Celebrating Our Girls, by Molly Remer

We gathered roses
and bright zinnias
to crown their heads with flowers,
these shining daughters
who we’ve cradled and fed
and loved with everything
we have
and everything we are.
We knelt before them and sang,
our hands gently washing the feet
that we once carried inside our own bodies
and that now follow
their own paths.
For a moment,
time folded
and we could see them
as babies in our arms,
curly hair and round faces,
at the same time seeing
the girls in front of us,
flowers in their hair,
bright eyed and smiling,
and so too
we see women of the future,
tall and strong boned
kneeling at the feet
of their own girls
as the song goes on and on.
We tried to tell them
what we want them to know,
what we want them to carry
with them as they go on their ways:
You are loved.
We are here.
You are loved.
You are strong.
You are magical.
We treasure who you are.
This love that carried them
forth into the very world
they walk on,
we hope it is enough
to embrace them for a lifetime,
and so we kneel and sing
and anoint and adorn
and hold their hands in ours.
We are here.
You are not alone.
You are wise in the ways.
You belong.
We are not sure if tears can say
what we mean to say,
but they fall anyway
as we try our best to weave
our words and wishes
and songs and stories,
with strength and confidence
into a cloak of power
that will encircle them with magic,
no matter
how far away
from us they journey.

When I was a girl, my mother and her friends planned a rite of passage ceremony for their teenage daughters. We gathered in a wide, open living room, our heads wreathed in flowers and received words of wisdom, gifts, and songs from the women of the community. I still have the pink folder they gave me to hold all of their notes and well wishes. For years, it smelled faintly of rose petals and patchouli. When my youngest sister was 13, the women of the community again gathered their daughters together for a community celebration and ritual, honoring and celebrating them as they grow and change. I was 24 at the time of this ritual and helped plan the ceremony while 13 weeks pregnant with my first baby (a son who is now 18). As we processed down the hill with the girls hand in hand with their mothers, their heads wreathed in flowers, I thought: “I will have a ritual like this for my own daughter someday.” Eight years and two sons later, I facilitated a series of mother-daughter classes for my friends and their daughters. We concluded the series with a ritual of celebration and becoming, their heads crowned with flowers, the room filled with song. I was 13 weeks pregnant again at the time, after two traumatic pregnancy losses, and one of my friends said that as she watched me lead the circle through the ceremony she thought: “her baby might be a girl and she may have her own daughter here with her right now.” That baby was, in fact, my daughter, born in wild, sweet relief into my open hands in my living room on a cold January morning.

And, now, here we are ten more years later and the time came for me to hold a rite of passage ceremony for my own daughter and her friends. After the ceremony described in my poem was complete and I was putting things away at my home, I got out that pink folder from 1992. In it was a note, in my own teenage handwriting on “Hello Kitty” notepaper, with the lyrics to the song the women had sung to us as they washed our feet that long ago day, so I wouldn’t forget the words: “born of water, cleansing, powerful, healing, changing, I am.” This same chant was the one we also sang on a bright, fall day just this year as we knelt at the feet of our own girls.

Brief notes on ritual for girls:

  • Ask the girl or girls what they would like and how they would like to be honored and respect their wishes (for example, my daughter wanted tea party style snacks on tower platters).
  • Group ritual can be perfect for a coming of age ceremony because the girls share space with their friends and no one feels singled out or overly awkward or embarrassed at being the center of attention.
  • Keep the focus on celebration, joy, and appreciation of the girls and their unique gifts, strengths, skills, and capacities rather than narrowly focusing solely on menstruation.

Note: A different song, called Wise in Her Ways, by Spiral Rhythm that we also sang during this ritual can be listened to in our Soundcloud here and in a professional version here.

Molly Remer, MSW, D.Min, is a priestess facilitating women’s circles, seasonal rituals, and family ceremonies in central Missouri. Molly and her husband Mark co-create Story Goddesses at Brigid’s Grove. Molly is the author of nine books, including Walking with Persephone, Whole and HolyWomanrunes, and the Goddess Devotional. She is the creator of the devotional experience #30DaysofGoddess and she loves savoring small magic and everyday enchantment.



Categories: Children, Divine Feminine, Family, Friendship, Goddess Spirituality, Motherhood, parenting, Poetry, Priestessing, Ritual, Sisterhood, Women and Community, Women's Spirituality

9 replies

  1. This is beautiful! What a difference having this ritual must make in the lives of these young women, to know that they are sacred and celebrated. I also love your suggestions for rituals — having a group ritual created with my own preferences ensures a comfortable experience for everyone. You can see the joy on their faces in your amazing photos!

    Like

  2. Countdown to men complaining this is exclusionary in 3…2…1…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wonderful story!!! Beautiful photos. You and all the girls are so fortunate in your mothers and their ambitions for you.

    And yes, I’m betting men will be crashing into our next rituals. Post guards!

    Bright blessings to all women.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I wept reading your poem. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like to be honored as a daughter in such a way. I hope every woman reading this will think about her daughter/granddaughter/loved girl child and create something like this to welcome her into the arms of women who love. It is posts like this one that bring me hope. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh Molly, what a fabulous ritual! How wonderful for girls to be celebrated like that. I too wish every girl could experience that and know that they are strong and magical! Thanks for sharing this.

    Like

Please familiarize yourself with our Comment Policy before posting.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: