Rite of Passage Essay

Rite of Passage Essay

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"…He posited ‘things’ as possessing being…No wonder he later always discovered in things only that which he had put into them!" – Nietzsche

The Rites of passage are classically viewed as the method by which age-superior members of the society transmit new and powerful knowledge to the young as part of the initiation into a new state of being. Some initiations involve a tangible progression, from one occupation or status group to another. Other initiations are passages of an intangible nature, involving the acquisition of metaphysical knowledge and abilities.

Since the age of antiquity the Rite of Passage was one that occurred around the time of puberty and had two predominant functions. The first was to cause a transformation of the child’s response systems from dependence to responsibility (Campbell 46). The second, and fundamental utility, was to facilitate a revelation of the world of sex, birth and life- the sacred world (Raphael 78). These were ritualized spiritual rebirths. The Rites of Passage are a ritual, which is by definition a set of repetitive behaviors intended to communicate sacred symbols, that is performed with the intent of ensuring a psychological transformation within the participant.

The Rite of Passage in and of itself is merely a framework. This framing is necessary because Man is a creature of paradox. He is a being of Primary Symbolic Unconsciousness and Articulated Linguistic Consciousness, both inextricably bound together in the ultimate tool, the transcendent vehicle that man has created to continue his evolution- his intellect. The paradox is this: the symbolic mind is the seat of hopes, desires, fears, and intuition. This is the fabric of dreams. This is man before his suggested d...


... middle of paper ...


...but it is true- man is expressing supreme knowledge of things with language because these things are just articulations of inner symbolic territory. And it is for this reason that he finds in things only that which he put there!

Works Cited

Campbell, Joseph. The Inner Reaches of Outer Space. New York: HarperPerennial, 1986

Campbell, Joseph. Myths to Live By. New York: Viking, 1973

Elkin, A.P. Aboriginal Men of High Degree. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions, 1994

Harner, Micheal. Jivaro: People of the Sacred Waterfall. New York: Doubleday/Natural History, 1972

Harner, Micheal. The Way of the Shaman. New York: Bantam, 1986

Jung, C.G. Psychological Reflections. New York: Pantheon, 1953

Leakey, Richard. Origins Reconsidered. New York: Doubleday, 1992

Raphael, Ray. The Men from the Boys. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1988

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