Many moons ago, the female menstrual cycle was celebrated as a gift of fertility and femininity. Our cycle naturally aligned with the waxing and waning of the moon. Shedding of menstrual ‘blood’ was considered a special time for rest, purification and rejuvenation. Various cultures including Native American, Aborigine, Druid and African, regarded a menstruating woman to be incredibly sacred and blessed with a gift to heal, protect or to bridge into the higher realms of awareness. Some cultures still do honour this, although much of the knowledge has been suppressed, distorted and lost to the sands of time. During this phase a woman is endowed with enormous power of the divine feminine, so it is no wonder that a patriarchal world of control would be afraid of it.
Passing down wisdom or embarrassment?
Once upon a time, mothers, aunts, grandmas passed down knowledge and insight about this sacred cycle. They’d share what it means. They’d rejoice in how to unfold beautifully through it and acknowledge how to embrace our divinely given energies. Sadly it has become a taboo subject, even in our modern ‘open-minded’ world. When I was 14 years old, I felt as if I had blindly launched into my cycle and never talked about it with anyone, not even the girls at school. It was something to be hidden and embarrassed about and heaven forbid if you didn’t keep it under total control, no matter what physical activities (sports, swimming etc.) you had to participate in. In today’s world, women are not given the time and space to honour the cycle. If they take time off work, they are considered weak; if they take time to rest, they are often seen as lazy as the pile of stuff to do just grows bigger and bigger. The distress on the mind, body & spirit by not honouring the cycle generates a plethora of physical and hormonally related emotional issues that shouldn’t even exist.
I used to feel angry at being cast into a hush-hush women’s world that I didn't understand. There was nobody to ask either (even sister-google didn’t exist back then) because ‘you just didn’t talk about that sort of stuff’. When I shed cervical mucus for the first time (midway through the cycle), I thought there was something medically wrong with me. It wasn’t until I was in my early 20’s and I bought a book on the female cycle, that I realised it was normal! As I grew I felt the deep pain of the divine feminine throughout the whole planet. When we overwrite the natural flow, things start going wrong. Neglecting the sacred cycle has meant that women are plagued with menstrual disorders, pain, hormonal imbalances and severe mood swings that needn't exist at all. All because we've ignored the divine flow of the universe.
Honouring the sacred cycle
Thankfully, there are still some traditions that respect our sacred moontime as a gift and instead of banishment, insist on a sacred space for women so that they can rest during this time. Women are relieved of their work and lovingly afforded the time to spend either alone in peace and quiet (or with other women) in a safe, nurturing environment, free of projectional or negative energies. This time is used to reflect and invite universal life-force energy to wash through their being. A women allows the light of the soul to shine ever brighter as she acts selflessly as the loving centre of her family and daily life. We are receptive by nature and particularly absorbent of external energies around this sacred time. The divine feminine is a receptive vessel, a holy grail that often selflessly transmutes the energy of those around her. Rest is the most natural thing in the world for a woman during her moontime.
The divine male and female energies are meant to complement one another, working together harmoniously in a sacred dance of divine unity. Embracing both in their authenticity is essential for spiritual evolution, so those cultures that honour this are incredibly connected to the natural flow and are blessed.
Letting go - letting flow
The shedding of menses is symbolic of shedding any accumulated negative energy during the previous weeks. It is an opportunity to let go of that which no longer serves. It is a time to reflect on what we are ready to release, what we are ready to receive and what lessons we have learnt.
In honouring our moontime we often find balance and a re-centering of our state of being. If we miss this time of re-centering, then we may spend the rest of the month out of sync to the sacred rhythm, never quite catching up with ourselves. Thankfully we are offered the opportunity once each month (until we are not) - yet it is up to us as women to find our inner strength and love ourselves enough to honour this cyclical event.
If we don't normally think of ourselves first and foremost, then moontime is the time to do it. If we have children, if at all possible, get someone else to watch them for a day or two (I know that is usually easier said than done). If they go to school make the most of that time. If we can't find someone to watch them, make the most of the evening or the moments you can find (only do what you really have to do). Start right now and make the most of what you can.. commit to the moment. Love yourself. The rest will follow.
If you have a partner or close friends tell them how you feel about this sacred moontime and discuss with them how you might work together in helping to honour this.
Do whatever makes your heart sing: dance, play music, meditate, write poetry, tend your plants, read, take a bath, enjoy a gentle walk in the woodlands. If you have children, then take them out in to nature too. It may be that you simply wish to rest and do nothing... honour that! Being ‘super-women’ involves being vulnerable and loving yourself too. True strength comes from gentleness.
Helping you to re-balance
I’ve found some invaluable things that help me rebalance energies in the pre-menstrual phase of moontime. We are all unique, so find what works for you...
- Agnus Castus herb - to me, this feels like nirvana and as long as I remember to take it, the tincture works quickly. It is the first thing I reach for when it gets too much.
- B vitamins - we use up a lot of B vitamins when we are stressed, so if we are prone to anxiety and stress during the pre-menstrual phase, then it’s really helpful to replace them by taking a good quality supplement.
- Maca - this the root of a South American plant and comes in powdered form. It has all sorts of properties, although the thing that stands out for me is that it's an 'adaptogen', which means it helps the body adapt and find balance in stressful situations. A lovely friend of mine also said it worked for her (and she knew this, because after adding it to her smoothies daily, 'it was the first month she hadn't felt like killing someone!'... so I'd say that was success).
- Exercise - gets endorphins flowing and helps to flush out the excessive hormones and unbalanced energies.
Meditation - even if it's just taking a breather every now and again, sitting quietly and focusing on big deep exhales and inhales... this can feel really cleansing and nurturing.
- Loving ourselves - strangely this is often the hardest for women (including myself). Taking time to stop and doing something, like having a soak in the bath with essential oils, baking a deliciously healthy treat etc...
- Kava Kava herb - this is an excellent anti-anxiety herb. It helps us find a space of calm and peace within when all else fails.
It's well worth looking into different options that help to naturally rebalance, although I would say that one of the most important things is to take time to replenish and rest.
Importance of what we call it
One last noteworthy point... It can be helpful to rename your time of the month or "period" to something more beautiful (this helps to let go of negative associations with menstruation). Many women choose the word "moontime" in honour of the cyclical nature of the monthly cycle and in respect of the introspective energies of the moon.
So, honour this sacred cycle for yourself and let the energy inspire those around you.
From my sisterly heart to yours