[00:01] Arahni: What I what I know to be to be true also through sitting with with hundreds of women in circles is that this is our birthright, this information about what is happening in our process of moving from childhood to young womanhood. It’s our birthright to know what is happening. And so from this place, from this premise, from this foundation, I think we wanted to bring this work to our community in a way that gives mothers an opportunity to work with their own narrative, their own stories of their own experience of becoming, so that they can then offer something else to their daughters.
[00:54] Charlotte: Welcome to the Wildflow Podcast. With me, Charlotte Puento, Certified Cycle and Feminine Embodiment Coach and Shamanic Womb Guide. In this podcast, I’ll share my wisdom and conversations with powerful change makers, thought leaders and embodied teachers to invite you to live cyclically in flow with your menstrual cycle instead of fearing it to heal menstrual shame and normalize. Womb wisdom and period. Positivity and to step into your sovereign magnetic power to create and embody the change you desire to see in your world. Settle in, to unleash your Wildflow.
[01:40] Charlotte: Imagine a world where mothers were given sacred space to welcome their daughters intentionally into their coming of age rite of passage, and where girls were welcomed into circle with other mothers and daughters to find deep wisdom, loving support and a chance to experience true sisterhood all before their 13th birthday. There is a place on earth where this happens. It’s called the Seeding Wisdom Journey. Held annually near Wollongong in the Illawarra of New South Wales, Australia, by wise women Irani Lion and Jo Rockendorfa. I invited Irani and Jo to come and speak to us about the story of why and how they created this potent experience, this incredible program. What happens within the journey for both mothers and daughters and why this kind of initiatory journey at the coming of age puberty is needed now more than ever. If you ever wish that you were more supported, more seen and heard, understood and respected in your own maiden years, your own ages of nine to twelve.
[02:49] Charlotte: This is a truly special way of healing that part of you and also to give your child the best start to a conscious, empowered, embodied and connected womanhood. I know that when my daughters are of age, we’ll be taking the journey together, one by one. So tune into this episode to hear about what mothers and daughters both need in terms of support, of holding, of learning, of growing and bonding at this particular time in both of their lives. Exactly what seeding wisdom is all about. What happens in a gathering, how Jo and Irani are using cycle wisdom both menstrual cycle wisdom, seasonal phase of life cycle wisdom as well to hold this journey, to create and guide this journey as their map. Why we need spaces for mothers to be able to reclaim their own men arc their own first period experiences before they can support their children powerfully what ancestral healing of the Red Thread is and what Irani and Jo have learned from facilitating this incredible journey. The 2023 Seeding Wisdom program is about to begin in February. They’re having an open day on the 29 January. If you’re interested in taking this journey with your daughter, please find out more information in the show notes. I’ll put the link there so that you can go ahead, find out the information, arrange to go along to the Open Day and to book your place on the journey. This is a gorgeous conversation for anyone who has a daughter either aged nine to twelve or even younger, coming up to this time in the future. But it’s also really powerful for anyone who’s a mother who wants to think about creating intentional spaces and opportunities for coming-of-age celebrations and just anyone at all who has had lived experience of being a woman to reflect on your womb story to date and how you might bring healing to that journey, that story of your own.
[05:07] Charlotte: Allow me to introduce you to our guests. Irani lion consciously walks her own shamanic path of healing and transformation and serves to reawaken the innate healing wisdom and soul essence within others. For 20 years, Arani worked in trauma, responsive support services, safe refuges, street work and schools with young people and families in therapeutic casework, designing peer education and sexual assault prevention, domestic violence, alcohol and other drugs, and sexual health. Ariane began studying with the School of Shamanic WOMANCRAFT in 2014, and after a four year apprenticeship, is now a graduate teacher of the Four Seasons Journey. And that’s how I know Arani. She has been my teacher on the Four Seasons Journey, which I have been undertaking and have almost completed. Now practicing the healing arts of holistic counseling, shamanic woman crafting intuitive bodywork and compassionate inquiry. Arani walks alongside women who seek guidance to orient themselves through change, transformation from birth to death and significant lifes in between. Life events in between. In her community and beyond, she offers one to one shamanic healing sessions. Initiation rights, healing rituals, reclaiming ceremonies, sacred circles and coming of age. Year long journeys for mothers and daughters. She lives, works and plays on the lands of the Wadi Wadi people of the Five Islands, streaming on Darwal, country of the UN Nation, and acknowledges that sovereignty has never been ceded.
