Boys Right of Passage Announcement for Earth Arts Community

Dear Earth Arts Families and Friends,

I am writing to you as a member of a growing group of men and boys working to establish a boys Right of Passage here in the Ithaca area. As you may already know, Earth Arts has been actively engaged in a girls Right of Passage for many years now and we are hoping to have a likewise for boys set up within the next year.

In a modern world lacking true mentors and elder support, we hope to begin to patch this hole up by providing a space for adolescent boys to grow over the course of a three-year journey into the first steps along the path to manhood. Through the ceremony of Sacred Fire-a tradition shared with us by Paul Rayfield of the Odawa people (Uncle Paul is an Odawa Peacemaker sharing similar lineage to the Haudenosaunee story)- boys and men participate in an experience to share and discover their truth and put that into context with our relationship and responsibility to the community at large. An overarching goal of this is to affirm and pass on a regenerative culture to the next and future generations, creating an ever-expanding circle of men who understand what it means to be in true service to themselves, their families, their community, and the natural world.

In order to achieve this, we are right now growing a circle of men who will act as support and mentors for the boys right of passage. A group of men from the community, including Pierce Walsh, Steve Gabriel, and Sam Bosco, as well as recently initiated boys meets each month to plan and discuss how this all will unfold over the coming year. The mentor’s role in this process will be to assist boys to harvest the learning pieces gained from their experience and make meaning out of it in order to share this with the community. We activate this through the ancient Art of Questioning and are fortunate enough to be mentored in this process by Michael Trotta of the SageFire Institute.

To be of full support for the boys as they face the unknown and initiation, the men holding this ceremonial container must also be initiated and have the full experience within our own personal being as well. This Fall 2014 we are hoping to initiate six men to act as supporting uncles for the program which we are aiming to start in 2015. Michael Trotta has agreed to come to Ithaca in September to oversee the men’s solo-fire initiation and we are working to raise funds to cover his costs to come here.

This August (and possibly other months as well) we are offering a community service and fundraising opportunity called “Days of Service.” If you have yard work, wood splitting/stacking, garden weeding, or any other work that you might otherwise hire out, consider asking us and what you would’ve paid for a private wage is now going to support a community service in the establishment of the Right of Passage!

Please let us know if you are interested or have any questions regarding the Boys Right of Passage and our “Days of Service” fundraiser. Please contact myself at or Steve Gabriel at

Thank you for your support!


Marc Barker

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