April 24, 2009

Boys to Men Initiation Weekend

You'll just have to forgive a few more than usual posts this month. You see I've been working with a band of brothers, 27 very solid man-makers, to put on a weekend long Rite of Passage experience for 17 adolescent males.

We had to find a location in the Arizona outback, identify and qualify the boys, and call the men to action. There was a small mountain of logistics, raising some money, deciding on the different experiences for the boys, and getting clear about what our messages about manhood we're going to be. To be sure, Spirit was present, and the gifts of inspiration, materials, location, and all the "right" men unfolded before us.

Once the weekend was launched, our version of a very ancient theater unfolded. The boys were delivered onto sacred masculine ground in the dark of the night. They were relieved of the "stuff" of the outside world and provided with enough clothing and essentials for the weekend. To the sounds of drums, the wild-eyed sons of mankind were introduced into our transformational and sacred masculine container.

For the rest of that night and for the next two days, the initiates were asked powerful questions, faced physically and emotionally challenging experiences, sang songs of strength and unity, played wild but meaning-filled games, spoke their truth to men, and faced the purifying heat of the final rituals.

When it was over, as is always the case, the boys were bonded by their common ordeal and the truths shared. They knew they had been witnessed and powerfully blessed by men. They knew they now had strong male allies and, going forward, the world would be less frightening. As new but intentional Journeymen, they stood stronger in their new selves and on the uncomfortable middle-ground between boyhood and manhood.

The men to were transformed. Their hearts had been captured by the boys and softened by tears of joy and old pain released. Men understood, at their core, the rightness of this work for them, and their place in the natural male order was made more clear. As is always the case, stronger and more open men, with wet eyes, sent the boys off in a powerful and silent goodbye at weekend's end.

The weekend was just the begining really. The Tucson group will be doing monthly group mentoring activities with their new Journeymen brothers. But for now, I and I suspect many of the males that attended, it's time to rest. A time tofigure out how to pull all these new feelings, experiences, and friends into my notions of who I am and my life. This is a very nice problem to have.

In this photo are good and "weight bearing" men, doing what ever it takes for a boys to men weekend to work.

I was saluting them in the photo and I again salute all man-makers where ever you are. This is a high and holy calling and there is much work left to do.

If you or your community is called to this work, send me a message.

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