Tag Archives: menstrual cycle

Making fun of a disease?

by Vida

“Ha, ha! Look at her, she has a disease! Ha, ha! What, does she have pain from her disease? Oh, how hilarious that she has a disease! OMG, that’s SO disgusting! How embarrassing it must be to have a disease! If she is not ashamed of her disease, then she should be!”

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You would never say that, would you? It sounds so absurd and repulsive, that it was hard to even write!

Now replace the word disease with the word period…!

For all of you that have ever made fun of a lady for menstruating, are “grossed out” by periods, or avoided the topic when a loved one needed you, because of your distorted “feelings” about menstruation, you should really take a few minutes to THINK about what you are doing and educate yourself more about menstruation, please. Your mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, daughter, and every woman you know, have known, or will know has or will menstruate! And she will have her period for approximately a week out of every month, for 40 years of her life!

For those understanding, loving, wonderful supporters, we thank you, on behalf of every woman that will ever grace the planet!

Without menstruation, none of us would even exist! Isn’t it time for the “P” word to be as openly discussed as topics that were just recently “taboo”, such as breast disease and same sex marriage? Isn’t it time that we start being more knowledgeable and understanding, as we do all co-exist and menstruation is here to stay, if mankind is going to continue!?!

Isn’t it time for your daughter, sister, wife, and mother to have a proud period, instead of being ashamed of her God given ability to co-create a human life? We know it is! And if you are honest and decent, then so do you!

Please be understanding and educated, so that life on planet earth will be better for everyone! And if you want to, please take The Period Pride Pledge by Period PantEEZ at http://www.periodpride.org !

For more information on menstruation, please visit us at http://www.periodpanteez.com

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How to Celebrate Menstruation

How would our world be different if girls were raised to honor their menstrual time? How would our world be different if our girls had some form of celebration when they first began to menstruate. How would your life be different if you were celebrated? 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… How have you celebrated menstruation?

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Filed under ageing, and Hormone Cycle, blood, coming of age, From the filmmaker, growing up, Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, menstruation, menstruation video, Mood, moon, Moon Lodge, mooncycle, parenting, PMS

Ways to honor your menstrual cycle in your Red Tent

by Jane Hardwicke Collings & Susan Stark

This article is an excerpt from the eBook “How to Create a Red Tent

Keeping a monthly record of your cycle is a great way to connect in and identify recurring patterns or themes. As you record your experiences of each day of your cycle you will begin to see a common pattern emerging. Various journals and charts are available to support you in your charting. See the resource section for further information. Each week of the cycle offers a different opportunity or flow of energy that you can utilize in your life’s journey.

"How to Create a Red Tent" eBook. Available for $9.99 at: http://www.redtentmovie.com/eBook-create-a-red-tent.html
Below are some suggestions of how to work with the different energy inherent in each week of your cycle. This list is by no mean exhaustive and we would encourage you to be creative and adventurous in honouring your own individual cycle. Part of the journey is finding your own unique expression of your cycle and ways to support your own needs. Sharing your ways of being with your cycle in circle with other women is a great way to gather new ideas and ways of honouring yourself and others.

Week One:

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It is often difficult to find time to rest and retreat from our busy lives. The demands of family life and work can feel like obstacles to creating quiet sacred space for you to rest. For some women this may feel like an unwarranted luxury that they cannot afford themselves. However, retreat time does not need to be three solid days alone. Of course if you can create this then fantastic, but for many of us we need to find creative ways to lessen our daily activities and finding means to honour ourselves. We can create ways of taking ourselves out of the busy routines of everyday life and with practice those around will grow more accustomed to our need for retreat. After all, a well nurtured mother is able to hold her family with more grace and ease than someone tired and unhappy without time for refueling and rest. Having a relaxing bath by candle light or ensuring the freezer is stocked with dinner for a few nights are great ways to create a bit of space or ease. Ensuring that you don’t schedule in big events or parties is another good idea in honouring your need to be less social.

