Monday, May 4, 2015

Reclaiming the Red Tepee

Since beginning this journey on the good red road one of the things I have been trying to learn about is the life cycle of the feminine.  I want to be able to bring that to my girls to guide them as they are learning and coming into womanhood.  I have learnt a lot from Kim Anderson's book "Life Stages and Native Women: Memory, Teachings, and Story Medicine" where she shared the teaching of elders on the life stages of Metis, Cree, and Anishinaabe girls and women.

Drawing from her text as well as others that are special to me I created a book for the girls called "Walking the Moon Path" to share my learnings and ideas about the life stages of women and our family.  While this is primarially to help my girls prepare for their first moon time, I wanted to situate that discussion in the wider cycle of our lives as women.  I also shared favorite quotes, songs and pictures.

Using this book I have been trying to have "Red Tepee" times where my daughter and I talk about how her body and life is changing.  As a symbol of this time I made a small red tepee decorated to the four seasons. As an aside, this structure has a death wish. I find it in the most unlikely places with the supporting structures broken down - a symbol of the feminine in modernity? discussions have been important, they are a special time for my daughter and I to talk.  Since she is anxious, she has planned the first day of her first moon time out in detail and that makes her feel safer.  We talk about it and how each piece will work.  When one of the girls in her class started her moon time, Sophie came and told me and we talked about it.  It was very natural for her.
We have also planned the special things she would like to do for her first moon time, including a two day seclusion based on the elder teachings in the Kim Anderson's book.  From other sources I found references to special dress - one plain for the period of seclusion and one fancy for the end.  We have worked together to design these dresses and the first one is now finished.  This has led to a good discussion about symbols of the feminine.

I am trying with these things.  I feel like I know so little and would know littler even without the elders who opened up to Ms Anderson.  I am trying to read and talk to others and put these lessons into practice.  It has been good for me too.  It has made me think about my moon time differently.  It has made me more aware of the times of the moon and the rhythms of my body.  This is a hard reclaiming sometimes and I am so thankful for those who are sharing their stories and medicines.

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