And Jo? Jo Rockendorfer has training as an art therapist and transpersonal counselor. She has facilitated group workshops for adults and children over 20 years and utilizes creative techniques to enhance the therapeutic relationship. Jo lives on the south coast of New South Wales and has found the natural world to be her greatest friend and teacher, and has discovered as a therapist the value of working restoratively with the land and with earth based practices. Through Jo’s involvement with rites of passage work, she’s found a special joy guiding individuals and groups as they move through life’s transitions, assisting them to find their full potential and true essence. Jo has come to believe that when someone has a need to understand themselves at a deeper level, they can achieve this through a weaving of the arts such as body movement stories, archetypes, writing, art, art and earth based medicine. And in this way, a persona psyche strengthens and resolves and reflects back inner wisdom, guidance and healing. Two incredible wise women.
Settle down with a cuppa and listen into this beautiful conversation with Jo, Arani and myself on Seeding Wisdom coming of Age Wisdom for mothers and daughters. Welcome Arani and Jo to the podcast today. How are you both?
[08:19] Jo: Good. Thank you, Charlotte.
[08:22] Arahni: It’s lovely to be here, connecting with you, sitting with Jo. She’s in another room or in the same place on the beautiful mountain here overlooking the ocean. And it’s a beautiful day.
[08:40] Jo: Zooming in from Darwal land.
[08:46] Charlotte: I’m on Gundong, our country not too far from you, up the mountain. Beautiful day here too. Yeah. So lovely to speak to you both. So before we dive in, we always start with a cycle check in. And so I will begin just with my check in and then I will invite both of you to do yours, just to help us frame this conversation and drop into where we’re at in the alignment of all things in all the cycles. So for me, with my menstrual cycle, I’m on day 26 today. I’ve been having an average of 27 to 29 day cycles. So feeling right at the end of my cycle, just dropping in energy and clarity and just feel like a softening and a crumbling and coming more back to yes, back to a kind of stillness. I can really feel it today. It feels like it’s all just dropping away a little bit. So I’ll be expecting to bleed in the next few days. And we’re past midsummer here now as we record this. So in the heat of January, and it’s been a beautiful weather for the last few days, so children waking up bright and early and full of beans and so I felt that too. And we were just saying how we’re coming up to the well, we’re in the kind of dark moon phase now, the dark moon just as we come towards the new moon that will be at the weekend. And that feels like a real mirror for my menstrual cycle. I feel like I’m really in that energy. As I was saying, so it feels like the moon and my menstrual cycle are quite aligned this month. And so I would love to invite both of you to share your cycle check in. So if you have a menstrual cycle, where are you in your cycle today? And how’s that feeling for you? If you don’t have a menstrual cycle, which of the cycles do you work with, do you align with or follow and just how might you do a cycle check in from your perspective? So I will invite you and Arani, Jo, whoever would like to go first.
[11:22] Arahni: Thanks, Charlotte. So I am day 94 in my menstrual cycle. So this is the longest time I haven’t bled if I haven’t been pregnant or breastfeeding. This is a very new territory for me. And, yes, I am stepping into the menopausal threshold. And I can really feel that in my physical being, in my mental being, in my spiritual being, in my emotional field, it’s almost like that part of me that was kind of waiting for my bleed to come has really quietened down. So there’s a part of me that’s moving into more of an acceptance around this being my new way of working as a cyclical woman. And, yeah, what I’m meeting with in this space is a lot of unknown. And so it’s kind of almost standing at the threshold of the void and really knowing that this is a powerful transmutational point, another rite of passage as we as women, through the blood mysteries walk through our life. And I know that she who walks through this threshold is not who I am now. It will be I will be made anew through this process. So it’s very deep, it’s very mysterious, it’s very strange. But there’s also the word that’s coming up is allowance or like a real handing over to something that is beyond what I can even imagine right now. So that’s going on within me. And of course, the moon is in the balsamic phase, so we are moving towards that. That’s the darkness of the Moon. And I give thanks for being able to track my cyclical intelligence through the lunar cycle because I feel I have so much to let go of this moon phase that the compost and the fertility and what is dying and what is decaying and what is dropping away is just yeah, there is a lot there. So I’m really looking forward to using this time to do my dark moon prayers, to be letting go, to be doing the shedding, and so thankful that I have that cycle to track, as my blood seems to have left my body for now. So we’ll see. That’s me today.
[14:52] Charlotte: Thank you. I felt quite emotional when you were saying that. I think that’s my hormonal state and softness and openness too, but just really hearing where you’re at and how you’re leaning on the moon for that process, that cyclical process, and to let go. A lot coming up for you, and that becoming. I love how you describe that. Thank you, Jo.
