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Author Topic: Initiation / Coming-of-Age Rituals: Advice, Experiences?  (Read 13696 times)
Ali
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« Topic Start: May 25, 2010, 03:18:28 pm »

Hi there, everyone! 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)?

Thanks so much, everyone! I really look forward to hearing more from you! Smiley

--Ali
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« Reply #1: June 08, 2010, 10:58:44 pm »

Hello,

My name is John and I just registered on this forum. You posted an interesting read about coming-of-age rituals. I just wanted to say that abstinence, virginity and freedom from marriage is a choice for those who want to do it. From one point of view, the advice is to avoid sex to prevent STDs / HIV / AIDS and prevent unwanted pregnancies. You can also prevent costs such as $300 Divorce cost and prevent risk of divorcing spouse taking half of your assets. Good luck.

John.
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« Reply #2: June 08, 2010, 11:08:29 pm »


Hi, John.

Welcome to The Cauldron.

Please remember to quote the post to which you are replying.  This is required by our rules, details are here.  Although you may trim quotes to include only the relevant portion(s), as I've done above, it's imperative that you include the linkback code.  This is necessary so we can follow the conversation backward accurately in case there is a need for moderation.

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« Reply #3: June 09, 2010, 12:31:55 am »


Please permit me to be the first to say that I'm really creeped out by you responding to a request for ritual suggestions for an eleven-year-old with a sexual screed.
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« Reply #4: June 09, 2010, 12:40:04 am »

Hello,

My name is John and I just registered on this forum. You posted an interesting read about coming-of-age rituals. I just wanted to say that abstinence, virginity and freedom from marriage is a choice for those who want to do it. From one point of view, the advice is to avoid sex to prevent STDs / HIV / AIDS and prevent unwanted pregnancies. You can also prevent costs such as $300 Divorce cost and prevent risk of divorcing spouse taking half of your assets. Good luck.

John.

I hear condoms and other methods of contraceptive can do the same thing. Might just be hearsay, though.
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« Reply #5: June 09, 2010, 12:47:30 am »

My name is John and I just registered on this forum. You posted an interesting read about coming-of-age rituals. I just wanted to say that abstinence, virginity and freedom from marriage is a choice for those who want to do it. From one point of view, the advice is to avoid sex to prevent STDs / HIV / AIDS and prevent unwanted pregnancies. You can also prevent costs such as $300 Divorce cost and prevent risk of divorcing spouse taking half of your assets. Good luck.

Please permit me to be the first to say that I'm really creeped out by you responding to a request for ritual suggestions for an eleven-year-old with a sexual screed.

Darkhawk beat me to it, but I do have to agree.  I can see a bit of a connection between the topic of preparing teens to become adults and to deal with adult issues, but I'm not sure if that's what you're getting at.  I don't know a lot about coming of age rituals, but I can see how some cultures might include some kind of sexual instruction.  However, it's not clear how your comments about sex education and divorces relate to the OP's request for suggestions for rites of passage.

What is the point you're trying to make?
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« Reply #6: June 09, 2010, 08:31:46 am »

My name is John and I just registered on this forum. You posted an interesting read about coming-of-age rituals. I just wanted to say that abstinence, virginity and freedom from marriage is a choice for those who want to do it.

Like others, I find this post somewhat creepy in the context of this thread. I don't see what this has to do with coming of age rituals.
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« Reply #7: June 09, 2010, 10:17:12 am »



Hi there, John. Thanks for your reply, though I agree with others that I'm not sure what it has to do with coming-of-age rituals. I see from your profile that you list yourself as "Christian," so maybe if I put my request into a more familiar context, it would help?

Judaism has the Bar/Bah Mitzvah and Catholicism has Confirmation for young people in their early teens. These rituals are a way for the larger religious community to welcome and acknowledge them as adults capable of making their own choices (and with all the responsibilities that go along with it). While some parents choose to talk about sexual maturity and responsibility around this time, I think it's becoming increasingly common for parents to bring up these issues well before the actual onset of puberty (my partner's children have already had talks with us about both sexual and non-sexual romantic relationships, during their parents divorce and their mother's recent remarriage).

Primarily, however, the coming-of-age ritual as I understand it is much more about the relationship between the young person and the community, a way of acknowledging and celebrating their emergence from the dependence of childhood, into independence and participation within the adult community. In many of the Pagan coming-of-age rituals I've heard about, the focus is on giving the young person the space and support to explore their own self-identity away from the community for a time - a retreat into the woods or time doing interior journaling/meditative work - in preparation for a culminating "reintegration" ceremony where they are welcomed back and encouraged to share and express their developing understanding of who they are. The idea being that we cannot be responsible, active members of a community unless we have spent time getting to know our own deep selves.

