Opening the Way Through Rites of Passage
by Kumasi Johnson
Special to SeeingBlack.com
The African view of life reveals a journey with many passages and
challenges along the way, including a time when you'll have to face
your greatest fears. A boy must one day become a man. A girl must
one day become a woman. This "coming of age," and the marking of
the transition from one stage of life to the next, is called "rites
of passage." It is a time for one to begin working toward developing
harmony with his/her inner self.
Life is viewed as a series of hills that one has to climb in order
to reach the mountain top. Passage over these hills requires preparation,
dedication and discipline. The passage is also a covenant between
an individual and the Creator. We believe you and your maker determined
your destiny before you entered the physical world.
During rites of passage, one begins to "clear the way" and open
a path to remember his/her personal destiny. A "rite" is a ritual
that helps us reconnect and commune with our ancestors, especially
since we've been disconnected from them and their knowledge for
too long. It's time to restore our memory of ancient traditions
by practicing "rites of passage."
A proverb from the Akan people of Ghana says, "It is not taboo
to go back and fetch it if you forget."
More information and links about rites of passage, including organizations
in the U.S. and throughout the diaspora, can be found at: http://www.mawasi.com.
-- April 9, 2001
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