Thursday, January 27, 2011

Honoring our Divine Daughters

My daughter is nine, almost ten, and I've been giving thought to what I want to tell her about puberty. I was given a Coming of Age kit that has wonderful book and video about the physical changes of puberty, as well as a bit of history about how the time of menarche was celebrated in ancient societies. I love that the book talks about honoring the female body and how the cycles fit in with the rhythm of nature and the moon. In thinking about how to convey this to my ChloĆ«, who is not yet showing signs of puberty, I realize, however, that I want to start with the step before this one. I want to share with her ~ and her friends ~ what it means to honor and respect women and girls at all. I want to talk first with them about the time when women’s gifts were honored and revered, and how that compares to what we revere today.

I think it’s seductive for us women of 2011, those of us who lived through days when girls and boys were raised very differently, those of us who had mothers who didn’t work because “that’s not what women do,” to relax in the notion that that “it’s all better now” for our daughters. It’s true that there are women CEOs, women sportscasters, women senators, women television producers, and even women astronauts. They certainly didn’t exist when I was a kid. They are still the exceptions, however, the outliers. Certainly women aren’t represented in those occupations in equal numbers with men. Certainly, there has been no female US president.

My husband and son are glued to the TV watching football, baseball, basketball…when are we glued to the TV watching women play sports? We catch glimpses of them every couple of years during the Olympics. My daughter wants to know why there aren’t women baseball teams. And why does she have to sing “With God as our Father, brothers all are we?” in the school holiday program?

Even beyond the equality in the numbers, however, I don’t see that we have arrived at a time of truly honoring feminine attributes and skills. Women may now be successful in left-brained, logic-based occupations, it’s true. But where are the women (or men, for that matter) being honored for their nurturing, their intuition, their healing, their creative, or cooperative gifts? Short of Mother Theresa, and other saints we put on pedestals (and kept in poverty), we don’t honor the Midwife of the Year or the Mystic of the Month.

My daughter hears things like “cry like a little girl,” and “you run like a girl.” Who says to little boys, “you have the intuition of a boy?” And what boy would feel insulted if anyone did?

So before I turn to teaching my daughter about honoring her body at menarche, I intend first to teach her to honor her girl-ness, to know that there are ancient traditions of Wise Women, Mystics and Healers, and that the Divine Feminine is worthy of our reverence just as is God the Father.

My thoughts then turn to wondering where to find resources for this teaching, where do I find texts written in language that is not only accessible to a nine-year-old girl, but one that is engaging for her, as well. I am leaning into Trust here, knowing that if I've been inspired to ask, then " will be given and you will find." So my question is this:  what have you taught your young daughters, nieces, and cousins ~ and sons and nephews! ~ about honoring women, the divine feminine, our mother, aunts, sisters, and daughters? What ceremonies, what books, do you recommend? What is your wisdom to share?