course of their future. We help initiates create the story of who they are and the kind of life they want to build based within the exploration of their own personal values. We also help them find the story that connects them to their families and to the wider community. Through this self-exploration, initiates emerge with a stronger sense of personal responsibility to all aspects of their lives – stretching all the way out to the larger world of which they are a part.
In this way both the community and the initiate benefit from a rite of passage, providing a knitting together of the generations. An intentional rite of passage experience offers the space for the family or community, to transmit its core values and confer the role responsibilities appropriate to the initiate’s stage of life.