I’ve recently been exploring the sacredness of womanhood and, even more so, the sacredness of our moon cycles.
Yup. I’m going there.
Menstruation. Periods. Menses. That time of the month. Aunt Flow. The curse. The moon cycle. That which shall not be named.
Our periods have a lot of different names and have just as many, if not more, negative connotations.
So, if this post is already making you feel a little (or a lot) uncomfortable or squeamish, I invite you to do some inner inquiry as to why.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
Why am I talking about this?
I recently found out I have a fibroid within my uterine wall causing crippling period cramps and blood clots the size of a plum. To which the only “long-term” solution available is a partial hysterectomy.
I mourned the inability to have children nearly a decade ago in my early thirties when my partner and I were trying to have kids the “old-fashioned” way. I mourned the idea of not being a mother in my mid-thirties after two adoptions fell through.
I figured I was meant for something else. What? I still don’t know.
As the pain and debilitation grew over time, I couldn’t understand why I still had a period at all when my body didn’t work the way “God intended.”
When I found out about a month ago that I have a fibroid causing the excruciating pain and the 2-3 weeks of bleeding that was incredibly disruptive to my everyday life, I started researching the spiritual side of periods.
What a Pain in the Ovaries!
Today, periods are seen as a huge inconvenience for those that get them and for those who have to be around those of us who get them.
The internal emotional roller coaster, the external mood swings, the brain fog, and the exhaustion are hard enough to deal with in today’s world. Not to mention the hormonal migraines and debilitating cramps that prevent some of us from sleeping or make us surrender to medications that put us on another planet.
We try to push through. Drink more coffee. Take drugs to numb the pain. Fake it until we make it to the other side.
While every women’s experience is different, the feelings about our periods are usually the same – we’d be better off without them.
Aunt Flow Needs to Go!
Society hasn’t helped the public opinion about periods. This very natural, powerful, and sacred part of being a woman has become just another problem to fix. The very thing that allows (most) of us to create and give birth to life gets in the way of work, sex, and “being at our best” any other time.
Luckily, we have solutions. Please note the sarcasm.
We now have the “sporty” tampons so you can still go out there and score a goal even though you are so tired you can hardly walk to the bathroom. There are over-the-counter and prescription medications so you “don’t let periods stop you.” There are more birth control options than even, including those that advertise a “no more periods” as a benefit. If that isn’t enough for you, you can even have a medical procedure (hysterectomy) so you never have to have another period again.
And yes, this is coming from someone that has asked many times for my cycle to just go away because of the pain and disruption to my life. Not to mention it doesn’t work anyway.
However, I take issue with being told that our periods are just another thing to fix.
The most recent Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) Hysterectomy Surveillance report I could find states that approximately 600,000 hysterectomies are performed in the United States each year. According to the National Women’s Health Network, about a third of all women will have a hysterectomy by the age of sixty. Of those, about 90% aren’t necessary according to a study called Nationwide analysis of hospital characteristics, demographics, and the cost of uterine fibroid embolization published in JVIR in February 2017.
So what if, just as an experiment, we chose to look at our monthly cycles differently? What if they weren’t just a painful, disruptive inconvenience to be hidden and suppressed, and instead they were an invitation to harness our divine feminine energies and create the beautiful life we long for?
Many moons ago (yes, pun intended), a woman’s cycle was seen as sacred and it was celebrated. Most women’s cycles were in sync with the moon before artificial light, watching TV before bed, or scrolling the socials before falling asleep was the norm.
Both a woman’s cycle and the moon’s cycle are completed in approximately 29 days.
In ancient times, women came together in circles during their sacred bleeding to hold ceremonies, journey inwards, connect with their intuition, the earth, and Spirit. It was also a time of rest, letting go of what no longer served them (or their communities), and starting anew.
It was a time to honor the divine feminine.
White Moon Cycle
Most women bled around the new moon and ovulated around the full moon. This was known as the White Moon Cycle. This cycle represents fertility, creativity, intuition, and usually represents those that are ready to have children or are already nurturing children.
