Realizing Resentment Around Womanhood
Most women will agree that "dealing with that time of the month" is a job and not an honor. I used to be one of those women. Getting my period was just a hassle, nothing more. I numbed myself from this process because feeling it meant dealing with my perceived weakness or vulnerability. For many years I suffered from horrible cramps, raging mood swings, and shame around being a woman. I didn't want it. It was as though the role of men was idolized and the role of women was a consolation prize. I felt slighted and even resentful that I had the responsibility of "dealing" with such an inconvenience, and everything around me served as reinforcement for that belief.
Irritated, I used to think, "why do men get a free pass?" My friends and I would sit in circle and complain about being...a woman!! I look back on that reality and feel sad for my past self; sad that I had no one teach me how wonderful it is to be a woman, sad that I had no ceremonial entrance into womanhood. It was just, "welp, better learn how to use a tampon!"
I imagine, most of you reading this had a similar experience.
You had no guiding light or celebration of womanhood. You just stumbled into it reluctantly and accepted the "chore" of becoming a woman.
And saddest of all, you never even realized your own disappointment about being a woman, because well, that's just the norm in most cultures. It's taken the rising woman decades and decades to realize just how repressed her femininity has become, and how much effort is required in untangling the shame around being the sex that bleeds. What no one has told you is that being a woman is by far the most sacred of all things to be. Without our bodies, humanity simply would not exist. This is a responsibility indeed, yet denying it causes complete chaos and disharmony in our minds, bodies and hearts.
When we move against the natural cycle of our body and innate wisdom, we create a disconnection from our truest and most embodied selves.
Understanding the Magic of Menstruation
A little background on the menstrual cycle: it includes not just menstruation but 4 phases of death and rebirth. Our bodies miraculously follow the cycle of the moon AND the seasons every single month. If that doesn't invoke awe, I'm not sure what will.
Menstrual Phase: New Moon/ The "Winter" (The Sage)
Follicular Phase: Waxing Moon/The "Spring" (The Virgin)
Ovulatory Phase: Full Moon/ The "Summer" (The Mother)
Luteal Phase: Waning Moon/ The "Autumn" (The Wild Woman)
Part of the reason you feel so emotional, exhausted, and sensitive during your period is because there is an ACTUAL death happening inside your body. You are shedding the lining of your uterus (or "womb") and making space for new life to grow. In the process, a part of you literally and metaphorically dies - this understanding alone frees us from feeling so "crazy," because we recognize a deep transformation IS occurring...it's not just "in our minds." The menstrual phase represents Winter and the energy of going inward, reflecting and resting until the Spring arrives. This is not a time to be active, social or focused. This is the time to embrace the internal "sage" within and receive her wisdom. Tap into your emotions and let them guide you into deeper knowing. Many women fear that their lack of productivity during their periods will put them "behind" so they power through it and move against the current of their cycle. The magic of this built in transformation is that honoring each phase creates a fruitful cycle - by slowing down and receiving wisdom in the menstrual phase you will actually activate your creativity which will give way to productivity and action in your follicular phase. Denying the natural cycle or fighting your period will block your feminine gifts and flow. We must shift our perspective from one of irritation for our bodies, to one of awe. The following ritual will support you in tapping into your femininity, your rhythm, and your magic.
The Monthly Ritual
1. Release Social Engagements
Because intuition is at its HIGHEST during your period, its not a good choice to clutter your life and mind with too many social interactions. There is a time to be social and flirtatious, in the ovulatory phase. Because women are most receptive and sensitive during menstruation we pick up on other people's junk and become deeply affected by it. Create a boundary that allows you to be alone so you can immerse yourself in this phase of "death" that occurs during the New Moon. Forget dating, parties and scheduling big meetings. Many women keep their social calendars booked so they never actually have to deal with themselves. I don't advise this approach as this is not the mark of a healthy, aligned woman. The wildly free woman emerges once she has moved through the entire transformation process, which means she cannot skip any part of that cycle, including the darkness of Winter.
2. Eliminate Coffee & Alcohol
These stimulants are already so burdening to your nervous system as it is. Drinking either one on your period will increase adverse symptoms and block the flow of intuition. They also reduce our ability to consciously connect with the natural quite & rest that occurs during your period. They make our minds busy and toxic at a time that requires peace and calm. Eliminating these two things will drastically change the way you experience your menstrual phase. You'll feel more relaxed, peaceful and aware.
3. Take an Epsom Salt Bath + Cup of Raspberry Leaf Tea
Warm your body up in a cocoon of water. Water is the element of emotion and heart energy, which is super aligned for our bodies during this time. Pour a cup of raspberry leaf tea which helps to relax the uterus while it releases blood, in turn reducing cramps and pain. Light candles, play soothing music, and allow your body to receive the loving energy of water. 1 cup of epsom salt plus 1 cup of baking soda will also serve as additional detoxication during your period. Add in something feminine like rose petals, lavender oil, or rose quartz crystal. Be alone with your self and listen deeply to the wisdom of your body
4. Journal What You Want to Create
While the menstrual phase is a time to reflect, it is also what allows us to more effectively create when our bodies reach the more active follicular phase. If we haven't connected with our intuition during our period, we won't have a clear direction when the next phase arrives. Journaling what comes through during your moon will lay down the foundation for new action to be taken moving forward. Sit down after your bath and write down the messages coming through, even if they make no rational sense at the time. Write with no limit or restriction as though you were a child creating from pure imagination. Instead of deriving your worth from what you produce during this time, try trusting the natural cycle and cue of your body. Your creativity will enhance dramatically, giving way to powerful future productivity. Unlike the masculine energy, we have this built in skill that allows us to reflect before acting so that our action is powerfully directed. This is a gift, not a curse!
5. Use Blood Stone or Tiger's Eye
Stones have been used for 1000s of years for healing and activation. These stones are powerful grounding tools that provide a sense of comfort during your monthly "death." Use them in mediation, put them in the bath, lay them on your pelvis or create an alter with them as your centerpiece. Ancient civilizations believed that tigers eye granted one the ability to "see into the dark," so to speak. Blood stone is known to neutralize toxins and purify the blood and spleen, which are obviously at the center of our menstrual phase. Combine these grounding crystals to support your journey into death and rebirth. Place one in your left hand, the feminine side, to connect with your receptivity and womanly intuition.
I invite you to practice this ritual and reflect on the ways in which you repress your womanhood, femininity, and natural cycle. There is no better time than now to begin embracing your gifts as a woman.
When you know thy cycle, you will know self.