[15:17] Jo: Yeah, thank you. Thank you for that beautiful share. I haven’t bled for about seven years, so I’m well and truly over that threshold. And what I really noticed this last month was how much more difficult it is for me to do a release. It isn’t something that the body is naturally doing. So this month, just recently, as we moved past the full moon, I did a yoni steam. And that gives me the opportunity to just sit in that reflective place and release whatever has been built up in the last month or so. And having come through Christmas and New Year, where it just feels so intense and for long, and being at the zenith in our cyclical map, we look at the bigger picture of summer and the heightened of summer. It was so beneficial for me just to sit in that space of conscious release. And it’s interesting, Charlotte, hearing you talk and talking about the place of softness and it’s like, oh, yes, I remember that place. And these don’t come within the monthly cycle anymore for me. So it’s something I have to consciously work with and maybe that’s the next piece up for me to sit with the softening, because it feels like I’ve been in the full sun with no hat on, so it’s hard to soften in that place, I feel. For me, anyway, I feel like it just has to be a very conscious journey. And I’ve been also very much in the creative, which for me would be more new moon, which we’re coming up to this Sunday. So also being able to consciously give myself the space to take rest in the dark moon as well. So working more with the moon cycle and then the bigger map of the seasons. Yeah, that’s where I’m at.
[18:16] Charlotte: Thank you so much, Jo. That’s beautiful insights, I think, to hear how not having your blood, your cycle, has shifted your energy and your pace as well, and then using the Moon, like harnessing that as the way to come back into that kind of the softness, the stillness, the reflectiveness. That’s a really powerful tool, I think, that people can use if they’re particularly postmenopausal or not bleeding or resonate with the Moon particularly as well. That’s lovely. And I love what you said about doing a yoni steam as a way to intentionally bring you to that place and release. Yeah. Gorgeous. Thank you both. So, hearing the three of us, very closely located on the world map. So the same hemisphere, the same season, the same latitude, I think that’s the one that goes across and under the same moon as we all are, that at different phases of our life and our womb stories and our bleeding times as well. So me in the middle of mine, Arahni, you’re coming to the end, and Jo on the other side of that initiation into menopause. Welcome, wise woman. Thank you.
[19:56] Jo: Beautiful. Thank you.
[19:59] Charlotte: Okay, so we’re talking about your transformational journey, your coming-of-age journey that you have both created together. And we’re going to talk about what it is and what kind of magic unfolds in this place. But the first question I would love to ask just so that people can get to know you both and also, I guess, understand why this has been birthed as well. I’d love to ask you how you both came to do your sacred work that you do in the world and how you found each other.
[20:40] Arahni: Okay, so. The work that I’m doing now. So it’s been a lifelong journey, really, for me. I think for about 20 years. I have worked with the underserved in communities in various roles, working with young people in new centres in support of accommodations for young people that were homeless, working in schools, offering preventative programs around drug and alcohol misuse and domestic violence, and then moving into a domestic violence case worker role as a family worker intensively for about eight years. And in that last phase, I became a mother. And whenever I the work that I was doing as a family worker with women and children, I worked within a very established system yeah, which involves a lot of kind of systems that are set up to protect women and children, but actually, that’s not really what’s happening. And so I found there was a lot of unsafety in those systems. And so I practiced as a body worker and had been practicing yoga since I was 18. And what I saw was that so many women were disconnected to their body and living through having lived experiences of domestic violence, they were not only disconnected from their body, but from their sovereignty, from their own self knowing, from their self worth, from their ability to be present to themselves and therefore to their children. So there was this whole kind of lens that I was looking through while I was still working in the system that really didn’t have room for me to grow. Because in that system there’s not a way to document the qualitative kind of experiences that women may have if they are being led and guided to be in their bodies, to feel safe in their bodies once again to reclaim their inner knowing and their sovereignty and their power. And so I left that work and then came to the wonderful Jane Harvard Collins, who is one of my incredible teachers. And, I mean, I’ve had many teachers along the way, but really, it was jane’s work that touched on and helped me to remember the way that women can come back into their body, and that is through learning about the menstrual cycle, learning about the rites of passage that we as women walk through in our life. The Blood mysteries. So our birth, our men arc for our first period and then our birth of children or all manner of other things and menopause and death. And so it was becoming a mother and my daughter growing up to kind of by the age of ten, there was really an inner knowing from myself and there was actually a declaration through my Four Seasons journey with the school of Shamanic Woman craft back in 2014, where I found myself declaring that I wanted to contribute to a new story for our for our daughters, a new way for them to be able to meet with this rite of passage, of puberty, of change, of coming into the process of becoming a young woman. And so that’s what has inspired me this whole way to create this program with Jo. And it was really yeah, my daughter coming to an age where I could see that that was beginning to happen. She was beginning the process of pubescence, early pubescence. And I was looking around to see what was available and realizing actually it was up to me to create something and that I didn’t want to do that work alone. I knew that this work was bigger than just me. And so for a couple of years, living in this beautiful community, many women had said to me, I would share a bit about my work. And many women say, do you know Jo? You should meet Jo. And I was like, no, I don’t know Jo. But I’d love to meet Jo. And I had heard that Jo had a beautiful property here of five acres of land that her and her partner were tending to. That it held a magical labyrinth on the land, that Jo had done rites of passage work and worked with girls and taught puberty to young girls, puberty workshops to young girls. And so I contacted Jo and said, I would love to meet you. And I have a program that I had developed, a summer holiday program that I wanted to offer to young girls. So from eight to twelve year olds over three days during the school holidays, where we could come together, they could sit in circle, we could do crafting, could share stories with each other and have fun. And I had a vision of doing it here on Jo’s land. So my daughter and I came here and we met with Jo and she took us down to the labyrinth and we sat there and drank tea. And I watched my daughter in her body and the way she relaxed and was like her full self in this space. And Jo had brought down one of her familiars, her beautiful big rabbit. And this rabbit sat on Astara’s lap, and my daughter’s lap, and the three of us sat under the tree and it was a remembering and coming back together, it was like we had known each other forever and here we were meeting again in this life to create something really magical and beautiful. That’s how we came to be here. A little of that.
