What is Initiation? Initiation is the marking acceptance into a group or society. In an extended sense initiation can also be a proclaimed transformation in which the initiated is reborn into a new role. There are numerous kinds of initiation rituals in either religious or nonreligious groups. Some non-religious groups that do apply ination rituals is the Native Americans and the National Honor Society.
One non-religious group that uses rituals is the Native Americans. The Native Americans uses rituals and ceremonies throughout their culture. Although, Native Americans did not consider their rituals and ceremonies as their “religion” as the same way Christians do. They rather believe their beliefs or practices are essential or fundamental part of their everyday lives. They embraced rituals that encouraged them and gave them power to overcome difficult obstacles throughout their lives. Over time the rituals and ceremonies change to fit with the tribes’ necessities.
One kind of initiation ritual Native Americans practice is the Vision Quests. This practice is taken by the older children in the tribe before they go through puberty. It helps the children find themselves and their decision of life paths. The Vision Quest had many preparations that sometimes included the child to go alone into the forest or wilderness for days to become one with
the spirit world or other tribes might just require the child to take a long walk. The next step for the child is not being allowed to sleep causing sleep deprivation. During this time, he or she must go
out and search for a guardian’s spirit or sign. After seeing the spirit or sign they need to find their path in life and return to the tribe.
Even though Native Americans and Christians are different, they do have some similarities. They both have so much love for God, others, and nature. Native Americans tell stories that are similar to Christian’s scripture. Native Americans belief starts with a Great Spirit, who is the creator of mankind. The Great Spirit is created to protect the earth and the lives living here. Christians belief starts with Adam and Eve, they are put on earth by God to test their control and take care of the earth and the lives living on it. Both Native Americans and Christians believe in very similar stories, but are different cultures and religions.
Christians believe that angels are the ones who provide protection from evil. God will judge and presuit the good and evil at death. He is the one who decides who will be accepted into heaven and hell. They worship God by going to mass every Sunday or on a regular basis. Native Americans believe the Great Spirit will supply them with their needs; rain for crops, peace when there is conflict, and steadiness in seasons. The spirit is the judge the soul at death upon their morality. They worship by accomplishing worship rituals on a regular basis. These worship rituals include dancing and festivals or celebrations.
Another group that uses initiation rituals is Jews. Once Jewish Children are of age, they host a Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah. Some of the Bar or Bat Mitzvahs can be nontraditional for a family. A Bar Mitzvah is held when a Jewish boy becomes 13 years old and can now be
accountable for their actions. A Bat Mitzvah is held when a Jewish girl becomes 12 or 13 years old.
The ritual capabilities are not easy, you have to be able to face darkness, listen for meaning, and trust your elders. After months of preparing for the initiation, the process helps you listen for
the Torah and helps you apply it to life. In the beginning of the initiation, the child selects about 3 photos from multiple stages of their life. They speak about and why they chose these photos. Then the child is given a box of symbols that contains a personal relationship with him or her. Many years later, the initiate can choose to burn or just speak about the objects contained in the box. If you decide to burn the items, this symbolizes moving on or growing up. Next, the parents and sometimes close friends and family might speak about their qualities of the child.
Even though Judaism and Christianity are very similar in many ways, but they have their differences. Christian practice prayer, sacraments, and reading the Bible. Jews practice prayer 3 times a day and sometimes even a fourth prayer on Shabbat and holidays. They both practice rituals in different senses.
These two non-religious groups show many differences and similarities throughout the rituals. They give us a better understanding on how other non-religious groups use rituals and how it ties in with their culture. It has showed me our connection with nature and the sense of renewal. The transitions that occur in nature can show us how to change. We watch the shifts and recognize our own shifts in life. Rituals can give us the understanding of connection with all of life. When rituals provide us with the sense of renewal, it helps us reevaluate our journey. It gives us the time out we need to choose the right path we are traveling on.