The Story of the Moon Goddess
by Trudelle Thomas
Excerpt from Moon Days - Creative Writings About Menstruation
"The Story of the Moon Goddess," ends the third section of the book, a culmination of celebrations of positive visions of menstruation for girls and women. In this story, young Helena is visited by a Moon Goddess who teaches her to love herself, not only at puberty but all through her life. The Moon Goddess gives Helena a great gift-a Moontime Journal-to record not only her fears but also her hopes and dreams. The story ends as Helena passes the Moon Goddess' gifts to her daughter, Nacole, as she leaves her own cycles behind.
Once upon a time, there lived a young girl named Helena. Twelve years old, she was eager to become a woman. Her mother had told her about the beautiful Moon Goddess who would visit Helena soon to awaken in her the seeds of life. Her mother spoke of the first time the goddess had visited her, clad in a white robe, and with a voice as tender and caressing as the light of the moon. She gave Helena a small glow-in-the-dark star to place in the window to let the Moon Goddess know she was welcome.
Helena was nervous! She put the star in the corner of her window. There it remained, night after night. Months passed. Helena waited.
One night it finally happened. She awoke from a dream and there, in front of her bedroom window, in a pool of moonlight stood the Moon Goddess. She was even more beautiful than Helena expected: tall, with a ruddy, freckled face, and wearing a gleaming white robe that flowed from her shoulders, over her bosom and curving body, and down her long, muscular legs. The robe reached nearly to the floor.
Her sweet voice filled the room. "My dear Helena, the time has come for our meeting. Your body is ready. Since even before your birth, seeds of life have been waiting. Tonight I come to awaken them!"
Helena leaned against her pillow. She didn't know what to say yet she felt great peace and happiness just in being in the presence of the goddess.
The shining goddess continued to speak. "Beginning now, the seeds of life will start to flow in your body. Each cycle of the moon one seed will ripen and flow forth. The door to motherhood has opened. Your body has the power to grow a new human being!"
"But I'm not ready to grow a human being!" Helena felt a little terrified. She looked pale in the moonlight.
"My darling girl, don't worry. It's a very slow becoming, very slow," said the goddess. "Let me explain. I know you've heard about the biological part: the ovaries, and fallopian tubes, and the uterus. I'm her to tell you about the most important part-the magic of it.
"The seeds of motherhood are only one part of your transformation. The same power that releases them will cause your body to change: your breasts will grow, your hips will curve and your body will begin to become a woman's body. You will hurt sometimes, but that's part of the becoming.
"And your feelings will grow too! You will be able to love other people in a way you never have before! Your understanding of the world will deepen. Oh, Helena-this is the crossing over point for you! Your power as a woman will be released."
"Gee willickers," said Helena. "I'm not sure I'm ready."
"You are ready to start. Remember, the becoming is slow." The Moon Goddess leaned down and placed a rose on Helena's pillow. "I'll come again to help you. And don't forget," the Goddess leaned down and whispered in Helena's ear-"boys never get to meet me." With that she disappeared.
The next morning when Helena awoke, she found the mark of blood, hidden in the folds of her clothes. She knew from her mother's stories that this was a reminder of the visit of the Moon Goddess. Her mother bought her a big bouquet of roses, and they celebrated with a tea party, just the two of them.
Before many months had passed, Helena awoke again in the night to find the Moon Goddess standing at the foot of her bed. As before, she was tall and ruddy, and strong, and her gown shone in the moonlight.
"Helena, my darling, I've come to give the help I promised."
"Oh, dear Moon Goddess, I'm so happy to see you. The changes you spoke of have begun." This time Helena was no longer afraid. She felt happy and excited in the presence of the goddess.
"For the next forty years I will come to visit you. Sometimes you will wake and see me. Other times only the mark of blood will let you know I've been here. When you see the red stain, remember the roses your mother gave you-plump roses, crimson and bursting with life-roses to remind you of the power of life inside you."
"It's such a big change for me," said Helena.
"Please listen closely, my darling. When you see my mark, it must be a reminder to you to cherish your body and your soul. Every morning, when you wake up, before you dress, I want you to stand naked before your mirror and thank your body for the power of life it holds."
"That's so embarrassing!" giggled Helena.
"Stand alone in your room and look at each part, one by one. Thank each part and rejoice in it. There may be seasons in your life when others adore your body, and seasons when they make fun of it. Through all the seasons, I want you to give thanks to this dear body."
"But it's so funny looking! My legs are bony. My breasts look like mosquito bites!" giggled Helena.
"That's all the more reason to thank it. Your body is yours-it's been given to serve you and to give you pleasure. But it has a life of its own-and it may never look the way you think it should. Give your body the respect and love that you would give any cherished friend. When you respect her, other people will too."
"I'll try," Helena whispered. Again, the Moon Goddess placed a rose on Helena's pillow and disappeared.
In the mornings that followed, Helena stood naked before the mirror and gave thanks to each part of her body-her nose and her ears and her freckles, her elbows and her privates and her legs. At first, she was a little embarrassed but as time passed she liked the feeling of pride that she felt.
A few more months went by and again the Moon Goddess appeared in Helena's bedroom. By now she felt so comfortable with the goddess that she wasn't even surprised when she opened her eyes to her shining white robes and smiling face. This time, the Moon Goddess sat on the edge of Helena's bed as she talked.
"Since you've done such a good job of thanking your body every day, my darling, I've come to give you some more advice. Keep standing before the mirror every morning. Here's something else that I'd like you to try.
