I want to chat with you about PERIODS. I'll admit that not too long ago the word alone made me groan. Every month I would repeat some version of, "Ugh, it couldn't have come at a worse time!" So many of us feel this time of the month is an inconvenience and it's partly because we've lost our connection with our cycle. Who can blame us? In our patriarchal capitalist society our cycle has been reduced as a means to reproduce and when we bleed it becomes meaningless. Bleeding slows us down and that's not acceptable in a society driven by productivity, work and output.
What happens when we reframe how we view our menstruation cycle? For me, I felt my connection to the Earth, my ancestors, the Moon and it was as if I had thrown open the door for my intuition to come through. There are still months I groan when I see those first droplets of blood and that's expected, I've just started on this journey and have three decades of period stigma to unpack. Use this as an introduction to understanding the lunar-menstrual connection. Then I invite you to dive in and learn about the menstrual rituals of your ancestors. I've spent hours reading about the Muisca, Kogi and Ingano people in Colombia. This is soul food research!
Lunar- Menstrual Connection
There are different entryways to tap into the power of our menstruation. What helped me was understanding my cycle's connection to the moon. Charting your cycle with the phases of the moon goes back thousands of years! The lunar cycle and a woman's cycle are both 29 days. The word menstruation is derived from the Latin word mensis (month) which relates to the Greek word mene or moon. So how do you start? All it takes is a calendar! Track when you're bleeding, when you're feeling PMS symptoms, alongside the phases of the moon. I created a Period Tracker you can get here but there are countless apps, your own planner, or phone calendar. You need to do this for a few months before patterns emerge. Then you'll be able to identify whether you bleed with the new or full moon.
White Moon Cycle
You bleed with the New Moon and ovulate with the Full Moon. They say this is the most common cycle and when I did an informal survey on IG stories, it turns out that 85% of the women who charted their cycle were on the White Moon Cycle! Here's how you match up with the moon:
Women in the white moon cycle are said to be in the Mother phase of their life. You are ovulating when the Earth's at its most fertile. Anyone that's into gardening or picked up a Farmer's Almanac knows that, while scientists can't full explain why, sowing your seeds around the Full Moon can lead to more abundant harvests. In this phase you may be taking care of a family, raising actual children or you're a nurturer. When you bleed, you pull your energy inward to replenish your mental and emotional strength so you can take care of others throughout the month. In my research I read that these women were favored by the patriarchy because their energy was focused on taking care of the family.
Rituals for the White Moon Cycle
- Reclaim this time for yourself: This is YOU time. You spend so much of your energy on others throughout the month that you need to be deliberate about nourishing yourself mentally, physically and emotionally when you bleed.
- Your intuition is high right now so open up all the pathways and avoid too much social media, tv or other distractions that can block you from hearing your gut. Sit in silence for a few minutes on the days you are bleeding. Practice free writing afterwards as another way for messages to come through.
- Drink cacao: Make a warm mug of cacao with cinnamon and honey.
"A woman with the White Moon cycle, bleeding with the dark (new) Moon, becomes linked to the deepest levels of her awareness, reminding her that there exists more than just the world she sees, because she is the carrier of the seed of life."- Miranda Gray
Red Moon Cycle
You bleed with the Full Moon and ovulate with the New Moon. The red moon cycle is also known as the Wise Woman's Cycle. Here's how it matches up with the moon cycle:
In early societies, women in the red moon cycle were the healers, midwives and shamans. You bleed, not when the moon retreats during its new moon phase, but under the electric energy of the full moon. You channel your energy outward. When you bleed and tap into your intuition you release that back into the world creatively. You empower the women around you with the messages you've downloaded during your bleed. In this phase of your life you may be focused on self-growth, creative pursuits and building community. Historically, women on the red moon cycle were vilified by the patriarchy. They were excluded from harvest gatherings and some say it was because the woman on this cycle did not use her feminine energy to give birth to children and care for family but instead she created for the collective.
Rituals for the Red Moon Cycle
- Although you may feel a surge of creative energy, take the first day of your period as an opportunity to retreat. You need time off to listen to your intuition and fully show up for your community.
- Exercise your creativity in a way that feels nourishing rather than depleting. Release any pressure for productivity and freely create whether through painting, dance, writing or story telling.
- Host a virtual moon lodge for the women in your circle. This is a safe space to talk about what you're feeling, new ideas, first period stories, whatever you want. Read more about moon lodges below!
"A woman with a Red Moon cycle, bleeding with the full moon, brings the energies and mysteries of her inner darkness out into the world around her as a gift and an offering of the depths of her learning." - Miranda Gray
The Moon Lodge
Many early societies honored a woman's "time of the month." In some cultures it was believed that when a woman bled she would come into psychic abilities and powers that were strong enough to heal the sick. Women gathered with their sisters, aunts, friends in places we refer to in the West as "moon lodges" or "red tents." This was a time to rest, take a break from household responsibilities, share wisdom, and come up with creative solutions for the problems plaguing the collective. There are variations of moon lodge/red tents/menstrual hut traditions all over the world that go back to 800 C.E.! Although it's not safe to physically gather right now, consider hosting a virtual moon lodge for the women in your life.
There is A LOT of information here! Save this email and come back to it as often as you need. Most importantly, remember that whichever cycle you are on right now carries its own magic. Accept all that it is providing you.