Category Archives: transition

How to Talk to your Daughter about Her Body?

By Nati Lucero

How to talk to your daughter about her body, step one: don’t talk to your daughter about her body, except to teach her how it works.

Don’t say anything if she’s lost weight. Don’t say anything if she’s gained weight.

If you think your daughter’s body looks amazing, don’t say that. Here are some things you can say instead:

“You look so healthy!” is a great one.

Or how about, “you’re looking so strong.”

“I can see how happy you are – you’re glowing.”

Better yet, compliment her on something that has nothing to do with her body.

Don’t comment on other women’s bodies either. Nope. Not a single comment, not a nice one or a mean one.

Teach her about kindness towards others, but also kindness towards yourself.

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Don’t you dare talk about how much you hate your body in front of your daughter, or talk about your new diet. In fact, don’t go on a diet in front of your daughter. Buy healthy food. Cook healthy meals. But don’t say “I’m not eating carbs right now.” Your daughter should never think that carbs are evil, because shame over what you eat only leads to shame about yourself.

Encourage your daughter to run because it makes her feel less stressed. Encourage your daughter to climb mountains because there is nowhere better to explore your spirituality than the peak of the universe. Encourage your daughter to surf, or rock climb, or mountain bike because it scares her and that’s a good thing sometimes.

Help your daughter love soccer or rowing or hockey because sports make her a better leader and a more confident woman. Explain that no matter how old you get, you’ll never stop needing good teamwork. Never make her play a sport she isn’t absolutely in love with.

Prove to your daughter that women don’t need men to move their furniture.

Teach your daughter how to cook kale.

Teach your daughter how to bake chocolate cake made with six sticks of butter.

Pass on your own mom’s recipe for Christmas morning coffee cake. Pass on your love of being outside.

Maybe you and your daughter both have thick thighs or wide ribcages. It’s easy to hate these non-size zero body parts. Don’t. Tell your daughter that with her legs she can run a marathon if she wants to, and her ribcage is nothing but a carrying case for strong lungs. She can scream and she can sing and she can lift up the world, if she wants.

Remind your daughter that the best thing she can do with her body is to use it to mobilize her beautiful soul.

Reproduced with permission from Namaluc

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Filed under coming of age, daughter, growing up, Guest Blogger, menstruation, mother, motherhood, parenting, transition

An Invitation into the Red Tent (sound meditation mp3)

by Delphine Demore, PhD

It is dark inside the tent, with the light muted by the enclosure. At this late afternoon hour, the entire dwelling is tinted red and pink and orange. Soon the sun will set and the glow of the fire and burning coals will be the only light. You sit in the Elder’s chair, near the doorway. The fire is burning brightly and there is water in the clay jars at the other side of the room, to keep it cool. There is food, cooked ahead and preserved, with fruit and cheese. A week of freedom from preparations, child care, household chores, marital responsibilities, a time all the women come to treasure. Tonight, there are a few newly bleeding girls joining the Red Tent. They have not been to the Women’s tent before and they are curious, eager but worried too. Like all fledglings, they anticipate and fear what is unfamiliar. You smile, remembering your first time in the tent. The tenderness you feel for the newly fertile girls was shown to you then. The tradition of women handing down their wisdom and teaching their daughters is ancient and honored here.

11-minute Guided Sound Meditation. Featuring the song “Dream Wisdom” by David R. Maracle

You hear the approach of the first woman. She is a young matron with 2 small children. She smiles at you and you anoint her forehead with the blessing oil. You embrace, kissing each other on each cheek. She takes a seat in the circle around the stones. Soon others join her, standing in line for their anointing, embracing you and each other with warmth and welcome. The first timers come together, finding courage in numbers. They are welcomed in kind.

When all have arrived, you begin the Women’s Chant, calling on the protection of the Divine Mother. The women join hands and chant, filling the tent with their sweet voices. You pour the first cup of water on the stones in the center, sending up a burst of steam into the hole above the circle. Your chant begins to quiet and your prayers are sent out into the sky.

The youngest women rise and address the new arrivals. They tell of their first time in the tent and their first menses. They honor and bless the girls, welcoming them into the circle of women. They are each handed a branch of lavender and rosemary, as a symbol of love, peacefulness, protection and healing. The other women come forward, one at a time, in age order, to bless the girls and tell a short story of their own blood time. Finally, you are left to speak. Though you have not bled for a long time, you often volunteer to anchor the Blood Times Tent. All the women come if they can. Many are needed to care for children and do the women’s chores while the bleeding women are sequestered.