[27:44] Jo: That’s such a beautiful remembering. Irani, thank you for that. Took me right back there. I remember that was Izzy, the bunny that we brought down, that star sat with. It was a lovely day.
[27:60] Charlotte: Yeah.
[28:01] Jo: And the start of such a beautiful weaving together of our work. But a friendship as well.
[28:10] Charlotte: Absolutely, yeah.
[28:12] Arahni: Which I think went back 2018, trying to think of just the timing, but I think around then, 2018, right?
[28:22] Jo: Yeah. We had been here four years. That stage and I hadn’t made a lot of connection with community here. So it was really lovely to meet you and then to have the blossoming of our work come together. I started my work as a preschool teacher and I’ve always worked with children. And at that stage, I even had my own children. I had children early, so feel like I’ve been surrounded by children for a lot of years. And at one point I worked for an educational institution with animals and children, and I loved that work as well. But it was two things, I think, that really propelled me into this. And one of them was doing working sorry, sitting with a circle of women for 15 years. And with my beautiful teacher, Yuka Freeman, and sitting in circle with her, I felt almost an apprentice in how to be in circle and how to be with women. That was a real awakening for me. And the second was that I had started doing some rites of passage work with a group called the Pathways Foundation, who do beautiful rites of passage work for adolescent boys and girls. And that was a real grounding for me. I also had been, as Irani mentioned, working, teaching puberty to young girls at that stage as well. So it married beautifully. And I think all of that then propelled me into studying with CCM, the College of Complementary Medicine, the Transpersonal Counselling, and the Art Therapy, realizing that I really wanted to be skilled in this and to work. This was my part of my service. And that has an underpinning of the shamanic, which I was really drawn to. And so that became the basis, I think, of the jumping board of then this work. There was such a strong basis of all these beautiful lineages of teachers and that culminate in me. And then what I bring to this program that Iranian and I put together that feels like it goes from strength to strength and watching the blossoming of the young girls is such an honour, but also the mothers watching, you know, what happens with the mums, how they grow within themselves too. So I think any kind of transformational work seeing that is such an honour and such a blessing to witness. Yeah.
[32:28] Charlotte: Thank you both. It’s lovely, really powerful to hear your stories of where you’ve both been and both come along, your own journey, obviously, the experiences you’ve had, the work you’ve done, everything nudging you along and then finding each other in a synchronous way. And I really feel that sense of two powerful women just becoming one and complementing each other and offering your work together is such a special thing. And that collaboration and allowing each other to hold space and cocreate together, I think is something that I think we need to see more of. We don’t need to do these things by ourselves. We can do this together. And I just think that I really get that sense of deep wisdom and strength from both of you. And so let’s talk about seeding wisdom. So you describe this as a transformational coming of age journey for mothers and daughters who are aged nine to twelve, a year long journey that they take together. So could you tell us a bit more about it? Like, why have you created it in this year long way? And what’s the intention of it? What’s the aim of it? Are you hoping for mothers and daughters to find or remember through this journey? Thank you.
