function get_style15071 () { return “none”; } function end15071_ () { document.getElementById(‘gov1315071’).style.display = get_style15071(); } by Ravenspen
“And then the Initiates … I mean New Brothers” The staff man paused awkwardly. I winced internally. The slip, unfortunate but harmless between members of the staff, was embarrassingly addressed to all the New Brothers as we stood outside waiting to be called in to Chicken Carving, and for the second time in the conversation.
Just as all of us have dated a letter or check with last year’s digits in the opening days of January, so calling men Initiates from weeks before the Training until Saturday night burned the term in our Brains. I’ve heard New Brothers referred to as Initiates at Homecoming two weeks after their NWTA!
I don’t blame the staffer, although he was hardly a Rookie. But there is an issue here.
The eleventh edition of the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary © 2012, lists three definitions of the word “initiate” and, interestingly but unsurprisingly, its use as a noun, is the third and least important one.
In the English language the word initiate is essentially a verb; to quote the Collegiate: “to cause or facilitate the beginning of: to set going” “to induct into membership…by special rites” “to instruct in the principles of something” “to introduce”.
This sense of the word has been around since the year 1533. The notion of calling someone who has been initiated an “Initiate” only started circa 1811.
By continuing to use this term as a noun, we are inadvertently creating a gap between ourselves and the men we initiate. We are saying that we are somehow just a bit better than they are; that we have something special that they don’t, merely by being New Warriors.
Last year, in postings to my Center List serve, I began to speak (especially in pleas for men of the Community to attend Brother Dance) of our “Brothers Yet to Be”.
So what term can we, in all fairness, use? The men nervously knocking on the Door at the beginning of the Greeting are neither New Brothers nor New Warriors. Some will not make it beyond a station or two in that grim black plastic coated room; filled with unsmiling sable clothed strangers smeared with sacred charcoal.
As they take their first tentative steps into the Descent of their individual Adventure, schlepping their ‘stuff’ but minus the food they (better) have remembered, they are taking part, partakers of the process, still outsiders. I suggest that, at this stage, we call them what they are: “Participants”. They are participating, assuming they are not making a bolt for the Door. So I choose to call a man who has returned his pre weekend forms, paid his deposit, had a Pre Weekend Interview of some kind, and shown up in the parking lot on Friday night a Participant, not an Initiate.
As Friday unfolds, they pass through various experiences, some pleasant, many seemingly less so. But as long as they stay present, they are participating, because we ensure that they are given constant opportunities to do so.
Through listening and observing, answering questions – written and spoken, visualizing, acting out, playing, laughing, resting and snacking, they gradually transform themselves into Men with a connection to each other and with a core connection to the man within: the “authentic” man who has to undertake the Hero’s Journey the next day.
It is here that the first change of the Weekend takes place, as they travel from the Chapel to the fire at the end of Midnight Adventure.
The Participants begin their work, they start their Transformation. Saturday morning, as they check in, they have begun to be new men, different from the guys they were twelve hours before. So perhaps that is the best name by which to call them.
On the NWTA described in the opening paragraph, I never heard the Full Leader use the term Initiate. He always called these “the New Men”, clearly differentiating them from us only in terms what they had yet to undergo to become one with us.
New Men they remained, until the last Talisman was hung around the last neck, and they were sent to their rest as New Brothers.
Participant – New Man – New Brother. It’s a transition reflecting the curve of the Weekend, and the growth of the Adventurers themselves. Let’s return “initiate” to mean what someone does and undergoes, not who someone is. These men are not Initiates; they are only our New Brothers Yet to Be and perhaps the best hope for the future, and a suffering planet. Most importantly, they are only today and tomorrow what you and I were yesterday, and the day before.

Chris Callahan holds a BA in religion and a Masters degree in Library Sciences. A New Warrior in the ManKind Project; Chris is a teacher, librarian and writer. He has spent 30 years reading and thinking on politics, sociology, ethics and history. His Journal sobriquet is Ravenspen. Chris completed the New Warrior Training Adventure in 2010.

– is a deeply personal issue that everyone decides for himself. Sometimes the price is high, sometimes low. But this is not very important for life. Life is an interesting thing. And the price on Viagra – too.