Justine Willis Toms

"I remember she said in circle, 'My daughter is considering getting married.'  I was struck by these words because almost two decades had passed when this circle was formed and Leah was pregnant with Shayla.  Including the birth it has been Shayla’s coming of age rituals that have marked the passage of time for this powerful circle.

First there was a blessing way for the birth of Shay. Then when she came into her menses she requested a ritual from this group, her mother’s circle, but adamantly insisted there be no “New Age stuff.”  The young woman didn’t want to be embarrassed by anything too foreign for her practical and down to earth sensibilities. She brought a friend to the circle, and we all spoke the history of our own coming of age with deep truth-telling. We showered her with gifts as well.  When she was grappling with the adult issue of getting married, Shayla came to her mother’s circle once more, where both Mother and daughter trusted the wisdom, support, and nonjudgmental field that this gathering had created through the years.

It is deeply moving to me that this circle of women, through persistent attention, has truly established a bond that can be trusted by a young girl, turning woman."