The Feminine Power of Transformation-
Blessing 'The Curse'
by Michelle Royce
author of Moon
Rites a feminine path to personal power
For the last few centuries, women were taught to believe that menstruation and most of it’s associated experiences such as birth, breastfeeding and menopause are part of a ‘curse’. Thankfully we are now beginning to realize that this attitude is outdated, harmful and no longer necessary in our lives. We have the power to transform this belief by making the conscious choice to honour ourselves and our experiences rather than supress and ignore them.
There are many ways to support the body physically on it’s feminine journey, from proper nutrition, to the use of herb teas and vinegars, essential oils, yoga and belly dancing. There are many ‘old wives’ remedies too that are not widely known today, for example, some women swear that exposing themselves to the light of the full moon returns an irregular cycle to normal. This was once an accepted practice, giving rise no doubt to many tales of “witches” and wild orgies at the full moon. I have actually tried this one, and believe it or not, it works! The ‘scientific’ explanation for its potency is that moonlight affects the pineal gland, which in turn regulates the rest of the hormonal system.
Mentally and spiritually, the best thing you can do is begin to accept and familiarise yourself with your cycle. Performing rituals can help, as can noting down your dreams and feelings throughout the month.
Personally, although I once went through a week of pure hell before menstruation each month, I now look on this week as a time of power. I accept the signals that my body is sending me and try to work with them, and I find that I rarely have ‘pain’ anymore. What I do experience now is firstly, irritation. But instead of taking drugs, screaming at everyone within reach, gorging on chocolate or just ignoring it, I take this as the sign that it’s time for me to ‘clear the decks’ so to speak, for some time to listen to myself. I tell my kids that I’m not in the mood for chatting, to just let me be silent and think. They have learned that this is nothing personal, that I still love them dearly, but that I need this time to myself. (My husband has known this for a long time!)
I take essential oil baths occasionally, and listen to music a lot. I like to be out in the garden. I also experience an occasional ache across the uterus area, or a little back pain. Sometimes I retain fluid, sometimes not. Sometimes I have a frenzied urge to work, either physically or mentally, sometimes I just want to sit.
The next thing that happens for me on beginning to menstruate is a sense of being ‘floated’ through the next few days. I dream very vividly, I feel very connected to the Goddess energy and am often inspired to create ritual at this time. All this occurs while I’m still going about my daily business, although I must say I often try to schedule less while I’m menstruating if possible. It all seems to happen on another level, like a ‘split screen’ at the movies where you see one thing happening simultaneously with another. What makes the big difference is my awareness and acceptance of this situation. It was once hopelessly confusing, annoying and frustrating to have two things going on at once, causing me to be irritated, frustrated, cry, and resist the experience for all I was worth.
Now, I actually look forward to this time. It’s like a little holiday in another world, my own secret world where I have a best friend telling me secrets and showing me things I don’t have time to think of during the rest of the month. And, as my mental attitude has changed, my former emotional and physical PMS symptoms have vanished. Of course, I still make use of herbs, essential oils and most of the other alternative therapies discussed in "Moon Rites" to support my body mind and spirit. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t enjoy a wonderful aromatherapy bath, PMS or not? But I use them to support my experience, not to remove it.
It’s time to begin looking at menstruation as a cyclic opportunity for rest, renewal and purification and menopause as a time for coming into our Female Wisdom instead of something to be resisted, ignored and/or suppressed. If this attitude becomes the standard, (and we are the ones who can change it,) we may just find that the ‘curse’ has become a ‘blessing’ after all.
RITUALS FOR WOMEN OF ANY AGE TO TRANSFORM
THE "CURSE" TO A BLESSING.
There are three rituals here- although I have placed them in the categories of "New Moon Goddess-(Maiden)" "Full Moon Goddesss(Mother)" and "Wise Moon Goddess(Crone or Wisewoman )" it's best if you read through them and decide which one is most applicable for your own personal use.
NEW MOON GODDESS-
Take note of when your menstruation begins. In the week before you begin to menstruate, write down how you feel, mentally, physically and spiritually. Take note of your dreams and ideas.
THE RITUAL- To welcome your Moonblood.
You will need- A rosy pink coloured candle. A pink cloth. If you can obtain them, rose petals are nice to sprinkle on the cloth.
Each evening in the week prior to your moonflow light the candle which you have placed in a holder on the centre of the cloth. You may or may not wish to prepare your sacred space, but for this ritual it’s not strictly necessary.
Gaze at the candle flame. Feel the golden flame send warmth through your body. Feel it in your womb and pelvic area. Feel the area become warmer and see the light change to rosy pink. Close your eyes for a few minutes and meditate on the rosy pink warmth. Breathe deeply and smile.
Rub your belly and say, “You are welcome. I am listening. I am blessed. ” Just stay like this for a few moments, then either blow or snuff the candle. If you can, treat yourself to an essential oil bath or shower after this ritual. (Lavender is nice, soothing but refreshing. Place a couple of drops in the bath, or on a face washer that you then put on the floor of the shower to release its aromatic properties in the steam.)
FULL MOON GODDESS-
By the time we reach the Full Moon Goddess stage of life we usually have jobs, and/or children and families. We have also usually experienced some years of our menstrual journey. If we have never been informed about the mental and spiritual aspects of our moon cycles we may find that there are years of pent-up, repressed feeling that we are holding inside our bodies that have never been acknowledged.
