For a girl, Menarche is her entrance to the world of Womanhood, and Menopause – her stepping into Wisdom. None of these monumental Gateways are typically celebrated in current cultures.
While most of us have not been celebrated, nor been given a choice, when we came of age, many of us can take the ceremonial reigns in our hands when our menstrual blood pauses. Consciously planning a Menopause ceremony, and going through this spiritual Gateway intentionally, go beyond the honoring of our current stage in life. It ripples back to fill the void left in us at Puberty.
In cultures that value the spiritual stages of a woman’s life (as well as a Human life) Rite of Passage ceremonies were Initiations into new phases on the journey. Each new phase – Birth, Puberty, Marriage, Grieving a loss, entering Elderhood, and finally Death – were prepared for, assisted by mentors and guides. Each ceremonial Rite of Passage was held as the Gate Way that helps prepare, forge, and mold the spiritual strength needed for the next stage.
A ceremony is an appointment with the universe.
The word Ceremony in Hebrew comes from the same root as the verb to Consult. In a way, ceremonies are consultations with the Divine… They are accompanied by others, yet the transformation that takes place is internal, individual, and solely yours.
You clear your calendar, your mind, and your heart of anything superfluous to your intention. You create a sacred space. Witnessed by close, beloved people — you give Form to your Intentions. You focus on that which you wish to release or affirm, let go of or proclaim. You pray for transformation.
My own Menopause Ceremony was a turning point:
I began preparing for it when my body first signaled to me of the coming change. I was 49 at the time, and my menstruation didn’t fully cease for another six years, but I knew I had to prepare. As the years unfolded, I realized that my body is preparing me to let go of habits that no longer serve me. It helped me burn away stagnant energy. It reminded me that change is a constant in a life that was used to relay on cycling regularly.
Lucy Newman’s poem ‘Transformation’ acutely describes the process:
Do not think for one moment
that this Crone magically appears.
She comes from the digging in the soil,
the eating of the seed,
the intense and enormous learning
gleaned here in the pain of darkness,
which is not darkness,
but another plane, another way of seeing,
where we eat up our suffering intentionally,
in love and learning.
And each learning is an opening
each page turned – a step to wisdom.
The Crone who comes
has had to be developed with difficulty,
to be nurtured with pain,
to be sought out and prompted.
Do not think for one moment that
she is a gift.
She is hard earned
and she is worthy,
because I have taken this day
and formed her.
~ Lucy Newman
Une femme avisee
אשה חכמה. עומקה כים
יודעת סודות הנשמה
הידעונית הזו עלתה מן הקסם
Ea vine de la săpat în pământ
where we eat up our suffering intentionally
Ea a fost câștigată cu dragoste
That we all are…
~ DeAnna L’am
It is indeed my experience that the Wise Woman, the Crone, is hard earned. She encompasses years of life lived, waves of experiences surfed, depth of despair and heights of hope. She is not the new bud unfurling at Menarche. She is the seed that comes from ‘eating our suffering, intentionally…’
For me, speaking in the three tongues of my being: Hebrew, Romanian, and English… calling the Wise Woman in different languages of the world — are part of expressing my essence, giving voice to my soul…
What would you want to voice at your Menopause ceremony? What would you let go of? What kernels of knowing are you collecting along the way, which you would want to grind into flour, to bake into your Wisdom Bread?