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Yesterday I had the gift and blessing of being invited to a local (central Virginia) grandmother ceremony. To provide a bit of background (I looked around the internet and could not find much to link to on this subject), there is a Cherokee tradition of anyone – men and women – who are 51 or over having the option to say, “I want to step forward, I want to take a stand for my community, for my culture, I want to share the wisdom I have learned up to this point.” These people take time – at least a year and usually 2 or more years to meditate, dream, do art work, dance and do other creative activities to see what wisdom (animals, visions, dreams) comes forward to match their powerful intention.
This is the 3rd ceremony of this type which I have attended. And it certainly did not disappoint. I have heard that typically these ceremonies are done with several people, men and / or women having their ceremonies together. So there might be 3 or 4 women becoming grandmothers together. In each ceremony, the grandmother / father makes a piece of clothing – an apron, a shirt, a skirt, a cape – which signifies what wisdom came to them during this process. And yesterday’s was just a potent as others I have seen.
In this particular ceremony, there was just one person becoming a grandmother. But it went incredibly seamlessly. First, one of the organizing grandmothers introduced the ceremony. Then the grandmother spoke about her process and how there was a lot of resistance at first, but once she set the date for the ceremony, she said things just fell into place and the living metaphors just surrounded her. She described the cape she made which was stunningly beautiful! Plus her good friend spoke about how alive she is, appreciating every little aspect of her life. Then her partner spoke on the spur of the moment and his words were so moving!
Overall, I am so glad I went. The audience was a very highly aware and conscious group of people. At first, I had a headache and I was resistant to going in the first place. But once I was witnessing the beauty and empowerment unfolding, I was so glad to be there! It was inspiring and up-lifting. I learned quite a bit and I am amazed at the amount of growth I witnessed in the grandmother who was more present, more potent, more calm and more at peace with her life and her being. Wow!
For me personally, I am 34 years old (I am too young for grandfather-ing), but I would love to have a ceremony like this where I make a major commitment to improve and empower myself. To work through some of my demons, whether using dreamwork or art. This would be an incredible way to affirm my devotion to my community and to my fellow Sangha (friends, community members, spiritual community). There needs to be a coming of age ceremony for all men and women. I wish I had more resources to make something like this happen!