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Navigating transitions in community – Rite of Passage 2024

What’s the role of community & ritual in our times of deep transitions? We are exploring this question by hosting a Rite of Passage for young adults, supporting them on their journey from studenthood onwards. Hosting such a format, we at oikos are realizing how it feels like part of the flesh and blood of the organization. Like a missing piece in the wider mission of oikos: accompanying students throughout their student lives, equipping them with what they need to navigate the complexity of the world as they shift the conditions of what’s possible in their own education, moving their universities towards sustainability.

For many people graduating, the transition from the school world to the ‘adult world’ happens in a rush, unacknowledged or even marked by existential fears and lots of uncertainty. 

For others, the real moment of transition only arrives years later and might take several years. Our Rite of Passage helps 13 young adults from the wider oikos community to gracefully transition into what comes after this remarkable time. The endeavour will take place the beginning of May, at Canon Frome Court, a beautiful farming community in central UK.


Follow Sophie, Elena and Sophia, representing 3 different generations of participants, in their conversation about their visions, expectations and questions around the next rite of passage


Sophie: Ladies, I can’t believe we will already meet in a month! How exciting! What are you most looking forward to? What do you imagine for your Rite of Passage? Do you have any images in your head? What was it that made you sign up in the first place? 

Sophia: “When Elena first introduced me to the concept of the rite of passage, I was instantly excited and wanted to know more. Together, we had been working on a different project envisioning what a post-growth society might look like, and engaging in discussions on how to slow down our own life. So, I quickly saw an opportunity to reflect these visions for society inwards and the idea of spending time in nature, surrounded by like-minded peers and having the space to ask difficult questions deeply resonated with me. I often feel like I am rushing through life, especially post-graduation job search where advice often comes from left and right. I worry that in the rush I might lose what truly matters to me and become sidetracked by shiny distractions, well-meaning advice, or big numbers.

Sophie: That’s wonderful, really moving. I think many people find themselves in similar places, but only few dare to look deeper. Do your thoughts show up in the form of questions? 

Sophia: I find myself grappling with questions such as: How do I remain true to my values in such a fast-paced world? How can I make a meaningful contribution to environmental and social justice? Where is my sweet spot of skills, knowledge and positive impact? 

These are big questions, and I doubt I will find the answer but just asking these questions already feels like a first step in the right direction as well as anticipating inevitable failure along the way. Learning to navigate setbacks, getting back on track and building the needed support structures.

I believe we can all benefit from slowing down and taking these breathing spaces to reflect on the path we are taking. Let’s embrace these moments of introspection and weave them into our lives, both individually and collectively. It’s in these pauses that we find clarity and connection, moving closer to living authentically in a world that’s always in motion

How about you, Elena? What made you join, and what are you looking forward to? ”

Elena: “I had the honor to join the preparation team for this years’ rite of passage. I intend to feed forward what has been gifted to me during my rite of passage in 2022.. a warm and energetic space, where we collectively find answers to our deepest questions. A space where transformation can happen. 

I am most looking forward to nature walks and glimpses of wonder in each others’ eyes, when we’ll realize something new about our relationship to nature or meet ourselves where we haven’t in a long time. I am also looking forward to recharge my batteries and courage; open my heart to what comes next in life and feel connected to the other participants, who challenge themselves during the week.  

I see the colors yellow and green when thinking about the week in May, and I remember talking to a former participant how she saw colors for each participant after the week.. I signed up for the rite of passage to meet the purest versions of ourselves and trust that we are enough, just the way we are, and especially in vulnerable transitions like the one from student to adulthood. 

Sophie, do you feel like sharing one of your learnings from your own rite of passage in 2022? What sparked your curiosity to host this rite of passage?

Sophie: Hmm.. the sparkles in the eyes of the people, that surely is one reason to tend such spaces. And surely a curiosity around how to hold and invite to spaces that render new possibilities, open our collective potential up to a world that suddenly appears much brighter, filled with life & meaning. My curiosity lies in the wisdom of our bodies, and our relationship to the world that surrounds us. What can we learn when listening to the trees, when speaking to the river, when whispering a love poem to our own body, waiting for response? To me, the Rite of Passage is also about daring to be beautiful together, meeting a very raw version of our Selves in each other. A dance between daring and caring. And so much more. 

A learning from 2022.. Maybe that our stories matter little, until they are shared & witnessed in community. How powerful it is to be welcomed with your story, without a restriction of time and space. I need you to listen to my experience, and you need me to exclaim in a loud outcry to truly mark our belonging in this world. And that there are listeners everywhere out there, from the old cricket tree to the cold fire pit or the bubbling spring. A community of life, if you want. And how incredibly powerful it can be to push the pause button, together. Digital detox for a week, hands in the soil for 2 h a day, and some movement – a recipe for flourishing relationships? What might be the ingredients for this year’s edition? Do you have ideas? WHat do we wanna throw into the pot? 

Elena: Looking at the 12 humans joining this year’s RoP I anticipate a lot of learning from each other’s experiences, coming from different backgrounds and places, ideas for the future ahead of us. I am really looking forward to the side conversations during volunteering, getting to know the community of the international village of Canon Frome and getting in touch with nature around it. Not having any technology to distract ourselves from feeling all the emotions is something I cherish as well. I will throw exploration, curiosity, challenge and fun in the pot for now! What about you, Sophia?

Sophia: I am also looking forward to slowing down, reconnecting to nature, getting to know everyone in the group, learning from each other and discovering new parts of myself. And as Elena says I am also excited to allow for all kinds of emotions to emerge without the pressure of having to function in everyday life. Maybe I will throw this in the pot – embracing all kinds of emotions fully without holding back. About the state of the world, the uncertainty, the injustices and pains but also the wonder and beauty of life and learning how to heal collectively. I recently read the quote: “Life usually seeks to cooperate, not fight.” and this is something I would like to explore further. But as I have not participated in the previous edition, I try to not have too many expectations and let myself be surprised and embrace this new experience with curiosity. 

Sophie: Beautiful! Daring, and caring. I’m so excited to see you soon onsite, and to recall our stories in half a year from now! 

Sophie is the person who, together with Chris Taylor, introduced the rite of passage to oikos during her term as an international president. Both organizing and participating in 2022, she will be one of the main hosts for the rite of passage 2024.

Elena participated in the rite of passage in 2022 and had meaningful insights during the week that rippled in her young adult life. She helps the hosting team organize the Rite of Passage 2024 and will co-create where she feels comfortable and daring to do so. 

Sophia is one of the participants of the Rite of passage 2024. Elena introduced her to the Rite of Passage when sharing the meaningful contributions the 2022 edition had on her life. Sophia is curious to embrace this new experience collectively and see the impact it will have on her own journey.