13 October 2010

Blood Mysteries

Every now and then we find the need to withdraw from the world and spend time nurturing ourselves. In our modern world this action can sometimes be perceived as “selfish” but if we not do nurture our own being, how can we operate at our fullest and be most beneficial to others? Finding time to do this self nurturing can be just as difficult. Our lives are so busy and fill that we often find little time, if any for ourselves. But I believe that we must endeavour to do just this.

We are cyclic beings, ebbing and flowing with the rhythms of the land and of nature, even if our modern world tends to dictate differently. More so in women is this cyclic nature obvious, our very own menstrual cycles often occur aligned with the phases of the Moon. However, for modern convenience, usually we seek to alter and control these cyclic ebbings and flowings, having little thought of what this does to us on a deeper level.

Our culture is filled with people and organisations telling us how we should live our lives, how we should feel and behave, what is socially acceptable and what is not. As we strive to control our emotions, thoughts, desires and even bodily cycles, we distance ourselves further and further away from the source of our cycles – that of the land and the universe. Finally we reach a point where instead of flowing with these cyclic energy patterns, we are actually going against them – like trying to paddle upstream or against the current. It is little wonder that the number of us feeling totally disconnected and isolate is increasing.

Like many modern women, I grew up with the notion that my monthly bleeding was an inconvenience. I was led to believe that it was shameful (regardless of being a natural part of life) and something that should be hidden away from view. The discomfort and mood swings needed to be controlled as there was not any really excuse for emotional outlets. Over the years my opinion and how I simply view my monthly bleeding cycles has changed, largely thanks to my growing interest in Goddess spirituality and the ancient Goddess cultures.

While I do not completely embrace my bleeding, I have come to accept it and at times even find myself celebrating the onset of stomach cramps – knowing that deep within my body and primal instinct, the hormonal changes are taking place which have been the same changes that every woman before me going back to the dawn of time have gone through. Here I begin to feel connected with every woman on the planet.

Women’s "hygiene" industry is big business however all the products seem to carry the same message of hiding from the general population the simple fact that as women, we bleed. While we may mask this fact for it is perceived as a sign of instability and weakness, this was not always the case. Such a view and opinion is relatively modern.

I don’t deny that for some women the monthly bleeding is an immensely difficult and painful time however I cna't help but wonder whether one reason behind this "pain" is the very fact that we have distaned ourselves from our connection with nature and more importantly, nature's natural cycles.  Instead of vieing our monthly bleeding (or more beautifully described as our "Moon blood"), as an inconvenience, we should in fact view it as a time of celebration and an acknowledgement of who we are - women.

In ancient times and even still today in some isolated cultures, the time of a women’s Moon bleeding was considered to be a very powerful time. In close knit communities, women would often bleed around the same time. These times were celebrated and honoured as a time when the power of the feminine was at its peak. Often women removed themselves from the community in general to special huts to allow the more psychic energies to flow along with their bleeding. While we cannot necessarily do this in modern society, the need is still there, rooted deep within our subconscious. I often find the need or have the desire to withdraw, in particularly during the first couple of days of my bleeding cyclic. I am fortunate that for the most time I am able to do it and spent time by myself relaxing.

Accepting the simple fact that as women we do bleed, that this bleeding is natural and important can help how we deal with each month. Keeping a Moon Diary is one way of noting our subtle changes as well as exposing a lot of hidden information about ourselves that we may not realise. Keep an eye on the different phases of the moon and record your changing emotions. I believe this can be done even if a woman regulates her bleeding by being on the pill, for example.

There are numerous books available on this subject and the following are just a small selection:
  • "The Wise Wound: Menstruation and Everywoman" by Penelope Shuttle and Peter Redgrove
  • "Blessings of the Blood: A Book of Menstrual Rituals for Women" by Celu Amberston
  • "Sister Moon Lodge: The Power & Mystery of Menstruation" by Kisma K Stephanich
  • "Her Blood is Gold" by Lara Owen
  • "Blood Relations: Menstruation and the Origins of Culture" by Chris Knight
  • "Red Moon Understanding and Using the Gifts of the Menstrual Cycle" by Miranda Gray

1 comment:

  1. I am very lucky, having been raised by a Pagan mother and my first moon blood was a significant and blessed event. I received a ruby ring and had a special dinner in my honour with the family. As such I have always viewed my moon blood as sacred and a blessing in itself. While I do not have the time to seclude myself during my time (having two special needs boys!)but I make time to honour my blood. I have recently bought some 'Rad Pads' - organic cloth pads. I love the idea of giving my blood back to the mother and nourishing my garden rather than throwing it away like some dirty waste.

    Another beautiful book is "Moon Rites: Ritual, Myth and Magic for the modern Moon Goddess." This book makes a fantastic gift to young maidens experiencing menarche, but also for any woman at any stage in her journey. It contains menstrual related rites for all stages maiden, mother and crone, and features rituals for each stage of the lunar cycle

    P.S. Oh and I am Tara not Scott, I just couldnt find another way to post a comment :)