Ceremonial rites of passage, with their challenges of solitude, fasting and exposure to nature, help us to affirm our inner strengths and capacities, face our fears, and listen to the song of our own soul rather than the world’s distracting drumbeat. They will appeal to people who are at a point of change or transition in their lives, and to those who wish to deepen a spiritual or healing path.
We’re not so far from the lives our ancestors lived, close to the intimate rhythms of nature. Travel back a hundred years, a thousand years, and it’s all right there: the sound of birdsong cutting through a crystal clear morning, the majesty of a sky full of starlight so bright that you can walk around under its glow, the wind whipping through a terrain of deep silence, the feeling of animal beings in their own home territory. We are not separate from the rest of creation, and the loss of our relationship to nature has meant losing part of our own soul. In the natural world, a mirror of “human nature,” we can rediscover our wholeness, and there we have the capacity to renew ourselves.
We affirm an unbreakable bond between the human and natural world. Our programs all incorporate time spent alone in nature, whether it be a desert wilderness for a Vision Quest or a local park for the Soul Quest or Vision Walk. We nurture a sense of community, growing a circle of friendship and support that expands to hold each new group.
You’ll know if our work speaks to you. What will bring you to undertake a rite of passage is an inner calling, or perhaps something even more insistent— “a roaring in your ears” such as Jumping Mouse heard in Hyehemohsts Storm’s story in Seven Arrows. This is the situation that faced is by the hero or heroine at the beginning of every great journey:
The familiar life horizon has been outgrown; the old concepts, ideals and emotional patterns no longer fit; the time for the passing of a threshold is at hand. (Joseph Campbell)
Ask yourself: Why would I want to participate in a Rites of Passage program? What old life would I be releasing? What new life would I be calling in?