Initiatory challenge age 12 -14
The daughters of the earth lodge which I birthed for my older daughter has been going for 3 years and has been such a beautiful and profound journey for us the core group of women who hold it, for the girls and for the mothers who come. We have shared many stories, teachings, ceremonies and wisdom with them over the years…what I shared with them I am offering as session plans in bundle 2 of my online courses and some are available as downloads for a donation, for those of you who would like some help and guidance to work with girls.
Bur recently I have come to understand something….all my clarity comes from see watching and listening to our daughters and I have realised something. I have realised how vital it is that we circle with our daughters from age 8 and a half to 9, but that this changes a little at around 14.
This is my guidance that I want to share with you all and it informed the challenge that I designed for the girls which I describe below.
So at 8 and a half to 9 a big shift occurs inside our daughters that corresponds to the intensification of the ebb and flow of their cycle…its when in my experience they are totally ready to hear from the women and is the optimum time to create a lodge for them. Before that is too early. Then I have learned that we have a window of opportunity as the mothers in our community to share as much as we can with them in circle , then the window shifts when they are around 14.
I describe it like this:
From at 8 they wake up to the outside world, at 9 they begin to build themselves a little boat or vessel out of all the experiences and learning they have around them. This boat is the vessel that will carry them out into the world from age 14 – 18…it is their sense of self. What we as the community of mothers need to share with our daughters is all that they need with them in that boat..we need to give them the tools that they need to carry with them on their journey to womanhood..If they were heading off on a boat we would make sure they had life jackets, a paddle etc with them in the boat…
The tools we need to give them in in their little boat of self are things like :
Being able to listen to your intuition
Knowing your instincts
Undertanding their cyclic nature
Sense of self
How to keep your soulskin intact
Connection to all things
A feeling of belonging
We don’t want to be shouting these things from the shore when they are already paddling out in deep water.
And in my experience they begin to push away from the shore at around 13 or 14, and are not able to hear the teachings in the same way as they did when they were younger. They still want to learn but from others.
What they are heading for in their little boat is the bright lights of all that waits for them in the outside world, they can see and here this new exciting world ahead of them in the distance. So my new feeling is that what we need to do now as mothers is put in place some other mentors for them, handpicked by the lodge…, women and now men who have some empowered teachings to give them, people they don’t know or don’t know very well , people they will listen too..
They also need a challenge, something to help them journey even stronger into their sense of self. In our culture we have lost so much understanding around how to hold effective rites of passage. Firstly we need to have been initiated ourselves, that is why i take women through catch up rites of passages, this is the work of my bundle 1 online courses…and also we need to do the work of restoring culture.
So i am in the process of designing a series of initiatory challenges to help our girls in the lodge who are 12 – 14 through this next phase of their development.
We just had the first challenge which was assisted by CanoeCraft run by Steve Jarvis.
Together we planned a River journey. A whole day was spent canoeing down the most beautiful mama river, it was very symbolic of the journey to womanhood. One of our girls in the sharing the next day after our camp out in the woods, talked about the teaching she got from the river. Describing the beginning of the journey through the little gorge on the gentle shallow river like childhood…and the journey out onto the expanse of estuary and the end in the local town as adulthood…she is 12!
It was great to have a man there , as we have just had women gathering around the girls for the past three years. Steve told a story , made a fire as we gathered on a river beach and taught them a little about the medicine wheel.
The canoe and camp out was about the changes they are going through in there lives , and i had the girls circle together before getting in the canoe’s to share about those changes with each other and then to make an offering from bundles of leaves and herbs to the river, as a prayer for their own life journey, what they might want to let go of.
After the river journey and the girls had achieved some challenges that Steve and given them, we all camped out in the woods above the estuary. We were welcomed by food cooking on the fire and a beautiful shared sleeping space and our lodge grandmother came and shared with them about changes again.
In the morning i worked with them and their medicine bundles…bringing in what teachings they had received from the medicine of the river. I also introduced the circle of courage and we focused on mastery…having a sharing about what mastery means to them and their lives and future…they had just mastered canoeing, silence and fear on their journey…they had learned perseverance , overcoming resistance, strength and more..!
Then the mothers arrived with a feast and joined the circle with gifts for each of the girls to place in their bundles..this is so valuable as it is important that the girls feel witnessed by the community for their journey and seen for who they are becoming.
What i have learned is more about the depth and beauty of this work and the expansiveness of our own journey , on the inner and the outer. And trust , trust! is a big one for me…
Also i am constantly reminded every time i pull through a vision of what is needed next for our daughters, of the need for community, and how it is only together that we can restore our communities, restore ourselves and restore culture and land.
For the Earthmother and the next seven generations.