The extraordinary changes that mark the change from girlhood to womanhood.

The extraordinary changes that mark the change from girlhood to womanhood.
Hello. Doctor Anita Johnston here and I am in Palau right now.

Wait, where is Palau? Well, Palau is south of Guam. Where is Guam? Well, both Guam and Palau, are part of the Micronesian islands. Polynesia, which most people know about, includes Hawaii and Tahiti. Then there’s Melanesia, which is near where New Guinea is, and then there’s Micronesia which means little islands — and there are lots of them. Palau is about 7 degrees north of the equator. Guam is about 14 degrees north of the equator and Hawaii about 22. To get to Palau, you go to Hawaii and then to Guam and then you turn left and go south and you get to Palau.

Now, the thing about Palau is I think it’s the most beautiful place on the planet. The islands are pristine. The water! The water feels like silk on your skin and is crystal clear. And the corals are brilliant and amazing. Culturally, however, Palau is a really interesting place. One of the things I find most compelling is that they still have rituals for girls when they have their first menstrual cycle. And they celebrate many of the phases that women typically go through.

One of the things I find most compelling is that they still have rituals for girls when they have their first menstrual cycle. And they celebrate many of the phases that women typically go through.

When a woman gives birth for the first time, it’s extraordinary what they do. They cover her body in oil and turmeric so that her skin shimmers. There’s dancing and celebration. And, when a girl goes into menarche, which is the […]

There’s meaning to what you eat!

There’s meaning to what you eat
Hello Dr. Anita Johnston here.

I’m at the Little Theater in Epidaurus and I’m going to tell you the story about Demeter & Persephone.

There were once these two goddesses.
Demeter was the mother goddess, and her daughter’s name was Persephone.

The story goes that they were very, very close. They did everything together; they went everywhere together. One day, they were out in a meadow and they were picking some flowers. As Demeter turned her back to reach for some flowers, Persephone was reaching for a (get this), narcissist flower. Just in that very moment, the earth ripped open and up came Hades with a chariot being pulled by four black horses. He snatched Persephone and took her into the Underworld. Demeter turned around and said, “Where’s my daughter? Where’s Persephone? She’s gone!” She was frantic.

She went to all the gods and goddesses and said, “Have you seen Persephone? Persephone’s gone!” The gods and goddesses said, “We don’t know.” She went to Zeus, who was the king of the gods. Zeus said, “I don’t know where she is. I don’t know!”, which really wasn’t true because Zeus had had a part in all of this. He knew that she was in the Underworld with Hades.

Demeter fell into a huge depression. She was so upset; she could not get over the loss of her daughter. Demeter (whose name in Roman times was Ceres), was the goddess of the grain and the harvest (which is where we get our word for cereal). She was so full of despair, that as a result, the trees stopped producing fruits. The olive trees were no longer bringing forth any olives. The grasses were not producing any grains. […]

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