A Ceremonial Month: Embracing the Path to My Wise Future Self

June is the halfway point to the year. It might be an arbitrary mid-way pause and yet it still serves as a place maker of time. June also represents a season on its own. For folks like me in the Northern hemisphere, it is the shift from Spring to Summer. It is the turning of the year into a delicious time of play and pleasure. For our friends in the global South, it also represents a pause to turn inward and rest during Winter.

June is the mirror that reflects a passage of time, especially for students. It is the season where we acknowledge an ending before a new beginning can start. This is the time of year that many students graduate from all things related to school – daycare, kindergarten, middle school, high school or further education. Graduation is the event that honours one thing completing before embracing the next adventure.

As all rites of passages, it is an end of a season and cycle-of-life shift.

And like all endings, we need to hold space for the grief of something ending, even if it was supposed to.

I recently attended a moving series of talks held by Kimberly Ann Johnson and Stephen Jenkinson. Their series centred around the ‘forgotten pillars’ of our society and it served as a call back to rebuild the foundation of how we live today. Some of the pillars were matrimony and patrimony and their connection to ancestors. The other two are kinship and ceremony.

It is these two that i will speak of here.
Stephen Jenkinson shares that a ceremony is the punctuation of a passage of time. I love this analogy as it captures the rightful placement at the beginning rather than just the ending. The ceremony is not meant to be the goal, but rather the pause between. So when my partner turned 50 in May, i knew we had to implement a more soul-lead ceremony into the celebration of his life. Turning 50 is a pretty significant punctuation. While I can’t believe i’m married to a 50 year old, i’m just a year away myself. His turning around the sun has given me pause to notice where we are in our life journey. It is a marker of sorts, not unlike Summer and June, as a practice to make sure we are where we want to be.

(In case you are wondering what i’m doing here in this photo, i hosted a special evening honour my partner, who wanted a jam night. We made our singing debut, that you can see a glimpse into HERE.)

Some of us had various rites of passage be stolen by Covid. Maybe it was your own school graduation or maybe a wedding or something more intimate. Whatever it is, we are not meant to cross a threshold alone. We are supposed to be witnessed and held.

And yet it’s not exactly a practice of jumping over the hot coals, but more like an exhale that embodies the ebb and flow of life. We are not just celebrating this number called 50, but also bearing witness to who he has been up until this moment. Period Pause Punctuation. The ceremony is like a comma that joins two chapters in one’s life.

Now begins the good work of setting intentions and manifesting into fruition the next steps.

We are not quite Crones or elders yet, so we are both embracing the invitation to apprentice in our future roles. Both of us are anticipating this next place in our spiral path.

I attended a family member’s wedding in May – all sorts of rites of passage in the spring re-birth season! The actual ceremony was rather quick, and the officiant did use the magic words of matrimony and community. It made me recall my own wedding ceremony of many moons ago.

At my own celebration, we had everyone sit in a circle, all 75 of us. I had a living altar of wildflowers from my mom’s garden as the threshold centrepiece. We endeavoured all the guests to repeat a community manifesto to declare their commitment to us. We lead the guests in song and i wore a dress in my favourite shade of blue. I love how we say the bride is walking down the altar, not dissimilar to the association we have to sacred altars.

At the time, i refused to call it a wedding as that felt so off-brand for me. Now i know why: I didn’t want to connect my story to that of a cis-het patriarchal framework of marriage. Stephen also has valid laments about the business of weddings. They have become more of a party than a ceremony. I’m so grateful that a younger version of me was able to create such a meaningful ceremony that future me (the one alive now in my body) deeply respects.

I studied to be a group facilitator at school. We had whole classes devoted to group process and holding a container. Facilitating circles and group gatherings have been a big part of my life for over twenty years. In fact, in my program, we sat in a circle for most of our classes. We practised leading group workshops and exercises, and learned about group guidelines and considerations.

Now, in the mid-way point of my life, i am integrating a more soul-aligned lens into my work as a community space holder and ceremonialist. Into all of my life, really. This has come at the perfect time as my own children embark on natural rites of passage. Side note: This is something i offer in my work. If you want to learn more about how to introduce ceremony into your life, i share more about my work here. I’d be honoured to be a part of your dream seed.

What is the point of me sharing this here? For one thing, it’s a hint at the way my work has been evolving.

It’s also because I had a realization recently that is connected to one of the things i grieve with the loss of my mom. It’s the knowledge about women’s bodies and having a place to go for information and guidance. I only recently noticed how old she was when she was going through perimenopause and have so much more compassion for her, even though it was also a very hard time for me, partly due to her treatment of me. I wish 16-year old me knew what i know now.

And now i sit here in my own change process and am alone. Sure, i have friends who are in perimenopause and recently crossed the field into menopause. But what i needed all along, and didn’t know is the eldership of crones and older women.

What I needed was a multi-generational community, and kinship.

This has been on my own mind for the past 2 years, since my own mom died.

I was not raised with intergenerational wisdom and i now see that i needed it as a child, as much as i still need it now. I am at the wild edge of unbecoming someone i once was. I am shedding old identities, and one that has a physical manifestation – Menstruator. This past month, i had my first menstruation after an absence of 6 months. I was so ready to embrace Menopause that it threw me off to bleed again. I forgot what medicines and practices are important. An impatient Part forgot that nature still is in the driver seat. Silly me, who told me i should assume to know the future?! I got it alongside a new moon no less, so i’m honouring this alignment as a gift – a chance to plant some intentions for what my own ceremony may be. But more importantly, what i need in my life now to nourish me and support me as i embrace this new identity.

We all need guides. We are not meant to go it alone. I am awakening up to this need now. Better late than never right? I think a big part of it is seeing how alone my own mom was at this time. I’m not sure if this is the narrative i have told myself so much it has become truth, or if it is factually accurate. What i am noticing though is that i don’t want to enter this next stage of life alone.

I spoke about honouring some Blood Mysteries before. I held a ceremony for my daughter and last year. I plan to conjure up a similar one for once i cross the portal into being post-menopausal. Until that happens, i am casting a vision to grow Village aunties into being. My aunties will not be blood related so they will need to be curated via neighbours, friends, book guides, online mentors, and community members I am starting to meet.

I am exactly where i am supposed to be.