Nearly every culture on the planet shows evidence of a ceremonial marking of the passage from youth to adulthood, undertaken consciously, and witnessed by the community. An initiation marking this passage into adulthood and confirming responsible participation in the world can be seen as an integral part of human development. Many modern societies have lost such traditions, often resulting in a confusing attempt at self-initiation, a testing of the extreme limits of feeling and behavior, from ecstasy to revolt to a dance with death. And for many, the alternative is just conforming, accepting the status quo--the search for an authentic self-knowing never takes place.
Culturally-specific rituals are now re-emerging and evolving so that adolescents may be appropriately met, challenged, inspired, and mentored into adulthood. The intentional marking of these transitions is not only significant for the young initiate, but equally so for the family and for the entire community or school.