Friday, August 10, 2007

Imagining Ceremony

K and I struggle with the issue of church and faith.

Some Sundays find us at the Church of the Zoo, other days we're trying out different churches and once we were episcopalian for seventeen minutes.

Because we are spiritually homeless, neither The Mayor nor The Rooster participated any religious ceremonies when they entered this world. Neither of them are baptized.

[Fire and brimstone!! Thunder and lightening!!]

Despite our religious floundering, I wanted my children to have something similar to God Parents - adults outside of the family that they could call on for support.

When The Mayor was three months old we organized a ceremony from our own imagination and he was given a set of Fairy God Parents.

My friend Vanessa served as "The High Priestess of Fairy God Parenting." She wrote and led the ceremony.

High Priestess of Fairy Godparenting
High Priestess of Fairy God Parenting

We asked our good friend Connie, civil rights activist, historian and dirty joke teller, to serve as The Mayor's Fairy God Mother.

Fairy God Mother
Fairy God Mother

We asked K's best friend Big Brian, a super feminist crusader to end domestic violence and attorney at law, to serve as The Mayor's Fairy God Father.

<FGF & The Mayor
Fairy God Father

Vanessa led Brian and Connie in the taking of their Fairy Godparent vows.

They were given "Official Fairy Godparent" t-shirts and Fairy Godparent survival kits filled with important items like crayons and baby wipes.

Then, like all good celebrants, we ate.

Fairy God FatherFairy Godmother Uniform

When The Rooster was born I had every intention of doing something special for her as well.

Here it is two weeks before her second birthday and, not only have I failed to send out invitations for her party, I also haven't yet organized squat in the realm of Fairy Godparents or otherwise
for her.

When she was a baby K and I talked about organizing something involving a circle of women... a group of the strong women we call friends that could provide a circle of support for our tempestuous Roo.

Becoming a woman in this world isn't an easy task.

I'm stuck though.

Every time I try to imagine a women's circle ceremony I get a woovy, groovy image of a cross between a Wickan Coven and a Grateful Dead drum circle.

My bad, my bad.

I need ideas about how to surround my girl with the powerful women in my life so she can grow into the woman
Patricia Lynn Reilly describes in her poem "Imagine A Woman."

Imagine A Woman
Patricia Lynn Reilly

Imagine a woman
who believes it is right and good she is woman.
A woman who honors her experience and tells her stories.
Who refuses to carry the sins of others within her body and life.

Imagine a woman
who believes she is good.
A woman who trusts and respects herself.
Who listens to her needs and desires and meets them with tenderness and grace.

Imagine a woman
who has acknowledged the past's influence on the present.
A woman who has walked through her past.
Who has healed into the present.

Imagine a woman
who authors her own life.
A woman who exerts, initiates, and moves on her own behalf.
Who refuses to surrender except to her truest self and to her wisest voice.

Imagine a woman
who names her own gods.
A woman who imagines the divine in her image and likeness.
Who designs her own spirituality and allows it to inform her daily life.

Imagine a woman
in love with her own body.
A woman who believes her body is enough, just as it is.
Who celebrates her body and its rhythms and cycles as an exquisite resource.

Imagine a woman
who honors the face of the Goddess in her changing face.
A woman who celebrates the accumulation of her years and her wisdom.
Who refuses to use her precious life energy disguising the changes in her body and life.

Imagine a woman
who values the women in her life.
A woman who sits in circles of women.
Who is reminded of the truth about herself when she forgets.

Imagine yourself as this woman.

Copyright 1995 Patricia Lynn Reilly


Stepping Over the Junk said...

can I come hang out at your house? that was lovely.

Lady Latte said...

One of the best gifts mothers can do for their daughters is to help them find who they are and what they can become. With three teenage girls (and a teenage son) I have come to realize that the best we as parents can do is to teach them how to acquire competence to make good decisions.

Hopefully that will make them selfconfident and help them when the hard decisions are to be made!

Amy U. said...

I know a group of women who have a sort of "retreat" a few times a year, at each other's homes. Maybe you could do something like that for her when she gets a little bit older?

Incidentally, I'm a sort of "god parent" without the god part, too. But I never got to wear a crown of any sort!

charlotta-love said...

Give her a copy of that poem and help it be her. If she's like me, she won't care or realize the importance of the poem until she is older. The trick is to let her have her own copy of the poem. It will sit on a shelf, in a box, under the bed, wherever for who knows how long...but one day, when no one is around and she stumbles across it, the teaching will take place. Great post!

BOSSY said...

