Based on rites of passage in Australian aboriginals,
Eric Maddern (1990) proposed a five stage model:
Journey: Initiation involves a journey which takes place on both real and
symbolic levels. The meaning and power of the journey can be intensified by
placing it within the context of a ritual. Symbolic acts can be used to
signify the departure from home, the various stages of the journey and the
final return of the successful initiate.
Challenge: Include real challenges which have to be faced, and which may
result in feelings of confusion, moments of intense fear, experiences of real
pain and occasions when pressing needs cannot be satisfied. They are times,
therefore, of coming to terms with difficult emotions, of developing the
ability to cope with hardship. The love and guidance of older people can be
a key ingredient in helping the initiates pull through.
Door to the Dreaming: Initiations are times when doors are opened to Adult
Knowledge – the various words used to describe the complex, many-layered
systems of human society.
Responsibility: With the Adult Knowledge, and after transcending the
emotional and physical tests of initiation comes public recognition of new
Participation: The final stage of initiation is returning to the community
with one’s new status. This is a transformation which, though regretted and
grieved for at first, is now respected and celebrated.
Maddern, E. (1990).
What is it fifteen year olds need?
Notes on developing initiations appropriate to our times. Adventure
Education, 17(1), 29-32. [250kb; pdf]