The Rites of Passage Process

rites of passage process

Preparation is the stage where the initiate learns what it is to be a member. The preparation stage starts with a recognition of the end in mind.


Separation is the stage when the initiate is tested. It is in this stage that the initiate must demonstrate the ability to fulfill their responsibilities within the group and their particular stage of life.


Transition is the stage in which the initiate is transformed into a member. It is the between / betwixt. This is usually marked with a ceremony where the initiate enters as a non-member and exits as a member.


Reincorporation is the stage where the new member is presented back to the community. This is also the point that the new member will be accountable for his or her new responsibilities.


It is important to note that progression through these stages are not necessarily linear nor are they mutually exclusive. There are many factors that will greatly influence the time spent in and emphasis on each staged. ... More african-centered rites of passage

African-centered Philosophy and Ethos


Asante (1987, p. 6) defines Afrocentricity [African-centered] as the placing of African ideals at the center of any analysis that involves African culture and behavior. Karenga (1994, p. 36) provides a similar definition:

Afrocentricity can be defined as a quality of thought and practice rooted in the cultural image and human interest of African people [and their descendants]. To be rooted in the cultural image of African people is to be anchored in the views and values of African people as well as in the practice which emanates from and gives rise to these views and values.

Both definitions imply that to be African centered is to construct and use frames of reference, cultural filters and behaviors that are consistent with the philosophies and heritage of African cultures in order to advance the interest of people of African descent (Keto, 1991).

Boykin (1986) suggests that a traditional West African ethos is characterized by:

1. Spirituality

2. Harmony

3. Movement

4. Verve/Energy

5. Affect

6. Communalism

7. Expressive Individualism

8. Oral Tradition

9. Social Time Perspective

In 1971 Steve Biko presented a paper at a conference in Natal South Africa that confirms the research of recent scholars:

Obviously the African culture has had to sustain severe blows and may have been battered nearly out of shape by the belligerent cultures it collided with, yet in essence even today one can easily find the fundamental aspects of the pure African culture in the present day African.....One of the most fundamental aspects of our culture is the importance we attach to Man ...... a Man-centered society.....the capacity we have for talking to each other-not for the sake of arriving at a particular conclusion but merely to enjoy the communication for its own sake....We regard our living together not as an unfortunate mishap warranting endless competition among us but as a deliberate act of God to make us a community of brothers and sisters jointly involved in the quest for a composite answer to the varied problems of life....... Any suffering we experienced was made much more real by song and rhythm. There is no doubt that the so called 'Negro Spirituals' sung by black slaves in the States as they tiled under oppression were indicative of their African heritage ..... African society had the village community as its basis.....This obviously was a requirement to suit the needs of a community-based and man-centered society.

Africans do not recognize any cleavage between the natural and supernatural. They experience a situation rather than face a problem......More as a response of the total personality to the situation than the result of some mental exercise....We thanked God through our ancestors before we drank beer, married, worked etc. We would obviously find it artificial to create special occasions for worship. God was always in communication with us and therefore merited attention everywhere and anywhere.

(Biko, 1978, pp. 41-45)

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Akan Spiritual Day Names

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God Image: ASI Male: KWESI Female: Esi

You are born to lead. You have the ability to build support systems, friendships and kinship groups for others. Society looks upon you to lead in bringing people together for the fulfillment of their group goals. In the face of life's accident, you are the guide of the people. In the wilderness you are the haven for the people struggling to find their bearings. You show to friends that you will be there when they need you. People listen to you and care about you because you listen to them, and you care about them. You endorse their uniqueness; you validate them. You realize delay as time-consuming and emotionally demanding: but you are dependable for you and do not let your friends down. There are times when, as a mature person, you may not need friends, and you may be immune to life's accidents; yet friends are essential to you to speak to, to confide in and share your secrets, fears and shame. You can be of immense help to someone who has become dependent on alcohol, drugs, neurotic defenses, and out dated ideologies.


