Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Celebrating Our Cycles

Celebrating Menstruation
Photo by itjournalist.
I am what comes around again and again
what can never die
I renew myself in the seasons
in the cycle of time
the great round
I bleed yet I do not die
I keep my blood within and become wise.
I dance the spiral and keep changing.

“Changing woman comes spinning into your life to tell you the way to wholeness for you lies in learning to honour your cycles. Menstrual cycles are an important aspect of being female. We bleed but do not die and therefore can bring forth life. As we continue to dance our cycles, we reach the time of menopause when we leave our child bearing years behind and hold our blood within. We can then be a resource for our loved ones and community by becoming hags, which means women of wisdom.

Do you celebrate your menstruation and see it as a time for you to go within? As a time to let go, let die, so the new can come? Or have you bought into the patriarchal view that it is a curse, something unclean, something to be hidden away? Does menopause automatically fill you with fear of becoming old and ugly, no longer valuable or worthy in a culture that adores youth? Do you feel invalidated in a society that urges women to hide their bleeding times, regulate their hormones by taking pills and postpone menopause through ERT (estrogen replacement therapy)?

Honouring your cycles also means honouring your own unique process, your own unique path in life. You may be in the midst of a particular life cycle that you need to surrender to and honour. Changing woman says that wholeness is nurtured when we reclaim the power of our cycles by paying attention to them and celebrating them. By celebrating our cycles we celebrate ourselves as women.”
The text above is an excerpt from The Goddess Oracle Deck & Book Set, by Amy Sophia Marashinsky.

For many women, the idea of celebrating and honouring their menstrual cycles just seems laughable when they experience heavy periods, a lack of or irregular periods, cramps, PMT, headaches or migraines, sleeping disturbances, fluid retention, and lower back pain every month. Some women even get pain when they are ovulating.

But apparently, we’re not meant to suffer when we bleed says Alexander Pope, author of The Wild Genie: The Healing Power of Menstruation. She says
“Our menstrual suffering, that’s so often passed off as “normal”, is neither normal nor our lot. The menstrual cycle is the stress sensitive system in women.”
This would explain why when you are stressed, your menstrual cycle gets all messed up causing your period to come early, late, or even skip altogether.

Alexander Pope says that
“when we experience distressing symptoms, it’s a signal to attend to our overall health and place in the world.” These distressing symptoms can be linked to many factors “including poor diet; overweight or underweight; poor digestion and immune system; hormonal imbalance, congenital and hereditary weaknesses; over-stressed life; personal psychological trauma; environmental pollution; low self esteem; cultural devaluation of the feminine; and, unbalanced energy system”.
Wow what a list! It’s no wonder that most women have problematic periods.

Many of us stuff down painkillers so that we can continue to do all the things we normally do the rest of the month but maybe we should make use of this time to rest, relax, and get to know ourselves. Lara Owen, author of Her Blood is Gold: Awakening to the Wisdom of Menstruation, calls menstruation the Sabbath of Women. Perhaps if we use this sacred time to slow down, taking time to reflect on what our body and mind is trying to tell us we can work towards achieving a pain-free, care-free, and stress-free period. Maybe then we can start celebrating our periods instead of thinking of them as a curse.

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