Some women choose to create a bleeding necklace to wear or make a mooonstick as an expression of their prayers for the coming cycle. Wearing red or choosing special jewellery to wear can also let others know that this is your bleeding time. Paying particular attention to your dreams and setting an intention to remember them is another great way to tap into your night time wisdom. Drawing, crafting, journaling or meditating are also other great ways to slow down and reflect. Some women choose their bleeding time to rearrange their altar or read that great novel they have been saving! It is a time to go slowly and be gentle with yourself. By quietening we open ourselves to hear the messages of our body, our heart and our spirit. Want to read more….

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barAbout the authors:

Jane Hardwicke Collings is amother, grandmother and an independent midwife, teacher, writer and menstrual educator. She gives workshops in Australia and internationally on mother and daughter preparation for menstruation, the spiritual practice of menstruation, and the sacred and shamanic dimensions of pregnancy and birth. Jane founded and runs The School of Shamanic Womancraft, formerly The School of Shamanic Midwifery, which focuses on preparing women to practice and teach conscious rites of passage, awareness of cycles (Earth, lunar, life and menstrual cycles), and the mind/body/spirit connection. www.schoolofshamanicmidwifery.com. Jane is the author of Ten Moons, the Inner Journey of Pregnancy, Thirteen Moons, How to chart your menstrual cycle (handbook and journal), Spinning Wheels (a guide to the cycles), and Becoming a Woman (a guide for girls approaching menstruation). www.moonsong.com.au

Susan Stark is a home birth Mother of four children, a Shamanic Guide, a practitioner and teacher of the Women’s Mysteries and Social Worker.  Susan is passionately committed to supporting women on their journeys of re-membering and transformation.  Susan currently offers circles and workshops in her own community and practices as a Counsellor working with children and young people.  Susan shares a deep connection to the Earth as Mother and Healer and honours every person’s unique journey to connection and wholeness.
Contact Susan: earthspiral@rocketmail.com

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Filed under growing up, how to create a Red Tent, menstruation, mooncycle

How to Create a Red Tent Altar

by Jane Hardwicke Collings & Susan Stark

This article is an excerpt from the eBook “How to Create a Red Tent

"How to Create a Red Tent" eBook. Available for $9.99 at: http://www.redtentmovie.com/eBook-create-a-red-tent.html

An Altar can be your own private Sacred Space in your home, or work place, or a group altar in a shared space, or the central altar or direction altars in a ceremony. In holding a Red Tent you may like to create a central altar around which you will sit as a group.

The altar contains symbols and talismans of the work you intend to do together. For example, if your focus is on women’s cycles you could have a collection of treasures that map the cycle around a circle, or perhaps various items that the participants have brought with them.

Red Tent altar examples from around the world

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You can also have either around the outside of your seated or standing circle or within the central space, an altar to each direction (East, North, West, and South). These will serve the purpose of assisting you in invoking the directions and holding the sacred space you create by making a literal ‘container’ in which you sit. A central candle or Mother Candle may be placed in the centre of your altar. As part of your opening ritual you may like to light this candle and invoke deities or say a prayer for your circle. Women may also like to bring special treasures or things from nature to add to the Red Tent altar. These could be along a theme such as connecting in with our cycles or the season. Together you will weave a focal point of your Red Tent and use the altar as a way to set intention and holding.

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barAbout the authors:

Jane Hardwicke Collings is amother, grandmother and an independent midwife, teacher, writer and menstrual educator. She gives workshops in Australia and internationally on mother and daughter preparation for menstruation, the spiritual practice of menstruation, and the sacred and shamanic dimensions of pregnancy and birth. Jane founded and runs The School of Shamanic Womancraft, formerly The School of Shamanic Midwifery, which focuses on preparing women to practice and teach conscious rites of passage, awareness of cycles (Earth, lunar, life and menstrual cycles), and the mind/body/spirit connection. www.schoolofshamanicmidwifery.com. Jane is the author of Ten Moons, the Inner Journey of Pregnancy, Thirteen Moons, How to chart your menstrual cycle (handbook and journal), Spinning Wheels (a guide to the cycles), and Becoming a Woman (a guide for girls approaching menstruation). www.moonsong.com.au

