INITIATION is a rite of passage marking entrance or acceptance into a group or society. It could also be a formal admission to adulthood in a community or one of its formal components. In an extended sense it can also signify a transformation in which the initiate is 'reborn' into a new role. Examples of initiation ceremonies might include Hindu diksha , Christian baptism or confirmation , Jewish bar or bat mitzvah , acceptance into a fraternal organization , secret society or religious order , or graduation from school or recruit training . A person taking the initiation ceremony in traditional rites, such as those depicted in these pictures, is called an initiate.
* 1 Characteristics
* 1.1 Reasons for and functions * 1.2 Types * 1.3 Psychological
* 2 Examples
* 3 See also * 4 References * 5 Bibliography * 6 External links
Mircea Eliade discussed initiation as a principal religious act by
classical or traditional societies. He defined initiation as "a basic
change in existential condition," which liberates man from profane
time and history. "
Eliade differentiates between types of initiations in two ways: types and functions.
REASONS FOR AND FUNCTIONS
* "this real valuation of ritual death finally led to conquest of the fear of real death." * " function is to reveal the deep meaning of existence to the new generations and to help them assume the responsibility of being truly men and hence of participating in culture." * "it reveals a world open to the trans-human, a world that, in our philosophical terminology, we should call transcendental." * "to make open to spiritual values."
These can be broken into two types:
* puberty rites, "by virtue of which adolescents gain access to the sacred, to knowledge, and to sexuality-- by which, in short, they become human beings." * specialized initiations, which certain individuals undergo in order to transcend their human condition and become protégés of the Supernatural Beings or even their equals."
In the study of certain social forms of initiation, such as hazing in college fraternities and sororities, laboratory experiments in psychology suggest that severe initiations produce cognitive dissonance . Dissonance is then thought to produce feelings of strong group attraction among initiates after the experience, because they want to justify the effort used. Rewards during initiations have important consequences in that initiates who feel more rewarded express stronger group identity. As well as group attraction, initiations can also produce conformity among new members. Psychology experiments have also shown that initiations increase feelings of affiliation .
RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL
A spiritual initiation rite normally implies a shepherding process where those who are at a higher level guide the initiate through a process of greater exposure of knowledge. This may include the revelation of secrets, hence the term secret society for such organizations, usually reserved for those at the higher level of understanding. One famous historical example is the Eleusinian Mysteries of ancient Greece, thought to go back to at least the Mycenaean period or "bronze age ".
In the context of ritual magic and esotericism , an initiation is
considered to cause a fundamental process of change to begin within
the person being initiated. The person conducting the initiation (the
initiator), being in possession of a certain power or state of being,
transfers this power or state to the person being initiated. Thus the
concept of initiation is similar to that of apostolic succession . The
initiation process is often likened to a simultaneous death and
rebirth, because as well as being a beginning it also implies an
ending as existence on one level drops away in an ascension to the
In unionised organizations , the "initiation" is typically no more than a brief familiarization with basic procedures and the provision of a copy of the appropriate collective bargaining agreement that governs the work performed by members of the union. Some unions also charge a one-time initiation fee, after which the joining person is officially deemed to be a member in good standing.
NAVAL AND MILITARY
Equator crossing ceremony on Empress of Australia , August 1941
Some communities on board a military vessel and also of military soldiers tend to form a closed 'family' which absorbs in members, who are often formally accepted, generally after a form of trial or hazing .
In addition, there can be similar rites of passages associated with parts of naval and military life, which do not constitute true initiations as the participants are already and remain members of the same community. One such rite is associated with crossing the equator on board a naval ship, but it can even be taken by passengers on board a cruise liner , who are not and do not become members of anything but the so-called "equator crossing club". Another form, “Kissing the Royal Belly” or “Royal Baby”, calls for initiates to kneel before a senior member of the crew, who wears a mock diaper. This “Baby” usually has a huge stomach covered with greasy materials ranging from cooking oil to mustard, shaving cream, eggs, and oysters. Junior sailors must lick the Baby’s navel area, while the "baby" grabs and shakes their head to better smear the goo onto their faces.
