For many years I have facilitated a ceremonial cycle, the most powerful and beneficial rites I have ever shared: The Ceremonial Cycle of Rites of Passage!
The shamanic practitioners I have trained continue this work. I address here the importance of those who come to accompany the ones who experience their rites of passage and the difficulties of being able to join the facilitators who lead these activities. There are many who would like to experience these rites, but have financial difficulties in doing so. There are those who participate, but who do so without including witnesses among their family and friends, which is crucial to anchoring the growth experience. I think it is important to address these different issues here as many of you have expressed either financial difficulties or other obstacles that limit the potential of these activities.
Certainly the situation we are in is a bit artificial. Until we have the natural communities and ecovillages that make these rituals free and naturally organized according to the seasons of the year and the seasons of our lives, they will have to be organized in this way.
Celebrating the seasons of life gives us the opportunity to anchor our evolution in the collective consciousness. Thus, our steps on the path of life, our essential learning in the understanding of what it is to be a Man, a Woman, a married couple, an elder, a member of a family, our role and our mission in life, become unalterable, immutable riches, founding stones in the framework of this grandiose artwork that is our life as Men and Women. Without the community that witnesses our efforts, our talents, our discoveries, especially in today’s anonymous and alienating societies, our achievements are invisible and have difficulty becoming anchored in our lives. This is one of the reasons we often receive a new name during the rites of passage that are the vision quest and the moon lodge. This name becomes an aid to anchor our realization in our lives as they also imprint into the community consciousness. The community becomes the witness of our steps on the path of life and thus our progress, our achievements, our understandings are permanent and become luminous milestones of joy and maturity in the symphony of our lives.
This is why we are accompanied by the ephemeral community of those who gather around the rites of passage. Our communities have been destroyed by technocratic society, but it is simple to recreate these atmospheres since they are natural to us as we are being of relationship and have lived in communities for countless millennia. During the forty years that I’ve led groups in ancestral teachings and rituals, one comment that came very often was the joy, the immense bliss that people felt in sharing a common spirituality in the midst of nature. This atmosphere spontaneously created the feeling of communion as a community. This sharing is so fundamental and important that to return to ordinary life after these events was often felt as a brutal shock. Sometimes the experience lasted only two days, but the comparison between natural life in a true spirituality and the daily routine in a technocratic society made people realize how empty and dull modern life is. This is why those who accompany the braves who are living their rites of passage are so important. The one who accompanies is just as important as the one who is receiving the rite. The witnesses are essential in this process. We understand better and prepare ourselves well to live the rites when we have previously been witnesses to those who have experienced them before us.
So, yes, in principle, it is possible to do the vision quests and moon lodges alone, but in practice they do not have the same scope or the same meaning. We need a community to anchor the fruits of these inner quests, without which there is not as much meaning to our experiences.
Also in our modern times it’s not possible to organize them without money. We need to host the meeting, feed the people, pay for our transportation, advertising, organization, allowing the facilitators to fulfil their financial obligations as they work to accompany the small spontaneous community in these rites. But eventually, when we have embedded in our consciousness the awareness and importance of celebrating the seasons of our lives in a community we will have the strength and the means to build these communities where these rites will be an integral part of life, as they are in all indigenous communities throughout the world.
Love, Peace and Joy