Transformation and Rites of Passage
Dear WSP Families and Friends,
As the sun set last night, our sixth graders were knighted in the amphitheater of the Heartwood Annex. This Waldorf school rite of passage is related to being 12 and transitioning into teenagerhood.
The Knighting Ceremony is attended by class families, teachers, and school administration. Each squire is seen for their transformation over the year and thus their worthiness of being knighted. Their teacher and secret sponsors—who they learn of during the ceremony—speak to each student’s individual qualities. It is a rite of passage for the class as a whole. The class writes an oath, decides what order of knights they are as a group, and are observed by their teachers for how they support one another through this time and contribute to the world around them.
Rituals and rites of passage like the Bridge to First Grade, Rose Ceremony, Pentathlon, Knighting Ceremony, and Commencement mark the important passage of time for individuals. David Adam Lertzman who wrote Rediscovering Rites of Passage: Education, Transformation, and the Transition to Sustainability says, “Rites of passage are an important part of human development. They mark key times of transition in an individual’s life: birth, naming, adulthood, marriage, creating life, becoming an elder, the passing of the body, and being re-born. When these times of transition are marked, ritualized, witnessed, and supported, it creates a kind of experiential map of self-development.”
“Within these rituals, individuals are given the opportunity to face their emotional limitations and to move beyond them.” (Groff 1996)
Here is the oath written by the Class of 2023:
We, the Order of the Sapphire Wolves, will... Listen to science and logic; Acknowledge the good in people and the world before anything else; Strive to fight discrimination of all types; Recognize and appreciate our own privilege and use it for good; Persevere and keep going, no matter what; Practice ethical thinking and provide happiness for others; Strive to protect and heal the environment; Open-mindedly think things through before we act; Set our differences aside, remember our roots, but adapt to the situations that present themselves; Educate ourselves and respect other cultures; and Cure hostility with peace and democracy—and not fight it with more violence. We won't go down without a fight. Stand up for what you know is right.
Go forth young knights with courage!
Head of School