The Spiritual Purpose of Menopause:
Sanctuary of Solitude
By Roslyne Sophia Breillat
Our civilisation does not acknowledge the rites of passage that welcome, nourish and support a woman throughout her transformational life cycles. In indigenous cultures women are nurtured throughout these important inner journeys that deepen the power of the female spirit. And each of these journeys is a preparation for the powerful transition of menopause.
Contemporary society thrives upon fear, repression and denial of inner darkness and stillness. It thrives upon suppression and control of feminine wisdom. And it strives ever onwards and outwards, never stopping for one moment to allow the exquisite awe of female mystery to speak its profound messages of love and truth.
Terrified of the one void of creation that lies deeply within every woman’s womb it creates every possible movement and distraction to pull her into a world that dishonours the sacred strength of her wise and gentle power.
In ancient civilisations, initiates entered the womb of The Mother through a series of underground paths, labyrinths or caverns cut deeply into the moist rich earth. Here, they experienced revitalisation, renewal and rebirth through fasting, rituals and meditation.
And so it is for the woman who is embarking upon her menopausal transformation. Unlike her journey of puberty where her forthcoming phase of life awakens through social interaction with her peers, she begins to crave an expansive quality of solitude, a primal connection with the earth and the Earth Mother within and without. Like the initiates of ancient mythology, life asks her to descend into the vastness of her underworld realm to fully experience the dawning of her wise ways, her wise words, her wise truth.
Her wisdom is not born of intellectual discussions and opinionated philosophies. For hers is the wisdom of love. She now craves a cavern of solitude, a womb space of quiet stillness and sacred presence where she can freely embrace the new changes that are flowing within her body and her psyche.
She now needs a space where she can live without inhibition, without rules, without constraints, without fear. For hers is a journey into freedom. This space welcomes her with open arms, with an open heart, for it reflects the holy space of power now dawning within her womb.
She prepares to enter the void of creation, as a bride prepares for her lover, as a mother prepares for birth. This void, this sacred place, source of impersonal love and wisdom, is timeless, profound, powerful, mysterious. Its silent presence is calling her, beckoning her, enticing her, seducing her into the deepest wellspring of her being.
She needs her own space now, somewhere to quietly and simply reflect and be. She is turning inward as never before, towards the vast realm of the Elder, Muse, Shaman, Queen and Crone. Deep wisdom and healing await her within the blessed essence of this ancient timeless place.
If she consciously embraces this inner descent she will be disrobed, unveiled, stripped of her familiar identity. She will stand naked before the clear and glowing reflection of her own faceless face of wisdom. Within the welcome darkness of this space she will find her shining light. But first she must be cleansed and purified of her inner debris, her illusions, her past. There is no place for excess baggage upon this journey into wisdom.
Many male doctors will tell her to take pills, to take artificial hormones. They tell her to keep busy. They tell her to go away. They tell her that she will”get over it” soon. They will try to keep her imprisoned within a stifling box of normalcy. For this keeps society “safe.” This gives the medical profession a false sense of power and authority over her body, and suppresses her sensual and intimate communion with the all-knowing power of her intuition, her womb, her wisdom.
They will not tell her what her being really needs to hear. They will not say, “Come now my love, it is time for you to seek your sanctuary of solitude. I love thee. Thou art power, love, transformation, freedom.” They will not say, “It is time for you to find a sacred space where your bare hands can dig in the earth. It is time for your heart and soul to drink deeply from the divine nectar of your golden chalice of truth. It is time for you to ride these turbulent waves of fire, of rebirth, of profound cellular change.”
They will not say, “Thou art the Alchemist. Thou art the Shaman. Thou art the Medicine Woman. Thou art preparing to awaken as the Goddess of Wisdom.”
And so, if she listens within, she seeks the preciousness of solitude. And so she seeks the lunar realm of the night’s mysteries. It is important that she creates as much simplicity in her daily life as possible, for the voice of the night crone will haunt her and call her powerfully, frequently, deeply. She will want to sleep. She will want this strange new experience to go away, to disappear. She will want to go back. She will wish for the illusion of a life without change. But if she longs for the power and freedom to live her full potential as a wise woman, for her there is no going back.
“Who am I?” She cries out to the night. “Who am I?” She cries out as she slips swiftly down inside her body, inside her skin. And she slips down as if a silken layer is being
stripped from her soul, as if a silken thread is drawing her choicelessly towards a tapestry of new beginnings. And a knowing voice from within is calling from the deep, “Let me show you who you are. I am the one who knows.”
If she does not resist this message she recognises this voice as the primordial calling of the one heart and one womb within every woman. And she slips tumultuously, her body shaken by thunder, shaken by a volcano, shaken by Kundalini power, Shakti power, Crone power, shaken by the passionate fire of her wise female spirit. For the world is being shaken out of her by the power of the earth.
And so she descends into the unknown and the unknowable territory of the wise wild woman, the great Ancient One who beckons her with love and courage, with the haunting whisperings of her dreams, with this innermost calling that she cannot refuse.
To fully embrace this calling, this timeless time, this darkness of the night, she needs the peaceful presence of solitude. This solitude that is such essential food for the menopausal woman is not a place of deprivation, loneliness or isolation. It is a place of inner richness, primal nurturing and powerful awakening into a deeper truth of femaleness. It is a dawning of a more loving place of wholeness, a gentled heart of holiness, a more blessed purpose to be lived upon this earth.
And if she dares to fearlessly melt ever deeper into this place of her womb consciousness, through layers of awe, of terror, of ignorance, of fear, she will call forth every man who has ever loved her and every man who has ever betrayed her. For such is the womb’s desire to be free. For such is the power of her menopausal pilgrimage. For such is the truth of life.
And in this deep place of healing a tiny seed will sprout. And this seed will flower into a deep presence of impersonal wisdom and a rightful honouring of her true place as woman of this earth. And from this place she embraces ever deeper the openness, surrender, trust and courage required for her mythical journey, her journey as emerging Elder Woman, Earth Mother, Wise Woman, Crone.
A time of newness awaits her, a time of many blessings, of great energy, great strength, great wisdom, great power where her newly integrated light will shine in her outer world. But first she must learn to shine for herself alone. And first she must fulfil her longing for solitude.
When the menopausal woman open-heartedly embraces this craving for solitude, for space, for being, for many moments immersed in Mother Nature’s sustenance, she will discover many things. She will discover that she is not who she thought she was or who society dictates her to be. If she remains softly and courageously open, she will discover that she is not her body, her chronological age, her feelings or her thoughts. If she continues to live from this place she will know wholeness. She will know holiness. She will know peace.
© 2008 Roslyne Sophia Breillat
Not to be reproduced without author’s permission
Sophia is a woman who lives writes and paints from the heart
Website ~ www.wildheartwisdom.com
Email ~ firstname.lastname@example.org