Her Story, Please….

Kapululangu Women's Law and CulturePlease help me with this research project. NOT for the sake of academia. To acknowledge and celebrate the spirit of women and girls; to provide guidance and encouragement for women today and into the future. Any one who has ever sat in a circle to truly listen to the stories of another, knows the transformative power of authentic story.

Women and girls in our contemporary culture  are in trouble. We are plagued by low self worth, depression, media objectification, a competitive pressure to achieve according to male standards, and our increasing rates of breast and cervical cancer scream out like sirens arriving too late to the scene of the crime.

We have so much to learn from Indigenous people of this Earth. Aboriginal, African, South American Indian, North American Indian, Celtic, Asian, Middle Eastern, South Pacific Islanders, they all celebrated and acknowledged women’s unique and profound natural life changes. In turn they gained the wisdom of the elder women who provided guidance for the tribe in matters of ceremony, spirit, politics and justice.

Where are our Rites of Passage today?? It seems logical that many of our current dilemmas for women and men could be eased if we provided each gender with age appropriate Rites of Passage as guideposts to mark their transitions, especially our transition to adulthood.  This theory is supported by many well researched in the fields of Anthropology, Sociology, and Psychology. (references below)

My request is to hear your stories. Then gather your stories of women’s initiations; reverently and intelligently collate the wisdom, knowledge and information; and, along with my own decades of experience in working with women and girls in transitions, write an educational book  to offer educational tools, support and validation for girls and women to strengthen themselves as a global community. This is a safe and trustable place for women to speak.

My dream is to hear your stories, stories of women elders from all nations, all tribes, all walks of life, of indigenous ones, of those who have lived close to the earth and know sacred women’s business as natural and vital to our healthy future as humans on earth………… I want to hear your sacred marking of women’s life transitions, particularly the ones related to menarche, birthing, menopause, and eldership. I want to know more than what took place, because so often this can be taken out of context and misinterpreted from another culture’s perspective. I want to gain insight into the cultural values and underpinnings that dictated the specific initiatic traditions, and more importantly, why, and how that affected the family and community as a whole.

I know I am treading into secret women’s business territory. So please forgive the possible transgression even in this humble request, but I do this for the sake of understanding. I am seeking to bridge the gap between where we are now as women (and as a peoples), so distant from our innate earth wisdom, and the Great Possibility: humanity learning to live in a more sane and wholesome way, integrated with and within Universal Laws of Nature.

And I want to hear your stories of un-intiation, of how each of us as women has walked blindly due to lack of initiation in our modern world.

So this may be a story of your sister, grandmother, great grandmothers sister, auntie, cousin, yourself, or your tribal heritage. But I want stories of this reality, not fantasy, true stories of real womens’ initiations, and the loss of initiations, and what these have meant, provided, seeded, taught, fostered, ……. whatever you can find out or remember.

 After many years of reading about indigenous cultures’ Rites of Passage for puberty girls, and more than a decade of supporting women and girls in transitional Rites to mark life’s profound changes, my bones know that I am still walking in the dark, feeling my way, like a kind of intuitive brail, reading energy, listening for ancestral whispers on the wind, asking the Great She for wisdom and direction, literally sliding my bare feet along the bare earth, catching wisps of confirmation out of the corner of my intuitive eye, singing to the grandmothers, mine and yours.  All because I don’t have centuries of  lineage teachings and traditions in the ways of women. What happened?? Que paso?

To me, Ritual and Rites of Initiation have the power to move mountains, to transcend boundaries of personality and time and re-mind us of our primordial connection to life, our original face. From there we can see wider, eagle vision, larger expanse of breath. As we begin to see ourselves and all beings within the vast web of life, our empathetic responses to the needs of our world and her creatures will awaken. Then the work of co-creation towards a sane and humane world can begin.

The questions below are simple guidelines. Please feel free to say what ever is important to you, whether or not I have addressed it in the questions. All comments on this site are mediated first by myself before they are public, so they do not need to be publicised on line, I am happy to keep stories confidential and names anonymous.