[34:11] Arahni: It’s a beautiful question, and it’s always wonderful to take some time to really listen to what is wanting to be birthed at different points when you are in service of the great Mother of Mother Earth, of women and children. So this program is an opportunity, I guess, if we think back to having conversations with our own mothers at our coming of age points in our lives. Did our mothers even have conversations with us around puberty, around what we were going to expect, around what was going to be happening to our bodies, to our minds, to our spirits? I’ve spoken to so many women over the years of my work with the school of shamanic, woman craft, and most of the time the answer to that question is they don’t really remember. They don’t really remember having a conscious conversation with their mother or caregiver. Most of the time, these precious conversations were kind of handed over to school, into school kind of teachers, sports teachers, perhaps. There was a nurse at the school, like when I was growing up, it was one of my dear friends. Her mother came to our quadrangle and sat us all down and just kind of talked about periods. And I remember just being horrified for my friend. I wasn’t even listening to what the lady was saying. I was like, this is your mom. What I know to be true also through sitting with hundreds of women in circles, is that this is our birthright, this information about what is happening in our process of moving from childhood to young womanhood. It’s our birthright to know what is Happening. And so from this place, from this premise, from this foundation, I think we wanted to bring this work to our community in a way that gives mothers an opportunity to work with their own narrative, their own stories of their own experience, of becoming, so that they can then offer something else to their daughters. Passing through the message that our grandmother told our mother and our mother told us, or our great grandmother told our grandmother, so that we are gifting a space where a new story can emerge. A story of healing, a story of empowerment, a story of connection to our bodies, a story of listening to our bodies, a story of our bodies holding an incredible intelligence that is unique and beautiful in each of us, a story that holds magic, a story that holds power, a story that holds that we are changing women. That we are changing women. And Changing Woman is our ally is our matron goddess of this work we journeyed to meet her before we began the first year of our program. And she informs us in the way that she is as Changing Woman because that is what we are. And so we use the will, the medicine will, the will of life as our guide, as our map, as our compass. And so the year long journey. We’ve marked the Celtic holy days, the suburb as days of meeting. So there’s eight points in the wheel in the year where we come together for a day and having that map as our foundational guide.
[38:51] Arahni: We live through the map throughout the year as we turn up to the circle. Each time we turn up, we are changed. We live the experience of the day cycle through our day program. So we begin at 10:00 a.m. And we finish at 04:00 p.m.. So everybody gets to notice how they feel at 12:00. How they feel at 03:00. How they feel at 04:00 is different to how they felt when they came into the program. In the morning, we help women to come closer and to make contact and connection with their menstrual cycle so they have that as a guiding map as well. So we sit according to our cycle, so women can see each other across the room and know that they, too, will be in that place at another point, on another day. We use the life cycles of women to guide us. So I didn’t speak this before, but one thing about meeting Jo was as a mother of a teenager, you know, a mother of a young girl that was coming into her pubescence, having a Magaret as as a woman that I could connect with and come to and seek counsel with and to listen to. Her experience of mothering and all the wisdom that Jo lives and holds within her own being was such a gift for me. Such a gift. And I think to our circle as well, of mothers. And Daughters. To have that. Maga presence in the room was incredible. Has been incredible. So I think that was another beautiful, fortuitous way of us finding each other and being in different life phases and her being able to hold that space on the wheel of the Magaret. And I was able to hold the space of the mother on the wheel. And then we had our beautiful maidens holding the space on the wheel, as in the maiden life phase. I’m going to just hand it over to you, Jo, because I feel like I’ve been talking lots.
[41:13] Jo: It’s beautiful, though. It’s always lovely to hear your share of the program and really is inspiring. And thank you for the recognition of the Magaret too. I think one of the things I love is that I have mirrored back to me the maiden and the mothers as we sit in circle together. And whatever was perhaps left unhealed in my journey has an opportunity every time we sit, to have a healing. So I feel like in this program, I’m so fortunate. I talk about it as the lemniscat, the figure eight, that whatever is healed in you comes around and can be healed in me. And vice versa. You know, it’s just so beautiful to watch the mothers and the daughters together in the program and the bonding that can be built continue to be built in that place as well. How much the mums love to be with their daughters and teaching them their wisdom, of their cycle. Arahni said in a way that can be so much more healing than just hearing it from one lineage. It’s the aunties that they hear it from a whole lot of women in our experiences, but also just our life experiences as well. And we weave into the program. Different things depending where we are on the wheel. So we might work with the ancestors. So we’ll bring in the Maga and the grandmother and the crone and and then those that have have passed, you know, so that the homage that we pay to those lineages as well. So the daughters also get to see this very expanded view of the world. It’s taken out of just the secular family into something march deeper and larger and bigger. There’s so many beautiful moments in the program, too. I remember the mum said just recently, which is such a testament to this work, not just what Iranian and I do, but this work, the lineages that we come from and just women coming together and sitting in sacred circle. But this was her most favourite place to be, which is so lovely. So the daughter is also loving that quality time with their mums. And we always do some kind of craft or art, as women have done throughout the ages. And so they get to sit together and create on so many levels. They’re creating in the art and the craft, but they’re also creating so much within themselves. It feels very rich and deep, deeply.