In Christianity in particular (in my experience - I was raised Catholic), I think there is a much stronger emphasis on learning about and willingly agreeing to the various traditions and doctrines of the religious community, with much less emphasis on self-exploration. Perhaps this is where your comment on sexual relations ties in? (Though I feel like that's a stretch.)


Anyway, for anyone else reading, I'd still very much love to hear ideas or experiences if you're willing to share! I've been doing some research on my own (and may perhaps come back to this thread to post about them eventually), but in the meantime, I'm all ears! Smiley

--Ali
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« Reply #8: July 22, 2010, 10:00:26 am »


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)?

Ah! What a great topic. I am hoping that others find it and are able to reply. My son is too young for such a thing, but I think like most pagans, we are "winging it" as our culture does not have such a ritual/rite. I know of several parents who have done things for girls menarche, but now that I have a little boy, I wonder what is appropriate when the time comes...
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« Reply #9: July 22, 2010, 12:09:08 pm »


Judaism has the Bar/Bah Mitzvah and Catholicism has Confirmation for young people in their early teens. These rituals are a way for the larger religious community to welcome and acknowledge them as adults capable of making their own choices (and with all the responsibilities that go along with it).
(snip)

A bar or bat mitzvah in Judaism is sort of about making their own choices as adults.  It's that they are now responsible, instead of their parents, for keeping the 614 commandments (mitzvot). They are also eligiable to lead religious services and be counted as part of the minimum number of people needed to say certain prayers.

In a pagan context they'd be allowed to lead a circle instead of just being part of it.

Depending upon the pagan tradition, leading a ritual may be one way to cap or start the cerimony.

I will suggest that after going thru the ceremony, that there really be a change of status, either within the US legal framework or within the religoius community framework.
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« Reply #10: July 22, 2010, 07:52:42 pm »

I will suggest that after going thru the ceremony, that there really be a change of status, either within the US legal framework or within the religoius community framework.
THIS.

IMO, it's not whether there's a formal ritual or ceremony to mark it that's significant, it's whether the young person is treated as an adult member of the community after passing the milestone in question.

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« Reply #11: July 22, 2010, 08:38:25 pm »

I will suggest that after going thru the ceremony, that there really be a change of status, either within the US legal framework or within the religoius community framework.

my oldest will be ten in November, and I look at a few things when going for rite of passage demarcations.  First and foremost, it can't be made up.  It has to be something real and significant in which you can give an appropriate degree of adult privilege and adult responsibility in a way that the person experiencing the passage is prepared for and capable of handling successfully.  Giving someone a rite of passage to have them feel they failed to maintain the degree of responsibility that passage involves wouldn't be confidence building.

A watch has been the most significant rite of passage that my oldest has received.  The responsibility to keep time, to be allowed the privilege of walking to a friends house without an adult holding his hand and being given a time to be home by.

Presentation of said watch might have been done in a shiny and significant way.  We're sort of understated so he was given the watch as a condition of some additional freedom.

Perhaps an introductory initiation to the stove or an allowance increase might be things you can work into a ritualized moment but I would be careful to avoid rituals that focus on the giving up of one thing for another at this point.  I know at 11 I was in no way ready to give up dolls for dating.  I was probably somewhere around playing with the dolls when no one was looking and pretending I knew what boys liked and what was 'fashionable' at the time.

Maybe an introduction to the hair straightener, or a first trip to get a pedicure might be age appropriate and a bonding experience, with a token gift like a charm or an inexpensive watch or scarf.
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« Reply #12: January 24, 2011, 12:55:24 am »

A bar or bat mitzvah in Judaism is sort of about making their own choices as adults.  It's that they are now responsible, instead of their parents, for keeping the 614 commandments (mitzvot). They are also eligiable to lead religious services and be counted as part of the minimum number of people needed to say certain prayers.

In a pagan context they'd be allowed to lead a circle instead of just being part of it.

Depending upon the pagan tradition, leading a ritual may be one way to cap or start the cerimony.

I will suggest that after going thru the ceremony, that there really be a change of status, either within the US legal framework or within the religoius community framework.




i do not think i was ready for you to put words in quotation marks. i'll think about what you really want when you put your search in quotes and try to return something that makes sense.
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« Reply #13: January 24, 2011, 06:02:22 am »




i do not think i was ready for you to put words in quotation marks. i'll think about what you really want when you put your search in quotes and try to return something that makes sense.


Uh, what? Your post makes zero sense to me.
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« Reply #14: January 24, 2011, 12:34:39 pm »

Uh, what? Your post makes zero sense to me.

ESL troll?

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