Changing Woman Ceremony  

Posted by Stella Clark

Changing Woman Ceremony Image
THE REVERED FEMALE DEITY, "CHANGING WOMAN", IS CENTRAL TO NAVAJO RELIGION. A BENEVOLENT FERTILITY GODDESS, SHE IS MOST OFTEN ASSOCIATED WITH CORN, THE GRAIN THAT SO MANY CULTURES RELY UPON FOR NOURISHMENT. SHE SYMBOLIZES THE EVER-CHANGING AND EVER-FERTILE EARTH....THE CHANGING OF THE SEASONS, AND THE LIFE CYCLE, BIRTH, MATURITY, AND DEATH.

SHE RULED OVER THE PUBERTY RITES FOR GIRLS WHERE THE FIRST MENSTRUATION OF EVERY NAVAJO GIRL IS THUS SEEN, NOT AS A PROFANE OCCASION FOR SHAME AND FEAR, BUT AS A SACRED RE-ENACTMENT OF THE COMING-OF-AGE OF A GODDESS. A "KINAALDA" IS A NAVAJO GIRL'S PUBERTY RITUAL; IT IS THE CELEBRATION OF A WOMAN'S FIRST PERIOD, IS ONE OF THEIR MOST IMPORTANT CEREMONIES, AND AS WITH OTHER PUBERTY CEREMONIES, "KINAALD'a" IS A CELEBRATION OF AN IMPORTANT LIFE TRANSITION FROM CHILDHOOD TO ADULTHOOD. DURING IT, THE GIRL BECOMES "CHANGING WOMAN". THE FOUR-DAY-LONG RITUAL IS FILLED WITH JOYOUS DANCE AND SONG. PEOPLE CHANTED AND DANCED UNDER THE HOT ARIZONA SUN TO HONOR THESE YOUNG WOMEN FOR STARTING THEIR PERIODS.

THE "KINAALDA" NOT ONLY CELEBRATES A GIRL'S FIRST MENSTRUATION, IT TRANSFORMS HER INTO A WOMAN, ABLE TO BEAR CHILDREN AND TAKE HER PLACE AS AN ADULT AMONG THE NAVAJO. THE FIRST "KINAALDA" WAS PERFORMED FOR "CHANGING WOMAN," THE MOST HONORED OF ALL NAVAJO HOLY PEOPLE. FOLLOWING THIS CELEBRATION, "CHANGING WOMAN" GAVE BIRTH TO TWINS, FROM WHOM THE NAVAJO ARE DESCENDED. THE NAVAJO BELIEVE THAT THE "CHANGING WOMAN'S KINAALDA" GAVE THEM LIFE GENERATION AFTER GENERATION.

I LOVE THIS CELEBRATION. I REMEMBER WHEN I FIRST GOT MY MENSTRUAL, I WAS TOLD I HAD THE "CURSE". THE FEELING OF BEING CURSED STUCK WITH ME THROUGHOUT MY LIFE; THUS, I COULD NEVER HONOR MY PERIOD. IT WAS SOMETHING DIRTY TO BE HIDDEN. THAT IS SO SAD.

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This entry was posted on 25 June 2009 at Thursday, June 25, 2009 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the .

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