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Unbelievable Initiation Rituals

Last night I watched this interesting video of Apachi female rights of passage.  It is very interesting and sweet.  But......


It got me thinking about western youth in general and of course my own son. Non tribal cultures lack meaningful rituals providing rights of passage. I certainly was not provided any form of right of passage, quite the opposite. My adoptive mother was unfortunately more than annoyed with me on the day of my first moon cycle and no mark, except a negative one, was placed upon my transition. (She was going through her own stuff.)

I thought to myself that maybe I've neglected to provide my own son with some sort of right? I'm still contemplating that...in the meantime....I thought I'd research some traditional ways boys are symbolically transitioned from boyhood to manhood through ritual ceremony in tribal cultures.

Oh boy, did I find out some stuff that made my stomach turn and my head spin. 

I cannot fathom the strangeness of the human being and the choices he/she makes and superstitions therein.

Brace yourself.

Male Rites of Passages from Around the World - WOW

The one where they have to put their hand in the glove of bullet ants and not express any emotion seems like child's play after what I learned the Sambia men of Papa New Guinea do to their young male youth.

In my opinion the Sambia men should literally be arrested for crimes against humanity.

I don't care what their cultural traditions are, some things are just systemized abuse. 

(May I remind that the origin of the word 'tradition' is traitor.)

The more I learn of systematic ritualism the more I don't like it.  It becomes unavoidably corrupted.

Maybe if a person needs a ritual ceremony to mark a life transition it should be done by the individual themselves or a close friend. Privately.  Not by a cult group of superstitious perverts. 



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Replies (3)
  • Rites of passage are in every culture except that in the modern setting it is harder to discern it because of rapid transit of bodies and ideas. This rapidity is related to the development of smelting metal, manufacture electricity on demand and the discovery and refinement of petroleum.

    Metals meant the Guttenberg printing press which caused the rapid transit of information. Electricity meant the convenient control of light (like sunlight). Petroleum meant the gasoline combustion engine which caused horses to be replaced by machine.

    Even no ceremony is itself a rite of passage based on the fact that a transit rapidly-changing culture cannot represent itself by anything permanent as in the sense of village life thousands of years ago.

    A rite of passage must come out of the way of life and influences of the time. This means the associations in the form of relatives, school friends, media influence and societal pressure must create that rite of passage. Right now, in America the media has the biggest influence in my opinion. Therefore, it should create the major part of the rite of passage for youths.

    And let me take a look at the rites of passage of lower mammals like tigers and birds. How do they recognize or appraise the maturity of their young?

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    • Ultimately Nature sets all the developmental stages this life and beyond.

      In the animal kingdom, they follow through without concern.

      As humans, our sense of civilization or organization implies that we mark such transition(s). But indeed that can be achieved in different ways. A sound pep talk as to responsibilities towards self, life and living, can be of assistance.

      In my dream rite, I will be shown to raise the life force and explained the implication of its character towards the core self. But that also happens.

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      • There should be and has been as will continue to be strong reactions, opposition, and outrage to “barbaric” rites. They maybe have been accepted at certain times, but more and more they are opposed. There are international organizations that diligently work at educating against these practices.


        That work is important as a way of decreasing human suffering by way of educating folks as to the uselessness and harm caused by these beliefs. They include amongst others male circumcision as well as female incision and its more dire form of infibulation; a long conversation for another day perhaps.


        Aside from that consideration, which has to do with human societal activity, there is nature’s own mechanics. The two I see running parallel. Animals are simply subjected to the directives of nature, but as humans, we have sense of civilization and we act willfully. Our actions are subject to change and adaption according to time and place. Many of those rites had their significance in their by-gone contexts.


        Their definition of a body was different, it belongs to the group not really the individual. Even further back the fate of the community would be considered in peril because one individual was not adequately “processed”. So for instance a bad natural event or drought causing lack of harvest would be cause for pointing the finger. And now, in the modern context, the individuals find their significance in a broader context that includes the media and their peers.   


        I consider rites as being many and dependent on the developmental stage, some stages are more marked according to the needs of the society. But the end of life rites, I also consider rites in their own right. For me, those are the most important ones that I need to prepare for. Though nearly all human societies (and some animal ones, sporadically – such as the elephants) would rather have the last rites to be ceremonial and important, in terms of what practices they carry on with the decomposing or degrading carcass or dead body, human or otherwise.


        By dream rite, I muse myself at the experience of raising the life force specifically. But of course, that can take place at pretty much any age that is capable to follow the instructions. I consider having shown my young relatives to raise the energy an initiation rite into mysticism.
        Aside from that, my own circumcision was part of an initiation rite, as it was a group of a handful of neighbor peers that were subjected to the practice (that I consider typically unjustified regardless). The details of that rite, their cultural and moral significance as well as its gradual lowering in age from puberty to at my time, elementary school age (latest middle school – in the cities) to now only babies could also be elaborate writing for another time.

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