In many ways, the Western World is waking up to the Old Ways.
Part of what’s missing in Western culture is the acknowledgement, the ceremonial movement, from childhood into woman- or manhood.
As is custom in most regions of the world, young girls and boys are pushed through powerful Rites of Passage, or spiritual pathways leading them into the power of their own person. These initiations provide a foundation for strength, a basis from which to embark on the path to adulthood.
For the Bwiti people—the men and women of Central West Africa who have been using Iboga in ceremony for thousands of years—the Rites of Passage serves as passageway into this personal strength and empowerment.
The purpose of the Rites of Passage is to break a person down. On every level: spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally.
This crumbling of fear is, in itself, the path to freedom.
By breaking down our boundaries, we so break our old foundation: a foundation that may have being poorly constructed to begin with.
In its space, the Rites of Passage serves to empower us to rebuild our foundations solidly. Without fear and with full trust. It is upon this new foundation that we enter adulthood—not ready to bend or break as before, but with true strength that comes from within. A strength that cannot be shaken, no matter what life presents to us.
“When you’re fearless, you have courage, you’ll be able to take anything coming your way.” says a Bwiti Shaman of the Rites of Passage.
The Rites of Passage is an initiation not suited for everyone. But the extreme intensity of this experience is what gives rise to deep, lasting and serious transformation.
“Physically, it was tough on my body,” says Awaken Your Soul Founder Anthony Esposito. “The physical intensity from the natives was challenging. Though it passed quickly once I surrendered and accepted the situation.”
By testing his patience, Anthony says the Rites of Passage taught him deep self control and discipline.
“Not being able to control anything was a good lesson in practicing stillness through difficult times, and to be present with what is —because this, too, shall pass,” he says. “When it was over, I got this overwhelming sense of freedom, and learned not to take that freedom for granted.”
Anthony is among the first 18 Western men to ever endure a Bwiti Rites of Passage. The experience lasted four days and four nights, deep in the Gabonese jungle, and involved no Iboga.
The rawness of reality of the experience serves as the Rites’ medicine.
“I feel extremely honored to have gone through a traditional Bwiti Rites of Passage,” Anthony says. “Observing how seriously they take this initiation took my respect for them to another level.”
Bwiti Rites of Passage in Gabon, Africa are not available to all. Interested parties must undergo a screening with Anthony Esposito prior to booking. For more information about journeys to Africa and traditional offerings, contact Anthony.