International Women’s Day is approaching. March 8th
to be exact.
This time of year creative life force is drawn out of the earth by the warmth of the sun. Rising from the lower world into this middle world, just as the goddess Persephone split her time in the underworld starting in the fall, quietly living there through winter, her creative force rises out of the darkness becoming spring and slowly transmuting into summer, only to repeat the cycle again in the fall. All ancient traditions have a story of reemergence. It’s the natural cycle that we are a part of. The potent waters this time of year promise us an inspired injection of life-force energy into our lives and the natural world after the dark slumbering winter. I like to think of this as a Day of Acknowledging the Feminine Principal in all of us, men and women alike. Creation regains its innate knowing slowly emerging as the source of power for manifestation and regeneration. By nature’s own doing, we come out of our winters’ cocoon and stand together in our diverse beauty. As the sun shines on these spring mornings, our light also becomes brighter. Welcome Divine Feminine! Here’s a story I wrote about transformation, butterflies and Sacred Emergence:
Emerging from the Cocoon into Life as an Adult...
The Monarch butterfly (the king and queen of the butterfly world) migration to California has declined 99% since the 80’s. I just read this in High Country News. Here along the ditches and wet fields near my home I’ve watched Monarchs sip on the waxy stamens of Milkweed that must contain the sweetest nectar. Monarchs migrate through here, too. With climate change, butterflies, milkweed, the entire food chain is stressed by the drought of the Southwest. Butterflies and their key plants die without rain. Fortunately, this winter has given abundant moisture promising a strong crop of Milkweed this spring and summer.
It takes three generations of butterflies to migrate from Mexico to Northern Canada in one season. On their stopovers they look for Milkweed (and other pollinator plants) to nourish and reproduce in their metamorphic cycle: from caterpillar to cocoon or chrysalis, hatching into a new butterfly, flying and then dying. The young inherit the intuitive migratory pattern of the original butterfly to continue the journey all the way to Canada. The cycle repeats on the return route back to Mexico. I Imagine our food and people are intimately connected by these pollinators. Naturally, without butterflies, we must also lose our connection to each other, the cycles of life and life itself. I make this unscientific intuitive claim because butterflies have been such a strong and common metaphor, a mirror, for this special cycle of life that humans have sung and waxed poetic for millennia.
A human, just as a butterfly, goes through the four stages of metamorphosis from egg, caterpillar, chrysalis to adult. From ovum to baby, then a spell of growth and conservation of life until the cocoon stage which is when a young person is briefly sequestered for the transformative and catalytic process to become an adult. Without this mysterious transformation that is an actual need humans have at the young adult stage, a person will remain an adolescent into old age. I reach another unscientific intuitive claim that this may be a cause for dementia: as of today with a rise over the last ten years to 66 percent of elders over the age of 65 succumbing to it. Could it be a result of this perpetual youthfulness?
The transformative process these simply elegant quintessential butterflies go through is not just a catchy metaphor to express the natural cycle of a human’s process for the change we are meant to go through. Butterflies teach us how to live and what to pay attention to: life is circular. In our modern ways we have lived life, for the most part, in a linear trajectory toward progress. Without regard for the cycle of life (hourly, daily, monthly and annually) which constitutes birth, conservation, transformation and death, we will still innately experience this place of endings. The circle cannot be broken—nature will have its way—even if we are not aware of it.
My work with young women is rather butterfly-esque...
Together with adult women, we offer Initiation into Adulthood for Young Women. We provide the chemistry for the transformative process to occur with all the right ingredients — like baking a cake — she does become an adult. Initiation is that transformative process. So too, is the soul work and funerary rites I perform. Life is wired for intentional transformative processes starting with birth all the way to the end of the cycle, to death, in order to become fully human. The decline in the Monarch’s population reflects our own loss of the important poignant life cycle rituals of transformation, particularly for our young people but really for all of our people of all ages. Perhaps another unscientific intuitive claim I could make is that the butterfly holds the memory of the natural life cycle for all animals.
This transformational phenomenon is built into cultures just as it is built into the life of the butterfly. Transformation is a natural and necessary rite of passage that maintains a culture, a village, a people and the life-cycle of our serious life givers, the pollinators. For bygone cultures and in the few extant intact cultures remaining in the world, such as the Hopi, Navajo, the Dagara of Africa and many Mayan people of Central America, they practice their own flavor of transitional ceremonies and rituals to maintain a healthy village.
The Sacred Fire Community will once again heed the call for Sacred Emergence: Initiation into Adulthood for Women to happen this year, this cycle. A village of support women and male guardians come together while simultaneously, young women will prepare for their transformative experience: to go through the sacred doorway into adulthood, just as a butterfly chrysalis incubates and then opens for the butterfly to emerge.
This year I am making a plea to you, my readers, to participate in this extraordinary process. With enough people supporting this transformational process, like the wings of the butterfly flapping in North America, the message of the primordial importance of initiation into adulthood will stay alive and not die from forgetfulness, drought and decline to begin its renewal cycle on behalf of the health of our culture.
Will You Help?
There are several ways you can participate. Be a supporting staff member or contribute financially to create the village and support others who want to do this work but cannot because of financial restraints. As well as the fact that many young people have little means to fully fund their Initiation. Often they miss the opportunity for this reason. If each of you contributed $5, $10 or more, a young woman will not miss the opportunity to fulfill her birthright.
Don’t let initiation go extinct. We can make a difference, a little at a time. Thank you for considering being a part of reviving this movement for initiation for our young adults; just like saving the Monarch butterfly. They go hand in hand.
You can make a donation directly to a young woman or to this year’s camp to help a staff person. Please contact me to find out how. Or, donate directly by visiting here and remember to earmark it as a “Donation for Young Women’s Intiation 2019”.
Thanking you very much!