A Maiden’s first Flowing Ritual is the most important Ritual in a young woman’s life, the transformation from 'Girl Child' to 'Maiden'.
In todays world few girls come to this unexpected. They learn from friends, teachers, TV shows and in the best homes, in loving discussion with their Parent/s. However not all are so lucky, in some religions and in some households a girl is considered to be pure, free from sin until they start their First Flowings, then suddenly their Fathers, brothers and male visitors to the house, will not wish to expose themselves to this "uncleanliness". Even their Mothers will expect them to be subservient, to cover their faces or hide away during their Moontime.
Paganism offers a different view, a woman’s First flowing is a time for Celebration! A new woman has been created and Sacredness has been bestowed upon Her, in the ability to bear children and to nourish them with her body. A marvelous gift that could only have been bestowed by the Goddess.
The development of the Maiden’s physical body heralds changes in her psychologically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually as well as physically.
These changes require the Maiden to grow into greater degrees of responsibility and psychological maturity to match the other developments in her body. She may be expected to make foolish mistakes or to take on a greater degree of personal responsability.
Many Maidens become shy and selfconscious at this stage, as they become aware of the effect their new body has on the young men around them. Some may rebel and have the people who care for them sitting up to all hours of the night, worried about them and wondering what happened to their good little girl.
This is all part of Maidenhood, a time to learn, to experiment with life and through it all to learn her palce in the Spiral Dance, however a young woman can be assited through this transitional stage by participating in a First Flowing Rite, in many cultures this is a large event performed within a larger community contect, several villages joining together to welcome these new woman. The young women are able to sahre their fears, hopes and dreams with other young women also experiencing the same transitional stage.
Within our Western Cultures it is not always possible for the young women to share such a ritual, however this does not lessen the impact participation will have on a young woman and the women with whom she shares her life both mundane and spiritual.
Ritual Set Up
High Priestess and Coveners cast Ceremonial Circle and sit then in quiet meditation ( for 15 mins to enable them to attune with the energies of the event).
Women: (start to clap their hands and chant.....) Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Innana, (repeat until Maiden Enters the circle and is situated in front of High Priestess)
( When ready the young woman's Mother goes to get the Maiden, The Mother does not speak to the Maiden, blindfold is left in place. The Mother smudges the Maiden before bringing her to the circle. When they reach the 'door' they are challenged by the Keybearer)
Keybearer: How doth thou enter here?
Maiden: With perfect love and perfect trust
( The Maiden is led into the circle of clapping chanting Womon by her Mother. She is led around the circle three times, finishing standing in front of High Priestess )
High Priestess: ( gives Maiden a sip of lemon juice) Taste Of Life’s Bitterness
High Priestess: ( gives Maiden a taste of honey) Taste of life’s Sweetness
High Priestess: ( gives a gentle slap on one cheek, a kiss on the other) Feel life’s rewards
The Maiden is then lead round the circle again, is stopped facing the Crone
Crone: You have come to the gate of the Womonhood, the gate of the Dark Moon Goddess, to whom you are now bound month by month, you have tasted the bitterness and sweetness of life, to remind you that life holds both bitter and sweet moments. You must learn to cope with both of them. The slap and the kiss remind you that some times you will do things wrong and have to put them right, and at other times you will know great happiness and joy. You must give thanks for both good and bad, For the hardest lessons have the greatest rewards. You are entering a new phase of life, one you will experience for many years, Womanhood is not a thing to be cursed or seen as dirty, but a the sacred site of your Body temple and as such full of power and a thing sacred.Are you prepared to take on the responsibility of Maidenhood.
Maiden: I am ready to become one with The Mother
( The Crone removes the blindfold , The High Priestess then calls them forward to the altar for the Releasing of the cord to take place. A red cord is tied around Mother and daughters left (heart) wrists)
High Priestess: This cord represents the umbilical cord that fed you in your Mothers womb, it represents the nourishment you received from her body, the care she took in raising you and the love that made all things possible. You are now a Maiden, a new Womon and capable to one day raise and love children of your own. Now it is the time to release you from the tie to your Mother, you are now fully responsible for your own journey, but do not be mistaken into thinking you no longer need your Mother, This is why we do not cut the cord but release it freely, so you can always return to the safety of your Your Mother.
( Mother unties cord and hands to High Priestess who hands it to Maiden, and says)
High Priestess: Your Mother would speak to you, listen to her well, the Great Mother speaks through Mothers to their Daughters of the mysteries of Womanhood.”
( Mother of Maiden Stands in center of circle, Maiden is led to stand in front of her Mother by the High Priestess. Her Mother speaks to her of Her joy and sorrow at the Maidens new status. The Mother, then presents her with a symbol (gift) of her new Maidenhood. She is then brought forward to the Altar)
High Priestess: ( anoints the Maidens brow, breast and womb) Beloved Mother, She who birthed our world, She who gave us the gift of life, She who watches over all Her children, Bless and consecrate this new Woman, Protect Her as She walks down the path of Womanhood, guide her in her new responsibilities, help her express her true self and remain connected with your divine love and light at the center of their being. Show Her true Love and Happiness!
Womon: So mote it be !
( New Maiden then sits in front of the Altar and each Womon presents her Blessing Gift and Blessing. Maiden then serves the Cakes and Ale,
pouring out a libation and leaving an offering to the Ancient Ones before passing around to the group. )
( Ceremonial Circle Closing)
( Enjoy Meal and drinks together.)