This article is published in ‘Menarche a Journey into Womanhood’ by Rachael Hertogs.
My Menarche Ceremony at Sacred Arts Camp by Ro Ocean 2006
My Menarche Ceremony this year was truly beautiful. I just wish every girl could experience what I did. The sweat lodge the night before the ceremony was just as important as the actual thing, as it cleansed your body to give that sense of readiness to the experience.
Just before dusk us girls and our moon mothers gathered by the roaring fire and where smudged with sage before entering the small dome tent which was the sweat lodge. I felt nervous seeing as this was the first sweat lodge I’d ever been to. As our eyes adjusted to the blackness, seven stones were produced and put into a pit in the centre of the circle we had formed. Then we sang ‘we are sacred’ into the sticky atmosphere to the beat of a boran. We went round the circle saying what we wanted to let go of and what we wanted to bring with us on our sacred journey to womanhood.
The air grew unbearably hot and when it was time to go back to reality I felt as if I’d just come out of a swimming pool! Coming out of the dark was like being reborn- an experience I will treasure for ever and ever and ever!
On the day of the ceremony, I made my way to the moon lodge to meet my moon mother, Chrystia and change into my white clothes. I was glad to have the company of the other girls although I knew everyone was there to celebrate and support me.
Once we were ready, the maidens came to lead us to the big top where we entered through a beautiful ash tree arch. Then we were smudged with sage by the crones in their gorgeous black and purple robes and shouted our names into the immense circle of women and girls. When they sung to us songs old and new, I felt more comfortable as I know most of the old songs from past menarche’s so I sang along.
Then we changed into our daring red dresses back in the moon lodge and came out to something very unexpected! We walked between two lines of men and boys with their backs to us; drumming random beats every now and again with minutes between each singular beat. The energy in that path so incredibly powerful- you’d really have to experience it to understand it!
Once we were in the big top again, while the women danced and sung to us, my moon mother whispered my moon name to me and handed me a precious card. I felt honoured to have so much attention paid to me!
After we had witnessed belly dancing and listened to a story, we turned our heads to hear the questions of the crones who were guarding the gates; “should we let these men in?” “Do they respect and honour us as sisters?” the men were let in and they stood in front of us girls who were in a line with our moon mothers by our side. Then the men sang ‘we honour you’, once for every girl being celebrated.
Then the moon fathers stepped forward to crown their moon daughters one by one.
I was proud of my luscious crown; it was decorated with small flowers and two red roses at the side- in fact, it is sitting on my hearth right this minute.