  • What practical and/or spiritual preparation, guidance or instruction were you given to enter into puberty, sex, womanhood, birthing, motherhood, loss, menopause, cronehood?
  • Who offered you guidance (directly or indirectly)? Did it help you?
  • Were there ceremonies or rituals, even family traditions that supported you to acknowledge and embrace transition, in yourself and others?
  • What did these ceremonies mean for you at the time, and retrospectively?
  • How do you think these rites of passage, or lack of rites of passage, have affected you and your family or community?
  • If you never received any formal initiations, what do you imagine may have been different in your relationship to yourself as a woman, and to your community of women and family, if you had?
  • And vice versa- if you have undergone formal initiations, what do you imagine may have been different if you hadn’t?

I await your responses with an open mind, an open heart and a vow to keep confidential names and places if you request.

Thank you, thank you , thank you, gracias, mercy, graze, obrigada, terima kasi, kapun ka, takk, danke, shokran, arigato, xie xie, efharisto, dêkuji, sukria, todah, kamsa hamnida, istutiy, spasibo, salamat po, Pilamaya ye,  Añay, Nais, Fa’afetai, Thank ye, Ke a leboga, Yala bak allah, Gunalchéesh, Malo, Azéharamo aypo-mia, Fakafetai, Enkosi, Oshe, Wiyarrparlunpaju-yungu, Yaqhanyelay, Tujechhe, Mauruuru roa, Jəpən,Tawdi, Nawari, Mehrbani, Ke a leboga, Angen, Hay sxw q’a, Pagui, Auw’e, Hambadiahana, Namasmasuk, Ka, Koutai, Chaltu may, Ka pai, Eso, Ashi, Webale, Moducué, Khawp jai, Gilakas’la, Murakoze, Ndondele, Chyeju gabba sai, Barkal, Köszi, Maake, Askwali, Vinaka, Imbuya mono, Ù rú èsé, Yakoke, Zikomo, Hahóo, Juspaxar, And to all those traditional languages where thank you is not in the vocabulary because giving is considered a natural exchange of life.

References

Hannah Rachel Bell, Men’s Business, Women’s Business

Betwixt and Between

Virginia Beane-Rutter, Woman Changing Woman

David Maybury-Lewis, Millennia

Lara Owen,  Her Blood is Gold

Dr. Cloud Lee, The Circle is Sacred

Robert Lawlor, Voices of the First Day


	

5 responses to “Her Story, Please….

  1. Hi moana,

    I felt compelled to write you in regard to a lack of ritual, learnings or initiation I have not experienced in my life and where that has lead me to now.

    I came to this blog as I am a mother to a now 6 yr old daughter. I am watching her grow through the complexities of life and experience, and i am constantly thinking how I can possibly prepare her for life to be a powerful, self assured woman, knowing herself, respecting herself and feeling her connectedness to life, people and the planet. my hope is to support her to be true to herself and to her highest potential.

    The tricky part is I am going completely blind into this venture of motherhood because I lost my own mother at the age of 8 and was forced to journey into all the phases of life you mentioned with very little or no guidance at all. My father tried his best but Bless him, it was no help at all! , my aunties all lived in another state, so my older sister who was also going in blind was my only source of knowledge.
    Where did it leave me? I grew into an angry, self loathing teen, using drugs and alcohol, looking for some sort of connection or approval in sexual interactions that only perpetuated my self esteem issues. Most importantly I never learnt how to respect myself, or what it meant to be a woman and how truly amazing that really is.
    The sexual interactions left me feeling used and having no love for my own body which in turn has made relationships difficult because I really began to dislike sex completely. I never really connected to myself and in turn others. I became an island. Had difficulty communicating my needs and feeling and felt like I couldnt trust or rely on others. This has been difficult for me, my family and friends.

    Along the way I found yoga and have been developing my own spiritual practices that have helped me to connect with myself, my body, my higher being and the oneness we all share. This has been a wonderful help into knowing self.

