A Woman's Rite of Passage
A Girl’s Rite of Passage
with Earth Path Education’s Lena Estes
In 2010, Lena Estes had a vision. After completing a 4 day vision quest on the North Shore of Kauai, she “received the clear guidance to start offering nature-based Rites of Passage for young women.” And thus, Growing Goddess & Moon Mystics Rite of Passage program was born.
A 5-day gathering in the Topanga wild, Growing Goddess & Moon Mystics aims to hold space for woman-identifying youth as they come into their own. A unique blend of summer camp and women’s sacred gathering circle, this program, Lena makes clear, is centered upon “relating to and being supported by the Earth.”
Her goal? To help young women feel empowered by nature, by their ancestral heritage, and by their most authentic selves. Read more about the program in our interview with Lena below and sign up a special young lady in your life for the August program here.
Tell us about the beginnings of Earth Path Education – what inspired you to start it and what fuels you still?
Since the beginning of Growing Goddess, I’ve felt a tremendous amount of support from the unseen world, the ancestors, Spirits of the land, and wisdom that lives in Nature. It feels natural to hold initiation space and it’s as if I’ve been doing this for lifetimes. What continues to inspire me is the power of listening, intuition and guidance and I see this flowing through all of us in the experience. Our grandmothers prayed this in for us a long time ago and are still there supporting us.
The Growing Goddess program sounds like a beautiful experience for young women and girls. How does this gathering differ from a traditional summer camp for teens?
We intentionally craft a 5 day Ceremony that both fun and deeply soulful and meaningful. Our rituals support ones glimmering authenticity and the power of belonging to a human and Earth community. We also engage in ancestral skills – in Topanga this August 15-18th we will be making frame drums for journeying, ceremony and holding the heartbeat, rhythm. We will also learn the magic of Natural dye with plants on silk tank tops.
Another aspect that highlights Growing Goddess and Moon Mystics is our Moon Lodge tradition, we explore and discuss the curiosities, challenges and confusions of the circle as it relates to menstruation, becoming a woman, gender, sex and sensuality, and many more topics that are so under discussed and under supported in many settings in this country. Access to not only vital information is shared but also a place to unwind cultural pressures, traumas, and stories that don’t serve the highest good of young woman. We gather to share and be inspired by one another and have conversations and sharing that uplifts and orients.
The program includes some beautiful ceremonies and practices. Can you tell us about the traditions you've pulled from to create the weekend?
The ceremonies and practices have emerged from the 11 years of walking forward with the prayer to do this. Some of our ceremonies have come rather organically. The seeds of some of our practices have come from my own life and path, like the wilderness solos which are inspired from my vision quest practice which was shared with me from the Earth Green Medicine Lodge community and Will Rocking Bear Cherokee elder in North Caroline.
Some of the practices are brought to us from Indigenous elders and teachers directly. Last summer for example one of our lead facilitators Aixa Amankay who is a medicine woman from Colombia, shared the practice of building a sweat lodge and led us through a deeply healing sweat. We’ve had elders bringing us the healing blessing of the lodge since our beginnings.
What is the biggest piece of wisdom you wish to impart on participants of your programs?
I hope that each participant can know deeply in their/her bones that it’s all inside: the teacher, the guide, the answer, the map. I intend for our program to strengthen and nourish the intuition and inner truth of each young woman. I want to note that any youth who identifies as a girl or young woman is welcome to join us!
If you could pick three words for how you want these young women to come away feeling, what would they be?
May each young woman upon completing this 4 day ceremony feel empowered, inspired and connected.