"Remember: the mark of blood is a sign you must cherish both your body and your soul. Each moon-cycle, I want you take some time to hide away alone to a secret place. Find a place where you can be alone to think your own thoughts and dream your own dreams. Maybe it will be an attic corner or a branch in a tree or a hide-away near a creek. Just so it's secret and beautiful and safe. Tell only your mother. It will be your special holy place. Then, look for other times to get away as well.
"I want you to protect your hide-way now as a maiden, and even more when you are a grown woman. As you grow up, you'll understand why. Then, I think you should go take yourself out to lunch regularly, and maybe take some vacations all alone."
Now the Moon Goddess handed Helena a book, bound in fabric printed with pink a red roses. When Helena opened it, she saw that its pages were blank. The Goddess spoke again, "This is your Moontime Journal. Write about your hopes and dreams in it. Write down any night time dreams you have, too. It will help you to be true to your best self. And here are some more ideas: some of my girls save their moontime blood in a stone chalice. Others take the blood and pour it on their plants to help them grow. Think about it. It's precious." With that, the goddess vanished.
Years passed, and every month the Moon Goddess visited Helena, leaving her red mark. Sometimes she caught a glimpse of the goddess, but more often she didn't.
Often on a clear night, Helena gazed at the moon overhead and prayed silently her thanks for the changes in her life.
As she got to know the goddess, Helena learned that she had many moods. She could be unpredictable, sometimes slipping in early and unannounced. Other times she held off her visit days or even weeks, leaving Helena to wonder where she might be. Sometimes her visits were quiet, other times stormy and overwhelming. Sometimes Helena hurt so much that she wanted to holler at the goddess. Still, when she remembered to cherish her body and soul, the visits left a sweet memory.
In time, Helena found a mate and gave birth to her first child-a daughter she named Nacole. More children followed, and with each one Helena rejoiced in the power of her body to grow and change and produce new life. She rejoiced, too, in the power of her mind and heart to grow as her life changed.
She still wrote in her Moontime Journal. One time she made a list of some of the gifts the goddess had given her:
I am proud of my body, she wrote.
Nobody takes me for granted.
I know I have an important life to live.
I speak my mind.
Next year I will run in a marathon.
I never drink Slim-fast.
I buy myself silk underwear sometimes.
I take baths by candlelight while my husband watches the kids.
I never wear shoes that pinch.
I love all the roses she's left, and my plants are thriving.
The Moon Goddess continued her visits each moon cycle. Only when Helena carried a child in her womb or at her breast did the goddess fail to leave her mark of blood. Perhaps she knew that the child herself was proof enough of her presence. Helena rejoiced in the milk that flowed through her breasts-visible proof of the power of life in her.
More years passed and young Nacole was ready to meet the Moon Goddess. Like her mother before her, Helena gave Nacole her little glow-in-the-dark star and told her about the tall and beautiful goddess with the gleaming white robe and the voice like music. One night when Nacole was twelve, the Moon Goddess appeared in Helena's room. She was as beautiful as ever. "Helena, I have some more advice to you. Now that Nacole is a maiden, promise me that you will pass on to her your pride in womanhood. Let her find delight in her body, never shame. Help her cherish her life. Help her eat healthy foods and maybe run track and speak up at school and everywhere. Celebrate her intelligence and her talents.
"Let your daughter know that she has unique gifts for the world-ones that no one else can give. Can you promise me this?"
"How could you ever doubt me?" said Helena. "I've already bought her a Moontime Journal. We've made a womb-sculpture for our garden!"
"Well, here's a gift for you, my love." The Moon Goddess handed Helena a pearl necklace that shone white in the moonlight.
The next month, the Moon Goddess visited young Nacole. Like her mother before her, Helena celebrated the happy crossing over with a bunch of roses and a tea party. In the years that followed, mother and daughter often gave each other roses as a joyful reminder of the power they shared.
In time, the Moon Goddess's visits to Helena grew rare. She sensed that she was about to enter a new stage of her life, and she remembered again the excitement of being twelve years old and full of questions. One night the Moon Goddess appeared again, filling her bedroom with moonlight and her musical voice.
"My beloved Helena, after tonight, my visits will dwindle. It has been forty years. Together we have been through so much-we have become deep friends. I am proud of the life that has flowed from you. Now you are ready for the next level. Soon my dear sister, the Wisdom Goddess, will visit. Because you have become a wise woman, you will need no mark to know her presence. She will come again and again for the rest of your life, and through all that time life and wisdom will flow through you.
And so it happened that both Helena and her daughter Nacole lived to be beautiful, spirited, and happy old women. The goddesses stayed true to their promises, filling their households with peace and pleasure. Even in times of disappointment or sorrow-for they still had sorrows-both mother and daughter knew that the goddesses would return and heal all hurts.
When Helena passed out of the earthly world, full of wisdom and years, Nacole and her own daughter planted a rosebush on the grave.
and the beginning.
Excerpt from Moon Days - Creative Writings About Menstruation
This article is based on material found in MOON DAYS
Wise Woman books are available at www.herbalmedicinehealing.com
Paperback edited by Cassie Preemo Steele. 176 pp. Moon Days is a great collection of women's writings on menstruation.
Twenty-six writers explore the "silent" parts of women's lives; reawakening menstruation memories of embarrassment and shame and transforming them to wonder, excitement, and laughter.
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