    Then came my daughter and everything has changed. during pregnancy and labour I was lovingly and gratefully supported by my partners mother who has become somewhat my surrogate mumma, she is an amazing fountain of knowledge on mothering having 5 of her own. My empowering home birth gave me a profound respect for my body, womanhood and life.
    The rite of passage through labour has been a saving grace and given me the strength to challenge past trauma, to make the changes to pave the way for my daughter and to show her by example that it is so incredibly wonderful to be a woman and to be apart of a sisterhood.

    What do I imagine would be different if I had been through initiations?
    For me I feel the biggest difference would have been learning self respect and who I truly am early on. I believe I would have made many different choices because of that. I would love to have felt apart of something, apart of a sisterhood that I could have turned to in those times of confusion and need and been there for others when they needed someone.

    Approaching 40 I am only just learning about the sensuality and sexuality of my body. What a gift is this amazing body of ours. What a gift is the sisterhood of women and where can that lead us in all areas of life! I feel utterly blessed to be coming into this experience now. Not for 1 minute do i feel life has been unfair, i cherish these experiences because i know they have lead me to my gifts, to fulfilling a purpose and that began with motherhood.

    How amazing the potential for our girls if they can come to this truth early and what kind of life can they lead. It’s so inspiring, so exciting.
    A few weeks ago I began envisioning developing a program for girls and started researching and that lead me here. I am in such respect for your work and the mission so to speak. I believe what you are doing is so wonderful and fundamental for emotional and spiritual health of our girls and
    In turn community and the planet. Blessing xxxxxx

    • Hello Emma
      i have only now figured out how to reply, after one year, crazy!! I tried to contact you on Facebook but couldn’t leave a message. I really want to thank you for your writing. very few women have responded and it’s so vital that we begin to make the link between our sexuality, our self care, our Shakti, and our menarche, our menstrual cycle, our birthing, and our early sexual experiences. When we begin to unpack and heal from the normalised experiences that were less than nourishing, we will begin to respond more urgently, more seriously, and with healthier rituals for the needs of girls and young women. We will take responsibility as older women to guide the young ones through. They are the future mothers. Thank you so much.
      Blesssings
      moana

  2. Beth

    I was not initiated in any shape or form. I found out my maternal grandmother hated my brother and I because of our father. My maternal grandfather was a mean bastard. Figured out he was a war vet who flew with Patton. My paternal grandparents messed up my dad so badly he struggled with bipoloar illness of severe swings and also alcoholism. Lots of abuse. We were spared that but never had grandparents and our parents are similarly broken.

    Neither my brother nor I received initiation but only trial by fire. I’ve done what I can to recapture my life as a writer and healer. I’m a mom and second one is coming this summer. I think it’s a girl, have felt that way since conception but haven’t found out. I’m due in July and am looking into a Blessingway to help transition to this birth better so I’m not traumatized by my absent mother.

    I long for ways to become a better mother in spite of my lack of mothering!!!

    • Hello Beth,
      Thank you so much for your response to Her Story, Please…It takes alot of vulnerability and authentic thirst for healing to be, firstly, honest with ourselves, and then openly articulate the unmet needs of childhood. I honour your courage and your journey.
      Lack of healthy mothering and lack of healthy woman mentors and models has left many of us without solid ground under our feet as we are thrust into roles of womanhood and mothering uncertain of how to navigate with discernment, disconnected from our inherent inner feminine resources, distrusting the Feminine, and ill equipped to find our inner authority in the face of society’s patriarchal values.
      May you continue to seek and find the Feminine wisdom that is your birthright through personal enquiry and self reflection and be guided by women of integrity and embodied wisdom, La que Sabe, She Who Knows What She Knows. Blessings for your upcoming birth. I do skype counselling for women should that be something that interests you. Moana

      • Beth

        Moana

        Please email me at beth@bcreativecoach.com. I would like to hear more of what you offer via Skype. To be fair I have had some women role models who have appeared into my life and one who’s been there consistently since high school. It’s been the biggest blessing but it doesn’t make everything right now does it? Australia was a healing place for me but also a space where I felt deeply lost. I would be interested to hear how you may support my journey this new season.

        Beth

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