Gangs often require new members to commit crimes before accepting them as part of the gang. New members may be physically beaten by fellow gang members to demonstrate their courage, also known as "beat in" or "jump in", which occasionally results in a fatality. One study indicates that young people are more likely to be hurt in gang initiation than they are by refusing to join. Female members may be required to have sex with male members as a form of initiation, also known as "sex in", though they may also be "jumped-in" like their male counterparts. One study shows that female members who were “sexed-in” as part of gang initiation were thereafter viewed with lower respect than those that were "jumped-in", even when promised they would become full-fledged members. Another study found that sexed-in members face greater risks of sexual exploitation and abuse by fellow male members.
This hat would only have been worn by initiates to Kindi, the highest level of Bwami . Tail hair of an elephant, a metaphor for Kindi, crowns the hat. European-made buttons began to replace cowrie shells as prestige items on such Bwami paraphernalia as the Western presence grew in eastern Congo in the early twentieth century
Tribes often have initiations. The initiation done in the Bapedi
tribe of South Africa is normally regarded as a stage where a boy is
to be taught manhood and a girl to be taught womanhood. In many
African tribes, initiation involves circumcision /genital mutilation
of males and sometimes circumcision /genital mutilation of females as
In some African tribes, boys take about 3–4 months participating in initiation rites and girls take about 1–2 months.
A salient shared cultural feature of the Min peoples of the New Guinea Highlands is initiation into a secret male religious cult. For example, the Urapmin people used to practice a type of male initiation known in Urap as ban. These elaborate rituals were a central part of Urapmin social life. The ban was a multistage process which involved beatings and manipulation of various objects. At each stage, the initiate was offered revelations of secret knowledge (Urap: weng awem), but at the next stage these would be shown to be false (Urap: famoul). These initiations were abandoned with the adoption of Christianity, and the Urap have expressed relief at no longer having to administer the beatings which were involved.
Under the Rites of Zhou , boys are initiated into adulthood at age 20 (加冠) and girls at 15 (及笄). The text Yili (儀禮) in the chapter 士冠禮 gives the procedural details of the ceremonies involved.
Close to the end of the ceremony, the initiate is given a 字, or an alias; their name thereafter is secreted except before parents and rulers.
* ^ Aronson, E.; Mills, J. (1959). "The effect of severity of
initiation on liking for a group". Journal of Abnormal and Social
Psychology. 59 (2): 177–181. doi :10.1037/h0047195 .
* ^ Festinger, L (1961). "The psychological effects of insufficient
rewards". American Psychologist. 16 (1): 1–11. doi :10.1037/h0045112
* ^ Kamau, C. (2012). What does being initiated severely into a
group do? The role of rewards. International Journal of Psychology,
* ^ Keating, C. F.; Pomerantz, J.; Pommer, S. D.; Ritt, S. J. H.;
Miller, L. M.; McCormick, J. (2005). "Going to college and unpacking
hazing: A functional approach to decrypting initiation practices among
undergraduates". Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice. 9
(2): 104–126. doi :10.1037/1089-26220.127.116.11 .
* ^ Lodewijkx, H. F. M.; van Zomeren, M.; Syroit, J. E. M. M.
(2005). "The anticipation of a severe initiation: Gender differences
in effects on affiliation tendency and group attraction". Small Group
Research. 36 (2): 237–262. doi :10.1177/1046496404272381 .
* ^ "Sailor Men: Are Navy rituals, like Kissing the Royal Belly,
homophobic or homoerotic?".
* ^ A B Maryland gangs.Associated Gangs in this county.
* ^ James M Klatell. Exclusive: Gangs Spreading In The Military
* ^ Jeff Grabmeier. TEENS CAN REFUSE GANG MEMBERSHIP WITHOUT
SERIOUS HARM, STUDY SAYS. Ohio State University. Dec 18, 1998.
* ^ Burris-Kitchen, D. (1997). Female
* Barker, John (2007). The Anthropology of Morality in Melanesia and
Beyond. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 0754671852 .
* Brumbaugh, Robert (1980). "Models of Separation and a Mountain Ok
Religion". Ethos. 8 (4).
* Robbins, Joel (2001). "God Is Nothing but Talk: Modernity,
Language, and Prayer in a
Papua New Guinea
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