Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Initiation/Coming-of-Age Rituals: Advice, Experiences?

Recently reading a book by Bill Plotkin called Soulcraft (in which he explores various methods of and reasons for wilderness initiatory experiences for adults) got me thinking about my partner's oldest daughter (currently 11 yrs old) and what kind of coming-of-age ceremony might help introduce her in a meaningful and healthful way into adulthood. Plotkin talks somewhat regretfully of how our culture lacks supportive environments for young people going through appropriate initiatory experiences as they enter puberty/adolescence, and it struck me that I have sometimes heard Pagans make reference to holding such ceremonies for their children. My partner's daughter may still be several years away from such a transition herself, but in the meantime I would like to do some research and perhaps build a good set of tools and practical techniques that could be useful for such a ceremony.

So I was wondering if any Pagan parents here at TC have had any experiences with such rituals or ceremonies, and if they have, would they be willing to share ideas or advice? I have heard, only briefly, about rituals that focus on "first blood" and concepts of womanhood, as well as ceremonies more akin to "vision quests" where young people are expected to utilize their own skills and inner resources to find "their own truth" and/or perhaps ask for a new name. For anyone who has done this sort of thing, what was the experience like for you and for the child, what went right, what didn't, what was unexpected? What other techniques or rituals did you utilize (or have seen or heard about from others)?

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