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Rites of Passage

Learn more about why rites of passage are so important.

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Circles on the Mountain

A publication written by and for our members and community.

Circles On The Mountain

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Circles On the Mountain is an internal publication of the Wilderness Guides Council — a journal written by and for our members and the community. The first issue of Circles was published in 1988. It is a forum dedicated to exploring the personal, societal, and ecological need for meaningful rites of passage and is a rich treasure trove of stories, techniques and inspiration related to the facilitation of the initiatory process. 

How does the WGC support efforts of Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion?

What are Rites of Passage?

To be human is to experience change and transformation, small deaths and rebirths of identity and roles in our communities. A rite of passage is a full recognition and ceremonial marking of these changes, rendering them sacred, meaningful, and visible to ourselves and to our people.

Indeed families, organizations, and cultures go through times of change and transformation.

A meaningful rite of passage includes a severance phase, where you explore what needs to be released to step into your next life stage; a threshold phase where you spend time in nature with a clear intention and self-generated ceremony, and an incorporation phase, when you return to your community, share your stories, and mark your change with renewal and greater clarity about your role, gifts, and vision moving forward in life.

A healthy culture relies on the vision, transformation, gifts and renewal that an authentic rites of passage brings forth.

Meaningful engagement with major life changes has become lost in modern culture. Yet wilderness rites of passage is coming out of the shadows.The challenge for us in this time is to build on our ancestral knowledge of this important practice, while not taking from the indigenous people of today, and connecting to the needs of our people and the world at this time in history.

Want to learn more? Please check out our Resource library, videos, Circles on the Mountain Journal and Podcast. As a networking organization, we are committed to the many paths and many ways. With a diverse range of programs to explore, we hope you find a good match for you and are fully supported in your life’s passages.

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Articles, books, and videos are helpful. However, the best learning is experiential. If you are a guide or aspiring guide, consider becoming a member to continue to learn and grow your offerings through connection with others in the field. Becoming a member also connects you to a broader collection of written and video resources.

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