Susan Stark is a home birth Mother of four children, a Shamanic Guide, a practitioner and teacher of the Women’s Mysteries and Social Worker.  Susan is passionately committed to supporting women on their journeys of re-membering and transformation.  Susan currently offers circles and workshops in her own community and practices as a Counsellor working with children and young people.  Susan shares a deep connection to the Earth as Mother and Healer and honours every person’s unique journey to connection and wholeness.
Contact Susan: earthspiral@rocketmail.com

 

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Seeing red – going with the flow

by Ayla Mellani, The Happy Womb

I have developed a fascination with red tents since researching my book Moon Time: a guide to celebrating your menstrual cycle, which it turns out, is the first book to document the emerging phenomenon of red tents.

Many women have not heard of them – and so when I discovered Ayla Mellani‘s beautiful post, I knew it would be a great evocative introduction to them for women who do not have a red tent near them and might want to create their own at home.

***

It’s been two days of pure bliss.  No distractions.  No interruptions.  Rain and wind outside. Warm woodstove fire inside.  The flicker of candlelight, casting a delicate red hue throughout the room.  Food brought to me on a tray.  Art supplies surrounding my bed.  Red foods, red drink.  Red bliss.

Welcome to my Red Room.

There are red flannel sheets, red pillowcases and a cozy red comforter.  Red candles, red curtains and a red altar cloth.  Even, delicious ruby red beet kvass juice.

My Red Room.  My own private Red Tent.

A place of soulful retreat, exquisite release and deep rejuvenation.  A place of Moon Time.

“Moon Time” is a phrase that now rolls off my tongue with ease, spoken with reverence, like a mantra.  It represents my time of monthly retreat and I greet its arrival as I would a long lost friend… with sweet remembrance.  It is an experience of connecting deeply with what makes me a Woman.  It is a time of the most ancient and sacred.  It is a time of communion with my Blood.

It wasn’t always this way.

I, like most women, grew up not being initiated into the Great Mystery of Woman’s Wisdom. My mother, her mother, and her mother before that, had long forgotten these ways.  Many, many, many generations ago, this transmission of wisdom had been lost.  With it, the belief of Woman as Sacred and her Blood as a Gift.

I don’t remember exactly when it began for me.

This feeling that something wasn’t right.  That the pain and emotional roller coaster I felt each month was more a signal that something was off, rather than a normal occurrence of my body’s biology.  Whatever triggered it, I had been called.  And nothing was going to change in my monthly experience of my Blood until I answered.

It has taken me many years of journeying on the path toward remembering and reclaiming the ancient wisdom and truth of my Blood.  With each month/moon the relationship deepens and new levels of spiritual insight are experienced.  In the beginning, there were many layers of untruth that needed to be cleansed and released.  Month after month, moon after moon, layers of shame were shed.

There was shame of bleeding.  Shame of my body.  Shame of being born Woman.

Generations and generations of shame, denigration and denial.  It was as if the flowing of my blood each month carried with it the pain of generations of women in my ancestral line.  As more and more healing was experienced, I opened to a new relationship with my Blood, my Self and the world around me.

I built altars and sacred shrines to my bleeding time.  I stopped wearing tampons, (desiring to feel my flow and not impede the release of blood/emotions).  I changed from using toxic pads that fill our landfills to wearing soft and earth honoring handcrafted cloth.  I began looking at my Blood as life giving and nourishing and collected it each moon to give back to the earth… wisdom taught by many native traditions.

I learned how to move through the guilt of taking time for myself and enjoyed being nurtured by my family.  It challenged our beliefs and the way in which I had created my relationships with them.  The all giving, all loving, never ending mother/woman dynamic shifted.  A new paradigm was born.  I became a woman who had needs, desires and was entitled to rest and experience deep rejuvenation.  My womb and her bleeding demanded it… and so did my family… little did they know.

