From Girlhood to Womanhood Rituals
Hello, Dr. Anita Johnston here. I’m in Athens, Greece. Right now, I am at the sanctuary for Artemis. Artemis was the goddess of young children, and animals, and especially the maidens. In this particular sanctuary, the story goes, Athena had Agamemnon’s children steal an effigy of Artemis so that they could come here and build this sanctuary for Artemis.

Here, young girls, maidens who were ready to become women, would come here to worship Artemis and have special rituals. They had their coming of age rituals right here at this spot. We are talking about 700 BC, so a long, long time ago. What’s really special about that, is it tells us that there was a time, an ancient time, when the transition from girlhood to womanhood was sacred. There was a goddess that honored that, and there were rituals for the girls to participate in as they moved from the body of a girl into the body of a woman.

Now imagine what this would mean for us nowadays, because we don’t have rituals like that in our modern culture.

We don’t have ways of honoring, probably the most profound transition that is ever made – from girlhood to womanhood.

We are just really left to our own devices.

Nowadays, the only ritual that we have is dieting, because there is no other way of recognizing and honoring this most profound and sacred transition.

Many of us are left with body shame, because there are two kinds of secrets: those that are sacred and those that are shameful. In the absence of the sacred, we are left with shame. So many of us that grew up in this modern culture, have no way to recognize […]