Bossy's kids don't have religion of godparents or fairies. They do however have a lot of "aunts." More like Ants.

slouching mom said...

Love that poem!

And the hats.

NotAMeanGirl said...

Ok... this is going to sound TERRIBLY suck-uppy (Yes... its a word.. look it up in my mental dictionary :P ) but if that poem is who you envision The Roo to be as a woman she doesn't need a coven or a circle of women to get her there. She's got the best example in the world... Her Mom.

I've never met you face to face but you give a vibe that IS the essence of that poem.

I hope Roo becomes that woman.. I hope all our girls do. (And I hope Shecky MARRIES that girl.)

kittenpie said...

I love this fairy godparents idea. We, too, are not really part of a faith. I think instead of my friends as Pumpkinpie's group of extended aunties and uncles, and will encourage her to see them that way, too. I only hope she feels that she can go to them with anything she doesn't want to bring to me.

Sayre said...

So far, you and Grandma Seattle can be a circle of two. As time goes by, your circle will grow as the women who love and care for Roo grow in number. Her circle will occur naturally - no covens or dancing in the woods required.

Woman with kids said...

That's lovely. And wonderful. And I'd really like some fairy god parents, you're never too old for that, right?

I'm sorta struggling with that too; how do I show two boys how to grow into strong men?

DD said...

I'll give your plea some thinking...

In the meantime I so wish I had seen this at the time our families were condeming us to hell for not quickly baptizing our son. I want nothing more than to divorce the woman we selected as the Godmother and get my son a High Priestess and a Fairy God Mother.

If there's a next time, I am so stealing this idea.

jen said...

i've long wanted the same thing for M and have never been able to bring it to light (and her bday is 3 weeks out without invitations)

let me know what you come up with.

Kyla said...

Fairy God Parents are awesome. I love it.

sam said...

What a fantastic idea Joy!

We are spiritually homeless as well, but I absolutely LOVE the idea of Fairy God Parents! You're so smart.

Will you be my friend? For-EVAH!?

PT-LawMom said...

Frame it and put it on her wall. What a beautiful poem!!!

tulipmom said...

What a wonderful poem. I am printing it out right now. Thank you.

It sounds to me like Roo is already surrounded by women like that.

flutter said...

I love this, Jess. You aren't spiritually homeless, either seems like there is all kinds of spirit in your house.

Rock the Cradle said...

What a fabulous family you have. What amazing friends.

The Impling has no gods or goddesses but the ones she has within herself. I hope she keeps them.

Love the poem. Made me think briefly of Phenomenal Woman, but then it delightfully became it's own thing.

And I want a hat.

Worker Mommy said...

I LOVE what you did for the Mayor!
I know it's cliche but better late than never. You can still do something for The Rooster.

Hey and cut yourself some slack.this mom,wife,mother,worker etc, etc thing aint easy.
My Aunt , a public health educator, did a coming of age sort of ceremony for my stepdaughters and her grandaughters. They all got little kits with deodorant , pads, little hair thingys and I can't remember what else...but they also got a binder that she put together with articles about the changes that would be happening with their bodies and poems and stories. They then got to pig out , gossip and have fun. I thought it was a wonderful idea and hope she'll do it again when my daughter and other female grandchildren are old enough.

Julie Pippert said...

Oooh the Fairy Godparents, I love it, how cool.

I vote for the idea to frame and hang that poem on the Rooster's wall.

GL with figuring out what to do for her. Obviously you will think of something awesome.

Lawyer Mama said...

I love, love, love the idea of Fairy Godparents. The second kid always gets screwed.

But seriously, I recently wrote about all the damaged and insecure women I see everywhere and wondered what we could do to make sure that we raise our sons and daughters to break that horrible cycle.

This, my friend, is exactly what will do it. Raising Roo to be the woman in that poem. A woman like you.

The Holmes said...

I love the Fairy Godparents idea. I think occasionaly injecting a bit of ceremony and ritual into our lives can create a lot of meaning.

Tabba said...

howdy-do, stranger :)!!

LOVED the fairy god parent ceremony! Loved it!

I think that is an awesome idea for Roo - the strong women for this strong little woman in the making.

And I loved that poem. I really needed that today.

motherbumper said...

Well she already has a strong role model in her life (because you rock which makes you solid) and you have a virtual circle of strong women to surround her - it's a start.

And those hats and Ts - inspirational and amazing. I love the fairy godmother concept.

Amy Linder said...

