The Moon Lodge was a great thing for Native women. The power to create was associated with the feminine and and was fundamental to Creation itself. When women were on their moon i.e. period, they retreated to the Moon Lodge. This was a place where bonding among women took place, an even deeper bonding than that of everyday life. When girls had their first menses they participated in a rite of passage, a puberty ceremony, and were welcomed into womanhood. The Lodge was a private place for those young women to learn about all that is part of being a Native American woman. They received the respect that women deserved as adults from the other women in the tribe. Conversations among women could address particularly sensitive subjects that did not concern the men. And the women had a respite from their normal lives. Since women in close proximity quite often have their periods at the same time, it was a place where all of the women could be together. The sense of unity and community among women was essential to the strength of the tribe. Differences could be worked out in respectful and caring ways and disputes could be eased.
Another comment. We talked in class about being the last kid picked for athletic teams. I never played on a team, but had to take PE. This was terrible as I was pretty uncoordinated and no one wanted me. My body was worse than throwing like a girl would be. I was born left handed and the school system made me be right handed. Sooooo– terrible handwriting, poor athletic skills, but onece I got older, good art and music. And science and math– another reason nobody wanted me on their team. Who wants a girl who does science and math, who would rather play with frogs that dolls, on their team? Hard to fit in. Hard to fit in in science, too. When I was in high school, I was the only girl out of three physics classes. No one wanted to be my lab partner. I lived through it. Music saved me. I put my whole body into music. The viola and I became one. And I became part of the symphony orchestra. It was magic. Spacial location and space, though restricted to the area I needed in order to play my viola seemed to be enlarged when in a chamber or symphony orchestra, particularly during a concert when it seemed my body extended across the orchestra as a whole and into the audience.
However, I was very shy and retreated to my closet when my parents had company.
In high school I participated on the speech and debate team because I realized that if I did not find some way to combat shyness, it would have a detrimental affect on my life. I found that it helped to pretend that I was not me, but playing the role of someone else who could do it. I think I was intimidated because of not being wanted on teams and being in the background so much as a child. My brilliant brother got, deservedly, lots of attention, but I could never measure up. Anyway, that is another story.
Speech and debate did help. Music definitely helped. Finding other people sort of like me, i.e. Native American helped a whole bunch. I felt like I could be me. Taking martial arts for several years really helped. I spread out and reached out. I felt all of my muscles and learned balance and control of body, spirit, and mind. I learned self confidence and to respect the carcass I had been lugging around.