The following is a guest post from Lucy H. Pearce, author of Moon Time: A guide to celebrating your menstrual cycle.
What did you learn about your cycles in school science classes?
Were you told about the spiritual and intuitive gifts of menstruation? How to weave your work and creativity around them? Did you learn how to care for yourself during your bleeding? Or what about the four archetypal parts of the cycle?
No? Me neither!
That is why I set out to write my book: Moon Time: A guide to celebrating your menstrual cycl. It is for you, and me, and our sisters and daughters. To fill in the gaps that school and our mothers never taught us. Because when we understand what is happening inside our bodies, we can learn how to live our lives in harmony with them, rather than fighting or ignoring our biology. This leads to a decrease in PMS, heightened intuitive powers and a deeper connection to our own innate creativity.
Our cycles ensure that we do not live static lives. Instead, they demand that we live dynamically, constantly exploring the different gifts of feminine power. Part of learning the art of being a woman is learning to honour each element of our cycles and ourselves.
Through our cycles our bodies regenerate their life-giving ability. During our moon time we dive into our depths, mining gems of intuitive wisdom. And in the mid-part of our cycles we are gifted with the energy to bring these forth – to birth our gifts, our children and our creations into the world.
Our cycles have four major phases, which can be interpreted as corresponding to the four main female archetypes (or energy patterns) and stages of life.
The virgin self emerges after the menstrual bleeding has stopped, and the fresh new womb lining grows. This phase is seen as the phase of the virgin.
She is full of innocence, energy and potential. She feels good in her body – flirtatious, sexy and lighter after the dark days of her blood time. Her ability to conceive and gestate are just emerging, and are still unproven. At this point in her cycle, she feels free-est from her menstrual pull – she is a virgin in the traditional sense of the word – a woman unto herself.
The time of ovulation and possible conception is represented by the mother, who has the ability to nurture new life. Her fertile womb space is warm and soft. At this time a woman tends to feel loving and enjoys giving of herself fully, either by becoming a mother to a child, or in her career, creativity or home making. Ovulation symbolises the ability to give and sustain life and the full flourishing of a woman’s life.
The Enchantress/Wild Woman
The pre-menstrual stage is a descent from the light, outward stage of our cycle and into the dark, inner stage. Progesterone and oestrogen dance together to create dynamic swings. The wild woman dances a magical path between huge bouts of creativity and emotional storms. In becoming a wise woman you learn how to harness this powerful energy, knowing when to destroy, how to express your righteous anger, and when to go within and reflect.
The Crone/Wise Woman
The crone emerges during the late pre-menstrual and bleeding time. She can be a wise woman or a destructive witch, depending on how she handles this time. Her mood darkens and she becomes pulled inward, becoming quieter, more reflective and more in touch with the dream time. She is less “in the world”, and like an older person is in need of more rest. This time has many gifts for the woman and her community, if she can learn to retreat and allow her visions to emerge from her darkest depths.
We live in a culture which worships the virgin, her nubile body and budding sexuality. One which sidelines the mother, not celebrating or honouring the acts of gestation, birth and childrearing. A culture which fears the power of the enchantress, which turns away from the wisdom of the elders and does not know the value of reflection and dreams.
In order to reclaim our full selves, to integrate each of these aspects through which we will pass into our lives, we must first learn to embrace them though our cycles.
We need to take time to honour the part of ourselves which mothers and nurtures; the part of us which yearns to be girlish and free; the wise woman who watches in the wings full of wisdom and the erotic enchantress who can bewitch and create magic. Our cycles allow us to take on these roles, to live these hidden parts of our psyches – perhaps they are stages we have already passed through in our lives, glad that they are behind us, or sad for their loss, or stages we feel uncomfortable with becoming.
Our cycling nature gives us constant teasing tastes of the whole gamut of womanhood, and our life cycle, month after month. It also ensures that we deal with emotions which we might otherwise avoid: anger, sadness, conflict, grief and eroticism.
We are always much more complex, much wiser than we give ourselves credit for, our potential much greater than we dare to hope or dream.
You will find a FREE INTEGRATED MENSTRUAL CHART to download for yourself or share with your friends on my website www.thehappywomb.com. Join me on Facebook.
For more on archetypes, healthy periods, easing PMS, breaking the silence about our bodies, celebrating your daughter’s first period and creating a red tent see Moon Time: A guide to celebrating your menstrual cycle – available as an e-book and signed paperback from www.thehappywomb.com. 20% DISCOUNT FOR ALL BECOMING CRUNCHY READERS! ENTER CODE MBLP20 (VALID TO MAY 7TH). The book is also available from Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes and Noble, Moon Times.co.uk and Susun Weed’s Wise Woman Bookstore.
Lucy H. Pearce blogs at www.dreamingaloud.net. She is a free-spirited, freelance writer, and creative rainbow mama of three. She lives on the Atlantic coast of Ireland.