For the last few lodges we have been working on deepening the teachings for the girls. They have grown and changed so much recently…some of the girls are now 14. We have been feeling changes coming for the lodge and big shifts. I personally feel all we have been sharing with them so far will become the tools they will use to navigate the coming years…I am so grateful we started early when they were young.
The june lodge we began preparing them for some initiatory challenges we are planning and its so exciting…They worked with an exercise called past present future you after the half girl story.. then in pairs they tested their powers of intuition.
We also now have two more lodges in our community. The little sisters age 8 and 9 and the Wild Moon Sisters age 9 , 10 , 11. They love their lodges too and this is the regeneration of culture in action… it is becoming normal in our community for girls to have this and it seems it will carry on down the generations… So happy .
As we have just started our third Lodge, I thought it might be interesting to those of you who have a passion for empowering women and girls to get a little info on what we do. Last Sunday was a perfect example of an amazing day with our older girls and how far we have come together as a lodge…We decided for the first time to split into 2 groups- the girls who have started their moon time sat around the fire with 3 women who are not their mothers, and the others went into the red tent to sit in circle and do some craft work with one of the other mothers. The openness of the girls was a beauty to witness, we passed a talking bowl and each girl shared honestly and open heartedly. There were moments of discussion and questions- from school, to embarrassing family moments, to managing your moon time on holiday…we went from serious topics to hilarious ones within moments of each other! And the group in the yurt had a lovely time being a smaller group, bonding more deeply without the ‘older girls’! The sun was shining, we all had a glorious afternoon picnicking outside and then learning a little about aromatherapy and making their own massage blends- with the finale being them all stripping off to their undies and giving each other massages… it was such a joy seeing how uninhibited they were together and how relaxed. It just affirms how much this work supports these girls with their self assurance and confidence!
Our “little sisters” lodge is quite different, they are mostly 8-9yr olds and as we are just starting the focus will be on bonding as a group, games, working with the seasons…At our last gathering we celebrated Imbolc by planting seeds, bulbs, willow, giving offerings to the land and having the story of Demeter and Persephone, finishing our session with a shared picnic lunch. As these girls are much younger we are only meeting for a few hours, but it worked and at the end of the morning all the girls enjoyed being welcomed into the red tent with singing and smudging and they all bravely spoke when the talking bowl was passed around!
Later that week I was caught off guard a little by my daughter insisting she was the only one at her friends birthday party with out make up…this shocked me, that girls at an 8 yr olds party would be wearing make up…at that age they might be ‘playing’ with makeup but not seriously putting it on for parties! Surely? And then I got an email from school reminding parents that make up was not allowed…so it’s coming into school now! Well I did speak to some of he mums- and I am assured my daughter isn’t the ‘only one’ not allowed make up…but it did get me thinking about the underlying issues …which you can read about in my blog here.
written by Freya age 14… (as published in She Who Knows Magazine)
In the summer of 2016 my mother and I went down from our town to Wales for a mother and daughter camp. I am a teenager who, like most others, doesn’t have a hugely close relationship with my mum and went for the three day camp to bond. At the time I didn’t release how much of an emotional journey it would be.
There were lots of other beautiful girls and there mums. It was amazing to see women together for a little while, enjoying their kids and loving everyone all the same. When we arrived I felt a little uncomfortable because I am so used to male company as most of my friends are boys as well as the fact that I’d never met any of the other women. I had just made the discussion that I wanted to change schools because I was being bullied and had completely shut myself away.
I felt as the days went past I could speak the women and I was able to play with the girls who were younger than me.
They had a yurt which was red, in the field and we’d go there each day for a ceremony. As I had already started to bleed, I was no longer one of the girls so they asked me to join the women. I then had a special ceremony of my own.
The other girls and I made masks, with the help of our mums, covering our eyes and we all decorated them with feathers to look like a cranes although mine looked slightly different as I was joining the women now. I was taken on a blind walk with my mask being guided by Rachael around to the red tent to meet all the women.
We then had some songs and after all the girls had returned and some wonderful stories were told, I sat in the middle and had henna tattooed on by everyone, which was very moving. There was drumming, tales of mothers and daughters in the past and the stages of womanhood.
We all ate our food together, shared experiences together and all slept on the same holy land. I completely forgot about being scared and cried a great deal like I should have expressed before. We were able to explore the land alone with our mums and have a real adventure.
The Spirit drum. .. written by Angharad Emma Varda
In September the core group had a beautiful sleepover with the girls without their mums.
The focus for this time together was the drum. The women of our community here in West Wales have been gathering around the Spirit drum for about a year. The spirit drum is a drum used by Emma and Shando in many ceremonies, circles, camps and festivals since 1975 when it was made! It is a travelling drum that reaches many circles,people and places.
The girls and children have been connecting with and playing the drum on this land, and we felt a flow that this community needed a community drum for their lodge. We felt guided to help the girls make a drum for their lodge , and for this community of women.
It was a beautiful ceremony, the drum was birthed with song and drumming of the spirit drum, as the girls took turns to weave and tighten the lacing and paint the barrel with ochre designs.
We told drum stories and played drum games with the spirit drum, whilst the drum was carried into its new home in the yurt.