Rite of Passage for Young Men

Letter to young men and their parents - a detailed outline of the rite of passage

Our names are Mark Steinward (shamanic healer and teacher), Graeme Jarred (adolescent spiritual counsellor) and Gareth Mansell (shamanic healer and teacher) and we will be holding space for you if you choose to go on this Rite of Passage into manhood. It is your own journey, as is life; no one can walk it for you. We are often shaped and guided by others, most of us have not learned in our western world to truly carve out our own path in our own making. We have been trained to rely upon others, to be influenced by things outside of ourselves. To be truly self-empowered means to find the answers and the way from within. To help us on this journey we need some tools. We need to be reminded how to do that and we need space to claim our self-sovereignty. We tend to be so busy and life can be so noisy, there are so many obstacles taking us away from this inner knowing, the inner stillness where our answers and our strength lie. That is why we have created this Rite of Passage, to give you the space and time you need to reclaim you.

Your hearts reach out and tell us that you already know what you need to do to step into your manhood, that you only need us to hold space for that to happen. We honour that call from your hearts to ours. Our pledge to you young men is to hold that space for you, to guide you where you need to be guided to let go of that which inhibits you from truly finding that inner power, that inner strength to be you. We will not do this for you, but we will shine the light on areas that are obviously crutches in your life keeping you smaller than you truly are. This can be confronting, stepping into our empowered manhood is not a small thing, but nothing will be forced, we totally respect your freewill. It will be up to you to decide if you let go of that which is not truly you, that which keeps you small, perhaps keeps you safe but equally keeps you separated from life.

How will this be facilitated?
By giving you space and time to find you. Once we settle the noise quietens and we begin to hear our heart, its beat, its rhythm. This is quite natural.

Processes to get us there:
Journey to discover what is important for me in this life, what truly matters?
Like everyone else on this planet, we too will one day leave it. We come into this world and ultimately leave it naked. We cannot actually take anything physical with us, our possessions, our relationships, our intellect etc. Knowing this, what then will be important for you, what will shape your life? What are the morals and guiding principles that you will live by? What is your purpose and how will you gauge that knowing that anything physical will ultimately be left behind.
To answer these questions is a very personal journey; every man must ultimately answer them for himself. To help you we will do a guided journey to your deathbed. We will travel forward in time to get answers and wisdom from the old you to help you identify what will be truly important for you in this life.

Tools to help us stay on track
The first journey helps give us the big picture, but how can we stay on track moment by moment, challenge by challenge? It is tempting in life to be swayed by others and their opinions or to rely on our rational logical mind to give us the answers (which can be limited by what we know and the influences of our environment). Yet deep inside us, within our heart is access to an inner knowing, an inner strength that is beyond the mind and allows us to harness the boundless wisdom, beauty and strength of our spirit. To help us access this place we need to practice.

You will identify one challenge in your life, one question you are unsure about and you will journey to this deep place inside to find the answer. You will then take this question into nature to allow it to speak to you and deepen the lessons you have already learned from within.

The processes above will be your own. We will guide you but you will do them. We trust that the answers will come to you, that nature will speak to you, that you only need space to access your power and purpose, the inner knowing that is within your very heart, woven within the fibre of your being. You are connected to all that is; we will provide the opportunity for you to remember that.

Identify what it is we have taken on through our life that has shaped our reality of who we think we are? Letting go of that which is not us.
It is our belief that we come into this world already connected to all that is, connected to our purpose, our passion, our inner light and knowing. We simply are. However, even from the time in the womb, we take on energies, thoughts and opinions from our environment that begins to obscure that inner knowing.

To give an example of this Mark Steinward illustrates his own personal experience. ‘When I was in my mother’s tummy my father was having an affair and left when I was just six months old. My mother felt unlovable and fell into deep depression. At that young age we are like energetic sponges unable to differentiate our own energy from those around us (particularly our parents who we are so reliant on and connected to). As a result I took on from my mother that I was unlovable too – it energetically went straight into me. This was physically reinforced by my mother who did a great job in providing for our financial needs, but was unable to emotionally love me. She simply had no love to share with me at that time. I took on from her that I was deeply unlovable and that there must be something wrong with me, just as my mother was feeling there must have been something wrong with her for her husband to have left. I grew up with this inside me totally unaware that it was not my energy; I had simply taken it on from my mother. Through some simple techniques, I was able to locate that energy and remove it from me’.

We will do tried and tested processes to help you identify what you have taken on throughout your life that is not yours. This may be energy, thoughts, words, labels, opinions etc. from peers, teachers, parents, those in the medical profession, loved ones and so on. As this is ultimately just energy and is not actually your own, we will do some strong techniques to help you safely remove these from your system so that your own natural well-being can shine through.

