Rites of Passage

RITES OF PASSAGE

 

What were your major rites of passage?

Are there major transitions in your life that you feel lacked, but should have been marked by such a ritual?


Traditionally, rites of passage are the ceremonials rituals surrounding the transition from one life stage into another. Birth, childhood to adolescence/adulthood, marriage, childbirth, adulthood to elderhood, secret society initiations, and death are some longstanding examples from indigenous communities. Anthropologist and historian Mircea Eliade explained that a rite of passage, no matter the life stage in question, opens the doors for the initiate to receive the spiritual teachings of his/her community. A rite of passage is an initiation into the cultural mythos, the spiritual wisdom of the collective.


The Western world is largely void of these ceremonial passages, a deficit that results in distinct pathologies. Psychologist Bill Plotkin refers to the Western psyche as "patho-adolescent," meaning it possesses all of the psychological pathology of adolescence, without harnessing the evolutionary potential.

 

Mackenzie Amara is a student of psychology and passionate about the potential that the archetype of initiation holds for our collective evolution. In this evening's discussion, we will explore the history and context of traditional rites of passage, what potential they hold for unlocking a collective awakening, and what modern developmental psychology has to offer us in paving this new road.

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  • Tricia K.

    Let us keep in mind this meetup was about the rite of passage and inward journey that helped facilitate our understanding of the levels or stages of transformation. I was honored to be there. My only suggestion (not complaint) is that the young lady identified herself and clarified her presentation and possibly gave us a clue to how familiar she was with integral theory. This was not a political meetup and a sounding board to complain about the loss of this and that in our culture. For myself, personally I am intrigued about the process because if a new myth emerges it is important we understand the process and the interpretation of the process from each stage and state of development.

    June 19, 2013

  • Michael S.

    Some evolutionary narratives that could provide a new mythology and a context for second tier cultural rites of passage: http://www.greattransitionstories.org/wiki/Main_Page

    1 · June 19, 2013

  • John B.

    Campbell states that modern society lacks the stability it previously derived from being educated in the mythology and legends of the Greek and Roman classics. Campbell and Moyers agree that there is no effective mythology in modern society by which individuals can relate to their role in the world. An analysis of the national symbols of the United States is used by Campbell to illustrate the ability for myths to incorporate the beliefs of a whole society and to provide the mythology to unify a nation. More recently, when the image of the earth, taken from the lunar landings, was published, it led to the universal realization that human beings must identify with the entire planet. This concept of the emergence of a new mythology based on global aspects of life is reiterated several times by Campbell.

    1 · June 19, 2013

  • John B.

    a myth is a sacred narrative usually explaining how the world or humankind came to be in its present form,[2] although, in a very broad sense, the word can refer to any traditional story.[3] Bruce Lincoln defines myth as "ideology in narrative form".[4] Myths may arise as either truthful depictions or overelaborated accounts of historical events, as allegory for or personification of natural phenomena, or as an explanation of ritual. They are transmitted to convey religious or idealized experience, to establish behavioral models, and to teach

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mythology

    June 19, 2013

  • Tricia K.

    How and what a myth is needs to be redefined before we explore rites of passage? A book like Silent Spring...not a myth......your way off track. A new covenant with the infinite? Sure ...that is easier said then done because of the various stages and development in radical multi cultural society. Myth is suppose to unite not divide people. What people is another question. The planet? the country? Until we define myth the point of the discussion is useless. Nevertheless I found the discussion informative and especially loved her guided imagery....

    June 19, 2013

  • John B.

    But a new covenant with the infinite has got some serious drama, depth and weight to explore. Meanwhile, rites of passage are concerned with the relationships with the community. The rituals demonstrate aspects of this relationship in terms of the myth. The experience of the rituals is the accompanying inner journey. Other, more recent compelling myths might be the end of slavery or global warming. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" provided a story for slavery and maybe "Silent Spring" might serve a myth on environment. In all the various contemporary possibilities, there are no universal themes to present a universal acceptance except for high school commencement.

