Rites of Manhood Ain't What They Used to Be

Categories: Parent Hood

Catlin_Okipa.jpg
I went on the describe the Okipa Ceremony of the Mandan Indians. The young men of the tribe weren't allowed to eat (not even candy), drink, or sleep for four days. Then they were strung up by the ceiling of a hut... by the muscles in their chest. Weights were put on them until they passed out. When they awoke, their left pinkie was severed off with a hatchet.

Then they'd see who was really tough.

They'd race with the weights and skewers still in place to see who was the strongest.
(Campbell says that mythologically, it brings them as close to death as possible, which forces them to embrace death, and they are "reborn" as men. I say no thanks.)

Listen to Me Now, But Hear Me Later

I think I got through to him. There was a grunt. I'll let you know in eight to ten years,
when he (hopefully) realizes my wisdom (and I use that word loosely).

At the very least, it helped him get through his harrowing (I wish there was a sarcasm
button, like the "bold" button, that I could just click on that word) ritual.

The ever-awesome Shining may or may not have brought him close enough to death for
a total rebirth, but it kept him on his toes (and it provided some serious perspective on
just how tough a father could make things on a family).

The whole night brought him a little closer to manhood in my eyes.

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