How to Design Your Own Rite of Passage - Experiential Online Animism Class
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How to Design Your Own Rite of Passage

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 Man, the Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow a challenge that allowed them to prove themselves to others and themselves. This is what you have to do too. 

The trial should be something that scares you, stretches you, and tests your mental and emotional strength. Make it meaningful. If it’s not meaningful, what’s the point? There should also be a penalty for failure. It’s not a real challenge if you can just back out with no consequences. That’s not a rite of passage. That’s a whim.

At the same time, you don’t want to make it ridiculously hard either.

Into the Wild is a true story of Christopher McCandless, a young man who dropped out of college to become a tramp. He hitch hiked across the country, into Mexico, and finally up to Alaska where he was woefully unprepared to be in the wilderness all alone. So whatever you do, make sure you do your research and adequately prepare for what you’re taking on. 

If things don’t go the way you planned, maybe that’s the gift. In 127 Hours, another movie based on a true story, things didn’t go the way the hero of the story planned, but one could say that he absolutely grew from the experience anyway. 

Do It

We all can get bogged down by analysis paralysis. Don’t let your planning keep you from actually pulling the trigger and going. 

You may want to hold yourself accountable by:

  • setting a date
  • telling people
  • doing something that shows you have skin in the game


Have you undergone any rites of passage? How did it change you? Share in the comments!

If you like this and want to explore more, join us in our experiential online animism class.


Laura grew up with animism. She is a co-founder of Pan Society, a licensed clinical social worker, author of Angel Whispering: How to Talk to Your Spiritual Guides and How To Be A Panist: A Guide to Creating a Modern Animist Lifestyle. She also facilitates spiritual pilgrimages. For more information about Laura Giles, see her websites at

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