The use of the word ‘initiation’, and of its adjective ‘initiatory’, has spread so rapidly in psychological language as to make one wonder whether perhaps these terms are used to indicate too many things at the same time. On the other hand, this terminology has pulled various modes of behaviour which otherwise seem incomprehensible and irrational into a more general context and given them a meaningful origin. The attitudes of adolescents who seek out situations of grave danger, or, more specifically, experiences of death and regeneration through drugs, seem, for example, to suggest that they are unconsciously staging those initiatory proofs of courage which in traditional societies reinforced identity and turned them into adults. As others have already demonstrated (see Zoja 1985), attempts to achieve an initiatory experience through the use of drugs almost always fail, since they invert the course of the experience of initiation. They do not depart from a symbolic experience of death and then conclude with subsequent regeneration: it is quite the other way around. They first of all supply an illusory sense of regeneration that results from the effects of the drug, and then slowly approach a real danger of death. Anthropologists draw a distinction between general initiations (rites of passage from adolescence to adulthood) and specific ones (entry into a particular group, such as the shamans or the warriors). But this second class of initiations, finally, is not much different from the first, except in terms of more demanding and dramatic psychic and physical trials.