Category Archives: DeAnna L’am

Celebrate Menstrual Monday!

by DeAnna Lam

Everything starts as a Thought!

A dissertation, a dress, an airplane, this article, or a national holiday such as Thanksgiving…

The thoughts of Sarah Josepha Hale translated into action: she wrote letters to American politicians for 40 years(!) until Abraham Lincoln eventually proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday to be celebrated on the last Thursday of November in the U.S.A. What does this have to do with us? Everything!

It took one woman only 40 years to change the tide of a nation, to create a legacy that is now an established tradition. We can do the same with Menstrual Monday!

Menstrual Monday is the Monday BEFORE Mother’s Day, since menstruation comes BEFORE motherhood (and typically long after…)

Menstrual-Monday

Menstrual Monday was conceived and birthed by Geneva Catchman in the 1990′s. Since then, grass root celebrations sprang up spontaneously anywhere a woman heard of the idea and was inspired to action. As one of these women I have been celebrating Menstrual Monday privately and publicly ever since I first heard of it.

Popular culture, in most places on Earth, goes beyond devaluing menstruation. It is considered a taboo and the attitudes about it are fraught with stereotypes, distortions, prejudice, and misinformation. This has been the case for a few generations, and the legacy of such distorted negativity has been passed on from mothers to daughters since the times of our Great-Grandmothers (if not earlier), as well as through literature, media, billboards and corporations trying to sell feminine hygiene products to women.

It’s time for us to reclaim Menstruation from the “medical condition” and cultural nuisance status in which it was fossilized, to the empowering, renewing, and intuitive condition it truly is. And what better way to do this than to celebrate it in an international holiday?!?

In 2008, in celebration of Menstrual Monday, I built a temporary Red Tent Downtown Sebastopol (the Northern California town where my family and I live) with the help of a handful of women. The response was surprise, curiosity and awe, as women stepped into the Red Tent to find out what it was all about. Not one negative comment was made! Drivers passing by the plaza playfully beeped in response to our sign that read: “Honk If You Are On Your Period!” More than anything, this was an opportunity to educate women, as well as a few brave men, about the power of Menstruation.

What is the power of Menstruation?

Menstruation is the process by which our body sheds the inner lining of our womb, a highly nutritious life-sustaining tissue, which grows monthly in anticipation for new life, and is shed monthly in the absence of pregnancy. This life-giving substance nourishes any and all life, and will give your garden, or house plants, a shot of life that no commercial fertilizer can ever provide.

Menstruation is also our body’s monthly call for rest, renewal, and regeneration.

Menstrual Monday is one way to acknowledge the power of menstruation, to honor and celebrate it, to remember our unique and magical ability to bring forth life, as well as our amazing creative forces that can be otherwise channeled. It is a reminder that our body speaks to us, monthly, and that we need to listen… Menstrual Monday is also a call for unification in celebrating womanhood around the world.

This is an invitation for you to do just this! In the privacy of your home, in an intimate circle of women, or in a joyous public gathering – celebrate!

If it took Sarah Josepha Hale 40 years to change the tides in a non-electronic era, think what we can do in the age of internet and social media… We can change the world!

About the Author:

DeAnna L’am, speaker, coach, and trainer, is the author of ‘Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood’ and ‘A Diva’s Guide to Getting Your Period’. She is the founder of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women & Girls™ .

A pioneer in Menstrual Empowerment, DeAnna has been transforming lives around the world for over 20 years, by helping women & girls love themselves unconditionally!  She teaches women how to dissolve PMS symptoms; draw strength from their cycle (rather than be at its mercy); model self-acceptance, self-care, and self-esteem to their daughters; and hold Red Tents in their communities.

Visit DeAnna at: www.deannalam.com

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DeAnna L’am is excited to announce…

2nd Annual Red Tents In Every Neighborhood ~ Global Summit:

OUR DAUGHTERS, OURSELVES

 “A Mother-Daughter Interview in the Red Tent”
a New Video by Dr. Isadora Leidenfrost  and Teresa Moorehouse will be featured during the Summit.

