Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Initiation

  • Paul LarsonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_331

Initiation is a part of most religious traditions; at its heart it is a ceremony for beginning and an important part of the spiritual journey. Van Gennep (1909/1960) coined the phrase “rites of passage” to refer in general to those moments of transition where one moves from one social status to another. There are age-graded rituals, rites of passage from childhood into adulthood, from single to married status, and the final rites of burial after death. But in addition to these major life passages, there are in each society a number of special groups one can join or is invited to join that have their own initiation rituals as part of entering into the community.

Initiation is an essential component of most esoteric constituencies within larger traditions; but rites of passage are also celebrated in the exoteric or more publically available forms of the tradition. Initiation is a particular type of beginning, one marked by a special process of preparation, often involving physical or...

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Bibliography

  1. Ashcroft-Nowicki, D. A. (1986). The ritual magic workbook: A practical course of self-initiation. Wellingborough: The Aquarian Press.Google Scholar
  2. Eliade, M. (1959). The sacred and the profane: The nature of religion. New York: Harcourt.Google Scholar
  3. Turner, V. (1995). The ritual process: Structure and anti-structure. New York: Aldine de Gruyter. (Original work published 1969).Google Scholar
  4. Van Gennep, A. (1909/1960). The rites of passage. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (Original work published 1909).Google Scholar

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Chicago School of Professional PsychologyChicagoUSA