This may involve learning the traditions of their society or the skills of some particular profession or trade. Only after this period of learning and endurance is complete do they undergo the third phase of reincorporation into society.
Rite of passage
However, they do so with their new status and identity, perhaps involving a new name or title, forms of dress or style of language and, almost certainly, new patterns of behavior with appropriate duties and responsibilities. Van Gennep likened society to a house with people moving over thresholds from room to room. The Latin word for threshold is limen, hence his three phases of rites of passage as preliminal, liminal, and postliminal.
He also argued that, depending upon the final goal of a ritual, the preliminal, liminal, or postliminal phase would be stressed over and above the others. Rites of passage sometimes involve more than one type of status change. In a marriage, for example, it is not only the bride and groom that pass from being single or divorced to being married but their parents also become parents-in-law.
Parents, siblings, and friends may all enter new relationships. Van Gennep's scheme was constructed to describe patterns of life in those traditional societies often described as primitive or tribal societies.
In such communities of relatively few people and high levels of face-to-face contact, many would acknowledge the change of status and identity of an individual during rites of initiation into manhood, womanhood, or motherhood. However, caution is required when the idea of rites of passage is applied to events in contemporary and large-scale societies where little such recognition exists.
Such understandings of ritual permit insight into the significance of funerary ritual, a rite of passage observed in a great majority of human societies. Numerous changes of identity are associated with funeral rites, affecting the statuses of the dead, surviving relatives, and members of the broader community.
Women's Rites Of Passge | Ritesofpassageproject
Death separates the deceased from their statuses of living parent, spouse, or coworker. The period of preparing the dead for burial or cremation moves them into a transitional phase when they are neither what they have been nor yet what they will become. Such moments of transition often involve uncertainty and potential danger. The ritual impurity of the corpse derives from its inability to respond to others, yet is still "present" in their everyday routines. Accordingly, people pay their respects to the dead, marking their former identity with them, express sorrow for the bereaved and, by so doing, reaffirm their continuing relationship with them.
Stories recounting the achievement or character of the dead and supernatural powers may be invoked to forgive any evil the deceased may have perpetrated and to guide them into the afterlife. Gifts and goods may be provided to assist the individual to depart from this world to the next.
Just as initiates in their liminal period may be taught mysteries of their culture so the dead may be given their own form of education in the form of guidance provided in sacred texts, chants and prayers assist their journey, as in texts like the Egyptian Book of the Dead and the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
Very often there are special priests or ritual experts to attend to this task. Sometimes additional rites are performed to assist the departed, often referred to as soul or life forces, to settle in their new world. A major goal of death rites is to ensure that the individual who has died leaves the realm of the living for the realm of the afterlife.
Liminal periods of change include uncertainty and are often regarded as potentially dangerous, with the case of death providing powerful examples as During the Indian Navjote ceremony, the ritual rite of passage where the person is accepted into the Parsi community, a priest ties a sacred thread around the child's waist as he or she chants the Ahuna-Vairya ancient prayers.
Just as living persons become ancestors or souls in heaven so the living undergo changes in relation to them. Robert Hertz argues that funeral rites involve a kind of parallel process in which the decay of the dead reflects the path of grief in the bereaved. Bereavement involves both the social change of status of people—from, say, being a wife to being a widow, from being a child to being an orphan, or from being a subordinate adult to becoming the head of the family.
It also involves psychological changes of identity associated with such shifts.
Embarrassing or amazing, coming of age traditions are pivotal moments in everyone's life.
Human beings become dependent upon each other and, in a sense, each identity is made up of elements of other people's influence. People become "part of" each other, and thus when one dies a portion of one's self perishes as well. Some theories of grief discuss this in terms of attachment and interpret bereavement as the loss that follows when attachments are removed.
The fear of ghosts or spirits, for example, can be related to both the dimensions of status and identity. In terms of status, ghosts and spirits can be seen as the dead who have not been successfully moved from their place in this world to that of the next. They are those who are caught in the between realm of an unintended liminal state, potentially dangerous liminal entities, or phenomena as they symbolize radical change that challenges the social life set up against such change. Sometimes further rites exist to try to get such spiritual forces finally to leave the world of the living and get on with their future destiny.
Do Alternative Rites of Passage (ARP) approaches work?
At its most extreme, rites of exorcism serve to banish the dead or other supernatural entities and prevent them from influencing the living. In terms of identity, this time the identity of the living, ghosts and spirits and perhaps we should also include vivid dreams of the dead, all reflect the individual experience of a bereaved person who is still, psychologically speaking, caught up with the identity of the deceased person.
Physical death has also been widely employed as an idiom to describe the leaving of an old status and the entry into a new one. Turner explored liminality as a period in which human beings found great strength in the mutual support of others in the same situation. He coined the word communitas to describe this feeling of shared unity among those who, for example, were initiated together.
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- Rite of passage.
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The same might also apply to groups of people in the army or at college together, groups of people at carnivals or in pilgrimages, and those who are bereaved. Together they share the succor of their common humanity as they come together in adversity.
- Making Every Day Sacred: Expanding Your Awareness of the Sacred in Everyday Life.
- ABOUT US - RITES OF PASSAGE.
- Rome - 27 B.C..
For a moment they forget their different statuses and the symbols that divide them to enter into the shared emotional experiences associated with grief. Burial should be undertaken in a spot which is less than an hour's travel from the place of death. At the funeral, there is a specific prayer for the dead.
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