What messages did your mother give you about being a Woman?

What messages are you offering your daughter, or son, about being a Woman?

What legacy would you like to pass to Today’s Girls?

About the Red Tent World Summit:

Join me to listen to Womb Wisdom, to Honor Our Mothers, Ourselves, and Today’s Girls! Get Inspired by Leading Visionary Women from Around the World: U.S.A, Spain, Austria, Italy, France, Ireland, India, Mexico, Chile, and New Zealand, with Special Guest – MARIANNE WILLIAMSON!

Our FREE Global Summit will air February 1-28,

and you can watch it from the comfort of your home!

join-the-telesummit

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Filed under DeAnna L'am, Guest Blogger, menstruation

Red Tent TV: Double Feature

Join us in the virtual “Red Tent” for DOUBLE FEATURE with 2 episodes of Red Tent TV.

After you’ve watched this episode, I’d love to know…

How would our world be different if we could have a space like this to share our stories? How would our relationships with our mothers or our daughters be different?

I look forward to reading your comments below.

We will always need Red Tents in our neighborhoods, and here’s why…

About the Interviewee featured in these videos:

DeAnna L’am, speaker, coach, and trainer, is the author of ‘Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood’ and ‘A Diva’s Guide to Getting Your Period’. She is the founder of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women & Girls™ .

A pioneer in Menstrual Empowerment, DeAnna has been transforming lives around the world for over 20 years, by helping women & girls love themselves unconditionally!  She teaches women how to dissolve PMS symptoms; draw strength from their cycle (rather than be at its mercy); model self-acceptance, self-care, and self-esteem to their daughters; and hold Red Tents in their communities.

Visit DeAnna at: www.deannalam.com

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DeAnna L’am is excited to announce…

2nd Annual Red Tents In Every Neighborhood ~ Global Summit:

OUR DAUGHTERS, OURSELVES

 “A Mother-Daughter Interview in the Red Tent”
a New Video by Dr. Isadora Leidenfrost  and Teresa Moorehouse will be featured during the Summit.

What messages did your mother give you about being a Woman?

What messages are you offering your daughter, or son, about being a Woman?

What legacy would you like to pass to Today’s Girls?

About the Red Tent World Summit:

Join me to listen to Womb Wisdom, to Honor Our Mothers, Ourselves, and Today’s Girls! Get Inspired by Leading Visionary Women from Around the World: U.S.A, Spain, Austria, Italy, France, Ireland, India, Mexico, Chile, and New Zealand, with Special Guest – MARIANNE WILLIAMSON!

Our FREE Global Summit will air February 1-28,

and you can watch it from the comfort of your home!

join-the-telesummit

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under "things we don't talk about", coming of age, daughter, DeAnna L'am, From the filmmaker, growing up, menstruation, mooncycle, mother, motherhood, parenting, red tent, Red Tent TV

How to Discuss Menstruation With Your Child

by DeAnna L’am

“This is my Moon Flow,” I said to Ellah, who was about 4 at the time, when she saw me changing a pad. I never saw my Mom changing pads, and hence committed to not hiding my natural flow from my daughter. Without my flow, my girl would not have been born… How could this be anything but a source of joy in my ability to give birth? An ability she will one day share!

“All women flow with the moon,” I added, “and you, too, will flow when you become a woman.” Ellah smiled with the promise, and at four years of age this was enough. I didn’t refer to the flow as “blood” until much later, since I didn’t want Ellah to associate it with an “Ouwy.” The purpose with young children, both girls and boys, is to introduce, and talk about, this natural bodily function in the same neutral way as you do when talking about eating. Gradually, as the child matures, it is good to tie the flow to its purpose, which is a woman’s ability to give life.

If you find that you have some charge about your menstruation (such as physical or emotional pain) it is best not to introduce the subject to your child until you work through your difficulty and gain some balance for yourself.

Generally, it is best not to bombard children with information, but to wait for their questions. When Ellah was about seven, she asked me where does the Moon Flow come from? My answer was inspired by the Waldorf educational approach, and I explained that the Moon Flow is “Mom’s Nest.”

