THE TRANSITION PROCESS ITSELF
Initiation is so closely linked to the mode of being of human existence that a considerable number of modern man’s acts and gestures continue to repeat initiatory scenarios. Very often the “struggle for life,” the “ordeals” and the “difficulties” that stand in the way of a vocation or a career in some sort reiterate the ordeals of initiation.
—MIRCEA ELIADE The Sacred and the Profane1
HIS FACE AND BODY ARE WHITENED WITH CLAY, and he is no longer recognizable as the youth who left his village two months before. The wounds of his ordeal—a circumcision and the parallel scars across his cheeks—are healed now. But they will always bear witness to what he has suffered. They mark him as one who has crossed the ...