Introducing the Rites of Passage interview series

What is a Rite of Passage? Do we need them? How do we bring the thread of ancient rites into a modern vision that can serve the youth and the world now? Does gender matter? How can we incorporate these experiences into our communities and our everyday lives?

These are some of the questions that I have been fascinated with for some time.

Over the last few years as my work and experience in Rites of Passage has developed so have the questions' significance and their weight- knocking louder in my heart and asking for attention. I realised I needed to - and it was in fact my responsibility as a guide to - go deeper into these questions and allow them to take me on a journey so that I may better serve.

Since I can remember I have been fascinated by Rites of Passage and the intimate spaces and times of transition. This has taken the form of both being a midwife for over ten years and working as a wilderness guide with youth and wilderness Rites of Passage for over 7 years.

The more I have been around ROP the more I have been moved and changed by their importance and relevance at this time in our history. But with this also comes a growing astuteness and curiosity into how we can make these experiences more relevant, connected and imbedded in our societies. The world needs people to be in connection with their inner and outer nature.

In 2018 after an incredible year of running programs I decided - or perhaps the universe did - it was time to go and be on pilgrimage again. The questions felt like doorways and my thirst to walk through and enrich the work was bubbling excitedly- it was time to meet them. I left my contract in Bristol to let the work and mystery unfold. I was given an amazing opportunity to go to the USA and assist with the School of Lost borders on a women's vision quest and so took it as the opening I needed to explore these questions further.

The USA has a far greater network of Rites of Passage organisations that have importantly been running for many years. I knew that I needed to speak with those who were actively working now in Rites of Passage work to gather and share experiences of what is arising in this work. I spent at least 6 months researching and connecting with guides and organisations some of which I knew and some I didn't. Amazingly, it so happened that through this research I met many who felt the same - as if I had tapped into a river of questions that had also been quickening for many others.

The decision was made to hold a rites of passage gathering in California for women which is a story to come. This became a central piece and anchored the rest of my journey. I spent 3 months meeting and interviewing guides from California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado. This includes speaking with both women and men.

What is important to say is that the intention of these interviews was to learn and share. It reminds me of what I hope education can be- to allow the questions to move you and grow curiosity even more. The intention is that this will serve the work and thus the youth and perhaps even more importantly the earth. By sharing them here I hope that this will grow interest and support for this work.

Israh Goodall