rites of passage

Always the Earth Always the Moon

Master Transformer – Pluto, September 14, 2018, Florence & First Snow

Dearhearts, A long read … Grab a cuppa (::). I cannot shorten this one.

For the ritual and the ceremony of Rites of Passage, I stand on the shoulders of giant teachers: Angeles Arrien, Michael Meade, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Mary Oliver, David Whyte, Ann Mortimer, Meg Wheatley, Kathleen Wilson, Lorene Wapotich. So many others: Every one of my women friends. Margaret Meade told the first coming-of-age indigenous story and Arnold van Gannep wrote about the Rites of Passage form.

Many moderns played with this form, including me. For 20 years, I have helped produce week-long, summer-long, overnight, and weekend ceremonies for women and girls, to offer – on time and out of time – Rites of Passage. They have filled me, these offerings, for babies, for 9 year old girls, for girls just about to bleed.  A brilliant ceremony, a group effort, happened over a 2-night-weekend where more than 40 women looked at the Passages in our recent memories.

Literally, I have sat with this question for years, “How can women who have missed every single passage possibly catch up enough to give this ceremony, in its truest form, to our ourselves first and possibly to our daughters?”

Women, we must give it to ourselves before all others. The form feels familiar: Just like Mists of Avalon, just like the search for the Holy Grail, just like our modern vision quest, offered as a fast. First the call, then an action to separate, to leave, to prepare a Threshold, and ask for a send-off by a village of our peers. The Journey is alone with our inner wilderness, to recover lost parts of our Souls, and to return to a special celebration of quiet elegance designed to celebrate the story. This is a Soul Story.

Women of the 21st Century, busy, hip, totally involved with wonderful, extraordinary people and things. In the past 2 years, I have met many of you, on-line at a distance. Pachamama, TreeSisters, Sophie Mortimer’s magical group. To all of you, oxoxo. Those hugs and kisses are real, just come in close! I am in awe of our collective Stardust. This is what I call women’s genius, Stardust. With my squinty eyes, I see so much longing.

Rites of Passage often does not enter our thoughts until a change comes calling. What does this mean? Women go through about a dozen biological changes in our lives. I chose nine as my number because every one of us go through nine biological changes in common.

What is the layer of this question, could layer be the answer? How can women continue with our amazing and surprising offerings, work and play as a sustainable exchanges for our energies, and how can we experience a deep enough ceremony to truly connect with our inner power, to feel and allow the change, how can we possibly answer the call of our Souls?

The answer was not my answer alone because by the time the download came through as Soul Stories, I had been walking with Ancestral Grandmothers for more than 10 years, asking the same question, how? How in the world? How are we ever going to lift Rites of Passage out of the dust where it has laid, broken and forgotten, for so long? Why? Because of this mystical thing known as calling, as stardust, as purpose ― this often nags at us and saps our energies. To dig as deep as Soul-self takes time, Earth time, slow-time.

I honor your doubt. I honor my own. Doubt comes through as not-belonging, as not-enough, and as not-deserving. These often turn into real fear. Fear is a stopper, we cannot possibly go along on a 9 month or year long Journey of Initiation. I received several body-blows in August ― fire in my core and a pulled hamstring, together. I know this was doubt and fear. Then, there is communication: What is this thing initiation anyway? Initiation is revealing yourself to yourself, nothing more and all of that. Because we are alive, we have survived excellent adventures and painful memories. Why revisit those? Again? This long Journey shows you that you have been whole all along, but perhaps you could not see. You have buried so many longings, they deserve to see light again, with your adult or elder eyes!

I am committed to Soul Stories as a long Journey of Initiation because it feels so much like a celebration of wellness and wholeness. My Sister is right … we are not so much the walking wounded as we are not celebrated. Women are not celebrated. Mind you, birthday parties are marvelous, just not this special blend of ritual, altar, quiet, deep. Ceremony is the capstone of this Journey, falling in love with the Earth and belonging to the Cosmos, these are our benefits. Earth is our only home, this Journey will prepare us to take steps to care for our Great Mother for future generations, for ourselves, and for the stories of our Soul.

This is absolutely a Sisters’ Journey. One of yours may want to hold for you, to celebrate you, to come along with you. Parts of this Journey may reshape your beliefs, not in a religious sense, but in a spiritual sense, in a holy soulful sense. Answers lie in the dust of your Ancestor’s footsteps: “Why this earth-walk?” The answer is yours to discover. The Women’s Journey of Initiation begins September 23rd. It may be the only one I ever offer on-line. I am old, so this might be absolutely true. Find me in this new place www.gailburkett.org and follow me through the registration process.

I am going on this Journey too, I am IN!
Feel my love, feel my arms encircling you,

Symbolic Language is one of the bonuses.
Growth continues until we die, this is true. oxoxo

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