Hubby and I don't belong to any particular religion either, but we wanted Sweetie baptized nonetheless. It's not that we don't believe, we just don't feel we have to be organized about it. Anyway, we found a local Unitarian Universalist church (in a nut shell, the don't much care what you believe, as long as you believe something). I wrote her baptism ceremony myself - finding quotes and not too preachy Bible passages. It was a lovely ceremony (except, of course, for Sweetie wailing away the entire time). It was a great experience and we're thrilled we did this for her. :)

carrie said...

We're religiously homeless too -- and have the same set of "godparents" (people close like family who share the same values as us and we know will always be a positive influence in all of our lives) for all 3 kids!

Your ceremony for The Mayor was wonderful. And the props, and the t-shirts and the people - lovely people.

And that poem. For your daughter. I imagine that you will choose wisely and soundly the women that will become your daughter's support, and they will lift her up. Always.


Jenifer said...

What a trip...8 posts in 15 minutes! I love the Fairy Godparents idea and I don't think it is too late to do it, if you wanted too.

That is the great thing, we get to make up the rules!

Note: I am still smiling about your airplane ride...I want to know what Customs thought about your very naked kids?

Ortizzle said...

I think it's important to choose women that you feel would represent your feelings on womanhood to your daughter. That said, why not gather some good friends, male and female, as you did for your son, and repeat the same ceremony, T-shirts and all, which I think is fabulous.

liv said...

somehow this makes me feel a bit staid & conservative upon viewing the long gowned babies by the baptismal font. i love you inner grooviness.

hairy godmother? LOL

Hol&J said...

Oh, I loved that poem and needed to hear it.

I didn't have a poem like that growing up, but thankfully my parents helped me believe that I could do anything.

I'm sure you'll do that for Roo, and the Mayor. Something to suit them individually, and uniquely.

Jenny Ryan said...

I LOVE that piece! Thank you for reminding me to look at it again.

Mrs. Chicky said...

I love that poem. I love the idea of Fairy God Parents. I love the Hairy Godfather of the internet. But most of all, I love you.

Now, let's all get patchouli'd up and dance to some Dead songs.

mothergoosemouse said...

Miss Goosie had a self-christened Fairy Godfather who brought her a copy of "The Sissy Duckling".

I think you are doing a fantastic job of modeling strong female friendships to Roo, which is one of the greatest lessons we can teach our girls - how to BE a friend.

Paige said...

Ill make a pact with you: I'll step in for Roo, even if you step in for my wee, equally unbaptized and tempestuous Avery.


Anonymous said...

It's official. You are the coolest.


Roo seems to have a pretty nice circle of friends around her need to look to far...

GoteeMan said...

I would take relationships over the systemy stuff anyday. My family will likely NEVER set foot in a church building again.

Relationships with God and people are where I believe it's at, and the only ones who ever offered hellfire and brimstone to us (along with a healthy mega-dose of judgement) were religious folks.

When I say religious folks, I DON'T mean folks who truly walk in love, peace and joy - I mean the mean bastards who want to beat others up and tell them how to live, as if the person needs a human "little holy spirit" to guide them...

UGH! and again I say, UGH!!!!!!!
Peace, joy and freedom to you and your family...


Mel said...

I love the concept! But what I love most of all is that poem. Printed and saved.

Kevin Charnas said...

Brava, my always, BRAVA!!

EE said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EE said...

Why does she need Fairy God Parents, when she already has Fairly Odd Parents? (teehee)

Anonymous said...

I love that poem and I love the idea of fairy god parents.

painted maypole said...

catching up after my own vacation... lots of smiles here, and not too much blogher bragging (although I've been seeing your face all around the internet!) I love that you had a fairy godparent ceremony. That is so great. I want to do one now. Do you think people all across the world are stealing your idea? I do. In fact, I want my own Fairy Godparents (I have no godparents, so this seems right)

aimee / greeblemonkey said...

I have ideas for Roo at this late hour but wanted to say the FGP hats and shirts KICKED ASS!!!

We are also religiosly ambivilent (I call myself agnostic although I do actually believe in a higher power- I just haven't figured him out yet). So we did not baptise or do a ceremony either. But my aunt is Declan's "Pata" - German for godmother- mainly because she is like my second mom and we wanted to give her a place of honor.

zdoodlebub said...

Thanks for that poem. Ditto on all the "printed and saved."

My kids aren't baptized either. We were spiritually "homeless" and now that we've found a church, we are spiritually "not throwing the baby out with the bathwater." There are always questions. I'm still trying to figure out how to take what I like and leave the rest.

