From Girlhood to Womanhood Rituals

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 […]

Imagine telling your story – your healing story

Imagine telling your story – your healing story
Dr. Anita Johnston here, and I am in Delphi, Greece.

I am just getting ready to climb the Sacred Way, where the ancient Greeks came for eons to see the Oracle.

In those days, The Oracle was the equivalent of what we might consider a therapist. They would come to visit the Oracle, especially those for whom it was really the last ditch effort in their search for healing. Of course now, the Oracles, didn’t give the answers to the problems for healing, just as therapists don’t. They gave a riddle. The riddle then would be interpreted in terms of how you understood it. You would give it your own meaning, so that the answer, the correct answer, was inside of you. Very much like how we view recovery today.

Here the Greeks used theater for healing, because they understood that there is healing in the stories themselves. Just like today, we might use fairy tales or folk tales to take the images into the deepest part of our being. The Greeks understood this, so they told their stories, and they told their Greek myths, in service of healing the psyche.

Now check out this theater. You can see where people would come and sit. They would watch the plays; they would watch the performances; and then, find some way to make some meaning of all of that in their own lives. Just as we have to watch the play that is our lives, and see if we can come up with what the true meaning is for us.

Can you imagine the stories here? The tragedies? The comedies? All of us, it is we who get to decide what […]

>