In my research on menstrual rituals, I came across this National Geographic video, “Girl’s Rite of Passage.” It’s a documentary of a 4-day menstrual ritual that Native American Apache girls are required to take part in for their first period – a series of ancient tests of strength, endurance, and character that will make them women and prepare them for the trials of womanhood.
One part of the ritual involves dancing for 10 hours. That IS some test of strength and endurance! The menstrual ritual itself has raised some controversy. Many applaud it for its recognition and honoring of a girl’s passage to womanhood, while some question the necessity of such intense tests on young girls.
Opinions aside, I think there is something we can learn from the Apaches.
The journey of womanhood is not an easy one. There are many trials along the way. In addition to finding our own paths, we also face many additional challenges – PMS, menopause, motherhood, to name a few. It requires strength, endurance and character for sure.
To me, the menstrual ritual ceremony serves as a powerful anchoring event for young Apache girls. They can always call upon this memory to give them strength and courage when they need it down the road.
Most of us, however, didn’t have a menstrual ritual to anchor and prepare us for womanhood. Instead, for many the only anchors are negative ones that offer memories of a painful and confusing time.
But is it too late? Can we recreate our own menstrual rituals to remind us of our own courage, strength and endurance – and reclaim our feminine power?
I think we can. It’s never too late.
So what will our menstrual rituals be like? Dancing with the moon? Taking a cleansing or nourishing bath? Meditation? Chanting? Collages? A tea ceremony? Gathering and sharing? Or something more aligned with the Internet Age?
I am curious to hear your thoughts and ideas. And, as always, I appreciate your comments.