For example, on a physical level our bodies are experiencing the death of an egg and the release of hormones that cause degeneration of the lining of the uterine wall. Symbolically, this can translate to the death or suppression of any unfulfilled dreams, goals or desires we may have, giving rise to frustration and anger. Often we can’t even imagine why we are angry or upset, which just makes things worse, since in our society we are trained to believe that we must be ‘reasonable’ at all times. The connection between our inner and outer experiences is the ‘reason’ why such feelings rise to the surface at this particular time, and why this ritual can be helpful to acknowledge and release these feelings, allowing us then to move on and see pre-menstrum as a welcome preparation time for the bleeding to come. It can also help in gaining a clear idea about what is really important to us on a soul level so that instead of regretting unfulfilled potential we can begin to fulfil it!
THE RITUAL- To Acknowledge Your Wishes.
You will need- A white candle. Rose incense or oil in an oil burner. Pen and paper. A Flameproof container for burning the paper.
Prepare your sacred space. Light your candle and your incense. Sit for a few moments and breathe, allowing yourself to feel your body and whatever aches and pains you are experiencing. Start from your feet and move all over your body, feeling each part and allowing any pains to be acknowledged. If you need to cry, or groan, or punch a pillow, go ahead.
When you are ready, take your pen and paper and begin a list with the words “I wish”. Any kind of wish is fine; for example – “I wish I didn’t have to make dinner”
“I wish I’d gone to University”;“I wish I had a million dollars.” “I wish I had more time to.. ( paint ,garden, dance, exercise)”
Sometimes you will find that you have a wish list, and sometimes it’s a list of complaints! It all depends on how you feel at the time. When you are finished, fold the paper in three sections. Set fire to the corner and watch it burn in your safe container.
" These are my feelings and wishes.
By the power of blood, I hear and I see them.
By the power of fire, I release them.
By the power of the Living Goddess, I ask that they be transformed into what I need and returned.
I am listening. I am blessed.”
Sit quietly and focus on the candle. When you are ready, blow or snuff the candle, ground your energy and open your sacred space.Take note of any insights or ideas or dreams that come to you during the week before your moonflow. See if you can choose one thing you really want to do that will make you feel happy and do it, or begin to work towards it.
WISE MOON GODDESS-
One problem experienced by many women who are now menopausal or have been Wise Women for some time is that they have been brought up to see menstruation as a “curse.” When it ceases therefore, they feel that should be glad and relieved. However, partly due to the youth obsession within our culture and partly due to the fact that there are no acknowledged rites of passage that allow the expression of feelings surrounding the change from Full Moon Goddess to Dark Moon Goddess, many women feel cheated and bereft when they stop bleeding without realising why.
In the same way that our society views menarche as the end of childhood but gives us nothing to replace it, menopause is looked on as the end of fertility. This ending is seen as a bad thing, which leaves a woman barren and useless, instead of BEING HONOURED as the beginning of a new phase of life without the responsibilities associated with the bearing of children but with the wisdom and power that comes with experience. Although there is a full rite of passage suggestion for Wise Moon Goddesses in " Moon Rites" that can be undertaken at any time, even if you have been a Wise Woman for quite a while, here is a little one you may like to observe each month for as long as you feel you need it.
The ritual is essentially an opportunity to re-experience some your menstrual journey, to mourn its departure and then to welcome your wise years. In this way you still have the chance to befriend your cycle and learn to treasure it, before bidding it’s external appearance goodbye and hold your wisdom inside you. When you feel that you have moved on from needing this ritual, you may like to replace it with a self- love, or self- honouring rite as detailed elsewhere in "Moon Rites".
THE RITUAL- To Remember Your Moon Time.
You Will Need- A red candle. A fireproof container. A piece of paper and a pen.
Frankincense incense or oil burning in an oil burner. (Note- frankincense is a strong purifier and is associated with the Wisewoman.)
Prepare your sacred space. Light your incense or have the oil burner burning. Sit for a moment and breathe deeply. Light the red candle. Gaze at the flame for a few moments, then close your eyes. You should be able to see the after-image on the back of your eyelids. As in the other rituals, try and visualise the golden warmth spreading throughout your body. In particular, visualise the warmth in your womb area. See the gold turn to red, deep warm pulsing red, then let it return to gold. Do this for as long as you need to feel safe and grounded.
When you are ready, try and remember any details you can about your menstrual experiences, good, bad and ugly. Try to feel the feelings, any aches and pains, re-live any insights and remember dreams, whatever you wish. If you need to cry, or laugh, make sure you do. Write down key words for these experiences on your paper.
You can actually do this part of the ritual in more than one session if you prefer, or alternatively, repeat the ritual as many times in its entirety as you need to. If you feel that you are not ready to release your feelings at the time of writing but need more time to think and meditate on them, fold the paper into three sections and keep it in a safe place until the same lunar phase next month. I don’t advise keeping it longer than that, however, as the aim of this rite is to move on with one’s life.
Note - If you feel you have nothing you want to remember, try imagining your experience the way you would have wanted it to be.
When you are ready to release your menstrual experiences light the paper from the candle and place it in the fireproof dish.
Repeat the following:
“ These are my feelings and memories.
By the power of blood, I remember them.
By the power of fire, I release them.
By the power of the Living Goddess, the Wisewoman, the Grandmother, I ask that they be transformed into what I need and returned.
I let go of the past, and move forward into my future as Crone with power and love.
I am listening. I am blessed.”