We are alive!
as the sound of Her sacred name.
We are alive!
as the soil of Her blessed form.
We are alive!
as the dance of Her waters flow
We are alive!
as the breath of Her restless winds
We are alive!
–The Powers of Life—An Elemental Chant (by Sandra Pastorius in Sisters Singing)
One of the things that I enjoy about our Creative Spirit Circle Facebook group is the interesting questions people ask about rituals for very specific occasions. One question I’ve had several times recently has been about a ritual to acknowledge the end of one’s childbearing years—a ceremony to acknowledge that you have finished having children. I keep meaning to develop a ritual outline around this theme, especially because I’ve now reached that life stage myself, but I have yet to actually develop it fully. In the meantime, here are the links from the ideas I have been considering. One is an infertility-related ritual, but I think the theme of being “done” with your childbearing years can still relate.
I love this one about ritualizing each ovulation on the way into menopause:
This particular part is to access the gift of life that is each and every egg as it makes itself ready for your world, whether you are or not, whether one uses that egg for physical babies, or idea babies, or just getting through to the next action of the project that is our life! That egg has a force, subtle but perhaps some of the most potent intentional state one can imagine.
Here is the idea… I’m going to take two vessels, bowls or vases, similar but not the same perhaps, and then calculate how many ovulation’s I may have left before I pause, slip into menopause. For me, I took the age I am from the age my mum paused, and then added another 5 years just to be safe. Then I multiplied it by 13, number of cycles per year… so, for me, I settled on 222 as my number… I’m going to purchase 222 freshwater pearls, the ones you can get from many stores, the not perfect ones with holes in them so that they can be threaded… Then, placing them ALL in one vessel on an altar space set up just for this moment, so that with ease, I can take just one of those pearls out, sit with it, drop into my ovary, feel that egg prepare, witness the point on the horizon that I wish to aim for… fill that pearl and then place it gently into the empty vessel. Simple, but deep access to your ovulation power embedded in your body!
Cycle after cycle, the empty vessel shall slowly fill… even assisting me to come to terms with the fact that my beloved cycle, that I relish each phase of, will slip from my life, as I prepare to pause.
This one is about “burying your eggs” (specifically written about infertility, but adaptable to many purposes):
I had eggs – little plastic eggs for stuffing Easter candy, gold and bright pink. I had used them on my altar for fertility. I realized I needed to bury these eggs. I needed to bury my eggs and the babies that they weren’t going to make, along with the hopes and expectations I had held for baby making. I needed to bury the potential that my eggs represented, and make peace with the reality that I’d been born with all those eggs and been releasing them a month at a time for thirty years, and that was all that those eggs were going to do.
This one is about Reclaiming Womanhood and could be adapted for many themes:
First I determined what it was that I felt my womanhood was missing, and then I tried to find a way to refill that hole. In my case, it related to my fertility and my potential for procreation. Since the womb is one of the things that makes a woman distinct and separate from a man, (and since many of our situations tend to be fertility/birth related), I think the womb is a reasonable point of focus for this ritual. Depending on your specific situation, you may choose another part of yourself.
via Mother Wheel: LDS Families Celebrating the Seasons: Reclaiming my Womanhood (a ritual).
In my own life, participating in women’s circles, women’s retreats, women’s festivals, and Red Tent work completely filled up the spot in my life that had been very pregnancy/childbirth focused for a long time. I wrote a blog post about that connection for me: Restoring Ourselves to Ceremony.
I also feel like sealing ceremony would be a perfect acknowledgement to close out the childbearing years as a whole. I had a really powerful one before my last baby was born (I envision adapting it so it is about finishing this stage of life rather than preparing for another baby, as I was doing at the time): Ceremonial Bathing.
I then had another Sealing Ceremony after his actual birth.
If you have additional ideas, I’d love to hear them and eventually that full ritual outline will come together to share!
“She’s turning her life into something sacred: Each breath a new birth. Each moment, a new chance. She bows her head, gathers her dreams from a pure, deep stream and stretches her arms toward the sky.”
(from a journal cover)
More Red Tent and Priestessing resources:
- Practical Priestessing 7 week course
- Red Tent Initiation 7 week course
- Creative Spirit Circle–online, free, and always open!
- Ceremony Resources page
Hi Molly, thanks for posting about this. It feels very relevant to me because my bleeding stopped about two years ago, and I feel I’m in a bit of a limbo state – no longer childbearing, not yet crone. I would love to do this kind of ceremony for myself, and I think I would like to include something that would acknowledge what lies ahead as well as what I am leaving behind. I’m not sure what form this would take, but I’m thinking about somehow enacting a gateway or threshold – both a farewell and a greeting, moving towards my new community of elderwomen!
I am so glad to read that some one else is thinking on this too. i am going to start a group for women in my area that are beginning the journey into menopause, on the journey or finished the journey. there will be workshops specific to the women, ceremonies, gatherings for support and celebration, and retreats.
blessed be <3
Please let me help you with the “end of childbearing” rituals. I went through menopause in my mid 40s and was completely done bleeding by 49. I was devastated. It took my meaning away. However I came out off it a new person. I still yearn for my moontime but I have other feelings as well
I will, Lisa! Thanks!
Have you revisited this concept of closing the womb when you’re done beating children?
Bearing not beating
I haven’t! Thanks for reminding me about this content.