Personal Ceremony & Rites of Passage

Personal ceremony allows you to directly experience what is going on inside yourself at the spiritual and emotional level. Ceremony is an essential part of Native American spirituality and way of life. Michael conducts personal ceremonies to awaken aspects of self and initiate personal changes.

Rites of passage are ceremonies that allow you to awaken and initiate a new way of life. They create a line of demarcation where your old life ends and new life begins. Rites of passage usually involve three phases: releasing the old, experiencing a journey of discovery, and awaking the new.

The ceremonies are referred to as personal ceremonies due to the individualized nature of the ceremony. And sometimes it is appropriate to have a private one-to-one setting to do personal ceremony. However, often it is appropriate and even suggested to invite friends, family, and loved ones to witness the rite of passage. As well, some ceremonies such as a Medicine Wheel, Sweat Lodge and even Vision Quest are most powerful when done with a clan of people.

Following is list of some of the ceremonies that Michael facilitates. You can click on the link to move to the specific ceremony on the page below or simply scroll down the page...

Personal Ceremony Descriptions

Adolescence Coming of Age Ceremony

Adolescence Coming of Age Ceremony. Coming of age initiations are the most known rites of passage ceremonies. They typically happen in early adolescence when girls and boys bodies start to change. It marks the transition from girl to young woman and boy to young man. This usually requires a preparation session with the parents and young adult and ideally one with just the young adult. The preparation is making sure that both parents and young adults are clear on what the new responsibilities and freedoms of young adulthood. A reflective time for the young adult is provided. It is often in the form of a mini vision quest where they are sequestered for a short period of time to reflect upon what it means to them to become a young adult. Some out-processing with an elder or in a sharing circle is necessary for them to get clear on what it means to them. The primary part of the ceremony has the child crossing over from childhood to young adulthood sometimes in the from of them crossing the stage at a graduation ceremony. This allows the young adult has to choose to cross over into young adulthood.

Adulthood Ceremony

The adulthood ceremony most naturally happens around 18 years old in out culture. It is also natural to occurs at the time the adult moves out on their or attends college for the first time. Independence is the focus for this transition. It is vital that the new adult and the parents allow the adult-to-child relationship die and an adult-to-adult relationship to be born. If the new adult is resistant to this, coaching may be indicated and if one or both of the parents is resistant to this, empty nest counseling is indicated. A reflective time for the new adult is provided. It is often in the form of a mini vision quest where they are sequestered for a short period of time to reflect upon what it means to them to become a young adult. Some out-processing with an elder or in a sharing circle is necessary for them to get clear on what it means to them. The primary part of the ceremony has the young adult crossing over from young adulthood to adulthood sometimes in the from of them crossing the stage at a graduation ceremony. This allows the young adult has to choose to cross over into young adulthood. High school graduations ceremonies can often serve as Adulthood ceremonies with a coaching session or two.

Marriage Rededication Ceremony

A Marriage Rededication Ceremony is a rite-of-passage that marks when your old relationship ends and your new relationship begins. Accordingly it marks a change in what your relationship is about. It is a recommitment to your marriage or relationship. One variation of this is in the form of creating new vows which are relevant to the relationship as it is now. An example would be to rededicate your marriage after your children left home. This requires preparation which can be accomplished with each person doing individual coaching. The ceremony then involves you offering your vows to each other which is in essence second wedding that can be witnessed by family and friends.

Relationship Healing Ceremony

Relationship Healing Ceremony is a symbolic release of your old way of relating to each other so a new one can take its place. You are releasing the aspects of the relationship that no longer serve you. It is most effective after some insight-based Relationship Dynamics Coaching, Martial and Couples Coaching, or other vehicle to increase awareness and clarity. Things that have been released include: relationship patterns, judgment, passivity, verbal and emotional abuse, cheating and affairs, role rigidity and in-balance, parenting conflict, loss of respect, taking each other for granted, loss of passion, fear of commitment, addictions, lack of investment, denial, lost dreams, and many variations of control.

Birth or Adoption of a Child Ceremony

The birth of a child is perhaps the rite-of-passage in our culture that most often stimulates the parent(s) to shift their consciousness from, Who and what the parents and family are about needs to shift at this juncture to allow a healthy parent child relationships to unfold. This ceremony involves letting go of your previous identity and deliberately initiating your new life with the new adoption to your family. This ceremony also represents he birth of family. And since family takes many forms in our current culture, this ceremony is designed to adapt. It may be a first child or third. It may be your first child together after having previous children. You or your significant other may be adopting the others’ child. You may be adopting a child together. No matter what the case, a new family will be created and this ceremony allow the entire family to transition into its new state.