“Mommy’s Nest???” she asked in amazement.

“Yes,” I said. “When a Mama bird prepares for a baby bird to be born, she makes a nest. She flies in the forest and collects leaves, feathers, boughs, branches, and bits of fluff, and she weaves a nest for the baby bird to comfortably lie in.”

“Well…” I continued, “it’s the same with me. And with all women! Every month a woman’s body prepares a nest in her tummy, where a baby can grow. Her wise body gathers tissue and blood from inside her, and makes a warm and comfortable nest. Then, if no baby starts to grow, there is no need for the nest. So Mamma’s wise body sends the nest out in a big whoosh. That’s why the flow is red, because it’s made of all the good, nourishing blood that was ready to help the baby grow.”

“Every month,” I shared with my daughter, “I thank my body for being such a miracle, and for knowing how to make a baby grow inside… I also thank it for the wisdom of letting go of the nest, when I don’t need it…” Ellah was fully satisfied. She had a clear picture in her mind, and the Moon Flow made sense to her.

Telling your child a story of this nature doesn’t only encapsulate the physical facts associated with menstruation. It allows you to start instilling the awe, which our bodies deserve for their amazing abilities. Beyond that, you are actively bucking the cultural current of taboo and shame around menstruation. You are raising a girl or a boy who will have a different narrative with which to counter the cultural beliefs when they encounter them.

barAbout the Author:

DeAnna-Sacramento-WEBDeAnna L’am, speaker, coach, and trainer, is the author of ‘Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood’ and ‘A Diva’s Guide to Getting Your Period’. She is the founder of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women & Girls™ . She is the founder of Red Tents in Every Neighborhood.

A pioneer in Menstrual Empowerment, DeAnna has been transforming lives around the world for over 20 years, by helping women & girls love themselves unconditionally!  She teaches women how to dissolve PMS symptoms; draw strength from their cycle (rather than be at its mercy); model self-acceptance, self-care, and self-esteem to their daughters; and hold Red Tents in their communities. Visit DeAnna at: www.deannalam.com

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DeAnna L’am is excited to announce…

2nd Annual Red Tents In Every Neighborhood ~ Global Summit:

OUR DAUGHTERS, OURSELVES

 “A Mother-Daughter Interview in the Red Tent”
a New Video by Dr. Isadora Leidenfrost  and Teresa Moorehouse will be featured during the Summit.

What messages did your mother give you about being a Woman?

What messages are you offering your daughter, or son, about being a Woman?

What legacy would you like to pass to Today’s Girls?

About the Red Tent World Summit:

Join me to listen to Womb Wisdom, to Honor Our Mothers, Ourselves, and Today’s Girls! Get Inspired by Leading Visionary Women from Around the World: U.S.A, Spain, Austria, Italy, France, Ireland, India, Mexico, Chile, and New Zealand, with Special Guest – MARIANNE WILLIAMSON!

Our FREE Global Summit will air February 1-28,

and you can watch it from the comfort of your home!

join-the-telesummit

Leave a comment

Filed under ageing, and Hormone Cycle, blood, coming of age, daughter, DeAnna L'am, growing up, menstruation, moon, mooncycle, moontime, mother, motherhood, parenting, red tent, Reproductive Health, womb

I have heard so many women say…

Women know instinctively that when we bleed, we enter a different kind of time and space. The Red Tent gives us the permission we don’t get from the larger culture to slow down, honor ourselves, and experience fully our physical and emotional processes.

Join us in the virtual “Red Tent” for today’s episode of Red Tent TV.

After you’ve watched the episode, I’d love to know…

When you give yourself permission to slow down what do you do (or not do)?

I look forward to reading your comments below.

If you liked this video, subscribe to our channel & sign up for our free weekly episodes of Red Tent TV at http://www.redtent.tv/

Missed my most recent episodes? Watch them here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmZGBmANkmSBD1337JiQWbw

Enjoy the video and have a fantastic day! Thanks for watching!

My YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmZGBmANkmSBD1337JiQWbw
Website: http://www.redtent.tv
Friendship on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/redtentfilm

Opening song “Red Tent Temple” by Mother Turtle. http://www.motherturtle.com/

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Filed under "things we don't talk about", DeAnna L'am, Red Tents in Every Neighborhood

Return To The Red Tent

by Teresa Maria Bilowus

“Return To The Red Tent” was first published in Starflower Living Naturally, Issue 2, July 2014

“How might your life have been different if there had been a place for you? A place for you to go…a place of women, to help you learn the ways of women… a place where you were nurtured from an ancient flow sustaining you and steadying you as you sought to become yourself. A place of women to help you find and trust the ancient flow already there within yourself… waiting to be released… A place of women…” ~ Judith Duerk, Circle of Stones

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Photograph © Teresa Maria Bilowus 2014

There is a place where women can go to tell their stories. A place where women can rest, create, sing, dance, sleep, or just ‘be’ for a while. There is a place where women can be witness to authentic sharing and connection. A place where women can hold each other and be held. There is a place where women can go to experience a ‘homecoming’ and leave feeling renewed, restored, replenished and open. There is a place for women. It is called the Red Tent. When women’s paths meet in this safe and sacred space, lives are transformed.

It is unlikely that when Anita Diamant published her best-selling novel ‘The Red Tent‘ back in 1997 she could have imagined how her work would be a catalyst for a ‘Great Remembering’. Anita Diamant’s descriptions of the monthly celebrations in The Red Tent not only illustrate the close relationship with land and nature and the moon cultivated by semi-nomadic women in ancient times, they also indicate the strong bond between women who would menstruate together in a sacred gathering space. It was in this sacred space, the Red Tent, where every girl became a woman.

Whilst the origins of the ‘Red Tent’ are fictional, women sitting together in circle is ancient and very real. Women coming together to bleed is found in almost every culture around the world. In some traditions women were segregated from their communities for being ‘unclean’ during their monthly bleeding time. But in many cultures women were honoured during the bleeding days and went to a special place within the village to commune with other women. Sometimes this place was called the women’s lodge, the moon lodge, the menstrual hut, the bleeding lodge, or by some other traditional indigenous name. These spaces all had great power and significance because it was the space where women bled together and shared wisdom. It was in these spaces that women passed down their traditions and shared their aural history – their stories and their mythology. It was in these sacred dwellings that women connected to their own inner power – in particular the intuitions and visions that came at the time of bleeding. And it was in these gathering spaces that women helped guide young girls into womanhood and were themselves guided by the community elders.

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Photograph © Teresa Maria Bilowus 2014

Today, the Red Tent is a global women’s movement. There are an estimated 20,000 Red Tents worldwide. In thousands of locations around the world women are once again gathering together to share the cycles and the stories of their lives. These are important times. For the last 4000 years the entire history of ‘woman’ has been suppressed. Women’s songs, wisdom, traditions, intuitions, stories, methods of healing, mythology, knowledge of herbs and of the stars, and of magic and the underworld have all been vanquished. Patriarchy effectively wrote history in the image and the voice of the masculine. This doesn’t necessary mean that history is wrong. But it does mean that without the voices of women, history is wildly incomplete.

When women enter the Red Tent a ‘Great Remembering’ takes place. Women the world over share the same experience of coming into the Red Tent for the first time and yet it being deeply familiar. The Red Tent is a gathering ground for which women have been yearning, but until women actually enter the space, this yearning has not been released. Adeola from the Red Tent community in Bournemouth, UK says “I found a space I hadn’t released I craved, to speak with a voice I had never heard, about a wisdom I had carried since birth but had no awareness of.”

It seems that ancient women-wisdom is woven into the very fabric of the Red Tent space. From its fictional beginnings, women all over the world have breathed power and life into the Red Tent. Some Red Tents focus on celebrating menstruation and the blood mysteries, others are simply a place where women can dance, sing, rest and speak their stores. Healing, transformation and renewal are common themes within Red Tent communities. Regardless of age, culture, background, experience, religion, or circumstance, all women have a home within the Red Tent. There is a deep-knowing that when a woman enters the Red Tent she is supported not only by other women, but by an ancient energy that has drawn women together since the Beginning.

