Frequently asked questions
Is a rite of passage dangerous or hard?
We keep low ratios of counsellor or guide to participants (3/4 to 1 on the land) to make sure this is a safe and transformative process. Our number one focus is on safe passage. While we make sure that everyone is safe, there is always an element of discomfort on the land--relative to our experience of sleeping in our bed with soft pillows, etc. Yet we believe rites of passage do not have to be difficult. The truth is that a little discomfort can help us initiate. What this means to you is between you and you, as the saying goes.
What is a rite of passage?
Rites of passage are meaningful events and ceremonies that mark important passages from one stage of life development and state of consciousness to another. Examples of rites of passage are when someone transitions from youth to adulthood or from work to retirement, in which family and community create a safe container or circle for people to transition and transform. At these times a "vision" is sought to find direction for the time to come. From this vision, the participant gained a new and deeper sense of themselves, their essence, calling, and purpose. As we journey on our life passage, we undergo many chapters which can be seen as rites of passage from marriage to givin birth, divorce to disease. Death is of course the final passage. All of these steps are held in the circle of life reflected in nature. We use a very simple archetypal circle model to help all people undergo the passages of their life.
What is mirroring and how is it used?
Mirroring is a process that allows participants to see and be seen in circle and in nature, fostering insight and growth. Mirroring has been found to be essential to healthy personal and interpersonal relationships.
What is self-generated ritual and why is it important?
Self-generated ritual is how participants make meaning out of their lives and experiences. Ritual is an ancient way for humans to exercise control over important aspects of their lives, allowing them to ritualize the transformative process. This can be a ritual of creating a threshold crossing out of stones or a picture to symbolize healing and forgiveness. It could be a softly spoken word at dawn or a song chanted through the night. Self-generated ritual is unique to the individual, expressing and embodying their process and experience, traditions and beliefs.
Why are rites of passage important?
While rites of passage have been largely lost in the modern era, they are important to help people gain safe and meaningful passage as they move through their life. With unprecedented numbers of depression, suicide, and anxiety, especially in teenagers and youngh adults, there is a deep need for modern rites of passage for both emergent adults and adults at all ages.
What happens on your rite of passage?
The rite of passage has 4 stages: separation, preparation, transformation, and integration.
Stage 1. Separation
To begin our rites of passage we gather in circle at the nature center to meet each other, answer questions, and offer resources as we prepare for our rop (rite of passage) on the land. For our solo passages we go to Colockum Ridge on ancestral land used for over 10,000 years for rites of passage by native peoples. This is land that is perfect for rites of passage and known by us to help keep you safe. As we prepare we have a primary book that we follow but also different resources to guide you through the process with information given in person but is also emailed and available in our online portal. During this first phase you are preparing to go on your rop but also thinking bout what you are leaving behind or separating from as well as taking. Another term for this phase is severance. What are you cutting the cord from, lik an umbilical cord? We have questions and activities, including a medicine walk, that help walk yout through this stage.
Stage 2. Preparation
Next we gather in our circle in the wilderness to get to know each other, ourselves, and the land around us more deeply. Surrounded by fields of sage, forest, and the beauty of the sunrise, we camp together in a base camp, having meals in a shared but safe space. In between time at basecamp we alternate time in circle together and breakout time alone or with a partner on the land. Guided by minimal words, participants journal, walk, and sit (lie down . . . whatever ) in nature to reflect upon and integrate insight from their lives. In the days before your solo on the land, we create our larger circlle, go over basic skill, help you create a circle of intention, and design your rite of passage on the land.
Stage 3. Transformation
The solo vigil is the heart of your experience--a chance to get to know yourself in a deeper and more intimate way. On your solo you reflect on who you are, your traditions, and belief, hopes, fears, and desire. You also hold a power circle to gain your vision. There is a magic in this experience that is between your nature and nature, as you are stripped down, dying (don't panic, it's a metaphor) and letting go to be reborn in a new way. During the solo time the participant passes out of the larger circle in ceremony to a spot that they have picked to spend their time alone with minimal food and shelter.
Stage 4. Integration.
After 1-3 days (based on age and choice) they come back into our group circle to a ceremonial meal to be honored and mirrored by the group. As the participants come back they tell their story and share their experience in a power circle where they are seen and named by themselves as well as the group. Afterward they can create a visioning necklace to hold their new insight. While integration happens on the rite of passage proper (the deep wilderness), it continues as we come back into our lives and our families and communities. So we offer a gathering celebration for people the week after they come back at the nature sanctuary as well as 6 month drop in circle of support.
Rites of passage are powerful because they are REAL. People leave behind their past and past hangups (for the most part) to create a circle that drops deep to facilitate profound transformation. Simply put, there is a reason that rites of passage were created and followed in cultures throughout human history: they help people transform and grow.
What is the difference between a kit and rite of passage?
Kits offer the basic structure and guidance of a rite of passage "on the land" but in an online form. This allows people to undergo a rite of passage in their own way, on their own time, and in their own environment. Kits are affordable, accessible, and feasable, offering a broad range of applications--from a traditional rite of passage to a healing passage or group passage. Even more than our in-person rite of passage, kits reflect who you are. They are designed by you and lead by you.
(Note: additional support in the form of zoom or in-person meeting can be added to a kit to help you. This may be benefitial/essential especially if you have a family rite of passage where you know that there are long-standing issues.)
In contrast, a rite of passage (proper) is held in circle by our circle team. The benefits to this are multiple. While I have undergone rites of passage in all different ways (cabins, zoom, at the beach, camping alone, etc), there is nothing quite like going to dedicated land for the dedicated purpose of a rite of passage. The group helps to hold you along with the land and we are here to hold the details and structure so you can "let go" and really sink deep into your experience. Again, we have brought in people to help you from nutrition to yoga to . . . well, we've tried to think of most everything. The idea is that we can hold you so you can focus and go within to attend to your own healing and transformation. We are also focused on keeping you safe.
What is the cost?
Circles are by suggested donation from $10-25.
The price of
kits is kept low with basic kits at $95. Additional options for support are available with a necklace or rattle at an additional cost of $5 and $20. Drum kits (made with integrity by a native practitioner) can be special ordered or sourced online as well.
The cost for a
ROP varies based on time and material supplies. We are still finalizing the costs but know that there will be 3 tiered system: 1. covering cost; 2. sustaining cost; 3. investing cost. The first covers our basic overhead, the second keeps us afloat, and the third allows us to operate with this system, as we try to be as fair and inclusive as possible.
We are looking into nonprofit status and would love to offer everything for free (which we do for homeless and at-risk youth). What we are committed to is not turning people away, especially in need. Again, please contact us to learn more. Work trade is also available.
This is an honor system, which seems appropriate in ROP which is always between you and YOU. We are committed to keeping costs as low as possible and will have prices for our ROPs at our second Open House at which time they will be posted on our website.
Additional time on the land and with our group can be contracted as well, whether for someone in a Circle, taking a KIT or ROP . . . or someone interested in nature and art-based healing. These prices always include a sliding scale. For Heather this is usually $50-150 an hour. To learn more about different options, go to www.transformingthruart.com or www.soulofcreativity.com. Thank you! We take our community building seriously, and we realize that we are all in this together. Circle Passages is based in a circle of trust and, as always, invites partnership as we move together toward a better future.