I want ALL girls to be excited and look forward to celebrating their Menarche! And I believe this can only happen is they attend and witness their sisters, cousins, and friends being honoured and celebrated!
Which is why, this month, my womens circle and I are holding a “Community Menarche Ceremony”. We are inviting a small group of families (yes, brothers and dads too) to attend and witness their young women coming of age, and we plan for this to be a yearly celebration, so year on year little girls will see and want their own ceremony with their community.
I have been working with women and their daughters for many years supporting them in celebrating their rite of passage. For girls there is a clear signal that their journey into womanhood has begun- with the start of their bleeding time/periods. The first blood is known as Menarche; tribal traditions have celebrated Menarche for thousands of years- some rituals including the whole tribe, others more private among close women friends and family, some quite extreme- including genital mutilation, cutting, scarring and tattooing, other more gentle – being fed, massaged and sung to.
I believe how a young woman is guided through this experience can affect her for the rest of her life! Ask your women friends how they celebrated their first period- sadly for the majority of women it was ignored, shamed, at best explained clinically and ‘gifts’ of huge pads (sometimes huge tampons!) often terrified young girls! The menstrual cycle is a crucial element in the balance of the body, mind, spirit connection for a woman; this needs to be taught from an early age so when her cycle begins (signs can begin as early as 1 year before her blood flow) she can feel proud and excited to begin her journey of power!
There is also a connection coming up (well researched and documented by Shamanic Midwife Jane Collings) that women who are celebrated and honoured at their Menarche, and who continue to have a conscious undrugged menses will come to birth from a more natural stance. Women who are not empowered at theses states of initiation may fall into the arms of the medical establishment and hand their power over in the form of being put on the Pill for menstrual problems, being prescribed heavy painkillers or opting for epidurals and cesareans when it comes to labour, taking Hormonal Replacement Therapy or worse anti depressants at menopause.
So we need to celebrate our daughters, give them attention though their teen years, help them thrive as powerful young women so they can have empowered menses, births and menopauses – which will happen if we can model the feminine way of being in tune with our bodies and our menstrual cycle.
The time has come to reclaim the feminine path, the “beauty way”, to heal our own wounds from our uncelebrated Menarche (you can celebrate your Menarche any time!) and to practice conscious menstruation through cycle charting, use of washable menstrual products that connect you to your sacred blood, mini rituals each month to honour your cycle, watch the moon and notice its connection to your ovulation and bleeding time. Only then can we create empowering Menarche experiences for our daughters!
Its not our fault that we turn to doctors when we have issues with our menses, our society has drummed into us that the female body is flawed with this “curse” that causes mood swings, cramps, heavy bleeding which make us “unreliable “in the work place, moody and irritable in the home , our bleeding time “interferes” with our way of life and so we are persuaded by advertising and the medics that the best thing a woman can do is “make it go away”- using hormonal contraceptives that take away symptoms,- and give you a whole load of different symptoms and use toxic tampons and get on with life like nothing is happening to your body!
In actual fact our menstrual cycle is a sign of our well being, and when tuned into it we can receive messages that teach us about how we really are- emotionally, physically, spiritually- our imbalances get highlighted at this time and so we need to really listen to our bodies- and eat well and rest and this will bring balance in to the rest of your month! When women practice this they notice that their PMS or what ever “symptoms” they have, lessen or maybe even go away.
At every cycle, every month a woman is Initiated, she has the opportunity to step into her power and grow!
Why are these points in our lives, these Rites of Passage, these Initiations important? Well these important times are blueprinted into our psyche, we carry them unconsciously though our lives, our values and even the roles we play. I encourage you to create positive “blueprints” for yourselves and your daughters, they will help you heal yourselves, the collective unconscious, they will serve you when you come to the next Rite of Passage, whether it be birth or menopause.
When a women is taught to be responsible for her life and her choices she is claiming her power!
(c) Rachael Hertogs 2015