Rights to Rites
Robert Fallon • Published March 2015

Robert Fallon blogs about Wildnature’s Rites of Passage Camps (2015) for boys and girls.

How and when did you “become” an adult? Who guided you? Did you celebrate or cringe in a corner when someone called you a “teenager”? If you are a parent, how will you mark your child’s journey into adulthood? I had no initiation into adulthood…it created problems for me, but also led to the drive I now feel to bring Rites of Passage into the mainstream for boys and girls.

For me, the Boy’s Rites of Passage Camp, was the culmination of a 12 year vision. I am so excited that 2015 will see Wildnature delivering another camp for boys, and also launch a camp for girls – WILD AWAKE.

As a young man in my late 20’s, I thought I knew quite a lot about the world and myself! Two calamities changed that. I separated from the mother of my first child, and one of my dearest friends died through suicide. That showed me I had much to learn still.

These losses propelled me into the arena of Men’s work, where I attended the Mankind Project - New Warrior Adventure. An intense experiential weekend, this training enabled me to stand completely in my own skin, probably for the first time in my life! On this training, men are guided to find their ‘mission’, a statement condensing the personal gift or work they in particular bring to this planet and their communities. Even back then, I had a sense that my own lack of initiation had a critical importance on the events later in my life. I began to know then that “to hand back the birth rite of initiation to our children”, was the first part of my MISSION…rites are a right for our young people…but how to make it happen??

But back then one thing was missing, - and this was Nature! I had always been into the outdoors as a kid. I think I was in the last generation that played in the woods - we had no I pads or video games back then! So I look back now and see it was no coincidence that I discovered Bush craft. The particular tradition I learnt was from a North American Lipan Apache lineage. This highly intelligent indigenous knowledge has an intrinsic deep ecology, expanded awareness or mindfulness /embodiment practices and community regenerative technologies built into its traditions. Through this teaching, I began to understand that deep nature connection was the missing link in the initiatory experience. That only by understanding Nature and our own place within the planets ecosystem - not just conceptually, but as a living experience moment to moment - could we achieve the becoming needed to be a true and purposeful human being. I feel sad as I believe that our culture has lost so much of this essential guiding experience that young people need in their lives. Youth crime. Extremism. High suicide-rates. Substance abuse, All are signs we have lost our way - for young people especially. We seem to uphold youthfulness and a juvenile sensibility, all in the name of consumerism and a capitalist society, and at the same time pay the price of destroying our earth - the only home we have to live in, and robbing the future for all the children yet to come. Sorry rant over…

What can we do? We can start to re-member our own lost traditions. Use of sciences, such as psychology, anthropology combined with the study of intact indigenous cultures (such as the San Bushmen) can help guide our plans. Some intact rites still operate in many western cultures, and they should be celebrated, however there is one fundamental aspect which seems absent, and that is the imperative attention to nature. I believe a stable society and a stable economy is impossible without a stable ecosystem. If we cannot empower our young adults to champion the protection of our planet, then who will?

On a personal note, I am so very proud to have been able to been a guide to many of the young people in my personal community. ‘H’ who I have known forever, attended the first rites camp, and came back from his first “Quest Night” having met and faced his edge and the humility of knowing this time he was not ready to go beyond it. He returned on our next Rites, only to “fly” with so much confidence and skill - truly stepping into his power as a young man, and being able to meet and move way past his previous limitations. Feelings like this are beyond words.

Another young man, ‘J’ attended presenting with some serious issues. Through very careful mentoring and intervention he was able to transform his relationship to himself, as much from our holding his process, as Mother Nature showing him the true quality of his reality, and the joy and awe in seeing beyond the limiting self. I am privileged to still be mentoring him, and having his youthful wisdom present on future camps where he continues to be an inspiration for other young men he meets.

For girls I know that there are different pressures and needs – but I am confident that the Wild Awake Camp will be equally powerful. What do you think? Have you got any great Rites experience to share? Any disasters? What has worked for you/your children? What would you like to see included in our Camps this year? Join us on Facebook and let us know your thoughts.

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