The women again join hands and hum softly as another cup of water is thrown on the hot stones. When the steam dies away, there is a collective sigh and everyone relaxes.

As the women begin to talk to each other, in pairs or small groups, enjoying the leisure that their nomadic life prohibits during the rest of the month, your attention drifts and you remember other Blood times, other days, women who were friends and who are gone now. You remember…

You see yourself pressing your lavender and rosemary between stones after your first time. Like the young girls here tonight, you stored them in your amulet. Reaching for the amulet that hangs from your neck, you know that you have them still. You remember bringing your first babe with you, nursing her in the steamy air, content to drift in and out of the conversations, absorbed in the love affair of motherhood. Your other babies were also brought here, but the memory of that one is still sharp in your heart. Your daughter goes to another tent somewhere else, in her husband’s family, taking your granddaughter with her. You wish you saw them more often.

You recall the first time your daughter came to the tent, brave and strong. She was not timid, but walked in with her head high, expecting to be accepted, expecting to belong. As a mother, you had taught her well to honor herself and the sacred mystery that is fertility. You are proud of her. That tradition goes on, wherever your daughter and granddaughter go.

Today, your other daughter is present here, following the Shaman Way rather than the motherhood path. You are proud of her too.

In the tent, friendships are forged and confidences shared. All seek understanding, celebration and solace from each other. You remember your mother, taking her turn as elder in the tent, looking at you with that proud, fierce mother look. Even now, after so long, you miss her. Soon, you will travel that ancient river and be reunited with her. The cycle of life, like the blood flowing here, will go on…

We honor that ancient tradition here today. Taking a deep breath, bring yourself back here to the circle. When you are ready, open your eyes.

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Filed under blood, coming of age, daughter, growing up, Guest Blogger, healing, meditation, memory, menstruation, moon, Moon Lodge, moontime, mother, motherhood, place, Post Menopausal, red tent, red tent experience, ritual, space, transition, Uncategorized, women's stories

Female Mystique: The 3 Phases of Eve©

By Leslie Carol Botha


Maiden, Mother, Wise Woman ~ which one are you?

You are all three every month!

 

Most women are not aware of the sacred tri-phasic or triptych cycle they pass through each month. In fact, the importance of Triptych symbolism is lost on most people – yet it can be seen in ancient pyramids and temple architecture worldwide. Triptych wisdom is still visible in ancient ruins and has actually been garnered and perpetuated by western ‘secret’ societies.

triphasic

Triptych symbolism was abundant in the ancient worlds and actually became the symbol of an advanced universal religion practiced globally in antiquity and shared by ancient cultures with the same spiritual beliefs. It was also thought that the tri-phasic practice descended from a root source instead of evolving independently.

This universal religion was banned over 2,000 years ago with the advent of the Catholic Church and the shift from matriarchal societies to the existing patriarchy.

Bone plaque from Abri Blanchard, Sergeac, France

Bone plaque from Abri Blanchard, Sergeac, France

Although much of the writing about the triptych symbolism is steeped in patriarchal thinking – the source of this ancient religion lies within the womb of woman’s wisdom. It was our ancient foremothers who first noted the intrinsic significance between their menstrual cycles and the lunar cycle. This ‘ancient’ universal religion was a shared knowledge of living with the triphasic aspect of the lunar cycle – and since women menstruated together and their menstrual time was synchronically aligned with the lunar cycle – women became the fount head of this ancient religion; they were revered as Goddesses no less. Judy Grahn, in her 1993 book, Blood, Bread and Roses: How Menstruation Created the World, developed her hypothesis with a modern construct, when she stated,…”the menstruant, having the most direct connection with the lunar cycle, would have been the first to know; she had motive, method, and opportunity to be the originator of the lunar notion.”

Many moons ago, I intuited a concept called Female Mystique: The Three Phases of Eve©. This was before I understood the concept of the triptych symbolism. I noted that just as the moon passes through its three phases monthly, women pass through the three phases of their lives –maiden, mother, wise woman – just as they pass through the three phases of the menstrual cycle.

When these three phases line up the mythological lunar, psychological woman physical, mental and emotional characteristics also become aligned.

Female Mystique: The Three Phases of Eve©

Female Mystique: The Three Phases of Eve©

If women understood their sacred triphasic nature, their lives would make so much more sense. More importantly, women – and especially our adolescent daughters would learn how to trust their changing emotions and their behaviors – instead of all of us feeling like we have to control or be controlled because we do not trust or understand ourselves or each other.

This ancient symbolism is the sacred essence of our womanhood – and of the global universal religion that unified all cultures many moons ago. Herstorians and researchers have noted that the earliest rituals honored the menstrual cycle; that the blood of the womb nurtured new life.

