Rite of Passage

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Elemental Rite of Passage into Young Womanhood

Starting in 6th or 7th Grade

Gaia Girls Passages Elemental Rite of Passage Journey is a three-year experience that supports you and your daughter in the changing waters of her physical and emotional being as she grows from a child into a teenager. Entering our earth, air, fire and water portals each year, she will be offered experiences aimed to develop her ability to walk into her teenage years with safety, inner-confidence, self-awareness, and the ability to be in service.

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Year 1:  The Foundational Year is focused on bonding as a group, delving into the elements, and developing foundational nature connection, crafting, and emotional intelligence tools.

Year 2:  The Second Year is focused on building her personal skills, and expands upon what she learned in Roots, culminating in an overnight fire challenge.

Year 3:  The Third Year builds upon the experience of the solo fire completes with an honoring ceremony and a full day and night solo.

“Because we do scary things, when we accomplish it, it makes us proud and helps me to have more confidence in myself in the world.” 

“I found myself looking forward to growing up rather than dreading it. I now feel proud to be a woman!”

~Rite of Passage Participants

EARTH:  Earth offers the ability to feel safe and grounded. When girls feel safe, all else is possible. The earth element includes herbal medicine, tracking, plant and animal allies, and making pottery that we cure in the open fire.

AIR: Air gives us the tools to communicate and be connected to others. The air element includes group-bonding activities such as improvisational theatre, sharing circles, and communication tools. Roots air challenge is a group solo on our winter camping trip and Fruits air challenge is a personal daytime solo.

WATER: Water teaches us about self care and body/emotional changes that are happening during puberty. During water we learn about how to take care of our unique physical and emotional bodies. Water challenge involves an immersion in a body of water.


FIRE: Fire teaches us how to care for others and for the world around us in a beautiful and responsible way. Girls learn how to build and tend fires and begin the journey of creating fire from friction. Our fire challenge happens on our Spring camping trip. The Roots tend a collective fire for a few hours after sunset, and the Fruits’ fire challenge marks the culmination of their experience with an overnight solo fire-tending followed by an honoring ceremony.

ETHER: At the end each year girls enter into a challenge that helps them to learn about themselves, become resilient in the natural world, and build confidence.  At the completion of the third year, girls are held through an honoring ceremony held by the aunties and elders. Parents and care-givers are invited to join to celebrate and honor the transition of your fabulous daughter into her next phase of life!!

Why is a Rite of Passage essential for your daughter?

It has never been simple or easy for girls to stay connected to themselves as they enter their teenage years. For our ancestors, in cultures the world over, the change from childhood into adolescence was known as an exciting and challenging time that necessitated full village support. A girl was given challenges and honored in a culturally appropriate way in order for her to become productive member of a life-giving village.

In our modern culture, families are living independent lives without the support of a cohesive village, and there are strong cultural influences from the media, peers, and consumer culture which all point to the notion that girls are not “enough” simply as they are. This can causes them to contort themselves to fit into a world which asks them to fit a very narrow image far from their true self.

Our Elemental Rite of Passage Journey is an opportunity for you and your daughter to be held in the web of a life affirming culture that honors the inner and outer natural elements that make up all life. As girls sit around fires, craft with their hands, bond with other girls and women in a safe and supportive community, and spend time with their feet on the earth, they are given space and permission to be and become who they truly are.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”.

~ Anais Nin


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Contact Information

Email: support@gaiagirlspassages.org

Phone: 510-731-0308

Address: 651 66th Street

Oakland, CA 94609

Facebook: www.facebook.com/gaiagirlspassages/

Most photography by Erika Gagnon

Gaia Girls Passages is a project of Gaia Passages, a tax-deductible 501(c)(3) organization. Tax ID # is 82-1688828 

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