Our modern culture, particularly in the West has focused more upon the desires of youth than it has upon the needs of older members of society. Why? Because young singles have an impressionable mind and a disposable income, making them a prized target market for advertisers.
When we’re young, we tend to focus on developing a persona based on what’s perceived as valuable. Since inner riches can’t be bought and sold as commodities, they are often dismissed or minimised as having little or no value. As a result, when young we tend to neglect our relationship with ourselves by searching for the perfect mate to validate our self-identity on the conditioned belief that’s all we need to live ‘happily ever after’.
This unrealistic ideal leads us to feel like a failure if we struggle to find a mate or if married life isn’t a bed of roses after the big day.
Another contributing factor is our modern day patriarchal culture is very goal-oriented so we have been encouraged to achieve status symbols rather than master life lessons. This is why people throw a lot of money at weddings and baby showers but then offer little or no support after the celebration.
By way of contrast, ancient cultures highly valued the need for rites of passage.
Rites of Passage are the teachings and initiation ceremonies which prepare us for each of our life transitions. These ‘rites’ were considered sacred birth rights necessary to ensure access to the wisdom needed to make the best possible choices in life. Traditional cultures understood the need for mentoring and marking of all cycles and milestones. This is because they prized the soul’s inner journey above the accumulation of external wealth, status and power. Cultures judged harshly by our predecessors as ‘uncivilised’.
Without this necessary life training, we have become increasingly susceptible to the fear of ageing and agendas designed to keep us consuming.
In addition, our myths, legends and folktales have been distorted, so they offer no compass of wisdom, but instead provide a corrupt example and indoctrinate us to make lesser decisions. For instance in countless patriarchal fairytales maidens are taught to not trust elder women who have knowledge of the mysteries just as boys are taught to slay dragons instead of taming them.
Girls are also taught to look for a ‘Prince Charming’ instead of a man who is authentic and boys are taught to be a prize catch they must be the wealthiest man in the land – a notion which puts pressure on boys to make money their greatest priority, and on girls to ‘land a man’ who can take care of them financially. We don’t have to look far in our pop culture for evidence echoing this early conditioning. For example, songs like, ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ or ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend’ suggest a woman needs wealth over true intimacy.
Without ancient customs we are like a ship without a rudder trying to navigate the vast seas of relationships. In traditional cultures both boys and girls would be initiated into adulthood and provided with ongoing support. Such as Red Tent moon lodges for girls when they start cycling with the moon. A custom that enables them to sit with older women once a month to learn firsthand about everything being a woman entails instead of trying to learn everything from Instagram.
To learn about ancient customs, check out my book Goddess Wisdom.