Now we understand the significance of the menstrual cycle in relation to ancient symbolism. It is time to reclaim, to trust and to embrace that with which women have been graced – the eternal dance of the universe encompassed in our eternal cycling bodies and souls.

 

Source:

Written in Stone – Decoding the Secret Masonic Religion Hidden in Gothic Cathedrals and World Architecture, by Richard Cassaro

Understanding Your Mind, Mood, and Hormone Cycle, by Leslie Carol Botha and H. Sandra Chevalier- Batik

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A new book!

Understanding Your Mind, Mood, and Hormone Cycle was written for women who want to understand the sometimes, confusing physical and psychological changes they experience each month. It is also suggested reading for men who deal with hormonal women daily; and for educators, healthcare and social welfare professionals who support women of all ages that are struggling with physical and behavioral issues caused by hormonal changes. It is the product of a nine-years of research, analysis, and writing.

Purchase the book for $24.93 on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Your-Mind-Hormone-Cycle/dp/0989010104/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374691726&sr=8-1&keywords=leslie+botha

Purchase the book for $24.93 on amazon

This richly illustrated, pioneering, book is co-authored by Leslie Carol Botha and H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik, with original graphics by Nicholas Batik. Medical researcher, H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik provides extensive clinical background to support the findings of this book. The conversational writing style makes it easy and compelling to read, while the richly footnoted text makes this a valuable resource for professional healthcare providers. The book explores on the very essence of a woman’s being — the fundamental nature of the female hormone cycle; and was written to fill the void of practical, menstrual health education that focuses on understanding the delicate mind/body connection — a connection that has the power to bring about health or disease in the body. Contrary to current medical thinking and pharmaceutical industry messaging that encourages women to deny, ignore, suppress and replace their natural hormone production with synthetic hormone birth control and hormone replacement therapy, Botha and Chevalier-Batik believe that the hormone cycle is the foundation of women’s health and well being. Modern medicine has promoted the concept of specialization, encouraging women to consult specialists to treat isolated aspects of our body and mind, rather than consider our body as an integrated system, and exploring the relationship of the hormone cycle with other cycling systems in our body. Creating health begins with a shift in this perspective to one that recognizes the whole body is greater than the sum of its parts; a shift that recognizes that health is our birthright and represents our natural state. Such a change in perception can change how we express vibrant health and inner peace. Using the tools and information provided in this book, women can learn to perceive symptoms as biometric feedback from our bodies about our diet, lifestyle and the state of our mental, emotional, and spiritual self. These symptoms are the “tell” for conditions such as: hormone imbalances, depression, mental confusion, exhaustion, autoimmune disorders, allergies, and reproductive disorders. The purpose of this book, is to help you tap into the magnificent intelligence of your body and interpret its profound language to finally understand your mind, mood, and hormone cycle. Using the tools and exercises provided you will learn to live with in your hormone cycle to prevent re-occurring gynecological problems and mental/emotional imbalances; Perhaps for the first time in your life, you will feel like you can reach your full potential by acknowledging your strength and who you truly are. It is our goal to open your eyes to the real you — a woman who can trust herself, has confidence in her actions, understands her feelings and knows how to create a fulfilling life by living with her hormone cycle With brilliant simplicity, the authors tie the menstrual cycle into the other natural cycles of the universe and to the Paleolithic wise women who tracked their cycles on antler bones. These wise women understood that menstruation was vital natural cycle that held power. These foremothers became the first mathematicians, agriculturists, and healers by applying their menstrual wisdom to their culture’s survival. It is imperative that we understand all of the cycles in our lives. Women must be pro-active in all aspects of their wellness. Education and the willingness to ask questions and demand answers is a start.

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Filed under ageing, blood, coming of age, growing up, Guest Blogger, Leslie Botha, menstruation history, mooncycle, mother, motherhood, PMS, Post Menopausal, transition, Understanding Your Mind

Womb of Light: Conscious Menstruation as a portal for evolution

By Bethany Webster

This is an excerpt from Bethany’s upcoming book of the same name. About the book and its message, she says that  “Menstruation is a powerful time in which women can harness their true power; a power the world desperately needs right now…the power of vulnerability, which comes from the courage to feel what we fear may destroy us.”

Menstruation, that monthly bleeding that all women share, unites us no matter what else sets us apart. At any one time on this planet, millions of women are bleeding. Conscious menstruation refers to the profound awakening that is possible when we embrace our monthly bleeding with deep awareness and self-love. Menstruation is a powerful portal for women to enter into conscious union with Life itself, as the Lifeforce is flowing through us every month and our bodies tune in with the cosmos.

