“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

- Maya Angelou

What is a Rite of passage?


Deeply tuned-in to the cycles of nature and the never-ending spirals of death and rebirth, ancient societies around the world created rituals of initiation to mark, celebrate, and make sense of these great mysteries. We go through many significant transitions, identity shifts, and developmental stages throughout our lives. Marking these transitions through ceremonial rites of passage offers us the opportunity to initiate ourselves into our lives, our communities, and our place on this earth in new ways.

Why is it Important?

We are living in a world that is becoming more and more separated from nature and true community. The ancient ceremonies and initiatory rites of passage that were once practiced by our ancestors have almost been forgotten. Our instinctive need for initiation has been forced underground, into the unconscious, only to show up later through self-destructive behaviors, ecological destruction, and the devastation of human rights. We believe the renewal of meaningful, modern-day rites of passage are essential for the health of ourselves, our communities, and our planet. A rite of passage helps us to be honored and celebrated for our true nature and inherent gifts, so that we may show up more fully in better care for ourselves, our families, and our communities.

To learn more, visit our resources section and our cultural relations page.


Anthropologists have identified three archetypal phases in most rites of passage and the vision fast ceremony we offer is structured around these phases:



The first phase we call 'severance', which is a severing from your day-to-day life. It is preparation for the vision fast, and the time to ask: "Who am I now? And what do I need to leave behind to move forward?" This process of "letting go" can be difficult, but is the first step in marking the truth of who you are and the gifts you bring to the world.



The second phase we call the 'threshold' or the liminal time. This time begins when you step alone across the threshold into the natural world. You will find yourself in a realm between your old life, and the life that has yet to come. In the vision fast ceremony, the threshold is when you are alone in nature for four days and nights.



The third phase we call 'incorporation', which literally means “taking into the body.” As you return across the threshold, you are reunited with your group and guides. They will listen to and mirror back your story. This is a time to incorporate all you learned on your rite of passage and get the support you need to bring it back to your community.

“Initiation causes a funeral and a birth; a mourning appropriate to death and a joyous celebration for the restoration of a full life...”

- Michael Meade

So, are you ready to die? Are you ready to be reborn more fully into life?

If you’ve read this far, it may be too late. The call of the ancient mysteries of initiatory rites of passage are already demanding your attention. Once the call is heard, there is little chance of turning back. But take your time; listen for what is right.

Or just forget that this idea ever came into your mind.