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Embarking on the Moon Maidens Program, Perth WA

Menarche and coming of Age

At the end of last year, I felt called to bring mothers in my direct community, who had maidens coming of age, into a circle to discuss what they had planned for their daughter's menarche. There were a few reasons I felt pulled to do this. Firstly, to see as a community/collective if we could celebrate and empower our girls as they became women. Secondly, to see what I could learn about rites of passage and the coming of age. And thirdly, if I could assist in making the experience sacred. I had a slight tug that I should run a 2024 year-long program for my daughter who is approaching menarche and her friends, and I wanted to share my learnings with other girls her age. I have seen friends leave the ‘period talk’ and sex education up to their schools and did not want this for my daughter even though I know her teacher is wonderful.


What happens at a girls first menstruation is very important and can affect her for years to come, influencing how she feels about her periods, her sexuality, her womanhood.

Dena Taylor, Red Flower, Re-thinking Menstruation.


Jane Hardwick Collins from the School of Shamanic Woman craft says:

The way the menarche and menstruation are dealt with in our culture, our families, and our communities, influences how a young woman understands what it “means” to be a Woman; a cyclical sexual fertile female human being.


I see Mother Earth, her beauty and the destruction, and feel the imbalance in our relationship with her. I see this reflected in the Sacred feminine and feel that through healing the feminine we will see a healthier Earth, and this healing begins with in us first but then with the next generation. The AMA is a pathway to this healing, to making us whole. I developed the Moon Maidens Program for our daughters, so our girls get on this pathway of a bringing into balance the sacred Feminine inside us.


Huntress - The Fool Tarot Card

Now let me tell you there was plenty of insecurities around putting myself forward as a facilitator for this – asking the mothers to trust me. Even holding space for my community of women at New Moon Circle each month with a different topic feels big and new to me – even though I am in my third year of holding them. They are close friends now as we know each other intimately, yet I fumble and feel nervous every time. This new moon we are having a mending circle. Sewing clothes that are torn and discussing what is worth mending/healing in our lives. How do we determine what to let go of and what to mend? I think this is how the fool manifests in my life. Despite my lack of practice, upbringing, or education on the topics we cover (including taboo topics like birth and death) I jump in and just “do it” because I know it is important and there is so much medicine for us in it to explore and witness together.

As Clan Mother of the Huntress, I ponder on the meaning of the Fool Tarot card assigned to her profile. Have a look at the image above I created - a young woman stands on the edge of a cliff and steps out towards her new undertaking. Her gaze is upwards toward the sky, seemingly unaware of the drop (dangers or challenges) below. Over her shoulder is a medicine bag containing everything she needs. The white rose in her left hand represents purity and innocence. At her feet is a small white dog, representing loyalty and protection, that encourages her to charge forward and learn the lessons she came to learn. The mountains behind her symbolise the challenges yet to come. They are forever present, but The Fool doesn’t care about them right now; she’s more focused on starting her expedition.

I feel this sense of naivety in most aspects of my life. Home-schooling my daughter or starting the Moon Maidens program with absolutely no idea of the difficulties or the challenges ahead (or that mountain looming, or rather see it but ignore its greatness). However, I step off anyway and trust that the universe has my back. I trust I have what I need or can find what I need in my medicine bag. And so it is that I have developed the Moon Maidens program for 10 girls to experience in Perth this year.


Huntress – Artemis’s influence and the pull to run the Moon Maidens program.

I felt the pull to provide a safe space for girls coming of age in our community. My daughter is 10 going on 11 this year and I wanted a different experience for her than my own (which was shame-filled) as she faces menarche and this significant rite of passage. I imagined and visioned a year-long program where  maidens could build strong friendships, connect to nature, receive totem animals and plants to further connect to their local environment, practice assertive and confident communication, explore positive body image, learn right from wrong by trusting intuition, explore their strengths, and weakness, be introduced to Birth Charts, find their constitutional element (Traditional Chinese Medicine), understand the gifts of moods & emotions, learn about body changes, the wonder of becoming a woman and learn about ritual and self-care.

