Menstruation: The Wisdom of Woman

Menstruation, the word that we as women can be embarrassed of, afraid of, fed up with, but hopefully one day informed by and creating with. We are welcomed into to the club at all different ages, though it is starting earlier and earlier with each generation. We’ve nicknamed it “the rag”, “the crimson tide”, “the curse”, “our period”, “Aunt Flow” and lots of others.

Most of the words we use to talk about menstruation reflect our societies dislike or even it’s “curse” of being female of even having a “flow”. Come to think of it, how many of us even say menstruation? I even misspelled it the first time I googled it! Many of us, if given the chance, would love to forgo having it, and some of us do everything we can, including taking pharmaceuticals and sticking in IUDs to reduce or forgo having our menses all-together.

So, Why do We Want to Menstruate?

Why would I say it’s a gift, even if we never want to have children? Well, to understand these questions we must really look at menstruation itself. What is it? What does the body do? And why do so many of us get PMS? Yes there is a reason, for we are living in a world of cause and effect…and if you’re familiar with this website, you’ll know I place a high value in nature. Nature doesn’t just make things for the sake of making; there is a divine order in everything. If you study nature, it makes sense! There might be many surprises when I look at nature, but I almost always say, “that’s brilliant!” (Though I still wish animals weren’t eating animals!)

In life we are always taking in energy, we take in and every month after our first blood (a.k.a. menarche) we release energy through the letting go of menstrual blood. It’s our menstrual cycle that includes a building up of creative energy (as our uterus is building a nest inside of her for a little one), a peak time to create a new being, a release of our valuable creation (our egg) and if it doesn’t meet a sperm that it takes a fancy to, our uterus, as smart as she is, goes on a mission to prepare the place for the next time. She lets go of everything she doesn’t need, sweeping up the floor so to speak, and gets everything in tip-top shape for the next possible visitor.

And so we have this natural cycle in the body, and yet it affects all of ourselves, and our lives. We may find ourselves more sexual after menstruation leading up to ovulation, we may find ourselves more outgoing and creative, more juicy and out-reaching. And then as we once again come back into our shedding mode, our clearing out mode, we’ve come back into ourselves… we’ve drawn in, maybe even into a reclusive state to be with ourselves. We reconnect with our power by taking back our space.

Just before we start menstruating, our dreams often become more obvious, our selves speak louder, clearer. It’s a wonderful time to look at goals, to see what’s working. What we’ve defined as PMS is our indicator of what’s not working; it’s there to help us redefine our priorities, set new goals, new ways of being for the next cycle. It is our friend, our co-creator… our honest selves exploding into our view. (Sometimes creating much havoc because we haven't been honest all month!)

Society may say we’ve turned into a crazy bitch when the moon comes up, but I say we’re howling at the moon as we reconnect with our power. We aren’t suddenly angry unless we’ve been ignoring or even begrudging the small voice within that’s been patiently telling us we’re not speaking our truth, living our truth and being, or valuing, our true selves.

There was a time when I was having such trouble with PMS! I was in such pain (painful periods are often called dysmenorrhea) I was doubled over and vomiting, but in the end, I was judging myself harshly and coming up on the short end of the stick. I was eating a lot of dairy, and otherwise not nourishing myself. And when I made friends with myself, my menses also became friendly.

Menstruation as Insight

Some of us can have difficulties because of our non-nourishing diets, our non-nourishing relationships, or our non-nourishing words or beliefs we have about ourselves or even about being a woman. For our cycles are our cycles, they do not lie, though they may be asking for our help.

After miscarriage, with each new menstruation that came I was allowed to see the depth of my love for my child. It allowed me to see the truth of my desires for motherhood. It is easy to blame our period when we find we want to be at a different stage than we want to be, i.e. I’m not pregnant and I want to be. Or, shit where’s my period? I don’t want to be pregnant! Or, PMS I hate you, you make me say ugly things... But all this is just our truth speaking loudly. Have we acknowledged our truth, have we been in integrity with ourselves? It doesn’t have to speak so loudly if we learn to listen to its whispers and act accordingly!

Menstruation is a gift, it’s a gift of the wisdom of the woman and when we allow it to cycle through naturally we can share in it’s wisdom. It doesn’t make woman better than man, it makes us Woman. Our menstruation is our expression. It is woman.

When I was younger I did not understand it’s power, I wasn’t initiated into it’s power or it's purpose, I was initiated into the physical aspects, the things I needed to do, the instruments I could use and how a baby was made… I chose to wear tampons because it was the most convenient, and it wasn’t until many, many, many moons later that I realized, I had no idea how much I bled. I chose again, I reconfigured, I connected even more with my cycle by letting myself bleed out into pads. By taking the time to do less when I was menstruating, if I was so inclined.

I did not begin to understand the power of woman until I read The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant. The Red Tent was the first to open my eyes in a very real way of how we start to bleed together if we live in a house full of naturally menstruating women. Our bodies are mostly made up of water, and like the ocean, the moon affects us. This is why if we are out in nature a lot, particularly by the ocean, our cycles naturally start to line up with the moon.

I have come to learn how we can be brought together by the moon and the tide; by the cycle of womanhood, with reverence that we are divine creations, that we bleed divine blood. Let us be with that, embrace it, and we can find our way through whatever truths we are finding in ourselves. Our truths can have us laughing so hard we cry and crying so hard that we laugh, and I certainly don’t want to miss out on that! As we learn to flow with “the crimson tide”, we flow with our truth, with the gift of being woman… and what a gift we share with the world when we embrace and share our true self.

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