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News & Views - Aug, 1996 Issue #41 

RITES OF PASSAGE

(Taken from the TREX brochure "THE OTHER VILLAGE", explaining their Extended 6-Week Program this summer. Gabriel and Anne Rivera, Bend Oregon, 800-578-0323). 

In the classical sense, rites of passage are the "bridge" over the wide gulf between childhood and adulthood. Without initiation and the teachings of elders and mentors within community - THE OTHER VILLAGE - the pain and confusion of this natural need for passage is often sent inward (depression, lethargy, "wasting"), repressed (drug use and addiction, "getting into trouble") or acted out with violence and aggression. Meeting young warriors at the threshold of their bridge sets the tenor for honoring the lost innocence of childhood, as well as acknowledging a very real separation process that effects the family unit. Elders and mentors teach young men about moving on and stepping forward into the world of adulthood with dignity and respect, while calling forth renewal, reconciliation and commitment to one's journey. 

Among various traditional societies, there are many types of "transitory rites" for youth. In accordance with different social structures and cultural horizons, the separation of boys from their mothers - a necessity for "Initiation" into responsible manhood - can take place more or less dramatically, depending on the tribe. One typical separation ordeal can be a community of men - elders and mentors from another village - who seize the boys and lead them some distance away to the threshold of a bridge. A mock combat ensues between these men and the boys' mothers. Ultimately, the mothers lose, and their sons are led across the symbolic "Bridge of Life" to The Other Village: a sacred place where boys become young warrior men, with tempered hearts and minds. 

Copyright 1996, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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