Menarche - The initial onset of menstruation, usually occurring between the ages of 10 and 15.
There are a few different variations on claims of the etymology of the word menarche.
Menarche is a Greek word originating from the 19th Century, 'men' - comes from the Greek for month, 'arkhe' - comes from beginning.
1896, from German menarche (1895), from Greek men (gentive menos)
"month" and arke "beginning"
"At Menarche a woman enters her power!
Through menstruation she practices her power!
At Menopause she becomes her power!"
Native American proverb.
A Menarche ceremony as far as I see it, is a chance for the Mother & a supportive group of women to educate the young woman into the mysteries of her changing body, to understand what is happening & why, to show her the joys of these changes and how they can positively affect her.
To feel part of a group that empathise with her and her emotions and the journey to womanhood that is in front of her.
To encourage her to stand in her power and be PROUD to be a woman!
Be proud of her lineage and all the women who have gone before her.
The young woman will choose a special dress and invite whom she wishes to be there.
The Mother & women will set the scene, perhaps with an archway and altar, there will be singing, dancing & drumming, some story sharing. Some women choose to have a woman's blessing as part of the ceremony, which I think is beautiful - it acknowledges all the women in your lineage, making it a real family/ community gathering.
There is a portion of the ceremony where the young woman will be asked to pick an item from her childhood to leave behind so she can pursue her journey to womanhood, this is followed by passing through an archway or stepping over red rope, to symbolise the start of the journey.
This is followed by sharing a celebration meal & dancing, maybe fire and drumming afterwards too - Which is when the men of the community and the younger children would join in the festivities.
I had not heard of a Menarche ceremony before the Kitchen Witch School lesson I worked through for Rites of Passage.
I have read about a few girls who experienced this ritual and found it a very happy and encouraging experience, they feel it set them up to talk about their feelings & emotions etc, not to feel ashamed about periods as a LOT of women did growing up.
I have really warmed to this idea and will be writing a ritual for my own 3 girls, as they grow on their journey into womanhood. I feel our ancestors would have used this time to also talk about shadow work and teach the girls all about this, to give them more tools to use on their journey of self-discovery. This is a powerful time for our young women, one which I feel they should reclaim!
I have written and planned a Menarche ritual for my eldest daughter to take place this summer, if nature allows...
I have invited friends and family members whom I know will be supportive and nurturing influences for her in this often confusing time.