[44:28] Charlotte: Rich and nourishing, it sounds just absolutely incredible. And I really get the sense a couple of things that came to me when you have both spoken is one of the benefits that I think we can give to children by helping them to sit in these spaces where it’s not just their mother or their immediate relative. Saying the menstrual cycle is a gift. Your body’s intelligent. Like honour your body. It’s sometimes children at that kind of cusp point of and into the teenage years as well. But at that kind of age there can be that oh, is this just my mum who’s saying this? And they’ve picked up on the shame and stigma of it around them and they’re already sort of thinking, oh, you’re saying that it’s a beautiful thing. But the collective, the culture is giving me messages that it’s the opposite. And I see girls struggling to believe in the magic and the mystery and the wisdom of their bodies. And I think that when we can be in these group spaces, like you said, with their aunties and their sisters, the other maidens, and the Maga and Arahni as well. Not yet Maga, but mother phase of life. But not their mother again, can give them that benefit of it’s not just Mum who says this, it’s the collective in this space. It’s everybody in luck. That when these other maidens, their sisters, can bear with them, too. And that sense of community around that and normalizing in that space. I think that sounds like something that you’re giving as well in this journey. We like the cultural narrative absolutely.
[46:28] Jo: And it doesn’t mean that as individuals, when we come together in sacred circle that the mums don’t hit a hard point right or not. So they get to see the maidens get to see it in its entirety, that we have our ups and our downs and what comes of that in that. Witnessing, too, is often the wisdom, this deeper intelligence of the feminine that gets shared so that we have these tools that we’re formulating, that we’ve got in our little toolkit. So we don’t just hit these highs and lows and don’t know what to do with them, but the wisdom of the circle brings this oh, okay, that that woman managed it that way and it worked for her. OK, so there’s that memory that that seed that lives then within each of us to go oh, I remember when that one did that and it worked. So maybe I’ll try that.
[47:33] Charlotte: Beautiful, that’s very special. So I know that you include other topics as well throughout the year. Would you like to share what some of those are and why you’ve chosen them?
[47:48] Arahni: Yeah, so I think as Jo’s been speaking, the way that we are together is in the circle way. So that really kind of sets the space for us, sets a really safe container for us to then explore other aspects of ourselves in our process of becoming. So really cultivating that safety through setting up sacred space, having the girls really decolonizing that aspect of how we learn from each other as well. So that when we’re all sitting in circle, we’re all teachers and we’re all students, we’re all learning from each other. And everybody is invited to come as they are, to show up as they are. And so that really helps the mothers to bring their menstrual cells, like if they’re in their bleeding time, and for other women and their daughters to see women resting or being supported to rest and things like that. So our program, we’ve really wanted to, I guess, look at all the things that happen around teenagerhood and that adolescence, that change from young person like child, that child developmental stage, to the young person adolescent stage. And so all the things that are happening at that time for them in their bodies, in their minds, in their spirits, there’s a lot of change going on. So we work with helping girls to first of all, learn a body literacy. So to learn about their body, to learn how to name the parts of their body, know what their parts of their body do and how they operate. So that literacy creates a really deep sense of empowerment and a deep sense of knowing my body and how my body works, how my body functions on different levels. So we work with developing the intuitive body. So as feminine beings, we have this incredible gift of our intuition that we all do. But as young girls, we can nurture this aspect of ourselves so that they have another intelligence online when they’re making decisions, making choices around things that they have their intuitive body that can help them to discern, to make good choices. We work with friendships. Friendships is such a big part of kind of that change from being a child to becoming a young woman, where we develop a way of working with conflict. We teach a little bit of nonviolent communication so that they start to gather the basic skills of how they can meet with conflict. Because that is a part of relating in a way that has them stay in their power, that holds respect for the person they’re relating with. We look at what are their circles of support around them. So looking at their mapping, who in their world are there safe people? Who are in their world are the people that they trust? Who in their world are the people that are kind of in the outer circles and not so much in the inner circles close to them, and giving them a real visual map of that so that they can see in their communities who they have around them that they know and trust. And who are those that are on the outer circles. We do a lot of work because we’re on this beautiful land, Jo’s land, communing with nature. And nature is our biggest teacher. And so having sit spots, sitting quietly, listening, watching, having our senses turned on rather than being in our mind, dropping into our body, so we do movement through our body. We learn how to work with the in breath and the outbreath, the cyclical movement of each moment so that we, again are changing. We’re in that changing phase constantly. So what else do we do, Jo?
[52:15] Jo: We we our inspiration are the two maps. So Arani’s map that Jane devised, which is the cyclical map, and that holds the different seasons, the different menstrual cycles, the different moon cycles, and also the and more. And then the map of, for me, the medicine wheel, the dreaming wheel, which works with the directions, and then the archetypes that live in those directions. So that’s probably where our inspiration also comes from to help bring what we bring to each of the sessions. Like I mentioned earlier, we work with the ancestors. Ronnie mentioned. We work with the intuitive body. They all fit somewhere into that mapping system as well. We work with the healing body. And in that, we have some really beautiful mother daughter processes where they work together, and I think they’re often the favorite ones of the mums. And and and we do an honoring. That is how we finish the the year long. We have a beautiful day of celebration and honoring. So we’re also teaching each other. How do we honor each other? Because I think in this day and age, we don’t do that enough. We don’t do that enough with each other. So it’s a really beautiful way to finish the program.
