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marking thresholds: rites of passage

Updated: May 1

Transitions are present at many thresholds along one’s journey through life, such as diurnal and seasonal shifts, coming of age, personal or global crisis or opportunities, relational changes, peak moments, elderhood, marriage, conception, adoption, exploring one's purpose, relocation, career shifts, illness/recovery, grief, celebration, beginnings, completions, menstruation, birth, and/or death, to name a few. "Marking a threshold is considered a sanction of vitality and imagination that can enrich the individual and collective body, psyche, spirit, earth, and community" One way of guiding the focus of life transitions and sustaining the vitality and balance of an individual and the community is through rites of passage. Rites of passage open the individual in transition to transformative and/or healing experiences--making one’s life transition clear and capable of integrating the medicine and generating movement; rites of passage were and are considered a sanction of the vitality and imagination that can enrich the individual and collective body, nature, psyche, community, and spirit.

A transition implies a death and a rebirth--literally and metaphorically: the death of the old and the birth of the not yet known. Intentional practice of living and dying--or marking a threshold--serves as a creative muse--an unwavering remembrance of the delicate nature of reality--which has the potential to alter consciousness and create a bridge for connecting one's body and psyche with the unseen potential of the transition.

In today's modern framework, a wilderness rite of passage--also known as a vision fast ceremony--is one approach for marking thresholds. The vision fast is a sanctioned self-generated ceremony for restoring the therapeutic, healing, or transformative effects of a life-transition and weaving the literal and mythological meaning(s), thereby yielding a cultivation of re-generative movement in one's life.

Copyright 2022, Colleen Bishop | Alchemy of Prana

colleen and her fur companion, Gaia,  in the mountains

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