An initiatory process is the activation procedure for bringing a person into the authentic wisdom of responsibility and consequence.
When we are about fifteen years old we are structurally capable of beginning transitions leading to adult-level responsibility, that is, if they are provided. By fifteen we have enough matrix in our energetic body to begin holding the consciousness that shows up as taking adult-level responsibility in the world.
The child part of us wants to avoid responsibility and keep making messes without cleaning them up. If the child part is not intelligently confronted it remains in control for our entire lives. Then sadly we can only create what a child can create. This explains a lot about modern culture.
Initiatory processes are formal, irrevocable procedures through which the child part, call it the self-centered ego, is gradually and permanently taken out of power through being replaced by principles and purposes greater than ourselves.
Of necessity true initiatory processes are incomprehensibly difficult. Yet, as is evidenced in the experiment of patriarchal empire, without ongoing initiations taking us further and further into adulthood service the childish agenda will sidetrack society into cataclysm.
Modern culture asserts that becoming an adult happens automatically when we turn eighteen or twenty-one years of age. But that does not occur. Our mistake comes from a lack of understanding about what an adult is.
Being adult includes a changed relationship to responsibility. No longer is responsibility a burden to be avoided as in the childish perspective. Adult responsibility is a new agreement between an individual and the universe after which the adult's life is about stewarding resources that are beyond the scope of modern culture thoughtware. For example, an initiated adult takes responsibility for attention, center, presence, purpose, outcome, space, time, energy, feelings, thoughts, possibility, consequences, the Box, the greater community, the planet, and responsibility for responsibility. To get a further idea, here is a seven-minute silent video listing over one hundred fifty initiatory processes: www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8SkS3pdDpc. How many of these have you engaged? We are not educated about what most of these mean because modern education does not prepare us for initiations into adulthood.
Ignorance, however, does not prevent the thing we are ignorant about from seriously impacting our lives. Think of the Roman Empire succumbing to lead water pipes. Think of Madame Curie dying of radiation poisoning. Think of the last parking ticket you got.
The decisive importance of adulthood initiatory processes may have faded from modern culture due to confusing the purpose of traditional rites of passage with the kind of adulthood initiations needed today. This difference can now be explained. It has to do with what is done with the assemblage points.
I borrow the term assemblage points from Carlos Castaneda's reports of Don Juan Matus' Yaqui teachings. Assemblage points are the origins of our self-perception and will to action. The location of our assemblage points determines who we are.
Indigenous rites of passage produce adults whose assemblage points have been removed from the context of the mother and welded to the context of the village. That is, initiated men and women know who they are and what they are to do at the various stages and stations of their life because their assemblage points are anchored in the customs and traditions of the tribe. By identifying themselves as their culture they perceive and behave so as to duplicate procedures long proven to assure the survival of their people. Such an initiation makes sense under static conditions. The whole village is put at risk of starvation if young people are permitted to invent new ways for hunting deer or planting and harvesting the rice.
Present conditions differ from past conditions in that today's circumstances are rapidly evolving. Getting a university degree so as to duplicate what is already not working is insane, though to a large degree this remains the basic strategy of modern culture education.
The good news is that, below mainstream media radar, diverse new cultures are currently emerging in exponentially increasing numbers as modern culture dies from internal hemorrhaging. These new cultures, call them next cultures if you will, function according to a different set of criteria. Their primary variance from modern culture is that they are designed to perpetually thrive in a complex closed system such as a planet.