Honoring Menarche or First Moontime - Mothering Forums
Preteens and Teens > Honoring Menarche or First Moontime
Arduinna's Avatar Arduinna 01:29 PM 06-01-2002
I was wondering if any of you did anything special for your daughters first period or moontime? Did you try and ignore the whole thing? Did you have a ritual or celebration with just the two of you? Or with other women?

My daughter is 12 and I've been thinking for a long time about a way to honor this time for her (once it comes).

Even if you didn't do anything, I'd appreciate some great ideas you might know of.


Busymommy3's Avatar Busymommy3 08:41 AM 06-05-2002
I don't have old enough for this one, but I will tell you what my Mom did with me and my 3 sisters... Well when I got my period, she showed me how to use a pad and then took me out to a special dinner, and we just talked baout whatever, I felt so special...

The thing I think was most wonderful with my Mom is that she wrote each of my sisters and I a letter right after she gave birth to us. In my letter she wrote baout her feelings/events in her pregnancy and my 1st couple weeks of life. She gave us each our letter when we were graduating from high school and she wrote something in it right before giving it to us as well. Those letters meant so much to us...

Oh, i was just thinking, maybe you could give your daughter a necklace on her period day and you could have a matching one of something...
member's Avatar member 12:19 PM 06-05-2002
I don't have any children, but when I got my first moon my grammy presented me with a quilt that she had made for me and a pair of beaded earrings. We then got together with my mami and three aunts and talked about "women's issues" like mothering, have a wage job, what being a woman entails in regards to contributions to the world. And then we drank some tea and had a "sleep over" of sorts. It was absolutely wonderful!
Arduinna's Avatar Arduinna 12:30 PM 06-05-2002
Thanks so much for the sharing and suggestions. I appreciate it.
Mamabear's Avatar Mamabear 02:18 PM 06-07-2002
Hi Arduinna! I'm so glad that you are giving some thought to how you want to acknowledge this important passage of life for your daughter. My daughter and two of her friends started their moontimes within a few months of each other so their mothers and I decided to do a ceremony together. Here's what we did: We found a nice spot on the riverbank, started a fire, and surrounded our circle with rose petals. We then called the directions. Standing facing each direction with arms up and open say:

Woman power of the East,
send forth your clarity,
shed your light upon our path,
inspire us with purity of the heart,
from the beginning of our first blood
until the last.
We call forth your simplicity
to aid us with our lives.

Woman power of the South,
strong and mighty,
flame the power within our wombs,
awaken our creativity,
give it life thorugh our blood power.
We call forth your strength
to aid us with our lives.

Woman power of the West,
flowing power of the womb,
sacred blood, mystery blood,
blood of life, blood of transformation,
We call forth your sacredness
to aid us with our lives.

Woman power of the North,
the deepness of our inner souls,
strengthen our wisdom Crone
who dwells in young and old alike.
Send forth the voices of our Grandmothers
to guide us through the bleeding of each moon.
We call upon your wisdom
to aid us with our lives.

I then said this prayer:

Mother Goddess, source of all creation, we ask special blessings this night for your daughters Johanna, Chloe, and Skylee. We recognize that these three girls are sacred in your eyes and we acknowledge you as the source of their spirit. We offer our deep and abiding thanksgiving to you for blesssing them with life on this beautiful planet. Please encircle them within your loving arms this night and help them know deeply in their hearts how your gentle and supportive presence will be with them always, now and throughout eternity. Hold them closely tonight as we welcome them into the circle of femininity, join us in celebrating this most joyful passage of life from girl to young woman, and guide us, their elders, in making this a meaningful experience for them. Thank you and blessed be.

We then sat in circle and the moms told their own stories of menarche, followed by a song sung by all. Then each mom in turn lit a white candle and read something special that we had each written for our girls. I told my daughter what a gift she was to this world, how she was connected to all creation and how it was not complete without her spark of life, how much I loved her, special qualities she has that I admired, how life's difficulties always contain a gift, how I would always be here for her no matter what, how much I believed in her abilities to become her own person, and what a privilege it was to be her mom.

The girls all then cast something from childhood into the fire (they all chose a drawing done in earlier years).

