Rite of Passage
By Gwen Knighton © 2000
Chant the age-old rite of passage:
Send the boy king through the maze.
Blur his thinking, silent masters,
Set his senses all ablaze.
Bring the torches, oh, my brothers,
Bring the watchers, sound the horns.
Bring the young men who can hear us,
Summon them the maze of thorns.
Out of time and out of magic,
Out of dark antiquity,
Out of mind and out of body,
Bring the chosen ones to me.
Call the towers, call the chanters,
Call the women with their hands,
Call the mystics, call the seers,
Change the boy's eyes to the man's.
Weave the mysteries together,
Weave the branches harsh and dry.
Weave the garlands for the girls
Draw the line of the inner eye.
Feed him flesh to blur his senses,
Feed him grain to ground his feet,
Feed him wine to dull his thinking,
Take him where the chosen meet.
Give the boy the tools of warfare,
Give the boy the tools of land
Give the boy the tools of seeing
Draw him closer, take his hand.
Lead him to the waiting woman,
Lead his hand toward her breast.
Lead his lips to taste her sweetness:
First the ordeal, then the rest.
Now the women gather round him,
Now they offer soft advice.
Now they tease him now they touch him
Hands that stroke, eyes that entice.
Speak the words of invocation,
Speak the truth for which he's born.
Speak the mystery unbroken:
Push the boy into the thorn.
Bright the torches, ever brighter,
Bright the silent masters' eyes.
Bright the path that stretches forward:
White smoke clouds the midnight skies.
Half erect, the boy steps forward,
Half-asleep and half awake--
Half a heartbeat, and there's darkness:
Which pathway, which turn to take?
Outside, now the drumming's distant,
Outside of the maze of thorns.
Outside's fading: inside, he stands,
Naked as the day he was born.
In the maze, the corners scratch him,
In the maze, the thorn pricks deep
In the maze, the thunder threatens
To wake a mystery from its sleep.
Hours pass, the boy is restless.
Hours pass, the boy sees fire.
Hours pass, the boy sees visions,
Life, death, purpose, and desire.
Now he sleeps the sleep of dreamers,
Now he lives inside his dreams.
Now the line of all his lives blurs:
Into the sum of what he seems.
Worlds away, a child cries softly.
Worlds away, the women know.
Worlds away, the watchers resting,
In the maze, we awaken slow.
Masters, lead us through the thorns.
Masters, lift our worldly haze.
Masters, give us all we need
To find our purpose in the maze.
We are walking into sunlight.
We are outside of our dream.
We are all that holds this quest, and
We are more than what we seem.
When the end comes, all is silent.
When the end comes, all is still.
When the end comes, everything is
The boy, the king, the heart, the will.
In the sunlight, see the lion.
In the shadow, see the bear.
In the forest sings the sparrow,
Inches from the gray wolf's lair.
We are all the voices singing.
We are all the elements.
We are all the forests ringing:
We are what we represent.
(Repeat first verse)