The current dis-ease of our planet is due to an underlying belief in separation. The healing of separation is possible by cultivating a deep, authentic relationship with ourselves and with all of Life. As women we have the ability to give birth to form, whether it be babies, projects, organizations, ideas and beyond. As beings who physically hold space for the unmanifested to manifest, we walk between worlds and are natural healers. Opening to the power of our menstrual cycle opens us up to the deeper mysteries of our own lives and deeper yet into the mystery of the one life that permeates all lifeforms.

Menstruating with mindfulness and love, we take steps closer to ourselves and to a deeper way of living; a way that is more in tune with and more accurately reflects our deeper truths and our authentic selves. It is a path of great courage for it requires us to ultimately face the death of what is false in us and to midwife the birth of the real; to step into our full power and the deep responsibility that it brings.

Consciously embracing our menstruation asks us to break some taboos in our culture, namely the taboo of rest and the taboo of abundance. There are unspoken rules that we must not rest or take our time, especially for the purpose of knowing and caring for ourselves. There is also an unspoken rule that we must not acknowledge the abundance already present in our lives. Instead we are conditioned to see lack and insufficiency, causing us to rush about seeking more possessions and achievements. As we break these taboos by resting deeply and acknowledging our inner and outer abundance we gradually come to a still point within, a luminous, aware presence that is our true Self.

The willingness to surrender to the love within and allow it to destroy all that we cling to is the death of the dysfunctional ego and the next step in our evolution. This is the willingness to let our small selves be destroyed by love, a love so big that it shatters who we thought we were, birthing us into something so vast, our minds cannot fathom it.  This is the willingness to open radically to our moment-to-moment experience, surrendering all that we think we know and admitting that we do not know. It is consciously stepping into the Unknown. The wisdom of surrender is what the world is resisting. This resistance is driving us to extinction. Women’s bodies know surrender at the deepest level and so they are the healers and leaders of this time.

Conscious menstruation is seeing oneself as a microcosm of the whole and seeing oneself as the Source. For women every period can be a time of release and renewal, of self-awareness and deep transformation.  In this way, women are stepping forward, bringing humanity home to the heart, to the indestructible innocence, sacredness and simplicity of Being.

© 2012 Bethany Webster

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The Spiral Within

By Charlotte Elaine

From the earliest of our days we have been cradled by the rocking motion of the feminine. The vast prehistoric oceans of our Earth were stirred and moved by the Moon’s power. The waters of life bubbling and churning as if contained in a mighty cauldron. Life on Earth in its earliest and most delicate stages was formed in this place of magick, mystery, and power. This incredible force, which brings forth creation from chaos, is the magick of the spiral. As eons went on, life continued to turn, and the moon continued to sway the seas. During this beautiful time of alchemy and creation the feminine evolved to carry the sea, and tides, within her body. The menstrual cycle holds within it in the sovereignty and might of the spiral. All powers of Earth, Sea, and Sky, are nestled deep within the womb.

Women are sacred vessels of this power, and our bodies with all of their cycles are a testament to this. The patriarchal societies that have dominated this world for so long have attempted to remove Women from this natural place of power. Women have forgotten the fierceness of the tidal wave that roars in their bellies. We have been taught for centuries that our power is a place of shame. It is unclean, bothersome, something to be rid of. However, within the Earth there is now again a stirring; a shifting. Women are beginning to remember the power the flows within them and they want to embrace it. They want to heal, to grow.

It is for this reason that the Red Tent has returned. Women need a place to commune together, to cry, to scream, to feel safe. The atmosphere of a Red Tent is that of healing, acceptance, awakening, and empowerment for women. It is a place where women can go to reclaim the magick of the spiral within.

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Filed under memory, moon, place, red tent, red tent experience, ritual, space, The Red Tent, transition

Womb Wise

By Charlotte Elaine Coburn

I am a woman. I am divine. I have all-knowledge in this womb of mine.

             Listen, dear one. Precious one you are the creator, and the created. The power of the moon, the force of the tides rests within your body. The ancient wisdom of all women is available to you through your sharp mind, and keen understanding. Listen to the call of the Moon Mother within your belly. You are a sacred creature with the gift of knowing. The mysteries of your body are incomprehensible, and the innate wisdom you possess stretches far beyond mere intuition.

