Twenty Elements of Rites of Passage


There are numerous bodies of research that explore the essence of Rites of Passage over thousands of years.

Arnold Van Gennep’s work, Les rites de passage, from 1909 distills the process down to 3 elements –  separation, transition and incorporation.

More recently, the most authoritative research I have found comes from Blumenkrantz and Goldstein (2010) where they identify 20 elements that contribute to an effective, contemporary, community-based Rite of Passage.

At The Rite Journey, we work with schools to tick off each of these 20 elements, ensuring research-based, best practice.

“Almost all the examples of rites of passage from the anthropology literature are highly prescriptive. They were intended to initiate youth in small, highly homogeneous communities, where consensus about community values and appropriate behaviors can be easily established, into a rather limited number of adult roles. In today’s pluralistic societies where there are multiple possibilities for values and ethics that inform and guide expectations for behaviour, Blumenkrantz and Goldstein (2010) ask: can meaningful rites of passage be developed? They believe they can. The challenge, they say, is to help the communities articulate their shared values and develop processes and rituals that effectively impart these values to youth.  Derived from over 40 years of practice and extending van Gennep’s three stages of the rite of passage, Blumenkrantz and Goldstein identify twenty elements that they claim contribute to an effective, contemporary community-based rite of passage.”

Twenty Elements of RoP – Blumenkrantz and Goldstein PDF for download