Coming of Age ritual for a young woman (15k)
spacer.gif (1k) This is a rite of passage for a female at her first menarche. 
 

Astrological Aspects:


A New Moon in Virgo would be lovely, but any New Moon will do. New Moon calls up the Maiden aspect and celebrates the power of growth. Just as planting is best served under a New Moon, so is a maiden's awakening. Perhaps a New Moon that reflects the maiden's own moon sign would be appropriate since emotions are so prevalent at this age. 
 
 

Preparations:


Two or three days before the ritual, ask the maiden if she is prepared to step into womanhood. Inform her that she must make a sacrifice to prove her willingness to the Lady and the Lord. This sacrifice will be five of her favorite toys. It is important that she understand that these must be cherished items. Of course, she should not have to relinquish family heirlooms! Ask the maiden to designate each item for each point of the pentagram. The item she decides to give to Spirit should be the hardest to give up. When she has made her decisions, tell her the day and the time of the ritual. She will keep her items until that day. On the day of the ceremony, the maiden will bring her toys with her to her cleansing bath and give them to the HPS (High Priestess). 
 
 

Day of Circle:


Ask the maiden if she will fast until circle. (Fast time should be at least six hours, but no longer than ten hours. It doesn't seem appropriate to encourage eating disorder patterns.) Of course, she can have water and fruit as she deems necessary. 

Two hours before the ritual, prepare a a bath for her. (She should already have bathed with soap and water. Into the water, place an infusion of Lady's Mantle, Heather, Rose, Jasmine, and Gardenia. 

As the maiden enteres the water, recite these words (or something similar) "The bud of your youth is maturing into the bloom of womanhood" Then leave her to relax and meditate on her journey. (If the young woman is too shy to be seen naked, recite the words to her just before she disrobes for her bath.) 

A designated helper could be either the eldest female covener or any covener the maiden chooses. When the young woman feels ready, the helper will bring a simple gown of white, sleeveless, moderate length and bind her waist with a red cord saying.... "Red of life, red of blood, I wrap you in the Lady's love" Take the maiden to a darkened room (one or two candles) and let her meditate in silence. The helper will remain outside the room. 
 

Circle Preparations:

The altar should be an infusion of white, pink and flowers. Have a maiden Goddess and a Pan Lord if at all possible. A single rose bud could represent the Lady. At each quarter place flowers as well as the maiden's toy for each direction. The covenors who will be representing the quarters should be masked with representations of their roles. 

Also, at each quarter, but hidden, should be the gifts from the  quarters. These gifts will be nice (but not necessarily expensive) since they will help carry the maiden into womanhood. In the east will be a feather or a fan. In the south will be a thurible or a candle. In the west will be a chalice or a cup. In the north will be a large crystal or stone. To represent the Spirit a cloth-covered mirror on the altar is needed. 

The coven should be wearing red robes for the women and green for
the men and all those past fertility should wear black. Set up the
circle in the usual way. Ring a bell nine times. On the ninth ring have the maiden brought in by the helper. Invoke the Lady in as Mother, Maiden and Crone. Emphasize the Maiden, but don't neglect the Mother or the Crone. Bring in the Lord in a similar manner. At this point the HPS might wish to discuss what it means to be a woman and what those responsibilities are. 
 

The Ceremony:


Then the HPS will tell the coven that one among them is ready to step over the threshold into womanhood. 

HPS: Is there one among us who feels ready to begin the journey into womanhood? 

Maiden: I am ready. 

HPS: Have you been told about the journey? Are you ready to make
your sacrifice? 

Maiden: I know my journey will be long and that this is just the beginning. 

The HPS will hand the young woman her five toys that were taken at the bathing time.

The HPS will then take the maiden by the hand and walk the complete circle once in total silence.  when she gets back to the East, she will stop and say to the East, "I present to you _________ a maiden on her way to being a woman.  She begins her journey here."

East:  I am the East.  I am the wind, the air, the very breath you breathe.  I will bring you intelligence.  I will bring you wit.  What will you bring me?