The Huntress Goddess ally is Artemis and the Amazonian Pathway states she “is a strong advocate for women’s rights, a guardian of young girls for she respected their innocence and safely guided them through puberty." Artemis stands for the sisterhood. I have called her in as I have pulled this program together and of course cannot believe the accuracy of Jeanette's astrological assignment for me to the Huntress!


My Vision for the Girls

I have read a lot of books and blogs and reached out to other Clan Mothers in the AMA for any advice or resources they might have found useful to heal the blood rites in their own lives. I really appreciated and learnt a lot from the sharing of these honest and open women – thank you. I used other resources from the internet to gain an understanding of what a rite of passage looks like in lots of different cultures. I have sunk deep into my own experiences. One of which was that I had the great fortune to sit with Uncle Noel Nannup, a Noongyar elder during his fireside story telling sessions and Hannah Rachel-Bell during her women’s circles (Author of Men’s Business Women’s Business). Uncle Noel shared the journey of a 9yo child in the passing of the 6 noongar seasons here in Perth and their rite of passage challenge.

In Britannica it says this, “An outstanding feature of rites at coming-of-age that generally is less prominent or absent from other rites of passage is their emphasis upon instruction in behaviour appropriate to the status of adults. Instruction in dress, speech, deportment, and morality may be given over a period of months. Very commonly, instruction is first given at this time in matters of religion that have been kept secret, and initiates may at this time be expected or required to commune with the supernatural, sometimes by means of revelatory trances induced by fasting, violent physical exertion, or the consumption of plant substances that produce hallucinations or otherwise alter the sensibilities.” 

In Summary there are three distinct phases: separation (leaving the familiar), transition (a time of testing, learning and growth), and return (incorporation and reintegration).

My year-long plan includes bringing the girls together for 2 hours every month to sit and be in sacred circle (this alone was challenging for some!), to experience true friendship and care from other girls, and to have a space away from their parents to talk about the above topics. They will have a challenge involving an overnight hike and camp without close parent supervision out in nature. On return to their family, they will be met and accepted back, and the parents will acknowledge and celebrate something that makes them unique and individual.

What I really want the girls to get, is that being a woman has some really awesome benefits, it is not simply a time when you get your period but when you realise your gifts and place in community. At menarche they will physically increase their sense perceptions. As a woman we get to birth consciousness if we choose and if not, we get to birth BIG CREATIVE projects – connect to the source of creation, we are “cosmic stargates’. We have strong intuition, knowing and insight, and we are powerful connectors in our communities. We are ruled by the emotions, yin in nature, and can master compassion and empathy. There is lots to celebrate and share.


Call to Action

I invite you to look at the young girls in your life who you are connected to or related to, are they coming of age soon? What information can you share with them or their mothers that might help them see the sacred in the significant passage to becoming a woman. Is it lending a book, sharing a youtube video or some experience you can share that might ignite curiosity to another way to explore menarche and rites of passage?  Rather than just allowing our daughters to complete the education departments “Period Talk” at school, what can you share with them that might light their way? Akhalita, AMA founder sent my daughter a copy of Jane Hardwick Collins “Becoming a Woman” when I started this conversation with her– a truly special gift that I have treasured when I was introduced to it about a decade ago. It is even more significant that Akhalita has gifted it to her though, it actually brings tears to my eyes for this is community. This is who she looks to, to see what others think besides her mum!  Is there someone you can empower in your community where their current path might be one of shame and embarrassment around menarche that you might be able to shift? Simply by sharing your relationship with your blood and what it means to you might help heal Planet Earth and the Sacred Feminine.

I believe the Amazonian Arts is working on a Shield Maidens program which I am excited to hear and can’t wait until l this emerges as the girls at the Moon Maidens first circle asked, “What is after this program?” What an opportunity for them to go deeper into these topics via the Amazonian Arts.


By Lisa Smith

Huntress Clan Mother


Nb. For a different view on Menstruation check out Perth's own Period Queen comedian doing great things on the mainstream comedy run (e.g. Perth Festival). Check out Lucy Peach and her YouTube video – I think this is just the beginning of changing the conversation but I love her lighthearted approach. The girls think she is super cool and she has a massive following on Instagram and on the stage with the sacred masculine on stage drawing the animations for her show as she talks.  

She writes 'Period Queen' -

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