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You are here: Home Resources E-Newsletter Archive Winter 2010, Issue VIII On Being Welcomed into Womanhood

On Being Welcomed into Womanhood

Amanda Ayling (our Youth Programs Director) introduces our new Spring Break programs for girls, ages 12 - 14, by sharing her own experience of a Maiden Ceremony with Rite of Passage Journeys.

By Amanda Ayling, Youth Programs Director

When I was leading my first Coming of Age Trip for Girls with Rite of Passage Journeys, we ended up, after two and a half weeks of backpacking, at a moonlodge -- a sacred space devoted to the feminine.  Therese Charvet, who owns Sacred Groves, was hosting a Maiden Ceremony for the girls on the trip - a welcoming to womanhood.  I knew that a handful of women, some of whom had traveled for two hours to get here, had gathered to perform this special ceremony and I puzzled at their extreme generosity in doing this for a group of girls they had never met and had no direct connection to.

Later that evening, I left the girls in the care of my co-leaders and went off into the woods to be alone for a bit.  Reflecting on the ceremony and the experience of receiving gifts and wisdom from older women, I found myself sobbing.  First I cried for my teenage self, who had not had the opportunity to celebrate the step into womanhood and be welcomed into it by women who had gone before.  I wondered what difference such an experience could've made in my teenage years.

Then, I cried for the elder women in my life, who had not had this opportunity either.  It wasn't as if my mother, grandmothers and aunts had withheld such an experience from me.  They simply had never had it themselves -- such rites were lost many generations ago in our culture.

And then I cried with joy and gratitude for having had the experience, finally, in my late twenties.  And suddenly I understood why six women had each spent a day of their lives traveling here to do this ceremony for us. They had come because they knew how powerful the experience of being welcomed into womanhood can be.  They had come because they knew that every single girl, finding herself plunged into puberty, deserves that welcome.

It is this same knowledge, of course, that has inspired Rite of Passage Journeys' Coming of Age Trip for Girls every summer, honoring and celebrating the step out of childhood and into youth and young womanhood.  And now it is inspiring a new program at Journeys, a week-long retreat that aligns with the Seattle School District spring break, called “Becoming a Young Woman.”  Ten middle school girls will spend a week at the moonlodge at Sacred Groves, exploring what it means to become a young woman through heart-centered conversation, art, song, reflective activity and ritual, including, of course, Therese's Maiden Ceremony.  


Please learn more about "Becoming A Young Woman," a spring break retreat for middle school girls by clicking here. Or to get more information about our 3-week summer Coming of Age Trip for Girls click here.

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