The information here basically covers the Young Men’s Rite of Passage (18 – 28) and the Men’s Rite of Passage (ages 30 – 65). These two rites of passage are similar, but have significant differences in emphasis. The first-half life initiation is taking the boy into his manhood. It is the beginning of his adulthood. All rituals and rites will target this “becoming” and “affirming” of his right to engage in an adult/adult conversation with the world.
The Men’s Rite of Passage (MROP) is primarily designed for men in second-half of life (ages 30 – 65). These men are typically dismantling the towers they built in first-half of life.
The YMROP and MROP are both a five-day / four night deeply prayerful and soulful experience that builds on the classic patterns of male initiation through simple and moving rituals and teaching. Each day includes centering prayer, major teachings on central masculine spirituality themes, ritual, quiet reflection in nature, and sharing in the context of a Council Circle.
In the words of the program’s founder, Fr. Richard Rohr:
“Men are asked to come with a willingness to participate from beginning to end and not as an observer. All participants begin at point zero with no agendas to live up to or down to. All that is required is for a man to come with a ‘beginner’s mind’ and the readiness of a young novice seeking wisdom. Ultimately, initiation, like life itself, is not a spectator’s sport.”
This is not about religion, but about spirituality, about age old traditions that guide us into manhood, about coming to trust that there is something much greater at work in our lives than we could ever imagine.
What the rites of passage is:
- A personal discovery about masculine spirituality and invitation to transition from one stage to the next.
- A time to embrace the healing and awesome power of nature.
- A process to address issues of loss, grief, the father wound, and relationships with men.
- An opportunity to examine life’s priorities and ask courageous questions about your next steps.
- An invitation to listen to God and to the Wisdom found in most ancient Traditions.
- A chance to return to life with a renewed commitment to your gifts and the maturity of this stage of your life.
What the rites of passage is not:
- A traditional lecture-based retreat.
- An informational workshop about men’s spirituality.
- A sensitivity training or deprivation experience.
- A threatening process that requires participants to engage in anything strange or unsafe.
- A test of physical stamina.
- A Christian men’s retreat.
I would like to read more about the event? Where can I find more information?
Books and DVDs can provide valuable insight and should give you an idea if the Rites offer what you are seeking. Check out the resources on this web site. In particular look at From Wild Man to Wise Men: Reflections on Male Spirituality, or Adam’s Return: The Five Promises of Male Initiation. Also be sure to check out the web site for Illuman, the men’s organization that administers our program for the MROP. Also, see the Center for Action and Contemplation.
I would like to talk to someone who has attended the event.
If you have any questions about the Men’s Rites of Passage program please feel free to contact us.
I am not sure I am a Christian and I don’t want to come if this is just another religious thing.
The rites of passage are not uniquely Christian. While these particular rites have emerged from the Judeo-Christian Tradition, the rites themselves embrace all faith traditions. The Rites of Passage are not about religion, but about inner spirituality and ancient wisdom traditions that guide us into our true selves and connect us to all human beings and the more than human world.
Am I too young, or too old to come?
There is no easy answer to this question. We basically offer rites of passage for three age groups. (1) For young boys, we do offer a Family-based Rite of Passage (ages 12 – 17) that is designed for boys clearly moving from through puberty. (2) We have designed a Young Men’s Rite of Passage (YMROP) for a young man (ages 18 – 28), who is ready to be initiated into his own manhood. A first-half of life initiation. This is traditionally when he moves from boy to man and is affirmed by other men and elders in this process. (3) Our Men’s Rite of Passage (MROP) is primarily designed for men who are in second-half of life (ages 30 – 65). This is when men are recognizing the limitations of all that they bought into for the first-half of their life. Not that any of it was bad, necessarily, but it is no longer sufficient to take them into this stage of their life. For the MROP, we will consider anyone over 18, but any younger men will need to have significant experience in their own spiritual journey to attend the second-half life MROP. We will normally encourage the younger men to attend the YMROP, unless there is some strong indication that the younger man is “ready” and already initiated in his first-half of life. An older man in the MROP with significant health problems may find the wilderness experiences too challenging. Most of the men who have come to the MROP are between 30 and 65, but some younger men have grown up quickly and have already been initiated into the questions and perplexities of the second-half of life, and there are many robust men well past 65 who will profit from these rites. We will be glad to help you discern if this is right for you. Contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
I’m gay. Will I be welcome?
All men are welcome in this sacred and safe space to speak their truth and discern their paths. We will each bring our own insights, anxieties and fears into this kind of intimate, shared experience – all are welcome. In the end, participants will likely find that we are more alike in our longings, our hungers, our deepest aspirations, than we are different.
If you feel you are ready to act:
Then you might be ready for your Men’s Rites of Passage or you may need to connect with a Council Circle in your area. Click here to find the Regional Contact in your geographic area of Texas. Finally, if you don’t see what you’re looking for, please contact us and we’ll be glad to walk you through any questions you may have.