God Image: ADWO Male: KWODWO Female: ADWOA

You are a peacemaker; unconquerable, full of humor and self-understanding. You are capable of calling out the gifts of qualities of others. You enjoy doing the kind of things that help other people, but you do them also to satisfy yourself. You like trying to help just because you feel you are part of them, and that you do benefit yourself as you help out. You make people feel that they depend upon each other as a corporate social body. The enterprise of your life is to enable people to behave better toward one another. A sense of purpose helps you to feel that you are good. You have a purpose beyond yourself; and this lends a meaning and direction to your existence. Only rarely do you become bored. To you, responsibility to your children and other individuals is a purpose. You are devoted to helping other people despite other claims of your time and energy. You are a friend to the world. While people would say, "This (neighborhood, city, school, church, etc.) is going to the dogs," you say, "It is my responsibility to make it better."


God Image: ABE Male: KWABENA Female: ABENA

You are "mainly" full of fire and determination. You are an inspirator. You are bold. You are a risk taker. What you do is a source of inspiration for others. You do well in works of collective responsibility. You inspire people to do what they need to do. You are willing to risk a change. You can bring about a constructive detour. Certain life crises, managed or accidental, are inevitable for you. You risk letting go of familiar protective identity to stay on a determined purpose. For a while you are exposed and vulnerable; you are forced to live in yourself in a state of uncertainty; yet it is from this that you wet your appetite anew to go through change. Change involves the deepest sort of self-doubt (Often people become too dependent on the institutional parent even to contemplate any risk; and a need for change is often mistranslated). Sometimes only people like you can penetrate the self-doubt - or neutralize negative projections. You are willing to risk not only losing status or material possession; you are willing to risk losing your life.


God image: AKU MALE: KWEKU Female: EKUA

You are a sweet messenger. You have a great capacity for loving. You have the ability to master the environment and engage people in cooperative activities. You possess a sense of confidence; a sense of becoming more independent. You value a strong sense of individual differences and lack animosity in differences among people. You help people support one another in their differences. You can pull people together. You are willing to support your partners in what they want to do for themselves. You do not automatically allow work to take precedence over the people with whom you share their lives. You feel comfortable in revealing yourself to mates or best friends. You can develop multiple success identities. You extricate yourself from personal relationships that become chronologically destructive; you can intuitively pay attention to the needs of the others and their loved ones. Much of what you are known for is your ability to bring the message that is sweet to hear. You bring fame to others.


God Image: ADO Male: KWAW Female: ABA

You are presented with an opportunity to become a transcendent pathfinder. You can go beyond ordinary limits when you are engaged in what you were destined to be involved in. You come to a point where you have to make a decision that invokes sacrificing your comfort for the good of others, even when there is no certainty of return. You engage readily in social and political resistance. You are able to go ahead with what you must be doing, gradually and individually every day, even if it means sitting on an accident waiting for it to happen. Yours is always a courageous act with a religious foundation. The risks you take may not always make you a winner, but you achieve the goals of society even if you merely raise the level of discourse. You make us all more confident in our ability to know what is right. You make people see their collective vocation is to build and develop their community in order to restore people to their traditional greatness. You are a strong one, strong in will power and in political leadership.


God Image: AFI Male: KWOFI Female: AFUA

You are known to be a person full of growth, creativity and ingenuity. You are always anticipating what can be done. You are a wanderer. You have the quality of right timing. As you learn to anticipate the future, you increase your control over the direction of your life. Your primary source of well being is the conviction that your life has meaning and direction. You have the delicate web of love, work, family, purpose and pleasure that might support a fully engaged life, to a considerable degree of right timing. You are capable of training your powers to predict the future. You can search far and find a new dream if you are aware that you are approaching a dead-end. During an accident in your career, you see your new dream. You are adept in anticipation/imagining future bends in the road and preparing to shift gears in advance. You do realize that the best choice does not always turn out to be the right one, and you have the ability to accept that. (Some people of lower consciousness develop bitterness, which derives from their dwelling on a rational choice that turned out to be wrong). You are a person who sees future possibilities when the road clears, and you see the opening and risk taking it.


God Image: AME Male: KWAME Female: AMA

You are a person of wise and gentle composure, whose gift is for bringing peace to troubled waters. You have reached a clear purpose beyond yourself; and this sustains your well-being. You are the most ancient one. You are the most happy one, full of wisdom. You are the defender of the past. You can be a conduit for spiritual expression. You tend to "rediscover"' faith during a major passage, and you become involved in a major cause. You feel part of a larger intention toward love and justice. You face crisis through prayer. You are reanimated through religion though you are not overly concerned with formal churches.