The work of sacred rituals like initiation was to situate life in a bigger frame, so nature, beauty, suffering, work, sexuality, and ordinary moments were seen to have transcendent significance. They gave life meaning — the one thing the soul cannot live without…Initiation was always, in some form, an experience of the tension and harmony of opposites: of loss and renewal, darkness and light, the cycle of seasons, death and resurrection, yin and yang, the paschal mystery.
In my cross-cultural research on male initiation rites, I perceived five consistent lessons or truths communicated to the initiate, meant to separate initiates from their attachment to who they think they are and reattach them to who they really are. In this time of global disruption, these lessons can help us align to reality..[and] …our own belonging in it.
These five essential messages of initiation are:
Life is hard.
You are not important.
Your life is not about you.
You are not in control.
You are going to die.
You may be shocked by the seemingly negative character of these five truths. We typically want to flee from our current anxiety, grief and pain, but I encourage you to stay with these messages. They are truths for your soul that can help you find meaning and a sense of God’s compassionate presence inside of the chaos.
Richard Rohr, The Patterns That Are Always True