They then all lined up on one side of the fire and the moms gathered on the other side. Each girl blew out the white candle that her mother had lit. We shared words of elder wisdom with them (focusing on the special blessings of being female and having a moontime every month, how their bodies and minds are sacred and must always be treated by them and others with loving respect, and how important it is to rise up female energy in the world right now--this was a whole page, I can share it if you want.)

They then crossed the fire (symbolizing that they were entering a new phase of life), lit a red candle, were blessed with a spiral of rose oil on their forehead and a pink rose was placed in their hands. They all received a gift of a bracelet made of moonstones and bloodstones. (To be worn when on their moontime--the wearer is entitled to a foot massage!) and they took their place in the circle of women.

We then let the directions go, feasted on red foods (strawberries and whipped cream, tortillinis with tomato sauce, pomegranate, etc.), and they took a quick skinny dip in the river.

All in all, it was a special and beautiful experience for all of us. The girls were giggly and self-conscious at times but that too is part of the age they are so we just went with the flow. I made sure to write everything down so they had it to put in their memory boxes. Also, the day my daughter started to menstrate I made sure that her father acknowledged it positively. He gave her a dozen red roses.

Hope this gives you some inspiration! I suggest you plan something when on your own moontime because creativity is at such a high ebb when you're bleeding. Have fun!

Bright blessings,
Arduinna's Avatar Arduinna 02:54 PM 06-07-2002
Oh Mamabear!! I love it!! What a beautiful ritual. And what wonderful ideas.

We have been talking lately about her time coming soon and I told her we would do something special to honor this next stage. She seemed please with that.

And I loved your suggestion about her father also honoring this time. I love the flowers idea. To be honest I think I'm much more comfortable with it than he is, lol. I think he wishes she would stay little forever.

I would love to read your Elder Wisdom that you passed on to the girls.

Thank you so much.
Mamabear's Avatar Mamabear 05:05 PM 06-07-2002
Hello again! Glad you liked the ritual and the dad idea. I know what you mean about papas being uncomfortable with the idea of their little girls actually growing up. I pretty much told her dad that "this is what you are going to do" not "would you please do this". He was great, though, and even took pictures of her with the bouquet. And I must admit, there are days when I miss those "little girl" days too. On the other hand, how awesome it is to watch these amazing women emerging from our daughters! Sounds like your daughter is being totally supported in her own growing up process by an aware and fabulous mama! Here's the Elders Wisdom, very much influenced by 9/11 (the ritual took place the next month).

You are female, you are blessed. Your time of bleeding has come upon you, so now is the time for you to begin to learn about the special powers that have been given to you. Your bodies are now able to carry life and give birth. This is an awesome responsiblity that should never be taken lightly. Your time of childbearing, should you choose to do so, is still many years away. But you have carried potential life inside your bodies since you were born--all the eggs that could become humanity are already within you. As such, your body is sacred. Honor your body and mind by treating it with love and respect, insist that others do so as well, for you carry nothing less that the future deep within your bodies.

Even if you remain childless in this life, you still must honor your body and recognize it as a part of the spirit world that has become a human being. You have been given a female life at a very important time and place in history. For too long the male energy has held power on this planet without the balance of the feminine. This must now change. You live in a society where women are beginning to bring the scales back to an even measure of balance. We are free to speak up, take charge of our lives, make the changes we deem necessary--but only if we keep our hearts, minds, and bodies free. Still we are encouraged to trivialize ourselves, to focus on how we look, to apply our attention to shallow thoughts. Resist this. Resist this with all your being.

Imagine this instead--a world where girls and women recognize how powerful they really are. A world where we are admired for the gifts that we are especially capable of birthing--gifts of loving emotion, peaceful connection between people, wise consideration of a way of life that enhances Mother Earth and all the living spirit upon her. Imagine a world where children do not suffer hunger and want, a planet where people wage peace instead of war, a place where we can give of ourselves to uplift others, breath clean air, drink clean water, eat pure food and respect all life. Imagine a world where male and female are balanced, one not more powerful or important, just different, respectful, and complementary. Can you imagine such a world? If you can, then you can help make it so. It is absolutely crucial to help rise up the woman energy everywhere, and now. You have an important challenge and opportunity to help make herstory at this point in time. Can you imagine it? You have the power to step outside the box that society wants to keep you in and help raise the Goddess spirit that will enhance life and peace for all of our sisters and brothers throughout the world.

