When I turned 13 my mom and I were in Berkeley visiting old friends of hers. Kaethe Kliot made jewelry and weavings and sold them in her shop called "Someplace" on Adeline. I remember her living room contained a 1930s gas pump repurposed as a giant cylindrical aquarium filled with water and goldfish. In her kitchen she pierced my mom's ears, and then mine. Mom, at the time, was 32. It was 1969 and we felt swept up in the zeitgeist.
Flash forward to 2010. My daughter Piper turned 13 last Wednesday and we swept her off to Factoria, to Claire's, to have her ears pierced by the competent assistant manager, Jasmine. No incantations, but lots of sterile solution. This followed a ceremony in Piper's bedroom involving scented candles in all the colors of the rainbow, a painted basket from Peru and a beautiful golden scarf. Bells were tinkled, foreheads were annointed with sandalwood oil and a dewy bouquet of sage. Wishes made on lavender wands. Wisdom was passed on. We think.