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Rites of Passage

ayahuasca ceremony space

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?

I have often wondered about the hell that was my teenage years. So many seem to languish there never truly sure when they have transitioned into adulthood. In other times/cultures I might have been put through a trial or ritual. I might have tasted death. Perhaps I would have returned with a new appreciation for life. As it was, I think the closest I came to a real rite of passage was my use of psychedelics. My experiences with ayahuasca in particular were revelatory (the picture above is of the ceremony space where I was
in Brazil)

Join me for a discussion about Rites of Passage this coming Monday, June 17th at 7pm at One Spirit Learning Alliance in NYC. I’m hosting as part of our monthly series of Integral explorations, but the evening will be led by the wonderful Mackenzie Amara. All are welcome. Here is the info on the integral group on You can find out more details about the event and RSVP here: The invitation that went out is below.

Traditionally, rites of passage are the ceremonial 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.