PIE As A Rite Of Passage

Where did PIETM come from?

PIETM was created, written, designed and produced by Dr. David G. Blumenkrantz, founder and Executive Director of the Center for Youth & Community, Inc., an organization in Glastonbury CT that has provided training and consultation around the world on education, youth & community development, public health, emergency preparedness and public policy.

It Takes A Whole Child To Raise A Village and a Whole Village to Make A PIE

PIETM is an exemplar of youth and community development through rites of passage, which is a central focus of the Center’s work. It addresses three fundamental questions related to rites of passage:

  1. Initiation into what?
  2. By Who?
  3. For What purpose?

First, youth are initiated into the Universe by their parents and community elders in order for them to have a deep understanding, bond and respect for the connection between all things and their relationship to that which is greater than themselves. It helps them go from their focus on “ME” to valuing the sense of “WE” and compassion for the “other.” It can be used as the beginning of a community-oriented rites of passage and integrate other initiatory activities and community rites of passage.

van Gennep – Theory Emerges Into Practice

The process of the Planetarium Initiatory EventTM is aligned with the tripartite structure established by Arnold van Gennep, who coined the term rites of passage. Other names and structures for rites of passage have developed since the early 1900s when van Gennep recognized that transitions across the life cycle had an ebb and flow that occurred within a beginning, (Separation) middle (Liminal) and ending (Incorporation).

In the process of PIETM they are brought into practice in this way:

The design recognizes 6 degrees of separation:

  1. We believe that a journey begins when you make a commitment to go. Something resonated within a person about the production of PIETM that stimulated interest and the decision to attend. A call was sent out, heard and answered. A yearning for awakening was attended.
  2. The entrance into the planetarium is specifically designed to welcome and subtly invite an individual to be open to possibilities. Participants don’t immediately go into the dome, but “check in” in the lobby where they receive information and move into “Together We Dine.”
  3. Together We Dine. Community businesses, bakeries and restaurants usually donate pizza pies, “Space PIEs” and other food and supplies. Participants eat together.
  4. “En-Trance” video brings people deeper into the story of the Universe and connection with all things.
  5. Two videos, one for parents/guardians (adults) and one for teens strengthen’s their preparation to fully experience the Planetarium Initiatory Event.
  6. The three videos all end with the sound of the Universe, A-110. Participants are invited to make the sound within themselves. Each person intones the sound of the Universe and then when seated in the dome is invited to make the sound aloud to help launch them into the experience of outer space to explore inner space and together find their way home.

“The Mother of Invention” – Entering into the dome following participant’s preparation, intoning the sound of the Universe, A-110, creates the conditions for transcendence and transformation. The dome of a planetarium is an inverted bowl. It has been likened to a womb, or a sacred lodge used by First Nation and Indigenous people for purification, healing, rebirth and growth. With the lights turned down low and the burst of stars and the Universe appearing in the dome, anything is possible.

 This is a critical stage in the process of rites of passage. Lessons from the experience are brought together during the community conversation that follows the dome portion of PIETM and integrated within the individual and manifested outward to enhance growth, well-being and community resiliency and survival. Within the context of the small village participating in PIETM, both parents and teens have an opportunity to change the story and change their future.

People make agreements for ways of behaving that nourish life because they remain connected and live together as a community, they are supported, encouraged and held accountable. That is the power of community-oriented rites of passage. For more information please click and go to: Change the Story, Transform the Future©

Harpo’s Bakery – maker of Space PIE’s

Space PIEs featuring the constellation Orion

Giovanni’s Brick Oven Pizza helping to make PIE donates all the food

People in a community are compelled to participate and help out when PIETM is made and served to “nourish life.”