It’s winter in the northern hemisphere. Winter brings with it silence, a need for community and an adult mind to survive when resources are scarce.
The winter has strong symbolism and meaning for Rites of Passage; it’s a symbol of true adulthood. It is part of the Medicine Wheel model, central to the work we do. The Medicine Wheel provides us with a framework of human development, of our personal life journey and connects us to the passing of time through the cycles of nature. It offers us a way to view our lives and find balance within as we move through the different seasons of the year and stages of our lives.
The foundation of the Medicine Wheel is the circle itself, an ancient symbol of wholeness, unity, completeness, and continuation; having no beginning and no end. “The circle is our way of touching and experiencing harmony with every other thing around us,” writes Hyemeyosts Storm, a Native American who first brought these teachings to Rites of Passage. It provides a deep and powerful foundation for understanding ourselves as co-participants in the creation of the entire world, including the creation of our own experiences.
As in a compass, the top of the Medicine Wheel corresponds to the north. It is winter, this time of the year. The north is associated with adulthood. It is a time in life to express yourself and share your gifts with others as an adult. It is the place and time of the initiated ones, those adults who recognize their responsibility in loving and nourishing their community.
In the world today we tend to lack authentic, initiated adults who see their responsibilities and share their unique gifts within the community. This is largely because although we grow older, take jobs and have families, we aren’t offered a way to know and then transition into our own personal and unique adultness. We don’t have a path to listen to the deep whispering of our heart guiding us to our place in the world. We get stuck in our adolescence desires, our sadness and our wounds. It’s because we don’t have an avenue to connect with our true selves and embrace our own authentic adulthood.
Rites of Passage programs can give you a taste of what this is about.
So as you go about your activities this winter, take a few moments to think about your unique gifts. Think about the vision you have for your life and the lives of others. What can you provide for the benefit of others, for the benefit of your community, your people and ultimately yourself? Take time to remember the call and the need to walk in the world as an initiated adult.