Jun 10, 2016

Rites of Passage Revisited

Despite the works of engravers, nothing is truly set and finished.  All things evolve over time.  Just as holidays have evolved into something more concrete, so have the rites of passage which fuel them.  As originally presented in Section 21 of The Salt and the Light, the "Endomwnts" (rites of passage) are ceremonies during which the believer is ceremonially endowed with particular virtue necessary for the stage of life to follow. The timing of these rites is based on Erik Erikson's eight states of psychosocial development.  They are called "endowments" because they are gifts of virtue, often symbolized by another gift early on.


Rites of Childhood

These are performed under the authority of the Parental Order, are as much for the parents as they are for the children.  The rites of childhood are the simplest, and take the form of a gift/object given to the child for the first time.
  • Endowment of Hope or Naming
    • Upon birth. 
    • Hope helps with trust vs. mistrust.
    • Hope is symbolized in the form of a name.
  • Endowment of Will or Shoeing
    • Upon taking one's first steps{about 18 months - 2 years}. 
    • Will helps with autonomy vs. shame.
    • Will is symbolized by the gift of a pair of shoes.
  • Endowment of Purpose or Breeching
    • Upon potty training {about age 3 - 4}. 
    • Purpose helps with initiative vs. guilt.
    • Purpose is symbolized by the gift of underpants (in place of diapers).
  • Endowment of Competence or Confirmation
    • Upon starting primary school {about age 6}.
      • Marks the child coming into the age of reason and/or accountability.  This is the point in a child's live when one begins to be responsible for one's own actions--and therefore has the mental capacity to understand consequences.
      • This is the "Let your conscience be your guide" moment.
    • Competence helps with industry vs. inferiority.
    • Competence is symbolized by the gift of a simple piece of jewelry--ring, bracelet, or necklace:
      • For Mormons this is the CTR ring.
      • Among other Christians, it could be the WWJD bracelet/wristband.
Some children develop more slowly than others.  The age guidelines above mark the typical timeframe for these rites--but these should occur when the child passes the milestone marked.  


Rites of Adulthood - The Hero's Journey

These are performed under the authority of the Academic Orders.  These rights are the most symbolic, and correspond to the thresholds of the Monomyth--with the celebrant taking on the role of the Hero.  Using a favorite story of the celebrants, liken him or her to that story's protagonist in these rites--retell the appropriate portions of the story to give the celebrant a sense of the significance of the moment.
  • Endowment of Fidelity or Calling
    • Upon completion of primary school. {about age 10 - 13}. 
    • Fidelity helps with identity vs. role confusion.
    • During this rite, the Parental Order symbolically passes responsibility over the celebrant to the Academic Order
    • Monomyth: The Call to Adventure - Refusal of the Call
      • This is the "I don't want to grow up" moment.
  • Endowment of Love or Departure
    • Upon completion of secondary school {about age 18 - 21}. 
    • Love helps with intimacy vs. isolation.
    • Monomyth: Supernatural Aid - Crossing the Threshold - Belly of the Whale
  • Non-Endowments (celebrated as art of the holiday season)
      • Not every hero goes through every stage of the Hero's Journey, and not every young adult needs to learn to cultivate every related virtue.  If additional rites are necessary, one or more of these three Blessings can also be offered in personalized, Endowment-like ceremonies.
    • Fortitude (Monomyth: Road of Trials - Meeting with the Goddess - The Temptation)
    • Temperance (Monomyth: Atonement with the Father - Apotheosis - Ultimate Boon)
    • Humility (Monomyth: Refusal of the Return - The Magic Flight - Rescue from Without)
  • Endowment of Care or Return
    • Upon becoming capable of supporting one's own household {about age 25 - 45}. 
    • Care helps with generativity vs. stagnation.
    • Monomyth: The Return Threshold - Master of Two Worlds - Freedom to Live
My personal journey seems to have just passed the Temptation stage.  I had become complacent with my last relationship, and was content to settle without true, emotional fulfillment.  Having lost all that, I must prepare myself to confront Atonement and Apotheosis.


Rites of Old Age

These are also performed under the authority of the Academic Order
  • Endowment of Wisdom or Retirement
    • Upon formal retirement {about age 65}.
    • Wisdom helps with integrity vs. despair.
  • Endowment of Memory or Funeral / Remembrance
    • Upon death.
    • Memory helps with legacy vs. oblivion
      • It is a virtue that is endowed upon the survivors.
    • During this rite, the Academic Order symbolically passes responsibility over the celebrant to the Secret Order

Edited December 7th, 2016.

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