Women have big, important stories. Deep, painful stories. Stories that matter. Stories make up the meaning of women’s lives and yet for so long there has not been a place for women to share these stories. It is so easy for women to hide what has happened to them – to stuff their own experiences down into a hidden-away-space so as not to feel them. It makes it easier to ‘get on’ with day to day life. But within the walls of the Red Tent women are experiencing the phenomenal healing power of telling their stories. No one needs ‘fixing’ or advice in the Red Tent. There is no judgement or ‘therapy’. But there’s lots of compassion. And there are lots of women being heard. When women speak it, shout it, cry it, scream it, feel it – whatever ‘it’ is, then it comes to the surface to be released. Women’s stories are monumentally important. Each and every one of them. All over the world the Red Tent is providing a safe and sacred space for women to tell their stories. And be heard.

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Photograph © Teresa Maria Bilowus 2014

In September 2012, award winning film-maker Dr. Isadora Leidenfrost released a ground-breaking documentary entitled “Things We Don’t Talk About: Women’s Stories from the Red Tent‘. This 72 minute film seeks to ‘humanize the stories in the Red Tent – to put a face on the space’. Recently I had the wonderful pleasure of connecting with Dr. Isadora to talk about her film and the worldwide Red Tent movement.

Dr. Isadora, can you define what the Red Tent is for modern-day women?

“The Red Tent today can be anything you want it to be. The Red Tent is to fulfill the needs of your community. What do women need? Who would come? Sometimes women need to dance, sometimes to talk, sometimes to rest, to laugh, to cry, or to eat soup. There’s no one right way to create a Red Tent space. It has to meet the needs of the community, whatever those needs might be.”

Why now? Why at this time? Why has the Red Tent movement become so big?

“Contemporary women have a need for sisterhood. The Red Tent movement has a wonderful ability to cross all boundaries of culture, religion and background. No matter who you are, what language you speak or who you love, inside the Red Tent we are all sisters. I’ve heard women’s stories from Red Tents in India that are the same as women’s stories from Red Tents in Chile. The Red Tent transcends everything and brings women together to just ‘be’ in a safe and sacred space.”

So is the Red Tent part of the feminist movement?

“Well, firstly, let’s define feminism. My definition of a feminist is someone who believes that all women should be respected, honoured, nurtured, and heard. A feminist wants all women to believe in themselves. A feminist is someone who wants women to muster up the courage to live what they came here to do. I believe we are in the third wave of feminism. The first wave was the right to vote. Then came the second wave which was for equality. But we went out too hard. We burnt ourselves out. And so now the third wave of feminism is about self-care and self-love. It’s about bringing everything back into balance. The Red Tent gives us a place where we can find this balance. We can find sustenance communing with other women within the walls of the Red Tent. This gives us the power and the strength to go out into the world and do our work. Women need this balance.”

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Photograph © Teresa Maria Bilowus 2014

 

Dr. Isadora, in addition to being a filmmaker, you are also a textile historian. How important is the ‘fabric’ when creating a Red Tent?

“I have personally done over 500 film screenings of ‘Things We Don’t Talk About‘. Each screening is done in a Red Tent. I set up these Red Tents in gardens, churches, houses, forests, community halls and theatres. I have a great love of fabric. I have lived in 18 countries and I am intrigued by the history of fabric. I create amazing Red Tents with beautiful fabrics that I have collected from all over the world. But I know women who simply gather in circle each wearing a red scarf. That’s a Red Tent too. The Red Tent is any embodied space that honours the needs of women.”

Could you share your forward vision for the Red Tent movement?

“I would like to see The Red Tent movement get to places that are not so westernized. I would like to see it grow into places such as Eastern Europe and Asia. I’d like to see the potential that the Red Tent movement has to support women in those countries. I’d also like more international festivals with huge Red Tents. I envision global summits and international symposiums on the Red Tent movement where women from all over the world come to share their experience and their future vision.”