(And some churches don't baptize babies - they believe it's a choice you make for yourself. That's our church - starting at 12, you decide for yourself. So my boys aren't going to hell. Whew.)

Serina Hope said...

I love this poem. I love this whole entry actually. I think that circles of women just happen. In your daughter's case her circle is going to be awesome because it is going to start with an intelligent creative mother. But man, I have to get my babies some fairy god parents.

Lisa said...

The fairy godparent idea? SUPERCOOL. LOVE that.

Do you have a bunko or beer-swilling babe group that you meet up with once a month? Cause you could take the child along with you, have a quick ceremony and call it "good." See? Two birds, one stone. Some might call it bad parenting... I call it "efficient."

(JUST KIDDING! Ok. Maybe not so much....)

Trenting said...

I am Episcopalian and that is the very first time I have every heard anyone in my life mention that they were that religon(aside from the obvious members at my church) Even if it was for just 17 minutes..

ewe are here said...

Actual fairy godparents.

Love this.

Really. Love this.

Aliki2006 said...

What a great post, in so many ways! I feel so much more pressure being my daughter's mom, in some ways. I want so much for her--I want her to be strong and be surrounded by strong women.

I love the fairy godparent idea--just love it!

acumamakiki said...

My greatest hope is to give my daughter all this and more.

I'm with you on the image of the women's circle. There's one every month at the center where I have my office and I cringe everytime someone thinks I should be there.

urban-urchin said...

FGP is an amazing idea. You guys are very cool and Roo will grow into an amazing woman- how could she be anything but?

Alpha DogMa said...

The real key will be to create something meaningful and long lasting that doesn't make the Rooster, Age 14 roll her eyes and make gagging noises.

My boys are baptized because the Roman Catholic church recognizes the legitimacy of layman baptisms (ie dumping a cup of bath water over the head and reading a bible passage). When first presented with this lazy-assed option by my mother, I thought it oddly egalitarian for Catholicism, but upon further contemplation decided it very in keeping with their powerful and ongoing membership drive. Take note PBS.

Lotta said...

I love this idea. I was thinking I would give Gracie a promise ring. But the promise would be to always remember what a wonderful and amazing person she is. To promise to always have love and respect for herself. (Versus a virginity promise ring)

Sandra said...

Fairy god parents ... brilliant.

And that poem ... one of my favourites.

If I ever had a daughter, I'd want a circle of women for her.

Damselfly said...

I love those hats! And your friends look as though they fit those roles so well.

The Happy Housewife said...

I just blogged about this very subject today! Like you we are spiritually homeless as I am a recovering Catholic and deciding how to mark the entry of my sproglets into the world has been a tricky one. Tree-planting has been the favourite idea, complete with placenta compost... I know it sounds icky! Your ceremony sounds fab and the pics are great. The Mayor was very blessed!

Jackie said...

Love the Fairy Godparents idea. Perfect!
Lovely poem. I'm going to print it out for my daughter.

mamatulip said...

You are so damn cool.

amusing said...

Thank you for sharing that poem.

What if you use that, plus "On the Day you were Born" which, I believe has a whole thing about people coming together in a circle to sing and celebrate or somesuch thing (we tend to read that on birthdays around here, and go through the baby photo album,,,,though I need to make one for the poor little second born....)

amusing said...

(Oh, and Meg Cox did a book on creating family traditions/rituals and that might have something in it too...)

Megan/ Velveteen Mind said...

I'm finally breaking away from my damn Google Reader and am late on leaving this comment, but I just want to say that the fact that you provided crowns is the reason I love you.

NoMommy said...

We are spiritually homeless too. The bug just turned 2 and no godparents, fairy or otherwise. I know that my MIL who goes to church DAILY is disgusted.

I know some people who did a women's ceremony when their daughter was older. That's what I'd do, and not just because I am a procrastinator!

Magpie said...

I love that you have fairy godparents.

Someone else mentioned the Phenomenal Woman poem; I'd like to second it as something that you could work in.

Ruth Dynamite said...

Love this and all the hairy fairy god people.

bfmomma said...

This is fantastic! We did something similar (also pretty non-religious) but my kids have "gosh-parents" instead of godparents!

We lit candles and had the goshparents do readings (one was from "on the day you were born"). We did this at their 1st birthday parties and we incorporated the other kids (and their goshparents). If you'd like a copy of the ceremony we used, just email me (bfmomma at yahoo dot com).

I haven't read this for awhile, but when my oldest starts her period, we're planning to do a red party as described here:

which might have some "powerful woman" things that you could use. :)