    June 19, 2013

  • John B.

    Yes, Joseph Campbell was terrific. His work alone and with Bill Moyers consumed my attention in[masked], part of a journey with the work of Alice Miller, Robert Bly, Timmon Cermak, and Rudolf Steiner. The myth of the Declaration is the "new covenant with god" It has yet to be narrated in stories that reveal our relationship to that covenant, even though it is the underpinning of our culture. This is the essence of myth. But without these stories, we have no language for our relevance to each other and no model for images of society from which to draw rituals. We can only extrapolate these things back through pre-evolutionary narratives to suggest today's inner journey. We have no profound universal post-evolutionary narratives to provide a clearing for initiations. Initiate into what? Global consciousness? What's the story of that?

    June 19, 2013

  • Tricia K.

    myth...let us define myth...using Campbell as a great scholar on the subject of mythology.....I really do not believe Declaration of Independence would qualify....If you read my comment carefully you will notice that I acknowledge the application of mythology for stages of life and maturation.......however to initiate into our culture and the new emerging global consciousness and our science that is a problem...........maybe our definition of mythology differs? The inward journey quite clearly facilitates higher waves of self development..........your comments emphasis the problems out there. Integral theory and consciousness is the inward journey.

    June 18, 2013

  • John B.

    No myth? I disagree. The Declaration of Independence is a new covenant with God. How's that?

    June 18, 2013

  • Tricia K.

    icia Kameika

    I enjoyed last night and found the lecture interesting ...I would like to make a few suggestions. It would of been wonderful to apply integral theory to the hero journey. Myth and ritual is still alive to help facilitate passage to adulthood...however, to initiate into our community it is difficult because there really is not any available myth to help us with this. We have too many different types of people living together. From a Pedagogy perspective you can borrow and update mythology, however, I find it hard to believe any school system will encourage a form consciousness that resembles a break down of any kind!
    Loved the guided meditation and visual imagery........McKenzie added knowledge and new perspectives to the heroes journey and the problems facing youth today...our society will change as we change...rituals encourage self development...........

    June 18, 2013

  • John B.

    No kidding!? How disappointing! I had high hopes ya'll NYC folks would pave the way for the process of becoming responsible for the community. Wassup? It sounds like maintenance narcissism.
    There's already plenty of that in California. But maybe there was a point to it, about finding oneself, apart from the culture and breaking the trap. Is there some way we can keep track what occurred and where it went?

    June 18, 2013

  • Ilene A.

    I only stayed for the first hour. We were led in a somewhat violent meditation where we were encouraged to swing machetes and feel fear and a rapid heartbeat. I am not sure of the intent of this exercise.

    I believe that initiation rituals have died out becuase of the materialistic and violent nature of our culture. I don't feel that creating rituals will change our patriarchal society. I would have enjoyed a frank examination of the culture we find ourselves trapped in more than the discussion I participated in.

    My apologies.

    June 18, 2013

  • Judie

    Hey sorry can't make it after all tonight. :(

    June 17, 2013

  • Judie

    If anyone is interested in meeting up before 7 I will be in the near one spirit grabbing some food. Text me at[masked] if you'd like to meet up to chat before the meeting :)

    June 17, 2013

  • John B.

    Yes! Especially the "masculine noble warrior" has been phased out of the culture. This was so apparent at a large Integral gathering in San Francisco, dedicated to "What we can do to effect change". Now, incomplete and distorted forms are an unacceptable alternative to none at all. As it is, feminine forms are struggling to move the culture from militarism and narcissism. New rites to new masculine roles must be invented. Robert Bly created a flash in the pan, in the 80's but it didn't really take hold.
    Corporatism has been more successful.

    But that in itself is an incomplete and distorted model. I'm thrilled to see this workshop at the center of cultural influence, NYC. Maybe we can duplicate the results in San Francisco and span the country.
    John[masked]

    1 · May 21, 2013

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