What is a Rite of Passage?
A rite of passage is the process of conscious movement from one stage in life to another (be it adulthood, couplehood, parenthood, death, divorce, etc.).
A rite of passage involves three stages: separation, liminality and incorporation.
Separation is the movement away from the old identity and preparing for the new one. Liminality is the mysterious in-between space where one is no longer their old identity and not yet their new self. Incorporation involves moving into the new identity, formally claiming it and re-entering community as this new self.
Fire & Flower’s curriculum* reflects the three stages of rites of passage.
Our three pillars of mentorship, ceremony and nature connection are also integrated into each stage. Every step of the way, the girls are nurtured and supported by the human and the more-than-human worlds.
Please note that perceived challenge is a program component. Challenge not only develops resilience, resourcefulness and self-knowing, it also acts as a tangible marker for participants to move – emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, mentally and physically – from one life stage to the next. Moving through the challenge, participants move into their new identities as more able, confident beings. Our main challenge will be a supervised 8-hour vision quest (solo time) in nature. Girls will prepare for this in the separation stage, go through the challenge during liminality, and celebrate their accomplishment as new young women upon their return.
*Please note: the curriculum may change at the discretion of the facilitators to best serve the needs of the group.
Separation – Sessions 1 to 4
May & June in Vancouver, all sessions involve these core activities:
- physical movement & artistic expression to integrate experiences
- a talking circle – safe space for honest, personal sharing to build group trust & intimacy
- time in nature connecting to ourselves and the more-than-human world
Session 1 – East (water, spring, new beginnings) – Mentors present
Focus: Welcome and program orientation
- Activities to get to know girls and mentors
- Creating group altar & ancestor altar
- Flow of the program, program culture and safety
- Self-assessment – Who am I right now? Where do I come from? What do I care about?
- Mentor selection and one-on-one time with chosen mentors
- Sisterhood ceremony
Session 2 – South (Earth, summer, the body and our senses, play, the inner child)
Focus: Group bonding, connecting to our bodies and the Earth body
- Nature hike
- Fun team challenges
- Developing our intuition & instincts – What do I feel? How do I know what I’m feeling?
- Creating a nature bundle and ceremonially gifting it to the land
Session 3 – West (fire, autumn, turning inwards, mystery, the inner adolescent) – Mentors present
Focus: Being women
- Creating women’s altar & ancestor altar
- Guest teachers: women with expertise in women’s bodies, sex & sexuality, and menstruation
- Our unity as women and our uniqueness as individuals – Who am I as a woman?
- Cultivating self-love
- Women’s honouring ceremony
Session 4 – North (air, winter, mental focus & skill, wisdom, the inner adult)
Focus: Preparing for ceremonial weekend
- Creating self altar & ancestor altar
- Physical preparations: gear, packing, how to set up a vision quest site
- Reflection time and intention setting for vision quest – Who am I becoming?
- Self-commitment ceremony
Liminality – Ceremonial Weekend
July on Vancouver Island – Mentors present
- Severance ceremony with parental figures
- Severance ceremony from identity as girl
- 8-hour vision quest (solo time) in nature
- Return & claiming ceremony as young women
- Witnessing of quest stories
- Appreciations and adornments
Incorporation – Return & Follow-Up
July & August in Vancouver
Community Welcome-Back Feast immediately following return from Vancouver Island
- Ceremonial welcoming of young women
- Community witnessing of group & personal experiences
- Family bonding and discussion of new roles & responsibilities
Follow-up sessions** – Mentors present for at least one of the two sessions
- Nature hike grounding our learning & new identities into the body and onto the land
- Bringing voice & consciousness to the gifts received from ceremonial weekend
- Integrating our new selves into daily life: challenges and celebrations
- Self-care practices
**After the second follow-up session we will assess the needs of the group and plan future community gatherings.