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Zion

 

Ongoing events in the North San Francisco Bay Area.
Please contact Chris Skyhawk for more information or to schedule an event.

I would like to thank all of the young men, their families, and the mentors who participated in this year’s Passage to Manhood Initiation Weekend in Elk, Ca. on the weekend of August 2-4. It was truly an extraordinary experience and one that none of us who participated will ever forget. The young men were great. We mentors marveled at their ability to exhibit the joyful and spontaneous spirit of young men during many of our activities- swimming, hiking, game playing, primitive skills - and their capacity to sink into depth when called upon to do so, honoring us with glimpses of the great men they are becoming.

A variety of activities called them into depth. We used trust falls to build team spirit and to open up discussion of how important it is to learn to build a community of brothers and to be honorable and steady to that community. In the Sweat Lodge boys learned that they can indeed handle heat and that song and prayer can help them to meet the stressful times of their lives. It was marvelous to see them complaining and worrying about the heat in the first round and then mastering it after that. Through ancient African and European stories we explored the territory of Initiation that occurs in every generation. We witnessed the slaughtering of a goat that was raised on the small farm that hosted our event, and this provoked deep conversation about issues of life and death. Later that day we grilled the goat over the fire while mentors shared some of the Initiatory events in their lives, and each young man listened deeply. On Saturday night each young man spent time in a shallow scrape that he had made earlier in the day. This was the End of Boyhood ritual and after spending time enveloped in the silence of the nighttime forest, they buried a personal artifact that symbolized their boyhood. When they returned to the Fire each told stories of visions, and the Mentors honored them. On Sunday we gathered parents, siblings, and friends and conducted the Return Ceremony whereby the boys were returned to the ordinary world and their parents were thanked and honored.

I would like to thank the Mentors who volunteered for this weekend. Each man was challenged in many ways, and each responded in marvelous fashion. Most importantly, all are committed to participating again. We most certainly are building a community of men that takes seriously its responsibility to Initiate and learn from the next generation.


-Chris Skyhawk

PASSAGE TO MANHOOD INITIATION WEEKEND
August 2-4, Elk, Ca.


Passage To Manhood is pleased to announce our Initiation Weekend for young men aged 14-18. The weekend will be held on land near Elk Ca. overlooking Greenwood Creek.
Initiation is both an ending and a beginning. The time of boyhood is coming to an end as adulthood beckons. In order to be whole in manhood it is necessary to honor both the gifts and the challenges that life presents. A meaningful Rite of Passage where the young man is recognized and honored can prove to be of significant assistance in navigating the waters of life. Hearing from mentors about their own life experiences can help prepare Initiates for the road ahead. And being seen in a community can build resilience for the storms of life and prepare one to receive its joys.


Our weekend is multi-faceted. In the sweat lodge ceremony we will pray for the highest best purpose to be revealed. Using the ancient art of story telling we will look at how the path to manhood has been considered by many cultures throughout human history. Our spoken word/poetry slam invites participants to think about and reveal a bit about themselves. The Well of Sorrows/ Fountain of Joys circle allows young men to deeply hear the many blessings and challenges that men have faced in their lives and helps prepare them for their own path. Our End of Boyhood ritual allows each participant the opportunity to bury into the earth artifacts from their own boyhood and be received and honored by a circle of men for the step they are taking.

This retreat takes place in a rural area. We will be sleeping in tents and hiking up and down steep slopes. Meals will be made in camp and we will be eating one of the goats raised on the small farm that occupies the property.

Tuition for the weekend is $150. Financial assistance requests will be honored, please contact director Chris Skyhawk to arrange. Tuition over $150 will assist PTM in granting scholarship requests and develop further programs. A registration form must be completed. An orientation interview will be conducted before the weekend with the participant parents/guardians. This interview can be in person or over the phone and is designed to assist families in deriving the greatest benefit possible from the experience. Upon receipt of payment and a completed
registration form a list of items to bring and further information about exact starting and ending times will be provided.