And finally, what about the future vision for your film? Where to from here for ‘The Red Tent Movie: Things We Don’t Talk About’?

“I would like to do lots more film screenings within the US and internationally. And I’d like to make another Red Tent film. The next one would incorporate women’s stories from the global Red Tent movement. I’d like to film women from the Red Tent telling their stories in their own countries, culture and language, and then subtitle them in English.”

When contemporary women are asked what the Red Tent means to them, they share that the Red Tent is “a sacred feminine temple where I can honour myself”, and “home”, and “a place of powerful healing – healing where nothing needs to be done”, and “a place where I can come back to my pack.” There is a gentleness, kindness and realm of support for women within the Red Tent that is not found anywhere else in modern day society. Many women are witness to the powerful outpouring of love that takes place in the Red Tent. Women who have previously felt resistance toward women’s circles because of negative experiences of malevolent or competitive women are being drawn back to reconnect with women within the safe space of the Red Tent. Here, women are being nurtured by each other. Women can enter the Red Tent at any time. This supportive space is no longer just for women at the time of menstruation. The global Red Tent culture offers a place for all women to gather and honour their own individual journey while experiencing oneness with a united sisterhood.

There are often regular monthly gatherings within a Red Tent community. These monthly gatherings might be loosely structured to include movement and music, talks, rest time, craft activities, body work, creative pursuits, pampering, reading, journalling and much more. In addition, Red Tent communities offer open days where women can use the space in whatever way supports their needs.   Workshops or special events held in the Red Tent are often focused on areas that are deeply raw and painful for women. These can include topics such as healing from birth trauma, dialogue about sexual abuse and rape, mother wound healing, and empowerment around the menstrual cycle. Often when women take part in a workshop or retreat, they can experience big shifts only to go back to the ‘real world’ where there is no where to discuss, share, explore, or expand these shifts further. This can be difficult when the work is deep and the processes new. Within the space of the Red Tent, women can find ongoing support around such shifts from other women in the Red Tent community and from the space itself.

It is common within the Red Tent to find teenagers conversing with crones. This is a space where all stages of a woman’s life are recognized and honoured. The sacred trinity of maiden, mother and crone are melded together in a diverse and dynamic group of women defying societal norms on age segregation. It is within the Red Tent that young girls are experiencing powerful coming-of-age circles and empowering mentorship programs. Once again women are guiding girls into womanhood. For the first time in generations girls have a place to go to learn the ways of women. The Red Tent is a collaboration of women. All women have gifts to bring. Some women give massages, as others make tea. Some women bake cakes while others brush hair. Some women read poetry as their sisters are painting toenails. The Red Tent is where all of this can happen simultaneously and with complete spontaneity.

The healing that is taking place in the Red Tent is vital for our planet. When women heal themselves there is a ripple effect that touches their ancestors, their children, and the entire global community. Courageous women all over the world are speaking their stories. Women are finding their voices. When a woman comes to the Red Tent she experiences a ‘homecoming’ and a deep sense of belonging. Each time she returns to the Red Tent she returns home to herself.

© Copyright Teresa Maria Bilowus 2014 All Rights Reserved.

 About the Author

Teresa Maria Bilowus is a facilitator of workshops and retreats pertaining to Women’s Blood Mysteries. She is a Menstruality Empowerment Activist. Teresa facilitates Red Tent Bournemouth (Dorset, UK) and is the founder of Moon Girl Warriors, a powerful coming-of-age mentorship program for girls. Teresa is passionate about giving voice to womb-space wisdom and educating women on the rites-of-passage from menarche to menopause. She studies metaphysics and is a freelance writer. Teresa is the inspired mother of two phenomenal daughters.

