Saturday, August 8, 2009
Feel the power
This is my first post inspired by Pagan Blog Prompts. The prompt is about the feminine monthly cycle, our menses. And since I am bleeding with the full moon at this time (I usually move between new and full moon at least once a year) it seems like a perfect area to explore.
My journey in feminism and paganism have helped me determine what my menstrual cycle means to me. I remember waiting for it to appear at 13 when most of my friends had already started. I looked each day, waiting for something to happen. There was a mystique about it, some strange feeling it gave me to anticipate becoming a part of this club. When it came I freaked out. I called my mother to the bathroom and almost passed out. It is a hilarious memory for my mother and myself. I have no idea why I reacted that way. Once I calmed down I felt the small seed of feminine power begin it's blossoming.
And in a few months I hated it. Cramps, mood swings, I wondered what all the fuss had been about. I feel like society's views of menstruating: "that time of the month" "the curse" "your period" all the terms, the negative energy, the hassle starts to weigh us down. How can we have a positive experience of our cycles when everyone puts them down and we are expected to ignore them and pretend they are not happening and be "normal"?
Through a lot of internal work I have come to a very different place now. My friend Heidi affectionately calls her period her "moon" and I have adopted that term as well. It is my moon. My connection to the cycle of the moon. As it pulls the tides, it moves the blood within me. I am full of the power of regeneration. My womb is discarding this cycle to begin again. There are few other things that make me feel as connected to the universe as menstruating.
My one issue with this time is that I have to go on doing all the everyday things that I do during the month. If I had my way this is what would happen...
I feel a tinge, a hint of intuition that today my moon begins. I remove my clothing and dress in red. A long, loose and flowing gown, a shawl and a scarf over my head. I bid my family farewell and say I will see them in 4 days. I will miss them but know that I will return refreshed and ready to undertake my tasks with renewed vigour.
I tread on a worn path through tall trees. I hear the animals of the forest but I have already begun my inner journey to a deep place within. Here I will be completely inside. I will have no obligation to speak, no needs to meet but my own. I come to a secluded spot that holds a yurt-like structure. There are many women here. Young, old, thin, fat, blond, Asian, German, blind, tanned, short...they meet every description. They are every woman who also bleeds with this cycle, or they are pregnant, or they are saying goodbye to their menses, or nursing those that need healing at this time. Everyone speaks in hushed tones, there are no demands. We just are. I will come to this hut when I need food or quiet companionship for the next 4 days. I will sleep, eat, meditate, read and bleed. I will squat, lean on trees and bathe in the river. I can rest here, recharge, renew. At night I can gaze at the full moon, feel her pull the waters inside me and be cleansed in her light. I eat strawberries, tomatoes and beets. I sing songs of the earth around a warm fire. I sway with the wind and drink the rain. My name is not spoken...I cease to be in my head.
At the end of the 4th day I begin my walk back home. I enter my house and things are neat and quiet. I speak softly to my family, we are happy to be reunited. I drink tea and prepare myself to come back to my daily world. My moon is not over but is waning. I resume my work slowly so as not to undo all the rest I've won. In 3 more days I am back to full capacity. The cycle begins again.
Since I can't have the rest I have described above I do try and be easy on myself during my moon. My patience is low, vulnerability high. I drink raspberry leaf tea, I try and walk to keep my body from getting cramps. For several years I wore special red underwear during my moon. It's a great time to wear red. I try to commune with the moon...I try to do many things. It is a special time. It is a time of great power. I hope that the pagan community can explore the woman's mysteries more in theology and writings. We need to reclaim this time as sacred. Deep in my bones I feel that it once was a sacred time for us. Men and women revered this powerful cycle and gave it a place to breathe. Changing our notions about menstruation can only empower women and men to be more authentically ourselves.