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rite of passage

How to Design Your Own Rite of Passage

In a previous article we explained what is a rite of passage. Now that we have that straight, let's talk about how to design your own rite of passage. It's the perfect thing for committing to changing your life and getting out of a rut. Set Your Intention The first thing we have to do is set your intention. What is this experience designed to accomplish? Are you moving from being single to coupled? Do want to you die well? The rite of passage should lead you to your goal. Remember the goal has two parts. You're letting go of something so that something else can be born. For instance, we kill the boy so that the man can be born. It's an irrevocable contract.  Challenge Yourself The Wizard of Oz gave Dorothy, the Tin...

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what are rites of passage

What is a Rite of Passage?

Loneliness is epidemic in modern society. Many, I believe rightly so, point to the lack of rites of passage as a major contributor to the problem. Rites of passage let us know where we stand and to whom we belong. Without that, we can feel lost. So what is a rite of passage exactly?  Elements of the Rite of Passage If we want to understand rites of passage, we have to identify the elements. Cultural anthropologist, Arnold van Gennep, describes the stages as separation, liminal, and incorporation. Imagine you are standing with your friends in a room and want to get to the next room. You have to walk away from them to begin that process, right? This is the separation stage. Some modern people see rites of passage as things like getting your...

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when does a woman become a crone

When Does a Woman Become a Crone?

When does a woman become a crone? Does it happen when she stops menstruating? When she reaches retirement age? When she decides she's there?  Everyone knows when a girl becomes a woman. It is a physical thing that happens when her body is ready to reproduce. It doesn't really matter if the girl is mentally or emotionally ready or not. Unfortunately, the Crone stage is not so black and white. In cultures where girls grow up with a moon lodge, it makes sense to time the Crone stage with menstruation. We know that menstrual blood has the power of life. When a woman retains all that energy for herself and no longer has anyone to care for, so she can use her energy for herself - she becomes a force to be...

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playing with boogie men

Playing With Boogie Men

It's time that we talked about playing with boogie men.Animism is a complimentary dualistic spiritual path. That means that light and dark are partners. We only have day because of night as everything exists on a continuum. For example, at the equinoxes, day and night are equal length. At the solstices, day or night are at their peak strength. So, there is never any time when one is ever absent. When we apply this to the spirit world, this means that all spirits are not "good" or "safe." If you flirt with the darker or slower vibration ones, you could get into serious trouble. Now, I hate religions that use fear to control you. This is not that. This is just about shining a light on potential danger so that you learn to...

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including the children

Including Children in Animism

Children are a part of life in animism. There are few things where there are separations based on age or gender, and children go almost everywhere. In fact, it may be a good way to keep your animist lifestyle in check. So why not include children in animism?When we have dances and celebrations, even if they include alcohol, children are there. They learn how to behave appropriately, celebrate, and socialize without getting loud, drunk, or being out of control. It's training for adulthood.During the process of dying and when someone has a funeral, children participate. They learn how to feel, grieve, express, and let go. They learn that life and death are partners. Death isn't something to fear. When this is normalized, the whole way that someone goes through life...

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healing protective yews

Getting Acquainted with Healing, Protective Yews

I was in Glastonbury, England when I first encountered healing, protective yews. It makes me wistful just to think about it as those majestic, ancient yews don't grow here.  As I wandered around the gardens at the Chalice Well, I suddenly became very emotional. I didn't know why. All I knew is that something (or someone) in the vicinity was putting out such loving, compassionate energy that I felt my guard go down. I felt curiously open, and I began to feel everything inside of me - not in a way that I could speak. It was deeper and went beyond words. It wasn't until my next visit there, the following year, that I realized it was the yew that was responsible.  In the same garden, in the same place, I got another...

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where are you going

Where Are You Going?

Where are you going that you're walking so fast? What's so important that you can't slow down? Do you notice the blue sky or watch as your puppy growls for the first time? Your thoughts don't stop even when you're sleeping. You wake up to an alarm clock, jump on the treadmill, and eat on the run. There is no pause until the moon is high in the sky. Where are you going? Don't you know that life moves in a circle? There is nowhere to go but right back here. So what if you get "there" first? Who rushes to finish a good meal first, to speed through love making, or to die first? Wouldn't savoring make your life more memorable? More juicy? Or is it about accumulating the "most?" Most what? Life? One day,...

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Worshipping and Appeasing Nature Spirits in Animism

Whenever I see definitions of animism written by Christians or anthropologists, the meaning always includes this idea that we engage in worshipping and appeasing nature spirits. (sigh) This is what happens when outsiders define you. This doesn't come close to capturing what we really do. Nature isn't separate to the animist. When we look outside, we see our tree brothers and our cloud sisters. While we may not be able to see our tree spirit brothers or our nuckelavee spirit sisters, we know that they are there too. Sometimes the invisible world includes the spirits that inhabit a thing, but is separate from the thing, as with the tree spirit. Sometimes they are nonphysical beings, as with the nuckelavee. Either way, we acknowledge and honor them because they are a part of...

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tree planting ritual

An Animist Tree Planting Ritual

Spring is well under way. Everything is greening up and coming alive. It's the perfect time for renewing life. If you're planning on doing this by adding trees to your landscape, why not include an animist tree planting ritual?  WHY DO A TREE PLANTING RITUAL? Everything in animism is symbolic. Trees symbolize:lifedeep rootscontributing to things you may not live long enough to enjoy or see the full benefit oftransformationuniongrowthnourishmentshelterwisdommedicineRather than simply planting a tree with no fanfare, you may wish to do a tree planting ritual to bring the energy of your intention into the world. You could plant a tree for peace, to commemorate your wedding, to honor Mother Earth, to mark the birth of a child, or to bless a new business venture.WHAT TREE TO PLANT?Specific trees have qualities of...

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