Rites of Passage & Girl’s Circles

An ancient and essential component of growing up into our best selves is to be seen and honored at each age and stage. At Merrohawke we are building a village and a pathway for this to take place for your child should your family so desire.

Rite of Competence Ceremony ~ Ages 7 to 9

“I could give you hundreds of words about how life affirming the Rite of Competence was for our family! There was a real sense of excitement, and loss, around being six years old–starting school, learning to read and bike and swim. Thinking through the ritual gave us context and a place to release all of our emotions by honoring this time in our lives. We anticipated our family might be a little put off by a seemingly unusual ritual, but we were shocked by how much they embraced the Rite of Competence and how freeing it was from the constraints of birthday and religious traditions. We have had so many comments from those who participated who said that it was affirming for them to participate and to think about their own place in the natural cycle of life. This Rite of Competence infused our daughter with confidence. We highly recommend doing this!
 –Margaret Lemelin & Phil Towne

“We were deeply moved to support our eternally energetic and enthusiastic son as he stepped into his Rite of Competence with peace and grace. It was a powerful moment in time that will be forever treasured.” -Sarah Gurtman & Matt Chisholm

At around 7 to 9 years old, children stand on the threshold between early and late childhood. No longer are they a young child, and not quite yet are they a ‘tween or teen. There is a special magic of this age in which families feel that shift from “you aren’t a baby anymore,” to a “you are ready to take on more responsibilities and privileges in our family.” 

Inspired and trained by Mark Morey, each spring Merrohawke guides two or three families towards developing a special Rite of Competence ceremony for their child at this special stage of life by acknowledging their child’s specific competencies as they relate to family values. This prepares the child, their family and community for their next stage of development and the changes that will occur in adolescence. Most importantly, it reflects to the child that he or she is connected to nature and that they are loved and supported by their family and community. 

Often families recognize and want to celebrate the transition of a child into adolescence (sometime referred to as “coming of age”) but find that their young teenager isn’t interested in being acknowledged. Having a Rite of Competency introduces a child to ceremony and sets the stage for future ceremonies so that when a child does “come of age,” a Rite of Passage is something familiar and expected.

At Merrohawke, we work with a child’s family over the course of several months to guide you through the process of designing and facilitating a Rite of Competence Ceremony for your child. This typically occurs in a series of phone calls or visits for an hour or so each throughout the planning stages. On the day of, we will help to facilitate the Ceremony (much like an officiate for a wedding) so you, the parents, can be fully present to the joy and the emotions of this special day. To close we gather for a follow up meeting to reflect about the experience and welcome you into a new beginning. Typical cost is $150 for planning and preparation, followed by a contribution after the ceremony (normally about $100).

Working with the natural cycle of nature, we find spring is a beautiful time to hold this ceremony, but more important is your child’s readiness, which could be at any time of year. We are happy to think this through together with you. For more details, please contact us.

Girl’s Circles ~ Grade 3/4 or Ages 9-10

In late September 2018, Merrohawke will gather together a Girl’s Circle designed to be fun, active and social in a special circle of friends who gather regularly on weekends throughout the fall. We’ll play games, make traditional arts, share stories and creative expression. We’ll learn practical living skills, how to be a good friend, authentic expression and emotional self-care. Girls will learn that all of their feelings are OK, including anger, impatience and boredom. We’ll talk about menstruation and the changes of puberty. Together in a series, our circles will cultivate self-esteem, self-confidence, and–what girls at this age are particularly hungry for–a feeling of being grounded on Mother Earth and lovingly held by something larger than themselves. The circles with be led by Kate Yeomans, who has been trained by Katharine Krueger, Founding Director of Journey of Young Women, as well as other guests. More details will be shared by late summer, including plans for a Mom’s Circle.

Contact us if you would like to be on our list of interested families.

Additional women’s and girl’s circles, and boy’s rites of passage, are also on the horizon. More details will be shared as they evolve.