Here is a guest blog post from Maria Ede-Weaving about a fantastic project:
Rowan Jacqueline is the founder of Tattered Butterfly Arts, an organisation that facilitates a series of wonderful dance and theatre arts projects. Rowan trained and worked as an actor, director and writer. Her work in dance based community theatre has led her to facilitate projects for both men and women, parents and children, and also special needs adults.
Rowan has recently been collaborating on a multi-disciplinary work that includes – amongst other arts disciplines – image and dance. This project seeks to explore the importance of menarche in a women’s life. The work is connected with The Avebury Cycle, a series of events held annually over a four year cycle, in and around the Avebury stone circle. These events aim to provide a safe and creative space for woman to explore and engage with their deeper selves and the Mysteries of the Feminine. This is done though body work, dance and connection to the cycles of the earth and her seasons.
The first in this four-part cycle was held in February of this year and was entitled Dreaming with the Eyelash Moon – Cracking the Seed, Kissing the Sun. It explored the Mysteries of the Maiden, of how she moves within and through women’s lives. Being held at the Maiden’s time of Imbolc, the work delved deeply into the themes of the ‘seed cracking it shell’; of beginnings and potential; of reaching for the light and dreaming visions into being. The aims of this work were to aid women in discovering the strength and confidence within them to live out these themes creatively in their own lives.
Menarche is, of course, key to an exploration of the Maiden. Rowan feels strongly that a girl’s first experience of menstruation and the beginning of her fertility is a moment that needs to be positively acknowledged. This approach is sadly missing in our culture. In fact, in most cases, menarche is downplayed or even ignored or passed over. Through her own experience and in listening to the experiences of other women, it became clear to her that many felt as if they had missed something vital by not marking this extraordinary transition. Rowan discovered that many shared with her a deep desire to reengage with it; to acknowledge this hugely important moment in their life cycle and open themselves more deeply to its wisdom and gifts.
Rowan believes that dance and body work exploring the issues of menarche can act as a gateway to experience the emotional initiation that was perhaps denied – or only partially expressed – at puberty. In the journey to reclaim and honour menarche, Rowan has discovered that women work through not only the shadow side of pain and loss – born out of our culture’s repression of this powerful moment – but also uncover an immense joy and sense of empowerment in going back to that place. She writes:
…there is something living and breathing within the time/gateway of menarche of such preciousness, of such importance, it is vital that we dance to embrace this and bring it back.
Rites of passage are powerful and unifying events; they help us to integrate our experiences, enabling us to better grasp the patterns of our lives, both as individuals and as a collective. Ideally, communities or families would honour this event at the time of physical menarche but for those who missed that opportunity, Dreaming with the Eyelash Moon illustrates that it is never too late to celebrate the power of that moment and be enriched and transformed by it. Opening to the power of the body and it cycles through movement can bypass the rational and take us right to those life energies deep within just waiting to be integrated and healed. Rowan believes that through this reclaiming, women not only heal themselves in the here and now but also empower future generations by their example.
If you are interested in this subject and wish to learn more about it and Rowan’s wonderful work, The Avebury Cycle and The Tattered Butterfly, click the links here for the organisation’s Blog http://tatteredbutterfly.wordpress.com/ and here for its website http://www.tatteredbutterfly.org/Tattered_Butterfly/Tattered_Butterfly_Arts.html