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“Pain and suffering that are not transformed are usually projected onto others.”

Richard Rohr


Our initiation retreats are open to young men ages 13-17.  The next initiation retreat will be held in the mountains of Ojai, California and will be announced once we hit 20 qualified, registered teens.  Click below to register and complete the teen initiation questionnaire for consideration into our EMTIR program. 

teen initiation program

Teen Initiation Retreats (EMTIR)

  • Intensive 5 days - 4 nights male initiation retreat
  • Off-grid camping in the mountains of Mazama, WA
  • Morning meditation
  • Nature immersion
  • Physical, mental & spiritual challenges
  • Daily practices
  • Masculine archetype practices
  • Nightly yoga practice
  • Nightly campfire counsel
  • All farm-to-table, organic meals
  • Initiation ceremony & fire celebration (night 4)

Most young men have an aversion to pain, but in initiation it is our mission to help them to be able to sit with their wound without numbing or running away from it and to empathetically connect to the pain of the world. All major paths of spirituality point to what we do with our pain. So our first goal is to work with young men in identifying with their pain and in sitting with it until it becomes clear what the pain is there to teach them. As Rumi wrote, “The wound is the place where the Light enters you".  Once a he has made contact with his wound, it is the natural progression that through his empathy he realizes he is not the center of his universe. It dawns upon him that his wisdom is limited and that a bigger force is at play in bringing him to this point of spiritual transformation. Most young men come from a culture where they are raised believing in their "specialness". They chase this throughout their lives, never really being fulfilled in their pursuits. When a young man gets in touch with his pain and is suddenly not the center of his own universe, he is actually creating enough space for his purpose to shine through. As Richard Rhor, an expert in the field of male initiation explains, “Once you know that your life is not about you, then you can also trust that your life is your message.” This step immediately puts young men on the path - having to navigate through life now relying on a Universal force to guide them and speak through them. In a society where we are so goal-oriented, the prospect of moving through life relying on a divine, invisible source as a guide can be a challenging proposition - one that can only be maintained through regular spiritual practice long after the initiation retreat. The last piece of our initiation right of passage is to bring the concept and the reality of death to the forefront of each initiate. As Don Juan shared with Carlos Castenada, "your death is always near".  In life, all is passing and simultaneously being reborn.  We take our young men through this journey that they may be birthed anew on a new path of purpose and evolution of their souls and become whole embodied men.

References: Adapted from Richard Rohr, Adam’s Return: The Five Promises of Male Initiation (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2004), 62-64, 66.

"If we do not initiate the youth, they'll burn down the village just to feel the heat"

- African Proverb