Divorce Ceremony

Divorce ceremony? The intention of this ceremony is get closure with the marriage so the healing can complete itself. Grieving is often involved- not only of the person, but of sense of family and dream of the relationship. This ceremony is varied in its form but usually involves intentionally letting go of the marriage and the way you saw yourself in relation to it. Burning and burying things often fits the bill for this which makes way for awakening your new sense of self. It is also a natural time to take inventory with what works and what does not work for you in a relationship.

Mid-Life Ceremony

The mid-life crisis is infamous, but what about a mid-life rite of passage. It is the perfect time for one and it could be argued that the lack of such ceremonies in our culture may be the cause of the mid-life crisis. We can no longer avoid the fact that our bodies are not the same. Our younger co-workers and friends may be a getting more attention for the opposite sex. And we are not as athletic and energetic as we once were. Mid-Life Ceremony and coaching invites us to redefine who and what we are and how we see ourselves. There is often grief involved which brings with it the need for acceptance. Letting go and completion of youth is the challenging task. This does not happen overnight, and allowing this process to happen in a productive way is essential. The timing of the ceremony is important, it may not be time for the actual mid-life ceremony to happen just yet. But it is productive to get the ball rolling. Not sure where you are at in the process? Feel free to give Mike a call.

Empty Nest Ceremony

Letting of your child is extremely difficult for some parents. I have observed many parents struggle and resist this. And not addressing eventually leads to challenges. As described in the Adulthood Ceremony, It is vital that the new adult and the parents allow the adult-to-child relationship die and an adult-to-adult relationship to be born. But you have likely centered your life around raising your children fro 20 years or more. It has become what your life is about. So while the regret, the grief, and letting go is obvious, the primary challenge here is to have you explore and rediscover purpose and passion in your life. And if you are married your marriage will likely have to redefine itself as well. And this ceremony often bumps up against and naturally lead to a Marriage and Relationship Rededication Ceremony.

Career Change Ceremony

Career change has become a necessity rather than a choice for many the past five years- and this seems to be here to stay for a while. Traditionally men and more recently woman have become very attached to their career identity as well as being the family bread winner. Failure at these tasks seems to take the air out of the sails of our self-esteem. And confidence. And then you start over. You go to school or training. You start at the bottom of the heap when just a short time ago you were running a department. So this ceremony often has a Zen-like theme of non-attachment about it. It is learning to detach from your career identity. Work becomes something that you do have pride in, but something you do- it is not who and what you are. Some variation of that is the thing that you let go of and symbolically throw into the fire. And you replace with belief in survivability. Is there is a blessing in losing your job when you could not afford to, it is that you prove to yourself that you can survive whatever comes your way. And that you will find a way to feed your family - no matter what.

Death of a Loved One Ceremony

You may have heard the idea that if you look deep enough, you will find that you are ultimately sad for yourself about feeling the loss rather than the deceased. Some say this is selfish., but it is just honest. Once you look at things the way they really are, you can start healing. As mentioned with divorce, grief and loss takes time. As long as you see things as they are and keep your heart open,, the grieving will come in its own time. So this ceremony is more about committing to a process of acceptance and allowing yourself to feel. The time line of when you do the ceremony is less critical. The ceremony is not about releasing every bit of grief and loss from your being, but rather it is releasing denial, guilt, anger an mostly the unwillingness to accept the loss. And you open yourself up to discovering how you new life with out the at person will be. I twill be different. It may be sad and lonely for a while, but a new life will open up if you make room for it in you heart.

Releasing Ceremony

Releasing Ceremony. Releasing ceremony allows you to let go of the part(s) of yourself that no longer serves you. These are most effective following some insight-based coaching and preparation as you have to look at what the thing are letting go of did to for (costs) and for you (payoffs). It is also important to have a picture of the new aspects of self to awaken in place of the old. The ceremony itself often involves stating what it did to you and for you and saying goodbye to it. When you are ready to let it go you release a symbolic representation of it into the fire. You make a prayer of commitment to put your focus in front of you and never draw the old thing back to yourself. Things that have been released include: low self-worth, behavioral patterns, limiting self-beliefs, judgment, passivity, guilt, shame, self-doubt, past marriages, various forms of abuse and the accompanying trauma and self-beliefs, deceased loved ones, unhealthy relationships, addictions, lost dreams, regret, self-loathing, and many variations of fear.

Sage Purification Ceremony

Sometimes referred to as smudging, the intention of this ceremony is to purify and awaken. You are purifying your thoughts by releasing your attachments and bringing yourself present. You are awakening (and remembering) all of the aspects of yourself so you can connect to all of creation. This is often done to purify and awaken at the beginning of other ceremonies, I prefer to see this as a ceremony in itself. It a tremendously effective way to clear a challenging or negative internal space that you may be in or "get right with yourself." It also can be used to clear a physical space of preexisting energy.

