by Jasmin Starrchild at Moon Woman Rising
Women of Moon Time were seen as holy vessels, sensitive to the subtleties around them, intuitive and in their power. Our purity was highly revered and protected. It was well known that such a woman was ripe and fertile. Her moon blood was a sign of her ability to create life.
Recently I was reminded just how badly some women have it each month as I approached a stoplight at the same moment as two women. One was severely relying on the other for balance and support. She could hardly walk and the whole situation had the appearance of a medical emergency. Making sure everything was alright, I found out that the woman in need of assistance was actually completely overwhelmed by her period and had to find her way home from work so that she could relax and deal with her pain.
This was an obvious reminder that we are already working hard enough when our bodies are menstruating. Not long ago women used to honour their monthly flow as a sacred time for ceremony. We lived in smaller communities and it was easier to be together and support each other during this period of time. It was normal, before artificial light, for women to be synchronized with the ebb and flow of the Moon's cycles. Most often we would all get our period during the Dark Moon.
Rights of passage or festive celebrations were common traditions marking a young girl's first blood. This was a wonderful way for families to bond and made it easy for the necessary teachings to be passed down. Mothers taught daughters peaceful and easy ways to embrace Moon Time. As a result this was a time in life that girls looked forward to as they entered womanhood and had that common bond.
The Moonlodge was formed to create a safe and sacred space for women of all ages to gather and release in a healthy way. The entire period was spent inside the lodge. As women reached their full power it was essential for them to be well protected, guided and nurtured, so Grandmothers and those who were still nursing would prepare meals and care for the occupants from outside of the lodge, creating healthy boundaries within the community. The Moonlodge became a safe haven for women and offered men time to themselves as their partners went through her process.
Women of Moon Time were seen as holy vessels, sensitive to the subtleties around them, intuitive and in their power. Our purity was highly revered and protected. It was well known that such a woman was ripe and fertile. Her moon blood was a sign of her ability to create life. Any man was proud to know a woman who sought time in the Moonlodge caring for herself and learning the good ways of woman ‘s medicine.
Inside the lodge long skirts were worn. The skirt is a symbol of the Medicine Wheel that surrounds us as we stand humbly in the centre. The skirt was also worn for ease and grace so that she could flow directly into the Earth by piling moss (or cedar or hay depending on the location) comfortably beneath her. These women were never judged and were welcome to go through their process however they chose.
The wise women would offer extra energy to those in need by leading songs, or telling truths. She who understood herself well could nurture others or offer peace and silence by simply witnessing another. This was also a powerful time for women to journey with the drum and rattles, bringing back visions for herself and her community. It was a time of prayer (and still can be). We would commonly use this time to craft and complete projects we had begun. All the while the main focus was always on releasing our natural flow in order to make way for what was to come. We were always grateful for the ability to let go and knew well the healing that was available to us if we focused with intention.
I believe we still can be grateful. Women, we can once again empower ourselves by reclaiming our Moon Time in a way that feels good. Wouldn't you rather curl up and read a book instead of plugging up your body with a bleach soaked tampon and dragging yourself to "work"? If we are the ones who chose to go to work, then we can also choose how we work. All of the men I have spoken with totally support us leaving for a few days each month to go through our process. In fact most men wish there was more they could do for us during our cycle, but it is up to us to take care of ourselves. We need to stop pretending that we don't all go through this each month, and remember what it is to bleed in a good way.
A large portion of what some term "P.M.S." (Pre Menstrual Syndrome) is actually circumstantial. Ask yourself if you were in the exact place you wanted to be during your period, would things seem as "bad"?
Here are some suggestions for anyone who may be looking for ways to connect with their cycle...
** I recommend stepping outside the moment you begin to flow. It is best to do so with bare feet right onto the Earth. Find your way of letting the Goddess know that it is your special time to release and recharge. Also during this week spend as much time as you can in nature or in soothing natural settings.
** Say thank you! It is a valuable practice to be grateful for our Moon Time and our ability to create life.
** Make arrangements with the women you work with so that all schedules are flexible. This way it is possible to have someone else work for you when you begin your period. Search for ways to make things easier during this time.
** Set up a sacred space or altar. Here you can place special items that represent your womanhood and those things that symbolize what you want to focus on each month. This is my favourite way of honouring my cycle.
** Try using natural pads or the moon cup. (I highly recommend these methods...no more tampons sisters, let yourself flow!) Keep in mind the importance of our connection to the Earth. Remember our ancestors who sat for days feeding the health of what once was a luscious garden and offer your blood back to the Earth.
** Change your bed sheets to red ones. Lay out red towels, and set red candles on your altar. Put on your lovely or comfy red undies or wear red clothing and jewelry. Let it be obvious that you are in your power. Make each month a special opportunity for you to focus on yourself. Let this be a time you look forward to.
** Some women may enjoy gathering together with other women who are in the same flow. Take time to honour yourself and care for each other.
** Get out that journal. What better time is there to write out your feelings?
** Remember that when you are bleeding it is important to work less. Your body is trying hard to focus on another type of work altogether. Slow down. Recognize that it is ok to ebb and flow like the moon. Let someone make you dinner, read a book instead of going to your aerobics class, and say no if someone asks you to do something that you don't want to do. This is your time. Claim it and make it what you can.
So ladies, we all bleed! Now let's get over the taboo and find a way to come together. After all this is the one thing we all have in common. See you in the MOON LODGE … I'll bring the chocolate.