Dear one, listen, hear your truest voice from deep within. She will never steer you wrong. Trust in yourself most deeply. Creation entrusted you with incredible powers, learn precious one now, to trust yourself. We live in a realm external. Our minds, our societies, our structure are all about what is outside of us. We were molded and bred to see an external god, disconnected from the land, removed from creation. We are taught that information is only valued, when another on the outside believes it is so. Our worth determined by external calculations of how much time we have in our pockets. It has become not a question of whether this is right or wrong sisters, but more of an awareness. Listen, deep within.

There is perhaps another path, an ancient path. A wisdom sacred, and natural. A knowing that settles in your heart, that leads you to act, or be still. Listen. Claim your power as a wise being, a woman. When we trust ourselves we become confident, and secure, two things that have been denied us for centuries. We can begin to see each other once again as sisters, friends, confidants. If we listen.

Mini-meditation:

Take in a deep breath, and let your body relax. Allow yourself to sink comfortably down into your seat. Just relax and let your seat do all of the work for you. Breath in and exhale with a deep sigh, drawing yourself deeply within. Breathe here, in this space for a moment. Feel that you are now present. Mindful. Know that in this space, you are a goddess of your inner world. This is the birthplace of confidence, and limitless potential. Know that you can return to this place at anytime, you need only to breathe, and listen.

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Filed under Charlotte Elaine Coburn, meditation, transition

From Gender Resister to Red Tent Sister

By Christina Mellen

I came to the Red Tent through a circuitous route. If anyone could have told me twenty years ago in my college days that I would passionately participate in a group that celebrates the womb, that perilous territory hotly contested by both religion and politics, well, I would never have believed them.  I was too busy spiking my hair and enrolling in Women’s Studies classes, absorbing the falsely empowering doctrine that gender is simply a construct of society that we as a rational society would, in some unrealized future, evolve beyond.
Fast forward twenty years, and I am engaged in a conversation with a female friend a few years younger, but with the same preconceived notion. When I invited her to visit the Red Tent that had just begun meeting in her community, she responded “I don’t participate in gender-based groups.” She then shared a story about teaching children to knit in her art class. She said she won’t offer the class until just as many boys sign up as girls, and surprisingly the boys seem just as interested. She says she doesn’t see gender, and I feel torn.

The part of me still stubbornly clinging to the ideals of feminism-though I’m often told they are as outdated as my k.d. lang-styled bolo tie- wants to agree with her. However, soon after college, many of my feminist friends went on to get married and have children, heeding the calling of that anatomy that our philosophical musings about the nature of woman left out in the cold. I did not feel a great emotional or psychological need to procreate so I got along fine disowning this part of my embodied self, thanks to the modern miracle of the birth control pill.

Since then I have been married and divorced. I have explored women’s spirituality groups led by wise women in herb shops who seemed full of New Age joy but soon proved to be post-menopausal man-bashers. I found my own “Ya Ya sisterhood” of women writers and poets who worshiped the Goddess on seasonal holidays.  I’ve hollered, hooted and cried communally at “The Vagina Monologues.” But it wasn’t until a fellow Goddess worshiper at my Unitarian church begged me for several consecutive months to come to Red Tent that I started having something to look forward to once a month instead something to cyclically gripe about. Over the last two years of sharing space and stories, solace and soup, in community with women in various stages in their fertility cycle, my own silenced womb has begun to speak in its own voice and I have begun to listen.

At forty-one I am finally contemplating the place that nurturing has in my life now and may have in the future. An early identifier with the option not to have children, I am in a place of openness, honesty and consideration about this life choice. When I read the novel by Anita Diamante that holds the same title as this growing national movement, I was drawn to the womens’ sisterhood and strength and the way they maintained their sacred secret world, honoring the Goddess under the noses of the patriarchy. I longed for that closeness, that solidarity. I loved the sensuality of birth- among these experienced women, I imagined I would be less fearfully fear facing my own travail.

The reality of this growing force of mutual empowerment–connecting through our common experience and witnessing each other’s differences without judgment–surpassed the serene escape of fiction. At the Red Tent each month, we share and create our own story. We check our titles and egos, fears and fierceness, at the door, and enter into vulnerability and introspection together. Among the crimson tapestries and candlelight so lovingly and artfully arranged by familiar hands in acts of service and joy, we can finally lay down our arms, breathing a little more deeply. In that vulva cathedral, the weight and expectations of the world are far away.

And when we emerge each month self-renewed, our cups filled, we find we have more to give back to our jobs, family and loved ones. We find we are changing the world by finally asking the questions that academic and political feminism shied away from—defining ourselves as women not by our past or by the roles we refuse, but by who we are now and who we are becoming—a more compassionate and empowered society than our embattled grandmothers could ever have imagined.

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Filed under Feminism, red tent, red tent experience, story, transition