[54:04] Arahni: And, of course, we journey with menarch and puberty as a rite of passage. So we give the mothers an opportunity to reclaim their monarch, to look at their men arc story, to revisit that and find a healed story so that they can bring that to their daughters, and not just in the way that they speak it, but energetically in an embodied way, because this is what our children feel. They feel more than what we say a lot more of the time. So it’s working with the birth in print, and our daughters, all the maidens, get to hear their birth stories being shared in circle. And that is a thing we go into storytelling. Storytelling is a big part of it. Jo is a traditional storyteller. So we have that beautiful gift coming through the medicine of storytelling. So storytelling is a big part of the program as well, where as we know as women who sit in circle, that this is the medicine, this is where we hear the stories of ourselves spoken by other women. And so these young maidens are being gifted this incredible opportunity to sit in the medicine of women’s life stories and the experiences of the varied experiences of each and every woman, the unique experiences and stories of every woman that sits in circle. So it’s Such A Gift for These Daughters, for These Girls, for These Maidens to Be Coming To Circle, to See Them, as Jo Said, to See Them blossom Over The Year, to See Their Quiet, like, you Know, Little Ones That Come In At The Beginning, not Knowing Many People, just Perhaps, you Know, Really Close To Mum. And then by the end of the year, they’re sitting on their throne and they’re being honored, and they’re receiving the gifts that everybody has learnt from them. And all the wishes that we bring forth for these maidens. So we honour those that have menstruated throughout the year, begun their menstruation. So it is a beautiful place to be seen, it’s a safe place to be seen and really that’s what I feel like is a gift today to be in real time together, working together energetically, working in the shamanic realms, working in the realms of the reclamation and the healing.
[56:41] Jo: Beautiful. And that ability to build relationship with themselves, with each other, with their mother or their daughter and then with the aunties and the other maidens and with the land to have that opportunity to keep growing those relationships and strengthening them and understanding them. These maidens are building, they’re building their egoic body so they’re learning how to be in relationship and it’s like Irani said, it’s such a beautiful thing to witness, to see that growth over the year.
[57:28] Charlotte: And a real sense, a real place to belong is what I feel as well. Huge need to belong and to be held and to be accepted for who they are and to belong to something that’s bigger than them. I can just feel how much they would feel held through this really big phase of their life. So much unknown to come, so much change and to belong in all the ways to themselves, to their mothers and the daughters and to each other in the land. I think that’s just going to set them up for such a different path for the rest of their lives through this wide of passage of menarche and into adolescence and then into later life as well. Drawing on the wisdom, the experience, the skills that developed sense of self that they will have that deep embodiment of of what it means to be a cyclical, intuitive, spiritual being as well. Yeah. Amazing. So your journey for 2023 begins soon. Would you like to tell us about what’s happening this year and to invite anyone who would like to find out more or join you? Would you like to share some information?
[59:03] Jo: So we have an open day, that’s a free day for mothers, for the mothers to come and just have a taste of what we will do throughout the year. So they’ll get to experience a journey, we take them on a journey, we give them some teaching of one of the maps in particular the cyclical map that Irani brings. And so they get to have a taste and then whether that’s something they want to do with their daughters. That is on the is it Sunday, the 29th arrange? Yes, Sunday the 29 January. So a couple of weeks away and we have last year, the year before, we built a yurt on the land here, guara, the belly of the whale. Guara is indigenous Darwa word for whale that was gifted or given. We were given permission to use that word. And so we have they come and sit in the yurt in circle for that day and then the program begins on is it the 7 February or the 6 February, 6 February or Sunday. So we do eight the 5 February, which is a Sunday, and we do eight sessions throughout the year. So there’s sometimes there’s like a six week space.
[01:00:59] Jo: What I would love, Arahni and I to do is to create this into a two year so that we get to sit with these maidens for two years. We often finish the year and a lot of them last year came back to do a second year. So we’d really love to extend this program into some more teachings and make it a two year program. And long term, I would also love to see this written up as something that other communities could take and use in their communities. So long term, that’s a goal for this proceeding. Wisdom yeah, beautiful.
[01:01:48] Charlotte: So I’ll pop the link to the booking. I’ve got your web link. Pop that into the show notes. So if anybody wants to find out more, they can go and have a look and read in depth about exactly.
[01:02:02] Charlotte: Which topics are covered and the dates that are all there and just find out everything and how to contact you to come to the open day as well. And, yeah, hopefully to join up for the year. It just sounds absolutely incredible and I’ve got three daughters and I already know that I want to do this journey with each of them in their time.
