Initiation and the Markings of Adulthood: A Conversation with John Wolfstone

In this conversation, Carl speaks with John Wolfstone.

John is third-generation settler, working on the Traditional and Unceded territory of the Southern Pomo and Coast Miwok Peoples. His blood and bones hold Hebraic, Norse and Celtic ancestry, and his spirit is from the Stars. As a wilderness rites-of-passage guide, ritualist, community consultant, relationship coach, and transmedia story-teller, John is on a mission to reclamate adulthood initiation rites-of-passage.

Holding space for the great grief of our times, John designs and facilitates rituals of transformation, in service to regulating the personal and collective nervous systems back to belonging with the Earth. John apprenticed in numerous indigenous and ancestral ritual healing lineages during his decade-long adulthood initiation quest, and bows in reverence to his many teachers, mentors, guides and elders.

John tends thresholds of all kinds, and can often be found praying by a fire, whistling bird song, invoking his ancestors, and training his craft as a sacred huntsman.

John is also one of the co-founders of the School of Mythopoetics.

In our conversation, we explore initiation, and why it has been so central to the human experience for as long as we have been here. We also talk about what is lost, in terms of the presence of adults and elders in the world, when practices of initiation are absent in a culture. 

We talk about the markings of adulthood, exploring some of the indicators that someone has grown into an adult, or not. 

And we look at how to grow a literacy with initiatory process, and for the many of us who have not grown up in cultures with intact rituals and rites of passage, how to bring these practices and principles into our lives and our communities.

John is facilitating a year-long adulthood initiation ritual apprenticeship through the School of Mythopoetics beginning November, 2022, and you can find more about that here.

You can find more about John and his work here:



We'd love it if you'd consider sharing with your networks.
Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on google
Don't miss a single post. Sign up here to get them delivered straight to your inbox.


By training and profession, I am a somatic educator. Over the past 25+ years I have trained in and taught modern dance, tai chi, Indian and Tibetan yoga, yoga therapy (specializing in back pain). I completed a 4-year professional Feldenkrais training in 2007 and a 3-year Embodied Life training in 2014. I also study and work with somatic meditation and the profound practice of embodied inner listening known as Focusing.