Organizing data from cultures the world over, Eliade lays out the basic patterns of initiation: group puberty rites, entrance into secret cults, shamanic instruction, individual visions & heroic rites of passage. The vast information, assembled so beautifully, transcends usual scholarship. Eliade always affirms the greater experience in all initiations - the indissoluble tie between humans & the cosmos of Gods, spirits, animals, ancestors & nature. The absence of initiation in our culture has left modern men & women often isolated from each other, from the invisible powers beyond & from the myths that sustain daily life. The primal soul desire for symbolic rituals pushes youth into substitutes for initiatory experience: gangs, suicide, car crashes, teenage pregnancy, street drugs. These "symptoms" show the unquenchable urge for existential transformation & the need for elders, mentors & rituals.Eliade, Mircea is the author of 'Rites and Symbols of Initiation The Mysteries of Birth and Rebirth' with ISBN 9780882143583 and ISBN 0882143581.