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Coming of Age

On one of the lists I'm on, someone was asking after ideas for a rite of passage to demarc when a girl has crossed that threshold into adulthood.

What follows are my thoughts on the subject.

Since to my knowledge, there's no surviving records of such a rite from ancient times... I think we're left with a bit of carte blanche in designing what best makes sense to us today.

I've never personally believed that the start of one's menstrual cycle should be the be all or end all of such rites (what do you do for instance with those who may have fertility issues and never begin such a cycle?),but I do think the start of such a cycle can be used as an 'indicator' (as much as reaching a certain age) that it's time for the girl to begin to learn more adult things about their culture and religion.

For me I'd take inspiration from what I see in other major religions, that the children (boy or girl) of a certain age, go into study about the religion, and then before their family, peers and other members of their church do something as an affirmation of their faith.

So if I had a daughter, I'd probably around age 13 begin really teaching them about our religion. And teaching them the why's of our rituals, how to conduct one etc., and then after passing a written test about their knowledge base, their 'rite' would be conducting a blot/feigning for the family/kindred to watch. Successfully completing it.

To my mind... what we know of ritual structure does intimately connect women with a holy-ness that we see in Goddesses like Hlin and Syn, by Frigga, as well as we see in women like Wealtheow, etc.

Much as traditional Judaism has the girls recite the sabath prayer, I see women expected to know how to honor the Gods, even if just for their families, and not necessarily as a lady of a great hall.

Anyway, for what it's worth those are my two cents...


Exactly, and then what do you do for people who are slower than others?

I think allowing some flexibility and customization is good, however I do believe there should be a common base structure, otherwise it loses it's relevancy when in connection to the 'group' and the experiences of others.

Of course I'm specifically thinking along this in the lines of an Asatru/heathen rite of passage, and not any girl when that time comes. :)