I devoured books from women who had journeyed before me ~

“Sister Moon Lodge” by Kisma K. Stepanich;

“Blood, Bread and Roses – How Menstruation Created the World” by Judy Grahn;

“The Wise Wound” by Penelope Shuttle and Peter Redgrove;

“Dragontime – Magic and Mytery of Menstruation” by Luisa Francis;

“Moon Lodge” tapes and teachings by Brooke Medicine Eagle

and many, many others.  Each taking me deeper into the mystery of the Blood that was Woman’s birth-rite.

I began the process of taking my blood from the realm of the hidden and profane to the visible and most sacred.  I made necklaces to wear that revealed to my family and friends I was in my “Moon Time”.  I charted my cycle and arranged my life to provide down time when my bleeding arrived.  I became mindful of my language and how I spoke of this sacred experience and consciously chose words that expressed what I was feeling internally.  No more being on the “rag”; or experiencing “the curse”.  I was now “in my power” or on my “moon time”, connecting with the powerful relationship between women and the moon.

When hearing other sisters were in their Moon Time, I spoke softly and bowed deeply to the sacred space they were in.

I reclaimed the ancient practices honored in native cultures for monthly retreats.  Giving my Self permission to empty my cup each month… a cup that held all of the emotions and responsibilities of carrying for all the others in my life.

As my blood flowed, I opened to spontaneous release of emotions, artistic urges, much need sleep, or whatever called from within for expression and replenishment.

I began to notice changes prior to my moon’s arrival.  The messages from within to begin withdrawing from others and start in preparations toward nourishing my Self.  Each “Moon Time” wanted something different and I was remembering how to listen.

My family shifted in priorities during this time to accommodate my time away.  They began to experience first hand what happened when I returned rested and deeply renewed.  I was glowing, sparkly, happy, joyful and so overflowing with the love I had for each of them.  I had so much more energy and vitality.  They also experienced what happened when I did not take this necessary time away.  How angry I was, how frustrated I became, how little I had to give and how resentful I was to be giving it.  It wasn’t long before they were helping me to remember it was time for the Red Room and my Moon Time.

Reclaiming the Wisdom of the Blood is an individual journey for each woman… but one that is collective in need.  It is not only imperative for the releasing of all that we hold for others each month; for the cleansing of what we no longer need; for our rejuvenation at a deep level and for the development of our own spiritual wisdom and insight… but for the healing of the world around us.

There was a time when life revolved around the cycles of Women’s Blood.

When our monthly time was held as sacred.  When the tribe understood the need for our replenishment and honored the spiritual wisdom that was available to us during our retreat.

Community danced in rhythm to women’s rhythms. Life spiraled around the cycles of Moon, Womb and Blood.

The journey with my Blood has brought up deep memories of this wisdom and a longing to share what is possible for each of us, our families and Tribe if… once again… life spiraled around our rhythms.

Sisters… listen to the yearnings of your Blood.  

Hear the call every month to retreat in some way.  Create ways to honor and hold sacred once again the monthly dance of your Moon.  Retreat, build altars, dance, sway, trance, drum, draw, paint, sleep.

The way you see your Self will change. The way you dance in life will change… and because of this… you… dear sister… will change the world.

Blessings of the Blood to you all ~ Ayla

Ayla Mellani, (Founding Mother and Director of Chrysalis Woman) is an ordained Dianic High Priestess, community herbwyfe and CW WomanCraft Practitioner. 

She has been facilitating sacred space for women to gather and remember the Sacred Feminine, Feminist Theory and Wise Woman Ways for over a decade and is completely devoted to helping women awaken to their Sacred Divinity by remembering HER story, experiencing ritual and honoring their Sacred Womb Wisdom and Rites. 

