As our modern world evolved, rites of passage have slowly been replaced by rights. The Bill of Rights, human rights etc. I'm not suggesting rights are bad or that we eliminate them, I'm just noticing something. Actually I got these ideas from Orland Bishop who works in Los Angeles with gang members.
Rites of passage require an individual to give up something. Something important to them. So important that it is part of their identity. So important that the loss of identity is risky. There is risk in a true rite of passage. Does that sound like the world we live in today?
For a moment just set aside all of the facts that we know to be causing our predicament and consider that another way to see our predicament is as a rite of passage brought on by the phenomenon called Precession.
Precession is the slow rotation (change in direction) of Earth's axis in a circle. A complete rotation is a 26,000 year cycle and during this cycle the backdrop of stars in the celestial dome appear to move slowly over time.
Using Astrological terms the Earth has been moving against a backdrop of stars called Pisces and is now moving past a different group of stars called Aquarius. It takes a roughly 2000 year period to move from one constellation to the next.
A belief in Astrology isn't required here. Due to precession, the Earth is simply moving against a backdrop of stars. What might that mean with regard to gravitational effects on living systems? Could this rite of passage we are experiencing have something to do with precession?
Orland Bishop suggests further that the human species isn't alone in facing this rite of passage. The entire biosphere and all of planet Earth is going through this rite of passage together.
Part of my feeling of hope is tied to belonging to a community. I mean other people that I meet face to face and work together with. I know the work we do is important despite it's seeming insignificance against larger forces. It still feels good to be doing something that makes a difference. I know it makes a difference because I can see it in other people's faces.
I think a large part of feeling hopeful in these times is getting busy and working with others. It doesn't matter what you work on. Choose something that calls to you but do something to serve your community. You will feel better for it and if we are in a rite of passage, who is more likely to pass? Someone on the couch or someone in the trenches?