Those in the White Moon Cycle, known as White Moon Women, are in sync with the earth and moon’s natural rhythm. They retreat, rest, and regroup when the moon goes dark (the new moon) and go out into the world in their full glory when the moon is at its fullest and brightest (most fertile).
White Moon Women focus their energy inwards, focusing on themselves, their needs, and self-love. They spend the rest of the month nurturing others, and the sacred bleeding phase is their time to focus on themselves.
Red Moon Cycle
Fewer women bled around the full moon and ovulated around the new moon. This was known as the Red Moon Cycle. Women that bleed on or around the full moon, known as Red Moon Women, were historically known as the wise women, the priestesses, the healers, the shamans, the medicine women, and the witches.
Those that bleed during the full moon have a deep desire for self-actualization, personal growth, creativity, teaching, leading, business, and other ways to support their communities. The Red Moon Cycle is also deeply connected to a women’s sexual energy.
Red Moon Women are said to be gifted with a strong intuition and a deep connection to their divine feminine power. They tend to focus their ‘darker’ and more creative energies towards helping, healing, and empowering their communities and circles based on their own experiences.
Historically, patriarchal society saw these women as a threat and were persecuted, vilified, and ostracized. The patriarchy taught the other women to suppress and disconnect from their sexual energy or end up like the Red Moon Women.
Not everyone falls into the two cycles above. If that includes you, that is perfect for you. As I mentioned, we’ve really messed up our natural rhythms and detached from mother earth with all our modern conveniences and technologies. We’ve benefited greatly from our advancements, and we’ve also seen a lot of unintended consequences from them.
The Pink Moon Cycle is when a woman bleeds during the waxing moon (transitioning from a new moon to a full moon). This may represent an expansive phase in a women’s life. It is the transition between darkness and reflection to light and expansion.
The Purple Moon Cycle is when a women bleeds during the waning moon (transitioning from full moon to new moon). This may represent a transitional phase in a women’s life. It is the transition between light and expansion to darkness and reflection.
Harnessing the Power of Your Cycle
Your cycle may change each month, or it may stay the same. No one cycle is better or worse than the other. They just “are”.
Regardless of which cycle you fall into, there is power in working with your cycle instead of trying to push through, fight it, or suppress it.
Below are some general guidelines for how to harness the power of each phase in your sacred cycle. Each cycle lasts approximately 5-7 days on average:
Menstrual: Rest, reflect, and set intentions and goals for the next month during your menstrual phase. Listen to your body and give it what it needs.
Follicular: This is the time to initiate action, begin new initiatives and creative projects.
Ovulation: This is the time to be in front of people, present, speak, and collaborate. This is the time to shine!
Luteal: Complete tasks, stay focused, and finish projects during this phase. Check things off your list to make time and space in your calendar to honor your rest phase (menstrual).
Let’s Get Curious
You get to decide how you want to honor and celebrate your sacred cycle.
Start by tracking it and the way you feel during each phase. Use a good old-fashioned calendar, excel, or get fancy with an app like MyMoonTime.com (this is NOT an affiliate link) to learn what moon cycle your sacred cycle is in at any given time. Then, start trying different ways to honor your cycle and yourself in each phase.
I am trying out different ceremonies and rituals during the phases of my cycle. From bath rituals to fire rituals, and everything in between, I’m experimenting with what feels most nourishing, supportive, and aligned for me.
I recently received the 13th Rite of the Munay-Ki, the Rite of the Womb. This gift of healing was given to a woman shaman in the Amazon to share it with the women of the world. I will be nurturing this womb healing for the next 13 months to embody the remembrance that our wombs are not a place for pain and fear, but for creating and giving birth to life.
Do You, Boo!
I totally understand that the Rite of the Womb may be “out there” for many. I encourage you to explore how you can best honor your sacred cycle in a way that feels aligned for you.
Your body, your choice.
If that means using the phase guidelines above to harness the power of your cycle, great! If that means you decide to stop your cycles, great! If that means you won’t give it a second thought and you stopped reading after I wrote “Menstruation”, do you, boo.
Whatever works best for you is what is best for you. You get to decide.
Honor yourself and your needs, and watch the magic flow (sorry – last pun).
Stay curious, my friends!