There were a lot of things in the air the first week of August... I was thinking a lot about my daughter's coming of age and when she would get her first period or moon cycle and I knew it was time for me to make the gift I wanted to give to her. I had gathered cards and gifts from family and friends in preparation for Chloe's first moon cycle last fall. I knew that once we had left California I would not be able to have an initiation circle for her with my shaman sisters, like I had planned to do. So I put out the word and so many of you answered the call and filled Chloe's red moon box with wonderful tokens of your love and guidance for her when the auspicious day came for her to metamorphose into a resplendent butterfly. That day was Monday.
As synchronicity and a mother's gut feeling would have it, I finished the altered book I had been creating to honor her, the night before. I rushed off to work Monday morning to be in Raleigh by 10:00, but when I got there I realized I wasn't supposed to start working until 12:30 that day. I couldn't believe my idiocy and then Chloe called me at 11:00 to tell me her cycle had started, and I wasn't there, but could have been. I couldn't believe it. I had hurried off unconsciously at the wrong time, but was it? Chloe assured me she was fine on her own because we had talked about it and she knew what to do. We discussed it over the phone and I thought about her being alone to make her way on the morning of her first moon cycle and I knew it was meant to be. The Universe helped both of us be in the right place at the right time--there are no accidents. I was there in spirit and she was prepared, and on some level, needed to go through this with her own thoughts and feelings, and find her way, knowing I was but a phone call away. My friend, Diane, told me that she, too, had been alone the day she got her period when she was a girl and it was for the better. A first separation and step on the journey to womanhood.
When I came home that afternoon, I found my beautiful daughter beaming and serene. She had created her own red tent, in a way, in her loft bedroom, where she lay reading and dreaming. I brought her the mysterious red moon box which she knew was something for her but had not been able to examine and periodically asked me about. What's in that box? It's a surprise. When will you give it to me? I don't know. When the time is right. What does that mean? I cannot say. Why can't you tell me when I can have it? Because I don't know... and other such maddening and mysterious questions and answers.
The theme for the box, the book, and the cards and gifts inside was the butterfly and the stages of going from caterpillar (toddler/little girl) to pupa (puberty) to butterfly (maiden/menarche), who can now spread her wings and fly. I just now realized that menarche and monarch, as in the giant pop-up butterfly in the center of the altered book I made for Chloe, are closely related words whose Greek roots have to do with beginnings and being a ruler or queen--the maiden or princess who is becoming a queen).
It was very sweet and touching to watch my 13-year-old daughter open each card or letter from her aunts, her grandmother, and the women she has known as my friends and hers for many years, and quietly read and take in the beautiful sentiments that everyone took the time to share. It was a moment I will savor always and today I share with you. Thank you all for being there for the tender maiden that is Chloe.
I think it is so important that we honor each other and ourselves in all the stages of our journey. There are women who are dedicated to creating ceremony and ritual and mentoring young women as they come of age. It is something we can all do, even if only for one girl or woman we know, to be there as she makes her way from maiden, to mother, to crone and all the steps leading up to and in between. We are the creators of life, the holders of possibilities, the containers of feelings, and the connectors to the cycle of all living creatures. We can do more to learn and share our wisdom with each other. Here are some women who are mentoring young women on their sacred path to wholeness: www.deannalam.com, http://www.magpie-girl.com/ Please post more women's sites, ideas, and resources for mentoring young women here as well as your stories about coming of age.