This process needs to be strong as these energies can be deeply ingrained within us. To get these out is an emotional, physical and energetic process not a mental one. You may need to scream that anger and frustration out that is not yours, you may need to swear, to cry. You will know what is needed to remove them from your system and we have some powerful techniques to help support you. This may be challenging, it may not be easy. We will help guide you but you will need to do the work. You will need to liberate you and the more intent you have to free yourself of that old, limiting energy handed down from generation to generation, the deeper you will go and the stronger will be the result.

If you are uncomfortable with strong emotions being released, powerful deep stuff, this is not a rite of passage for you. We will hold strong space for you and are experienced in doing this work with many people so we truly believe you are in good hands. Yet it is important that you know this is deep work.

Reclaiming personal power that has been given or taken away.
Throughout your life you may have given power away or had it taken from you. We will do some simple yet effective processes to discover and recover this lost power. Again another example from Mark Steinward to illustrate how we can give our power away: ‘To help support my mother when she was dark and depressed when I was very young, I gave her a lot of my light and joy. I did this unconsciously to help prop her up so that she would feel better and also be in a brighter space to mother me. To become whole again I needed to reclaim that energy. My mother has her own personal power to support her she did not need mine, nor did it have a big impact upon her when I gave it away. Yet it had a huge effect upon me making it that much harder to achieve the things I wanted to in this life or to experience joy. Equally there have been times in my life where people have consciously or unconsciously taken my power away to dominate or control me. In both cases I needed to reclaim my personal power to become whole again.’

Now that I am more me than ever before, what do I want to do with my life?
We will do some guided processes and spend time alone in nature to help you identify your purpose, what you want to do with your life. When you return from being in nature you will make an item to harness that vision and give you strength for the journey to come.

Sweat lodge purification ceremony
This is an ancient purification ceremony where you will enter what is called a sweat lodge (a dome shaped structure) to purify under heat and steam from hot rocks. You will sing sacred songs and sweat out many toxins held within the body. The sweat lodge gets hotter and hotter with each round. (You will have the opportunity to get out at any stage should the heat begin to overwhelm you.)

Acknowledgement ceremony where you are welcomed back to your community
We will conclude the Rite of Passage by being welcomed back to your community, loved ones, family and friends. Invite anyone you want to be there to welcome you back and to acknowledge that you have changed. It is important that significant people in your life witness this so that they treat you accordingly – as a man who has undergone a powerful Rite of Passage, not the young person they once knew.

Course format and timetable (approximate, may vary on the day depending on group needs)

Monday 27th of July 8:15-9:15pm: Preparation Evening Parents are invited to attend. Venue is the Beacon Yoga Centre, 151 South St entry to the hall is off Field Street.

Saturday 1st of August
• 9am : Arrival at Serpentine Retreat Centre (48 Lewis Road Serpentine)
• 9-10am : Find bedroom and settle in (1 hr)
• 10 – 1pm : Course content (3 hrs)
• 1 - 2.30pm : Lunch (1 ½ hrs)
• 2.30 – 5pm : Course content (2 ½ hrs)
• 5 – 6pm : Break (1 hrs)
• 6 – 8pm : Course content (2 hrs)
• 8pm : Dinner and retire

Sunday 2nd of August
• 7:15-8am : Breakfast
• 8.30 – 10:30am : Course content (2 hrs)
• 10:30 – 11am : Break (1/2 hr)
• 11 – 1pm : Course content (2 hrs)
• 1-3pm: Lunch and Break (2 hrs)
• 3-5pm: Course content (2 hrs)
• 5-6pm: Break (1 hr)
• 6-8pm: Course content (2 hrs)
• 8pm: Dinner and retire

Monday 3rd of August
• 7:15-8am : Breakfast
• 8.30 – 1pm : Course content vision quest (4 ½ hrs)
• 1 – 2pm : Lunch (1 hr)
• 2 – 3pm : Course content (1 hr)
• 3:30-4:30pm: Drive to sweat lodge ceremony (1 hr)
• 5-7pm: Sweat lodge and preparation (2 hrs)
• 7-8pm: Dinner (1 hr)

Monday 3rd of August 8:30-9:30pm: Acknowledgment Ceremony Evening. Family and friends are invited to welcome back and acknowledge the transition of the men. Venue is the Beacon Yoga Centre, 151 South St entry to the hall is off Field Street.

What is provided
• Vegetarian Meals
• Accommodation – 1 person per room
• Linen, pillows & doona

What to bring
• Torch
• Towel
• Clothing, toiletries
• Warm outdoor clothes (thermals recommended) and wet weather gear
• “Bach Flower Rescue Remedy” – highly recommended. Available online or from health food shops, spiritual shops, some pharmacies. For more on its benefits visit www.bachflower.com

What to leave at home
Leave behind or switch off any possible distractions from engaging in the work or the energy it brings (e.g. no books, music, internet, journals, mobile phones switched off etc.)

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WHENSaturday August 01 2015 9:00 AM - Monday August 03 2015 8:30 PM
WHERESerpentine Retreat Centre 48 Lewis Road Serpentine (map)
COSTYoung Men 16-29 $880.00

Click here to download a flyer of the event

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Rite of Passage for Young Men