 She guides Women along the Red Thread of Remembrance through her year long WomanCraft and Priestess programs and monthly Goddess Circles and corresponding Goddess Studies.

She is currently working on creating the online Chrysalis Woman School of WomanCraft ~ where all of the CW programs will be available and where Sisters who feel the call to lead in their own communities can become a Certified CW WomanCraft Practitioner and  High Priestess.  Stop by for a visit!  www.chrysaliswoman.com

Personally, she loves growing flower/veggie & herb gardens, belly dancing, yoga, making herbals with the green allies, devouring books, and continues to deepen in her practice of self sufficient, sustainable, cyclical and goddess centered living.

www.facebook.com/chrysaliswoman

www.twitter.com/chrysaliswoman

Republished with permission from the author and The Happy Womb.

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Filed under Guest Blogger, red tent, red tent experience, women's stories

Why I Stopped Using Tampons

by DeAnna L’am

I remember seeing a popular tampon ad when I was a girl in Israel, which said: “With tampons – every day of the month is the same!” At the time I thought it was a great thing. Wow! I thought, imagine that!

This was when my Mom still didn’t allow me to use tampons, saying I was too young. This left me feeling small, even though I was “officially” a woman. Tampons seemed like a mysterious prize, reserved only for the elite grown girls, of whom I wasn’t a part. The tampon ad served to cement my mystification with this forbidden fruit that came to symbolize adulthood to me.

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My Mom was afraid of my hymen breaking by a tampon. Her unspoken communication conveyed much more than this.Underneath her words, the message seemed to saythat once I was pierced by a man and lost my virginity, I would be free to insert a similar man-made contraption into myself. Of course she never said this, or even thought anything of the sort, but it occurs to me now that this is what lies behind it all: Penis-like, a tampon encapsulates clear societal messages that say: Plug yourself! Hide your flow! Become linear – let every day of the month be the same!

And for many years I did… I loved the convenience of being able to go swimming with a tampon. I liked that what I considered to be “A Mess” was under control. I easily forgot I was on my period, and surely I had all the days of the month be the same… Or were they?

Well, not exactly… Though I didn’t suffer any physical pain, I was irritable and moody a good few days of every month. I made no connection between this fact and my cycle, and I believed that “every day of the month was the same” because all the days looked the same on the outside… The story was very different on the inside, but I was so disconnected from my body that I had no clue about how out-of-synch I was.

The shift came when I decided to investigate. At some point feeling irritable and moody was no longer acceptable to me as the way things are. I came upon a health food store that sold menstrual cloth pads, and decided to give it a try, after reading a testimonial in which a woman declared she started happily anticipating her periods once she switched to cloth. I didn’t believe this was possible, but decided to check for myself.

My first experience of using a cloth pad was mind-altering. I actually felt my flow, consciously for the first time, and it felt good. I wasn’t “plugged” by a tampon anymore and the natural fluidity of my body felt authentic and real. Having to soak, rinse, and wring my cloth pads made me befriend my blood, rather than see it as “gross” (which our culture encourages us to do).

Above all, I reconnected to the essence of what our menstrual blood really is: the nutrient-filled inner lining of our womb, which would have nourished a baby through pregnancy had we conceived, and which is shed monthly when we don’t.

It’s been over two decades since I started this journey of self discovery, and it brought me far: I cherish and honor my flow monthly, and as a result am no longer irritable: I allow myself to consciously BE with each phase of my cycle. I found medicine in reclaiming my menstrual flow as a source of inner guidance and spiritual renewal in my life, and I have been teaching women all over the world to do the same…

His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke of women as being the source from where world transformation will come. It is my firm belief that such transformation is rooted in us starting, as individual women and as a global culture, to reclaim our cyclicity as the equal & rightful counterpart to linearity, and in living our cyclicity to its fullest, letting the flow of our creativity, life force, intuition, and inner guidance spring forth unplugged!

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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Filed under DeAnna L'am, Guest Blogger, menstruation