Personal Change Ceremony

While Rites of Passage are most known as ceremonies that acknowledge passage from one development stage of life to another, ceremonies can also be used to intentionally initiate a personal change. For instance, you could create a transition from a passive to more interactive way of relating or perhaps a way awaken and offer your natural gift. The personal change ceremony is w ay to declare who and what you are about in your new way of being. This type of ceremony also is an excellent adjunct to personal coaching and psychotherapy. At some point in the process it becomes useful to shift the focus from addressing the old patterns to walking with and integrating the new way of being. Michael works collaboratively with other coaches, therapists and other clinicians to ceremonially mark change in their clients. He also works with people who have who participated in coaching and therapy and are looking for a way to mark the internal change they have experienced.

Vision Quest Ceremony

Vision Quest is a personal ceremony, but the active ceremony part is typically enacted over a weekend workshop such as the Summer Solstice Ceremonies with preparation. Of all the ceremonies described Vision Quest requires the most preparation. Our tradition recommends six months of preparation before the ceremony. It requires serious intent and dedication. During preparation, the vision quester looks at the barriers, fears, and limiting beliefs that get in the way of receiving their visions. The weekend vision begins with a purification. The vision quester is then put in a sequester, where she “prays hard” to receive her vision and medicine. She carries this prayer or intention for the entire ceremony. Afte coming out of sequester, the quester receives counsel with the spiritual elder to understand the meanings and significance of what she experienced. Finally, the quester shares her vision with her people.

Spirit Name Ceremony

A naming ceremony is a type of Rite of Passage Initiation that awakens your spiritual name. It is an initiation or activation of your spirit name and your medicine or natural gift (much like a baptism). It is also a challenge to become what the spiritual name represents and make it a integrated part of yourself.

Healing Circle Ceremony

Healing circle is the best ceremony I know to get beyond yourself and truly give to another. It is done with a group of people holding hands in circle. Energy is called in and passed around the circle drawing with your left hand and sending with your left. Once sufficient energy is generated, it is focused on the being to be healed who is often in the middle of the circle. The energy can also be sent to a distance to heal someone not physically present, to the people of a natural disaster, or to a place on the planet.

Sacred Pipe Ceremony

Pipe ceremony is a vehicle way to connect with all of creation and to find our place in your spiritual path development. It is a doorway to offer your prayers and intention to spirit. It is most effective when you are able to allow your prayer to come so can offer it from your heart. Mike conducts pipe ceremonies with his sacred pipe as well as guides people to do ceremony their sacred pipe. The latter acts as a way to help you learn the etiquette of pipe ceremony as well as allow you to work through your inhibition and work with your pipe enough to do it naturally and "get your pipe working" so to speak.

Medicine Wheel Ceremony

The Medicine Wheel is the wheel of life. It symbolizes the cycle of birth, learning, maturity, wisdom, death and rebirth. The Medicine Wheel ceremony allows you to find your place on the wheel of life and where you are at in the cycle of your life. It is a place you go to seek our vision for where you are at and where you are going.

Sweat Lodge Ceremony

Lodge is where people go to offer their prayers. Also referred to as Lodge of the Scared Stone People or Fire and Water Ceremony, it is a place to purify yourself and find your connection to Spirit. It is a place that spirit comes to you and that you offer your prayer for all of creation to hear. The rocks and willow are gathered, lodge constructed, fire awakened all according to the tradition that I was trained in. My people currently does Lodge at least once a year during the Summer Solstice Ceremonies.

Medicine Object Awakening Ceremony

Medicine Object Awakening Ceremony is awakening your medicine object into the Wolf Clan tradition. Medicine objects include the sacred pipe, a fan or talking stick, a rattle, a drum, or other object that you intend to use on your work with people. At the deeper level you are being initiated into being a medicine person that carries that object. In our tradition the object itself belongs to the people and you are the carrier that takes responsibility carrying and using it in a good way. Traditionally medicine object carriers receive a vision to carry the object. Carriers are also responsible to understand the etiquette, responsibility and use of the object before awakening it. This ceremony usually requires a lot of preparation that can be accomplished in coaching sessions before the ceremony and apprenticeships.

Sharing circle

Sharing circle is often done with a group of people sitting in a circle- sometimes outside around a fire. Typically, a talking stick or fan is passed around. The responsibility of the person with the fan is to honestly share from her heart. The responsibility of everyone else in the circle is to honor the heart of the person sharing. A question such as, “What is in your heart,” or, “What limiting self-beliefs have blocked your from offering your natural gift? is asked by the spiritual elder and passed around the circle for each person to answer.

Guided Meditation

A guided meditation is designed to help you naturally access subtle spaces inside yourself. A variation of this ceremony is sometimes referred to as a shamanic journey. Michael does his guided mediation in the chakras or spiritual energy centers such as the third eye, throat, heart, and solar plexus chakras. You simply get relaxed, follow Michael’s voice, and allow yourself to see and experience what is naturally there. Michael often helps you interpret the symbolism of their meditation to understand what is going on inside yourself.