Back in the day when we lived in clans and tribes when we still knew the importance of transitioning consciously from one life stage to the next, there were two important initiations that we would each undertake.
The first guided young souls across the threshold of puberty, from childhood into adulthood.
And the second took those adults who now had accrued life experience and wisdom across a new threshold into the realms of the Elder.
Conscious initiation is so important as it allows us to transition physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually into the next phase of our lives. Initiation helps us to grow and to blossom into who we truly are.
Without it we suffer.
We can feel adrift with no real sense of purpose.
We can lack clarity and energy with regard to what to do next.
We can feel irritated and frustrated because we feel constricted and small.
Or we can find ourselves circling back around working on the same healing patterns over and over again because we haven’t taken our next initiatory leap and moved up a level.
Our psyche and our soul craves initiation because we have experienced it for eons. It’s an intrinsic part of who we are.
So what’s an initiation?
Initiations and rites of passage may vary from culture to culture but there are three main elements that always remain the same:
You would leave home and step out into the unknown. Guided by the Elders you would have been taken along with the other initiates out of your village. This was to signify that you were leaving the familiar and crossing a threshold into sacred space where transformation and alchemy could occur.
You would then have faced a challenge of some kind, often involving enclosure or isolation where you would learn face your anxiety and fear and connect instead deeply to your inner strength.
For something new to be born, something old has to die and this is why there would be a death ceremony. Here you would consciously face that part of your identity that you had outgrown; grieve it, celebrate it and release it before connecting to the new energy that you desired to embody instead.
You would also be given the sacred teachings by the Elders that would guide you and support on this next phase.
After you had died to the old, you would be guided through a birthing ceremony to symbolise that you were stepping out into a new phase of your life. Perhaps there would be a new name or a marking, something to anchor the fact that you were no longer the same as ‘before’.
Then in the company of the Elders and the other initiates you would return to your tribe for a celebration. Celebrating helps to ground the whole initiation process into your body (think dancing!) and into your day to day life. Celebration also allows you to be welcomed consciously back into the tribe as the ‘new’ you as they acknowledge that you are now a different person to whom you were before.
And then there would be a period of integration where the regenerative energy of initiation begins to sink in, bringing with it clarity and a new sense of purpose and direction. Initiation provides you with the ‘fuel’ for the next part of the adventure, for the next phase of your life.
We no longer live in clans and tribes but we still have the wisdom of those Elders, they have left with us their maps. And they are calling to us, to step back into the energy of initiation, because we are the Elders in training and they are waiting be our guides.