Celebrate your moontime! Recognize it for the gift that it is. Every month your spirit will be wide open, your creativity enhanced, your emotions intensified. Pay attention to your moontime dreams, seek vision, and always rest and pamper yourself. As women, our flowing blood can carry us to a place of deep growth, spiritual guidance, and appreciation of life and love. Embrace the tide and go for the ride!

You are three incredible young ladies, capable of following your hearts and thinking for yourselves. This is exactly what you need to do. Enjoy life, seek joy, contentment, wisdom, and love. You deserve nothing less. We celebrate everything that is ordinary and extraordinary about each one of you, and we offer our eternal gratitude to both our Mother and Father in the spirit world for bringing three such delightful girls into our lives--girls who are now ready to take their first step into becoming young women.

Let me know if I can help you out in any other way. (I will be away and off line for a couple days just to let ya know.) I'd love to eventually hear what you do when your daughter's time comes! Have a beautiful day lady!

Arduinna's Avatar Arduinna 01:18 AM 06-11-2002
Sorry it took me so long to get back. ((HUGS)) and thanks for all the wonderful help!
Mamabear's Avatar Mamabear 04:37 PM 06-11-2002
You are most certainly welcome! (((Hugs))) back at ya! I don't post a whole lot (working single mom) but I'll probably see you around the boards from time to time.
EnviroBecca's Avatar EnviroBecca 04:41 PM 06-14-2002
MrBecca recently made me a "menstrual bracelet" of primarily red beads. He did this because we both felt awkward about my having to say, "By the way, I got my period today." I read that women in harems used to paint their nails read to indicate to the sultan that they weren't available, and MrBecca really liked that idea (subtle but clear), but we both hate the smell of nail polish. So, he made me this bracelet, which I wear every day during my period but never at any other time. Nobody else knows what it means. (Well, until now!: ) Wearing it feels like a treat and reminds me of what Anne Frank wrote about menstruation being "a sweet secret".

Consider getting some sort of red or moon-themed jewelry for your daughter to wear when menstruating. Let HER choose to whom she explains its significance, so that it can be as much of a secret as she wants. But because you'll know, you'll be able to avoid asking a lot of questions (which many teenagers hate!) to see whether her cycle is regular!

I agree that it's important to give her dad a good idea for how to respond. Also, talk with her in advance about whether she wants you to tell him or would rather tell him herself, and about which other relatives/friends you are allowed to tell. I know so many girls who were peeved with their mothers for telling "everyone"!

Congratulations on reaching this new stage!
Arduinna's Avatar Arduinna 04:55 PM 06-14-2002
Thanks for the ideas. I didn't really think about the "telling" part. You bring up some excellent points.

3girls1boy's Avatar 3girls1boy 09:12 AM 06-16-2002
I've been thinking about this too, now that my oldest is going to be turning 10. (Even though it will probably be a few more years before she starts her period.)

I would like to honor my daughters' first periods, but one thing I am worried about: I always had very bad cramps (finally got better after I had had a couple babies) and so I have some very negative feelings about it. Because this has been the experience of all the women in my family, I expect that my girls will most likely experience very painful periods as well.

How do I say, "What a great time this is in your life?" with a straight face?
Kylix's Avatar Kylix 03:08 AM 06-18-2002
Check out this Mothering article if you haven't already Arduinna

I read it...it's such a beautiful ceremony. Lots of great ideas in it
EnviroBecca's Avatar EnviroBecca 04:57 PM 06-18-2002
I just realized, something I've never seen mentioned in discussion of menarche rituals is the pads or whatever the girl will be using. I remember feeling it was a "rite of passage" when my mom got me a Stayfree Starter Kit, and when I read Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret I was disconcerted that the girls bought pads "to practice with" themselves and kept it a secret from their mothers--I really liked having my mom hang around while I opened the boxes and looked at the different kinds of pads, giving me tips on how to decide which kind to use when. Having them in advance (more than a year before my first period, as it turned out) built up anticipation and helped me get used to the idea, but several friends found that when they told their mothers "I got my period" they were presented with a box of pads she'd set aside for them, and that was pretty special too.