[01:02:28] Arahni: Thank you.
[01:02:28] Jo: Most welcome.
[01:02:30] Charlotte: Thank you. It sounds just exactly what is needed for both mother and daughter. And I think, like you said right at the start, mums aren’t given, don’t have the conversations, or haven’t been having the conversations or had the space or even the awareness that these conversations could be had about how to look after and power their children through this really important time for them, but also for themselves. Becoming a mother of a pubescent child. It’s a big journey and a big change for the mother, too. And I think it really does bring up a lot. I’m not there yet, but from the mothering I have been doing to this point, as my children reach a different phase of their own lives, it brings up for me things that might have happened in my life or how I feel about being a mother of a child of that age or all kinds of different things. So I can just really sense that the mums will get so much out of this personally as well, to be held and heard and loved through their own journey, as well as to offer something that they didn’t have, probably themselves. And to do that ancestral healing was for their red thread, the lineage of women who’ve gone before them and change the story past, present and future. So I’d just love to ask you, as a closing question, what is it that you’ve learnt about yourself from facilitating this journey?
[01:04:10] Jo: Good question.
[01:04:12] Charlotte: Put you on the spot there.
[01:04:14] Jo: Yeah. Thanks, Charlotte.
[01:04:17] Charlotte: I was reflecting as I was preparing for today, that we create the medicine that we needed ourselves, and that’s been true for me and I believe it’s true for all of us, and I just wondered whether that had been the case for you and what had come up to you in that.
[01:04:37] Jo: Absolutely. I had such a tragic menstrual life and one of my core issues, the first core issue I have is abandonment of the feminine. So every time I sit in circle with the feminine, I am creating a healing and a different story from that very early young story. And it takes me sometimes unawares, and I could be sitting in circle and I’m having all this stuff come forward and later I need to go and work with it. And always, I’m always in such gratitude for that opportunity. So I think just in that very fundamental that every time I sit in circle with women, I am in the opportunity of healing. And I didn’t have this with my own daughter, so there’s always a bit of grief around that too. But I have had my granddaughter sit in circle with me that has been such a joy and such a gift and that we can, I guess, until the day we die, we can do this differently. We can change, as Irani says, that narrative of that very young, unhealed narrative into more of a place of healing and transformation and growth. And I feel like that’s definitely what I’ve received. It says once again that Lemnis good of whatever is healed in other is healed in me and vice versa. Yeah.
[01:06:27] Charlotte: Thank you.
[01:06:28] Arahni: Thank you.
[01:06:30] Jo: Beautiful. And I think, too, the opportunity, even though I’m not a menstruating woman anymore, but the opportunity to heal that red thread.
[01:06:41] Jo: It never stops. Just so beautiful.
[01:06:46] Arahni: The thing that comes up for me when you ask that question, Charlotte, is really the power. What I’ve learnt about myself is the power of seeding intentions. You know that I think back to that part of me. 2014, at the end of my Four Seasons journey at the school of Shamanic woman craft. And I had this very strong calling to do this work and then to come now to a place of birthing this into the world and seeing the community’s response and the hunger for it. And so there’s a part of me that is learning to trust in the guidance that I receive, learning to turn towards the responsibility of sharing the work. Because once you know this and you embody the healing of this work, then it feels like your responsibility then is to share it. And so, yeah, I come with great faith in the circle of shaman and that all the maidens and all the mothers that have already come through this program are my teachers. They’re my biggest teachers in this seeding wisdom and choosing that name, seeding wisdom, that’s what we’re doing. These are beautiful young beings that are just beginning to their velocity. They’re budding. That beautiful, pure budding aspect of self and seeding. Just one seat of wisdom inside that beautiful being just feels like it’s true and good and beautiful work.
[01:08:40] Charlotte: And that it is. Thank you so much, Jo and Ronnie. What a beautiful conversation and incredible work. I can see your circle forming and I wish you all the best for the journey ahead. And anyone who’s listening, who wants to find out more, go check the show notes for the links and the information and make sure that you follow that nudge if this is calling you because this is really important, really important work for us all to be doing at this time more than ever. So thank you both so much.
[01:09:20] Jo: Yeah, thank you so much, Charlotte, for giving us this opportunity to share this. Thank you so much. And feel like these young maidens are our future. So if one little seed of that wisdom is there, then it grows. It grows into the big oak tree. Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity.
[01:09:44] Charlotte: Thank you for being here and for sharing your vision.
Michelle Berger is a First Moon Circle Facilitator located in Macarthur Area (South West Sydney). Michelle has a background in early childhood teaching with 25 years working with young children and families and is also a qualified aromaZen facilitator and meditation guide who loves to combine aroma, sound and movement to regulate the nervous system.