Teresa can be contacted at: returntotheredtent@gmail.com

 

For further information on the Red Tent please visit:

Dr. Isadora Leidenfrost – ‘The Red Tent Movie – Things We Don’t Talk About’ http://www.redtentmovie.com/

The Red Tent Temple Movement http://redtenttemplemovement.com/

The Red Tent Directory – UK and Europe http://redtentdirectory.com/

Red Tents In Every Neighbourhood http://www.deannalam.com/global-network/

And for further information about HERSTORY – A Womanifesto (an informative free e-book) please visit the website of Jane Hardwicke Collings: http://www.moonsong.com.au/

 

 

 

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Filed under "things we don't talk about", ALisa Starkweather, Anita Diamant, blood, coming of age, daughter, DeAnna L'am, Feminism, friendship, From the filmmaker, growing up, Guest Blogger, healing, how to create a Red Tent, international, Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, menstruation, moon, Moon Lodge, mooncycle, red tent, red tent experience, red tent film, red tent movie, red tent temple, Red Tent Temple Movment, sacred space, space, The Red Tent, women's stories

The Girl God

By Trista Hendren

 

When I grew up, God was a MAN. I was a sinner in need of His salvation for my many transgressions.

This view hampered my life until my mid-thirties when everything completely fell apart.

It pains me to write this, but the reality is this: I was never taught that I mattered.

I came from a loving family but the emphasis was on meeting the needs of men, no matter what the cost to women. I watched my mother make a lot of sacrifices for all of us – and despite this I often still resented and blamed her. Because I grew up placing a low value on myself and my needs, I often made poor choices and was filled with resentment.

I had a rather dramatic end to my second marriage which forced me to re-look at my life. I began reading again—voraciously.

Despite 15 years as a feminist, it never dawned on me to question my family and religious upbringing. We were, by all accounts, “normal”. Compared to many other people, I really didn’t have much to complain about. So while I learned about and rallied against the systematic oppression of women, I did not correlate my family and faith to the roots of my own.

I now believe that it is these very engrained patriarchal systems that continue to keep women as a whole down. This is a very hard thing to face. It is painful to think that your own family had anything to do with holding you back. Most of us will do anything to hold on to the very idea of our family. Even until last year, I still was in the habit of biting my tongue whenever my father said something I disagreed with.

When my daughter was born 3 years after my son, I realized a very real difference in the way my children were regarded. I was raised with 3 sisters, so I did not have the first-hand comparison of how boys and girls were treated growing up. But my observation is that we still approach boys and girls very differently – perhaps even more so in traditional religious families.

When my daughter was 5, I realized that she could not relate to the idea of God at all. It seemed to come natural to my son, who enjoyed going to both the church and the mosque. Perplexed, I asked my daughter if she could feel God inside of her. She could not – until I asked her about a “Girl God.”

At that point she lit up with a big YES!!

I wrote a book about our conversation as we began our faith journey together towards the divine feminine. Since then, I have made it into a series, as I realized I could not address everything I wanted to in one book. As Ursula Le Guin said, “We have to rewrite the world.” I’m working on it!!

It was important for me to write interfaith books as I come from both a Christian and Muslim background. As I began to research the Divine Feminine, I found Her in every faith tradition! My hope is that women can work together despite our religious differences. We have much more in common than we might imagine.

I also see that sometimes there is a resistance within feminism to religion, which can result in putting women of faith down or into certain categories. I think this is a huge mistake.

The majority of women around the world belong to a religious tradition, and most are unlikely to leave their faith of origin. I think it’s really important to work with women and girls where they are at.

I believe that we cannot break the chains of our oppression until we address the roots of it. When we dig through what is there, we find that the Divine Feminine was often always there in the shadows. I would like to bring Her back into the light. I want women of all faiths to know that it is not a “sin” to worship a female deity.

In my years working with the Divine Feminine, it became apparent to me that women need their own communities. I was drawn to the Red Tent movement – the work of DeAnna L’am, Dr. Isadora Leidenfrost, ALisa Starkweather, and so many other amazing women. The two things that appeal most to me about this movement is the strong communities of women it builds and that it reverses the menstrual taboo of shame that is present in so many religions.

Audre Lorde said, “Without community, there is no liberation.” I believe by returning to the Divine Feminine, we will reclaim our power, together, as women.

You can purchase our books at www.thegirlgod.com

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Filed under ageing, coming of age, DeAnna L'am, growing up, Guest Blogger, parenting, women's stories

Break A Taboo Today!

by DeAnna L’am

Underneath the color of our skin, all women bleed the same, red, deep, ancient flow of life force. It is this power what makes the blood that naturally flows through a woman during her cycle seem taboo.”

