Linda Neale's Blog

Women of the 14th Moon -- Part 1

Linda Neale - Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Women of the Fourteenth Moon is a modern transition ceremony that has endured for more than two decades and is now being performed around the world. It was originally conceived by three women from various backgrounds -- Celtic, Jewish, and Native American -- who came together to do something to heal the fear of aging that many modern women have.  It is not a Native American ceremony -- it is a women's ceremony.  It  lasts from one to three days, and is usually performed outside with as few as twenty or as many as one hundred fifty women. Its stated intention is to initiate and honor elder women and the stages they go through in becoming elders. Many women are introduced to ceremony for the first time at the Women of the Fourteenth Moon. The experience often touches them deeply and affects every aspect of their lives.

 

I first experienced the Fourteenth Moon ceremony in 1994 at its original location near San Jose, California. My friend Janet sent me the invitation, which included these words:

We wish to include women of all ages, of all traditions, from all nations in a celebration, empowerment and honoring of our elder women, and the transition from Maiden to Crone. . . . Women on all spiritual paths, ages, and life experiences are strongly encouraged to participate, including women who have never been to anything like this before. We welcome you to invite relatives and friends to accompany you. Since this is a women’s ceremony, we ask that you leave your men folk, children, babies, and pets at home. Sometimes we need to be reminded that we are worthy of private time to be with other women. For it is in this way that we begin to remember a time when women were allowed their fullness as co-creators and caretakers of the Earth, keepers of time, and keepers of the Medicine.

My instant response was, “Yes!”

 

Julie Stevens and I, with the help of many other women, held the ceremony on her land near Woodland, Washington for four years.  Over that time it grew into a ceremony that involved more than a hundred women. A number of them, including Sharon Roe, Julie Zenterra, JJ Crow, and Barbara Mickey have nurtured  this ceremony in Oregon.  It has been conducted in churches, at parks, in prisons,  on mountaintops and in homes.  It has been held in ten US states, Canada, Europe, and Peru. By participating in this ceremony, many women have been empowered and enriched, and have discovered more about who they really are.

 

Here's what one former organizer has to say about her experience with the 14th Moon ceremony:

The Women of the Fourteenth Moon is about deepening connections with women in ceremony. 14th moon teaches what commitment to ceremony is all about. In this ceremony I have learned about sacred space. It teaches us about the sacred paths each of us walk and how these paths weave and intertwine to make a tapestry of our lives. 14th moon will have been in the Portland area for 16 years this fall, and I can't imagine it not continuing. I am watching women with young daughters approaching the magical time of maidenhood who are living in joyous expectation when the day will come that they can attend with their moms. I hear stories of matrons that come because they can step outside of the daily roles of holding up the world and instead they are seen, really seen. I watch the passing of time advancing on us as elders, and the struggles each faces in a society that caters to the young. I see these elders sigh in happiness when they can stand up and announce that elderhood is something to be proud of among a group of women that understand what this means..."


On December 17th at 10am there will be a "14th Moon Tea" for women who want to learn how they can make the August, 2012 ceremony a reality. It will be held at 11330 SW Capitol Hwy., Portland, Oregon. Go to my facebook page or to www.earthandspirit.org to learn more.  I hope to reach out to women of all faiths, ages, and cultural backgrounds to lay a rich and diverse foundation for next year's ceremony.   Those of you who live a long way from Portland can read more about the Women of the 14th Moon in my book, The Power of Ceremony: Restoring the Sacred in Our Selves, Our Families, Our Communities  available through Amazon.com.

Comments
Anonymous commented on 06-Mar-2012 12:45 AM
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