Herstory of the Ceremony
The ceremony was created in 1987 in California when three women -- a Cherokee (June LaGrande), a Celt (Summasil), and a Jew (Erica Lann-Clark) -- came together because they wanted to do something to heal the great fear of aging among women today, particularly in this society.
Drawn together by synchronicity, or “luck” as some people call it, they shared their visions. What emerged that first year, 1987, was a ceremony created by women of three different nations and meant to empower and honor women of all nations. It was a ceremony not only for the elder woman but also for mothers and daughters, for grandmothers and granddaughters, for matrons and maidens.
That first year, the role of spiritual leader fell on the shoulders of a Cherokee woman -- the beloved Sukyub’tet, June LeGrand -- so the ceremony was steeped in her tradition during those first four years. Since the original intent was to “give-away” this ceremony to all women, in November 1989 June acknowledged this ceremony as one to be taught to her Circle of Flowers. In the spring of 1990, she gave the details of the ceremony to those women who were present at that monthly sacred circle.
In 1990, the organization of this ceremony was passed onto several other groups of women. The ceremony continued in Santa Cruz and several ceremonies were begun. In one of these groups was Tina Carvalho-Ball, June’s niece, and Debbie Gregg, a woman from Sukyub’tet’s Circle of Flowers. Sukyub’tet continued in her capacity as spiritual facilitator the first year of the second four-year cycle. Upon Sukyubtet’s passing in June of 1992, Pamela Jones, also a woman from the Circle of Flowers, was asked and agreed to carry on as spiritual facilitator. She continued in this capacity, helping Tina and Debbie complete their four-year commitment. In addition, other women and friends from Sukyubtet’s circles have continued to be active participants. Each year, new women have identified themselves as helpers.
The Women of the 14th Moon Ceremony has been held each year since 1992 at Indian Canyon, home of the Mutsun-speaking Costanoan Indians in California. One of Sukyub’tet’s last teachings was a reminder not to mix ways but to honor our ancestors and their traditions because all sacred ways have great wisdom. In honoring our own traditions, we honor ourselves, our ancestors, and future generations. In this way, we help to heal ourselves and our relations. We then are better able to reach and teach our own people. It is in this way we each do a small part to help mend the Sacred Hoop so the Earth will heal.
In 1994, Linda Neale and Julie Rochelle-Stephens were invited by Linda's friend Janet Dafoe to attend the California ceremony. At the end of that ceremony Linda and Julie took a talking stick, accepting the responsibility of holding the ceremony in greater Portland, Oregon area for four years. Their 14th Moon ceremony was initially coordinated by a small group of women, including Linda and Julie, Nancy Lynch, Chela Stader, and Willow Teegarden-Davis. In 1996, the Oregon ceremony was attended by two of the original California women, Pam and Jamie, who said that the integrity of the original ceremony had been preserved in the transition from its beginnings in California to Oregon.
Since 1994, the ceremony has been conducted in various locations throughout Oregon, including Hillsboro, Madras, Portland, Oregon City, and Mt. Hood. From there it has spread to other states including Texas, Washington, and Idaho; and and to other countries including Canada and Peru.