This powerful statement, made by Marjory Meijia is revolutionary in its depth and implications.

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Under all perceived differences between us as women — our blood flows as one. This profound realization filled my eyes with tears at the first Jewish & Palestinians women circle I held in 1999 in Israel (my country of origin). Having held many women’s circles before, and having been touched time and again by the power of sharing our first blood stories, I was unprepared for the depth of emotions that engulfed us all: Muslim, Christian, and Jewish women, divided by years of political bias, cultural stereotypes, and accumulated fear of each other’s nations, we found a common ground that effortlessly bridged any perceived abyss between us!

Raised in small villages or in large urban neighborhoods, by deeply religious or defiantly atheist parents, in close-knit traditional communities or in loosely bound modern ones, our first blood stories differed in details, yet shared profoundly common flavors: those of feeling alone and scared, unprepared, ashamed, fearful, or just plain ho hum, a similar cord ran through our stories — a thread of invisibility, of a Coming of Age lacking in welcome, honor, or celebration.

The potency of our newly found bond was intoxicating! It made all perceived differences between us pale in comparison, dissolve into nothingness in the face of shared monumental experiences of girls who started bleeding with no cultural context, no mentors, and no meaningful acknowledgment; Of women who have been bleeding monthly for years, cycling silently with the moon, bearing cultural judgments and taboos about our bodies and our blood being unclean, gross, unmentionable, and rendering us crazy, lunatic, or sick (as in needing to be medicated).

The liberation we felt was palpable, the bonds we formed unshakeable. Yet it wasn’t until I read Marjory Meijia’s quote that I realized we missed something: Not only does the river of blood we all shed monthly serve as a thread that connects us beyond any divides. Not only is this common experience a dissolving agent for all our culturally cemented differences. But rather it is because of this potential bond among all women that our blood became taboo…!!!

As women in indigenous cultures, we sat together in moon huts, moon lodges, or red tents all over the world. Our bleeding times were times of connection and alliance. Making our blood a cultural taboo didn’t only create a sense of personal shame, feelings of inadequacy, uncleanliness, and isolation. It didn’t only create (over generations) an inner distress that led to physical discomfort and symptoms labeled as ‘PMS’. It broke us apart! It created a cultural climate in which every woman bears her bleeding time alone; In which women believe they may be the only ones so uncomfortable, so out of sorts, so disconnected as they feel in any given moment. Women united are so powerful – it may scare the living daylights out of cultures who seek to dominate them!

The taboos around our blood not only disempower us individually, they weaken our collective identityThey tear us apart. They sow isolation and alienation. They make us easy to manipulate, medicate, and sell to.

Lets take action to break the taboos (which serve those who wish to keep us in line) by uniting as bleeding women and voicing our blood stories (the good, the bad, the ugly, and the sacred) as the solvents that dissolve cultural taboos. Speaking about our blood, connecting around it, recognizing it as the central experience which defines us as women – are acts of defiance, and as such are revolutionary! Start a revolution today: tell your first blood story!

You are invited to Break A Taboo
right here, right now,
by sharing a Blood Story:
Your first or last blood,
your most or least favorite, your most outrageous,
most embarrassing, most painful, most funny,
or most sacred…

Speaking our silent truth
is an act of revolutionizing the world!

Leave a comment below, tell your story, break a taboo!

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About the Author:

DeAnna L’am, speaker, coach, and trainer, is the author of ‘Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood’ and ‘A Diva’s Guide to Getting Your Period’. She is the founder of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women & Girls™ .

A pioneer in Menstrual Empowerment, DeAnna has been transforming lives around the world for over 20 years, by helping women & girls love themselves unconditionally!  She teaches women how to dissolve PMS symptoms; draw strength from their cycle (rather than be at its mercy); model self-acceptance, self-care, and self-esteem to their daughters; and hold Red Tents in their communities. Visit DeAnna at: www.deannalam.com

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