A rite of passage is a ceremony which marks a transition point in the life of an individual. Many rites of passage mark biological changes; birth, maturity, and death. Others are religious and/or cultural in nature; bar mitzvahs, baptism, confirmation, achieving a drivers license, marriage, etc. Around the world, rites of passage are woven into the fabric of tribal and indigenous culture and are a way to honor the spiritual, social, and physical transformations that members experience.
"If you don't initiate the young, they will burn down the village to feel the heat."
~ African Proverb
Even if the first moon-time has passed, this event can be celebrated at any point in a teen's life. In addition, there are other points that can be marked with a rite of passage such as the transition into high school or college, a significant life event, or if there is simply a deep calling to celebrate something important to a young woman.
Pregnant mama's work so hard!! A mother-blessing has its basis in the Native American tradition of a "blessing way" which is a celebration to honor a woman's transition into motherhood. In our culture, baby showers which focus on the baby's material needs are the norm, while the huge transition a woman undergoes in becoming a mother is often overlooked. A mother blessing is a way to draw together all women (mothers or not) across generations to be present with the mama-to-be and nourish her as she nourishes her growing baby. Mother blessings can include men and children and are not just for first time mothers. A mother blessing often incorporates massage, henna, food, stories, cording, poems, personal sharing, as well as many other creative activities.
A Gradual Awakening, Steven Levine"The circle is the form of nature. In nature, all things move in cycles. There are the seasons, day and night, life and death. Light moves into darkness, returning to light."
It goes without saying that these rites of passage are the most personal, intimate, and emotional events of ones life. So why would anyone want a stranger to be involved? It is in these most intimate moments that we often need someone just to be PRESENT with us. A kind word, a gentle gesture, or compassionate silence can make all the difference to someone who is in the role expectant parent, grieving spouse, newly born, or passing over. As a Birth Doula and Massage Therapist, I find that the most valuable resource I have to offer beyond learned skill is presence and healthy support.