A few years back was when I first heard this term: Rites of Passage, it was at a beautiful, intimate sacred circle in a small second floor healing space in Vancouver, BC. There, my dear friend, Sobey Wing mentioned this idea of Rites of Passage. Until then, I had never heard of the term but felt the idea reverberate deeply within me. Milestones are to be celebrated as we mature. For me, I never really had anything like this growing up so I wanted to dive in to learn more about this. I want to be able to celebrate the years as my son grows up, for my beloved partner, for my entire family and friends.
On April 23, 2016, I gave birth to our first child. Pregnancy was like a vision quest for me. In a way, it was sort of a solitary celebration. We were backpacking around for a portion of my pregnancy so I did not have a baby shower. I kept it a secret until I knew for sure baby was healthy. But now that I look back, I wish I had my friends to celebrate such a momentous phase of my life. To honour a major crossroad such as this, I call it: Transitioning from Maiden to Mother.
rite of passage n. A ritual or ceremony signifying an event in a person’s life indicative of a transition from one stage to another, as from adolescence to adulthood.
Throughout life, there are many vision quests we all embark on. I believe these vision quests don’t necessary have to be going into the forest alone, with no food or water. I believe modern day vision quests can even be trivial moments in our lives, opportunities of growth (challenges we face), major transitional phases like switching schools, university, moving to a new city/country… It leads to profound epiphanies from journeying deep within, deep into our subconscious. New experiences give rise to immense growth and unforgettable lessons. Our life is full of vision quests.
I have had numerous vision quests in this lifetime so far but the journey of pregnancy was one of the most reflective vision quests I have ever experienced. The shifts that I experienced and flowed into since then has altered my perception greatly. Without diving too deep on what I experienced, all that needs to be said is – With the thought processes, with the releases of fear, doubt, insecurities – I was able to begin blossoming from Maiden to Mother. It takes these sorts of opportunities of growth to fine tune ourselves and transform, peeling away the layers that are no longer necessary and implementing what is so very necessary to find healing and growth.
It’s funny, just a three months before I got pregnant,
I got this tattooed on the back of my neck in the Philippines while we were backpacking. To me, it represents the Triple Goddess – Maiden, Mother, Crone. But also, Past, Present, Future. Life, Death, Rebirth. Perhaps this was the Great Goddess who whispered to me to begin shifting from Maiden to Mother even before I had a little sprout growing. Spell Casted. A divine incantation. At the time, I wasn’t wishing to get pregnant – I didn’t even think it was possible. The doctor told me years back that because of my eating disorders, I was no longer fertile. Pregnancy wasn’t on my mind – but I guess Spirit had another agenda for us.
There, the vision quest began. The most intense vision quest was labor. For 48 hours. I wasn’t on any drugs at all. Just the high off the pain and the deep breathing. I was in a trance state for the majority of the time. Meditation practice paid off. And thankfully, I had my beloved by my side, a sort of shaman guide I would say – He guided my “trip” by keeping my breath steady and helped me stay grounded and calm.
Pregnancy and birthing is the vision quest to ultimately guide us to the most profound Rites of Passage. After the birth, to feel this deeper connection to other women, to all the women before us – Our mothers, our grandmothers, and all our ancestors who have walked this Earth. Just when you think you reached an ultimate high on life, a precious gift enters our lives and becomes a little guru.
I believe there needs to be more ceremony for these types of Rites of Passage, especially as a baby grows and reaches its milestones. As a teenage girl first gets her moon cycle (menstrual cycle). As a boy enters puberty. Perhaps even when a girl/boy first has thoughts of intercourse. Especially when a woman becomes pregnant, no matter what age. I know there are beautiful sisterhood circles held around the world, and it is so beautiful! I always felt this need as I was growing up. There is no such circle such as this in Japan, at least out in the open. I know for our children, no matter where we live on this planet, we will hold these ceremonies to honour their momentous days.
Perhaps you’ve never heard of Rites of Passage. Maybe you felt your soul yearning for these sacred ceremonies. If you felt your heart open up and your mind curious to learn more, there’s tons of resources out there!
Here’s Sobey Wing speaking at TEDxGeorgiaStrait on the Rites of Passage
The Sacred Living Movement is a sisterhood site which has a lot of wonderful resources! They hold gatherings as well. So check their site for more details if you are interested.