“Childbirth is a rite of passage so intense physically, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, that most other events in a woman’s life pale next to it. In our modern lives, there are few remaining rituals of initiation, few events that challenge a person’s mettle down to the very core. Childbirth remains a primary initiatory rite for a woman.” –from the book MotherMysteries
“One of the greatest failings of our society
is that we do not have a ceremony to mark
the passage from childhood to adulthood.”
~Dr. Michael Thompson, author of Raising Cain~
As a culture, we have very few recognized rites of passage. I would suggest that perhaps marriage is the only remaining rite of passage that is acknowledged in the mainstream with celebration and ritual. We also have 18th and 21st birthdays recognized as transitional, but unfortunately only through celebrations that involve a lot of drinking. We also recognize the birth of a new baby, but the focus is on the baby and not on the transitional rite of passage for the woman and very often her needs, wishes, and feelings about the experience are trivialized, minimized, or even discouraged (i.e. a healthy baby is ALL that matters…). This summer when a friend’s son turned 13, I was looking up rites of passage for boys, and was frustrated to find the most common definition or experience of a “rite of passage” for a teenage boy was having sex for the first time or getting drunk for the first time.😦 I would actually venture to conclude that some of the nationwide problems we experience with birth and maternity care stem from this basic lack of acknowledgement of significant rites of passage in our lives.
So, I’ve very much been enjoying my participation in a free telesummit on Rites of Passage for boys and girls, planned by DeAnna L’am of Red Moon and Janet Allison of Boys Alive (there are a variety of guest speakers from a variety of other organizations and backgrounds as well, both men and women).
The event goes on through next week, so check it out if you get a chance! Good stuff!
This same week a student asked me for resources for a mother-daughter group. I had some suggestions for her and figured I’d include them here!
In the past, I’ve facilitated a mother-daughter group using a curriculum called Meetings at the Moon that was published by the Unitarian Universalist Association. I’m not sure if it is available any longer though because I no longer see it available on their website. I really love it. Some other resources I like are: Wild Girls which is a book by Patrician Mongahan and includes ideas for facilitating a girls’ circle; the curriculum/program Women’s Rites of Passage by Hermitra Crecraft; and the book Becoming Peers: Mentoring Girls into Womanhood by DeAnna L’am.
I’ve previously referenced some material on rites of passage and rituals from the book The Thundering Years also, which is an excellent book about creating rituals and sacred ceremonies for teenagers. The other books I mentioned are specifically for girls, but The Thundering Years is for both boys and girls.
I’d love to hear additional suggestions from readers if you have favorite resources on rites of passage celebrations or initiations for our adolescents!
And, speaking of telesummits and also my own need for self-care and rest, I also decided to treat myself to the “upgraded” version of an upcoming telesummit for women called Wild Free Beautiful You. (The basic event is free, so check it out!) More about this soon!
Amazon affiliate links included in book images and Wild Free Beautiful You affiliate link included in telesummit image.
(and, this was another “short post”—I’m doing pretty good, aren’t I?! ;-D)