Rites of passage

A full moon hangs over the bridge.  The last gleam of twilight shines over the river Douro.  On the riverbank, a small group of women are arranging candles, stones, flowers and shells, a gentle excitement among them.   Each of the women picks up first some stones, then dried flowers and finally fresh ones, and tosses them into the water.  Words are spoken, laughter and Port wine shared, while the moon watches, and the river carries it all away and carries on.

This is what I did, along with other members of GATA, on the eve of International Women’s Day.  We wanted to celebrate spring and the  full moon, for us symbolic of  revitalization and passage.  And so we let go of the heavy, tear-tightened things (represented by stones and pot shards of clay), and old ways that have outlived their usefulness (in the form of shells and dried leaves) and released renewed hopes and dreams (many many fresh flowers!) for ourselves, those close to us and women everywhere.

I am still looking for words to describe what it was like to take part in this, to somehow have all the emotion and meaning held, and to have what we have been through, what we relinquished and regained witnessed – but it has something to do with movement and gladness, with bearing and…with grace.

* (How) do you mark or celebrate passages in your life?



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