“When I emerged from my own initiation three years ago, I wondered how the experience would continue to impact me. Naturally, the next two years unfolded how they were supposed to. By creating an intentional and ritual separation from my mother and my childhood, I created enough space to finally connect to my core and discover the essence of who I was as a woman. And I found that as I followed this deep, feminine, instinctual self, more and more opportunities and connections flowed naturally into my life.”
SYLVIE LAM > Boulder, CO
Becoming an adult is one of the most important transitions of our lives. As we emerge into adulthood, we become responsible for our own lives. Our relationship to our parents changes—we leave the home nest to become children of the Divine world that surrounds and flows through us.
Too often this transition is not acknowledged, and as adolescents we may feel bewildered by what is happening to us. We can feel like a blind person feeling their way through a mass of new feelings, expectations, and possibilities, with no clear wisdom to guide us.
Inwardly, we may sense the need for help making this transition, but this need can feel out of place in a world that doesn’t have time to deal with us and that doesn’t acknowledge the importance of this crucial time.
The answer to this natural longing for a real and effective transition into adulthood is initiation, where we are guided to meet our deepest selves, moving from being children nurtured by our parents into adults nurtured by the world.
The process of initiation is different for women and men. Both men and women have important roles to play in our communities. When these unique roles are not respected, the culture can get out of balance. Both women and men have the masculine and the feminine within them; and both men and women need to be empowered to be complete and valued in who they are.
This outlook can feel a bit old-fashioned amid current discussions around gender identity. The foundation of this work is a view that as humans, we have an enduring character with certain possibilities and limitations. There are many aspects of reality that our minds may struggle with, but the path of wisdom is about opening to how things are and being committed to continuous learning.
In initiation, we offer the possibility of discovering something much deeper. What is the feminine and what is the masculine? What are the particular gifts that a man or woman might bring to the world? And even more importantly, what does it mean to be you—with your particular sensibilities, callings, talents, and obstacles?
Applications to these mentored programs are open only to young people aged 16 to 24. The initiation is individualized for each candidate and structured differently for women and men. Both programs are supervised by elder tradition-holders who are trained and authorized to offer support for the transition to adulthood.
Initiation into adulthood for young women
Sacred Emergence is overseen by the Initiation Council for Young Women, a group of tradition-holders trained in supporting girls’ transition into adulthood.
Initiation into adulthood for young men
Sacred Awakening is overseen by the Initiation Council for Young Men, a group of tradition-holders trained in supporting boys’ transition into adulthood.