1. What is Rites of Passage?
A rite of passage, which marks a time when a person reaches a new and significant change in his/her life, is something that nearly all societies recognize and often hold ceremonies for. These ceremonies are held to observe a person's entry into a new stage of life and can be anything from a high school graduation ceremony or a birthday party, to a funeral. Most Rites help people to understand their new roles in society.
2. Is a specific religion or faith practice expected, required or "marketed" as a component of a Rites of Passage program?
No. Rites of Passage programs are a self development tool to be considered a supportive agent of ones faith practice. Principles such as integrity, self-analysis and correction, authenticity or truthfulness, submission to ones highest moralities are all common teaching within a Rites program and are critical components of the heart-felt practice of any faith or religion. The Transformations Rites of Passage Program and its preceptors will not advocate for or "market" any one religious practice. In great contrast, we seek to encourage and support each initiate/participant to further crystalize their practice and journey deeper into ones faith in an effort to expand her understanding and deepen her commitment to the religion or faith of her choice.
3. Why are participants called "initiates" in Rites of Passage?
Participants are historically called initiates in acknowledgement of the fact that the participant is making a conscious and deliberate step into the next phase of their life. They are in essence igniting or initiating themselves into the next phase of self development. We further consider this term a humbling stance and consider it to be an ancestral way of neutralizing or muting out one's status or station in his/her current position in life thereby creating equality amongst all participants. All participants are called initiate, regardless of their status or their means and all who complete the process will be called graduate!
4.Why is the Rites of Passage program 9 months long?
The number nine is a significant number in many cultures. We liken the Rites process to that of the fetal gestation process which generally takes nine months to complete its steps. The Rites of Passage is a symbolic return to the womb of oneself. The initiate is guided and encouraged to go within to examine herself from that very delicate and truth-telling position, take an assessment of her strengths and her opportunities for growth, set a course and do the hard work to make the improvements that she deems necessary; then emerge from that sacred space with the clarity, purity and energy of having been reborn. We believe 9 months is a reasonable period of time to embark on this very noble journey.
5.What is the Rites of Passage designed to do?
A true Rites of Passage program is designed to identify the most critical stages of transition in a person's life and use those transitory moments as "stopping points" to isolate ourselves into a group inclusive only of our peers and take an assessment of our development up to that point as well as to prepare ourselves for the life stage that is now before us. The Rites of Passage program is designed to guide and support the initiate towards sincere self assessment and development in four major components of his/her life, called the pillars of self:
Self-awareness and analysis of our recent past and experiences
Interpersonal relations and communication
Spirituality/personal beliefs and principles
Health and Future planning/goals setting
6. Why does the Rites of Passage program specify age groups?
In almost every culture, human development is marked by stages of time generally recognized as:
0 to 4 years old, 4-8 years old, 9-12 years, 13-18 years, 19-24 years, 25-34 years, 35-49 years, and wise woman/man. We seek to honour these developmental stages.
7. Can men join the womanhood Rites of Passage program if they identify as women or the opposite?
No. This is a very delicate matter for us. We believe strongly that all people need Rites of Passage. We believe all people should be respected and accepted as the gender that they identify with personally. If I am born a biological male but I identify myself as a female, I feel that I should be respected and accepted as such. Not because you agree with my choice or my lifestyle but because you recognize my human-ness and respect my right to life and free will to choose how I live this life. However, we also understand that the transformation from biological female infant to biological female woman is a very different passage than that of biological male infant to male self-identifying as female or even biological male infant to medically induced female. Therefore, we create Rites of Passage programming to support the varying transformations that best suit the groups as we see them. We seek to support the healthy and holistic transformation of all of humanity with a unique sensitivity to the needs of the people who come to us so that we can all transform to our eventual stage of peace and godliness.