This month, during my moontime, i lavished in the wonders of my red tent. The night before i was due to menstruate i got an instinctual impulse to create it in my bedroom. Obsessively i grabbed material, candles, plants, books, cushions and sacred things special to me. I arranged them into a den like structure which took up about 1/6 of my room (luckily i have a big room). My reason for making such an effort is that for some time now i have been really interested in making the time of menstruation something significant. There are many reasons why women can benefit from a space like this. Some, myself included, believe that certain parts of the menstrual cycle have certain purposes (not just preparing us for potential pregnancy).
Now i could talk for ages about what happens to our body, mind and spirit during our cycles but i think i will give a brief description and save the details for a later post. From my study i have learned that the day our menses start (first day of bleeding) is the first day of our cycle. I remember being confused about this for years and thinking the first day came at the end of the bleed. Knowing the bleed is the beginning gives it even more meaning in my opinion. It allows us to connect to the ideas that at the beginning of a journey (when we expect past things to be sorted, finished and behind us) there are still things we need to let go of and work through. The menses allow us the physically and emotionally release that of what we wish to leave behind. I feel that when i have been holding on to something the menses allows me to process it by letting go of my connection to it. I also feel that the feeling of exhaustion we can get around this time is our body doing just that (whether we acknowledge it or not), as our body cleanses we feel our energy concentrate and increase in intensity. Ill say more about what can in the menses in a moment.
Lets talk about the rest of the month...instantly following the menses is the follicular phase. This phase is when we are most open to acting on ideas and tend to be more sociable. Our attention is on the world and not so much on ourselves, more about making stuff happen. This phase can differ in how long it lasts...in your average 28 day cycle the follicular phase will last for around 14 days. This i a time we have energy and patience with others and have more urges to create or prepare the ground for our most creative phase. Ovulation in biological and spiritual terms is when we are most open to creation. We have a short window of opportunity while we release an egg to become pregnant and we also are usually on such top form to make incredible things happen around this time even if we don't create life. Some woman can tell they are ovulating by observing their vaginal fluid, feeling a dull pain where their ovaries would be or spotting (bleeding a small amount). Moving on from ovulation we enter into the luteal phase or premenstrual phase....I sense you wince. We all know this phase from a negative point of view but do many of us consider the positive of this phase. Probably not but thats understandable as many of you wont have ever been told what good things happen in this phase....let me share a few. As we enter into the luteal phase our attention shifts from the world outside to the world inside ourselves. We become more reflective upon what was created and what new seeds were planted in the follicular phase and we begin to think about the things that are important to us. We become deeply intuitive and in tune with our inner workings wants and desires. That's a crucial part of being and allows us to plan new paths we may need to take or old paths we need to heal. If we push ourselves to ignore this phase (as society often wants us to) it comes back around and bites us in the ass. That's PMS ladies! Clever body. Seriously, your body knows what it needs and will create symptoms in order to get it. It's all for the sake of happiness and fulfillment. My advice...please please please pay attention to what your emotions tell you here. You might cry and moan more but keep record of what comes up. Start with a note pad and write desires, frustrations, thoughts (often). Talk to sypathetic female friends and be GOOD to your body through massage, saunas whatever makes you feel lovely. Bye bye PMS. Lets just note that bad diet and other illnesses can also cause PMS. Isn't is horrible that our society will accept PMS as an illness but NOT give us time, support and space to prevent it. The things that come up in this stage can be acted upon in the follicular.
Anyway now we are back at menstruation. So why a red tent or moon lodge? Well there are so many benefits to honoring a part of ourselves. In ancient times women would gather on their moontimes (new moon) and menstruate together. They would eat lovely food, massage each other, talk and sympathise with each other and most importantly rest and release their blood with ease. As we are exposed to artificial light and artificial hormones now our cycles tend to be out of sync with each other and the moon and we often menstruate alone. That doesn't mean we can't still make our own sacred space. That's what i did. It's comfy safe, red and dark. It allows me to recharge and ground myself. I do art, i read, i listen to good music, play music, meditate, watch inspiring things and do small rituals. I don't intend to sit in it for four days straight every month but i will have to there to retreat to when i need its sanctuary. I live with my partner in a community house so it can be a little tricky getting privacy sometimes but my man is very respectful and is quiet and gentle around my moontime. I find that if i respect myself around this time i get so much more respect from him. There is strength in purpose. Try do something similar.
This post was long overdue so my apologies....i have been in my follicular phase and been a busy bee. Yesterday and today i felt ovulation so i'm feeling pretty good at the moment. Expect more posts in the upcoming weeks as i enter my luteal and feel like sharing more. I hope this helps you lovely women connect and respect your cycles more, beleive me your body will love it and you will see the difference.
Warm sounds and swooshing bleeds