Maiden:  I acknowledge you Eastern Wind.  Thank you for your gifts.
I bring you (symbol/toy) to prove my willingness to step into womanhood.

East silently takes the gift. East will show it to the circle. If East likes, East can ask the maiden questions about what this gift meanst and why she is giving it to the East. Then East offers the Eastern gift to the maiden.

(Progress to the next direction)

HPS: I present to you ________ a maiden on her way to being a woman.  This is her next step.

South:  I am the South.  I am the fire, the flame, the heat that warms your very blood.  I will bring you passion. I will bring you love.  What will you bring me?

Maiden:  I acknowledge you, Southern Flame.  Thank you for your gifts.  I bring you (symbol/toy) to prove my willingness to step into womanhood.

South silently takes the gift. South will show it to the circle. If South likes, South can ask the maiden questions about what this gift meanst and why she is giving it to the South. Then South offers the Southern gift to the maiden.

(Progress to the next direction)

HPS: I present to you ________ a maiden on her way to being a
woman.  This is her next step.

West:  I am the West.  I am the wave, the river, the water that is your basic ingredient.  I will bring you dreams.  I will bring you depth.  What will you bring me?

Maiden:  I acknowledge you, Western Wave.  Thank you for your gifts.  I bring you (symbol/toy) to prove my willingness to step into womanhood.

West silently takes the gift. West will show it to the circle. If West likes, West can ask the maiden questions about what this gift means and why she is giving it to the West. Then West offers the Western gift to the maiden.

(Progress to the next direction)

HPS:  I present to you _______ a maiden on her way to being a woman.  This is her next step.

North:  I am the North.  I am the mountain, the meadow, the bones that you walk with.  I will bring you courage.  I will bring you knowledge.  What will you bring me?

Maiden:  I acknowledge you, Northern Cave.  Thank you for your gifts.  I bring you (symbol/toy) to prove my willingness to step into womanhood.

North silently takes the gift. North will show it to the circle. If North likes, North can ask the maiden questions about what this gift means and why she is giving it to the North. Then North offers the Northern gift to the maiden.

At this point, the maiden's helper should take the gifts from the maiden so that her hands are free.  The HPS will lead the girl to the altar where Spirit is waiting.

HPS:  I present to you _________ who had journeyed the four directions and is ready to meet Spirit and fully commit to being a woman.

Spirit:  Is this spoken truly?

Maiden:  Yes, I am ready.

Spirit:  I am Spirit--the center, the inner core, the kernel of life that is unique within you.  I will bring you your psychic self.  I will bring you the Goddess and the God. Here is a gift freely given...a picture of the Great Goddess...she of a thousand names...She who is.  (hands the maiden the mirror wrapped in cloth. 

After the girl has looked into the mirror....

Spirit says "You are the Goddess.  The Goddess is you.  Treat yourself with love and respect and honor for the Lady deserves no less."

Maiden: I acknowledge you Spirit and I thank you for your gifts. I would give you this gift in return. It symbolizes my last link with childhood and my willingness to become an adult. (If the maiden wishes, she may briefly tell the coven what this (symbol/toy) represents to her.) Spirit takes the gift with reverence and passes it around the coven. As each covenor takes the gift, they may offer a wish for the maiden. 

When it reaches Spirit again, Spirit will hold it high and say: 

"Your gift is to the Goddess and to her it must return.  (Hands the gift back to the maiden)  Maiden no more,but woman take this to remind yourself that always Thou art Goddess. Never let childhood be so far behind that you cannot turn easily to regain a laugh or play a silly game. (turns to coven) I present ________a woman. 

Cakes and wine (Kool-aid would be a pleasant reminder of youth)  and tell stories about covenor's coming of age. 

Take down circle in the usual way. 

***End notes**** 

The young woman and her mother or chosen helper should take the
 four gifts to the four quarters and donate them to a chosen charity. 

Pre-circle chat with her mother and or HPS should include sexual awareness, sexual identity, safe sex, abuse issues, body awareness.

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