Introduction to The Heroic JourneyIn modern times, most societies have lost the formality of a rite of passage to mark the important life transition from childhood into young adulthood. A few religious traditions continue, but these are generally more ceremonial in nature and have lost their power because the mainstream society doesn't honor them. Most young people no longer have the support of the culture when they reach this critical phase in their development. Yet we all have to answer the "call" to move from childhood into adolescence and on to adulthood.
The drive for "proving" oneself seems deeply ingrained. Without a socially sponsored rite of passage, many young people today create their own initiations, by doing such things as:
- experimenting with tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs
- becoming sexually active
- putting themselves in situations that are risky or dangerous:
- "tagging" walls with graffiti, and awarding points for the most difficult locations to reach
- "daring" each other, or playing "chicken" in cars racing toward each other
- creating a physical "rush" by getting their bodies tattooed or multiply-pierced
- joining a gang, which provides its own initiation
The purpose of The Heroic Journey is to provide a structured program which can be conducted in a school or youth group, to re-create some of the mystery of an ancient Rite of Passage ceremony in modern garb. The Heroic Journey Program can serve as a map to help young people handle the treacherous twists and turns in the road to adulthood.