Age 13 is the age that most girls get excited about as it’s the age where they feel like they have become a teenager.
Oddly though, these days, I’ve heard my daughter and her friend’s reference that they became teens when they hit 11. I side-eyed my daughter at that comment. Earlier this year, part of my education to become a Holistic Wellness Practitioner was to take coursework around creating ceremonies and sacred spaces. What I had not anticipated was walking away with a new level of awareness about transitions and how we as a culture of Americans in many ways have gotten away from the traditional methods of honoring these rituals.
Some families have been fortunate to have traditions and rituals perhaps part of their religious organizations. But others, the day was spent as a birthday and celebrated like any other. Honestly, I cannot even remember when I turned 13, or what my parents did for me. It wasn’t anything unique or different than the others that’s for sure. And there was nothing spiritual added to it.
What does it mean to honor transitions with spiritual practice? To me, it means that I make time to look at a calendar and see when my child will hit major milestones and take time to plan out what that sacred day should look like. Fortunately, I was not too late to catch her 13th birthday. I had missed doing something special for her first period. For my daughter’s ceremony, I made the time to dig deep into our rich history as humans. I looked at various rituals and rites of passage that many cultures had done before me.
From there, I drew in strength and courage, knowing that as the mother, I could also do this for my child. I pulled on my knowledge of flower essences, colors, music, and natural stones together along with the format for actually conducting a ceremony, before I began creating, I called on my female ancestors to help me write the words to be spoken. My daughter walked away that day, not only knowing just how loved she was, but how important this time in her life was, and that the women in her family also saw it that way. It was a big responsibility and more would be expected of her.
Ceremonies can give huge significance to a child’s transitions.
It can also lead to transformation and rebirth through the closure of life’s difficult experiences. They take us outside of the realm of the normal world including the confines of time and space and bring us closer to the spiritual realm. Unlike the primary reason for rituals which is to achieve some desired outcome, a ceremony is a way to align ourselves and our heart’s desires with that of what Spirit, God, or the Universe has for us. During the ceremony, we trust in the process and have no expectations about how Spirit shows up. We call on it to join us and though we may get the desired outcome the most important part is the alignment we have created with it.
With all I learned, it became a no-brainer how ceremonies could be the pivotal tool in helping my children through life’s transitions.
A tool my children could carry into their adult years. Instead of acting like those transitions aren’t a big deal and ignoring what feelings arise around it, ceremonies can help bring meaning about that moment in time. It helps a child engage with their feelings and creates a form of expression for them in a way that is meaningful and memorable. Listed below are a few tips for creating your own transition ceremonies for your child.
There are 4 principles for life transitions ceremonies:
- Timing and Location
- Progression: Beginning, Middle, and End
- Structured or Free-form
The intention is one of the most important and sacred elements to a ceremony. Sit and think about what this transition can mean for your child. It doesn’t have to be something difficult. Perhaps you are celebrating the transition from baby to toddler. Think about all they can learn and where they are at developmentally. You don’t have to do any major ceremony. But again, the intention is key. Maybe you chose symbols like from baby shoes to toddler shoes. Or something else to symbolize the journey the child has taken.
The timing is perhaps done on his birthday, or during a phase of the moon. Moon phases are helpful to us as we and the Earth are connected to it. The full moon is a time of releasing and letting go. The new moon at the time of birth, is life.
Progression is simply the format. You call on a deity or something you believe in, state your intention. Create something to do. Passing of the shoes, burning a letter, the ideas are endless. You say words about what this transition means for the child. That is the middle. The end is thanking whoever you called on, restating the intention, and then ending the ceremony and thanking those in attendance.