Cloth pads seem like an obvious gift for a Red Party, because they're more like clothing than medical equipment (disposable pads have always reminded me of those yucky paper hospital gowns!) and can be the girl's favorite color or an appealing print. Also, giving your daughter cloth pads encourages her to follow a sustainable path right from the beginning, instead of getting used to filling the wastebasket once a month! The responsibility of washing the pads could be spun as an important new thing she gets to do now that she's grown up. Of course, that would only work if you use cloth pads yourself!

I do think it's important not to focus on menstruation as a consumer experience (a chance to get More Stuff!: ) but one of girls' big anxieties as they anticipate their periods is how they are going to keep it off their clothes, so it seems like that might be ONE thing to incorporate into the Red Party and/or pre-menarcheal recognition of puberty. I know if *I* were 11 now, I'd love getting a set of pads or better yet getting to shop for them online, look at all the different kinds, and decide which ones to get...heck, I loved doing that when I was 27!

3girls1boy: I would tell your daughters that sometimes good things can be kind of painful, too. Giving birth to them was painful but wonderful and completely worth the pain, right? Over the years you must have learned some good coping tactics for cramps; share these womanly secrets with them. DON'T say, "You'll probably have horrible cramps"; say, "Some women have cramps, so if you do, here's what to do." Talk about listening to your body and paying attention to what you need. Try to make them feel that they can handle it, even if it's not so pleasant sometimes, and that this ability to take care of themselves is an important part of being a woman.
hydrangea's Avatar hydrangea 11:36 PM 06-19-2002
Within a few months of my getting my period, my mother took me to a midwife to get fitted for a diaphragm and had a heart to heart talk with me about consentual sex, safe sex (this was before AIDS was considered a threat), etc. I wasn't near having sex with anyone, and she wasn't pushing me into it at all, but she wanted to know I was prepared for when I was. She also took me out for a meal, just the two of us.

It's funny, I never even thought of it as a menarche ritual, but now I look back and see that it was her way of honoring my coming into womanhood.

Now I am thinking that when my daughters reach that age, I may incorporate something of what my mother did into what I do.
earthmamafor3's Avatar earthmamafor3 05:25 AM 07-02-2002
Can I just say I am in heaven here? ahhhh reading this is like a breath of fresh air! My gorgeous 13 yr old daughter just started her moontime in April. We are having a similiar ceremony to the one Mamabear describes. My husband, Kaylas' new "Dad", also sent her a dozen "blood red" roses. It was very meaningful to her and helped with the telling part and avoided embarrasment. I can't say enough about the importance and meaning this ritual has for these girls. I can relate to 3girls1boy's concerns as well. I just got my moon back after my last daughter was born 15 mos ago and it came back with a vengance!! She watched me writhe and moan. Now, I tend to be something of a Pollyanna about everything, but there was no sugar coating this! So we talked about how some women have this experience and it doesn't mean she will and how to take good care of yourself at this time. We talked about our bodies knowing what they need and that women usually feel like being alone more at their moon's. Some people construe this as grumpiness, but usually many women just want to turn inside and listen to their inner wisdom at this time.
Thanks to all for the beautiful sharing, what blessed daughters we all have and what a great generation upcoming!!
Love and light Deb
DharmaDisciple's Avatar DharmaDisciple 06:13 PM 07-04-2002
My dd is 11 next week. She has a real 'blood' phobia, you can't even say the word or she cringes. Now I have told her a bit about periods but she doesn't want to know.

Her body is developing, and I don't want her to be shocked when she gets her first moon, but she is so uncomfortable about anything to do with bodies.

She sees my cloth pads and knows I use them-but that's about all she knows. I would really like to discuss this issue with her.

I have come from an abusive family where my parents never talked to me- so I have no role model to follow. Heck my mum handed me a book, then when I told her I had my first moon, I was told I 'was a woman now' and it scared me. I don't want E to be scared, but how can I help her? Any gentle ideas much appreciated. xxx