Category Archives: Guestposts

Crossing the Womb to Birth Threshold

This is an extract from Gail Burkett’s new book, Soul Stories: Nine Passages of Initiation, a guidebook, a gentle companion for your pilgrimage through life’s many stages using meaningful ritual. If you choose, your experience will culminate in an initiation to yourself.

Gail invites you to join her for a New Moon women’s call.

“I have planned 13 Moons and feel deeply committed to bringing women together around Rites of Passage on each New Moon. September 12, 10 A.M. Pacific Time, PDT.

For my teaching on this call, I will describe the developmental spiral from birth and talk about each passage, showing how a life is built through relationships, events, books, seasons, all kinds of things shape each one of us. Together we can learn to see the catalysts of change that serves as our special marker, a threshold past to be reclaimed.” www.ninepassages.com

ninepassages

Begin here in the Soul place before your Birth. Focus on your story of origin, your Soul story. Consider the time in history and your ancestry; meditate on this view and access your reason for being. Why did your Soul come to Earth when it did? For you as the initiate, this liminal time connects your spirit trail back through your lineage. As your own storyteller, you will gain a spiritual understanding of how the past shapes the present and the future. Remembering these pieces of your Soul story now fulfills a longing of your whole life. Everyone begins inside our Mother’s womb.

Design a ceremony using the same ritual elements your Ancestors used—fire, water, earth, and air. Sit as quietly as possible for a few moments and go inside with your thoughts and feelings. On Earth where gravity rules, all we know is time. This pilgrimage will help you identify gifts that came in with your Soul.

May I suggest something otherworldly? Use your imagination to enter the womb, float around at the end of an umbilical cord in the liquid bubble of the womb. Imagine floating with the Womb of the Universe. I actually mean to return your imagination to your Mother’s womb. Claim a rebirth platform to remember your Soul story. Create an exalted connection with the storyline running when your conception was announced. What story did your parents create just before you came to be? How did neonatal care prepare for your Birth? You were needed and expected here on Earth. Soon you will know why.

Call forth your imagination; enter your wee oceanic body in your Mother’s womb. You spent eight or nine months in the ocean Soul Stories of your Mother’s womb, so spend time this month to call forth the intentions and instructions of your Soul. Go inside this warm and spacious ocean preceding your first threshold. Begin to know yourself as the sperm meets the egg. Somehow you became the intersection of your Father and your Mother.

Consider what gifts came through the environment of living with these two people. Other gifts came to you from this womb journey, gifts that were yours alone, gifts of your Soul. At some point your mind-body-spirit met your Soul, perhaps at Birth, perhaps before. This womb-time directs your Soul’s journey. Spend some time here and decide for yourself, what do you believe? How are Birth and Death related? Engage your heart-mind, dance like you were in the womb. Play ocean music. Every visual image you receive during this first month will ease all the rest of your journey. I advise releasing your right brain to the fine act of creating art!

Take time to breathe lots of air, very slowly. Use this time to learn how to quiet all the way down. Take long, warm baths, return to the womb in your mind. Review your developing body. Find the place of gratitude for your toenails, for your pancreas and liver and spleen, do some visual work for the miracle of your blood. While you are inside your Momma’s womb, imagine her as an egg inside of your Grandmother’s womb. That, in fact, is where we all begin.

Remember this is no exaggeration, every one of your Mother’s eggs, 400 or so, came through your Grandmother’s womb first. We are miracles inside of miracles inside of miracles and need quiet time to honor ourselves.

Questions for your quest. To inspire your timed writing and help return your focus to this Divine mystery, listen to what Coyote asks:

  • What story was already running outside the wombspace where you were born? While you did acrobatics at the end of your umbilical cord, what was the mood?
  • What were the circumstances in your family of origin?
  • What story do you know? Before you were born, did you come with an agreement about this lifetime on Earth? This womb-time spent in review is a perfect opportunity to challenge yourself to discover what you believe.
  • Do your beliefs mirror your parents’?
  • How did you form your beliefs?
  • Did you agree to be here for a certain number of years and learn certain lessons?
  • What state-of-the-world story can you piece together while you were inside that warm, wet womb space?
  • When you were born was there any agreement about when or how you would die?

See how many perspectives you can entertain.

It’s important that you know what you believe for your origin story; Birth and Death have a relationship. Death walks with us through life and must be welcomed as a Soul choice, like Birth.

Allow your cosmic consciousness to awaken to these questions. If you are open and curious, your beliefs will be revealed. Ask your own questions and share a sketch of your beliefs with your sacred circle. Can you speak your origin story to your Soul Sisters? I experience joy and humility when I consider my origin story. What do you experience?

The whole design of our human experience is free will. Why would your Soul choose your Mother? Why did your Mother choose your Father to be her mate? How did all of that happen anyway, what chemicals were racing freely through the world? Testosterone, estradiol, what part do you understand? We are truly much more than miracles.

I want to introduce Soul as energy of the Divine, the Source energy. While you are still in your womb-space consider the concept of your Soul as the bringer of gifts from the Source, does this fit in your belief system? Take this opportunity to understand how Soul fits into your personal cosmology. If terms like past life, rebirth, life after life, or life between life, offer clues, solidify these beliefs also. When you step up to the Birth threshold, you will know what you see coming.

Starting in the womb-space before Birth provides time and opportunity to preview the agreements between your parents as they cradled you. How did they prepare to receive your gifts and hold them safe for you? Parents are only one of our Soul’s agreement; some of us have siblings who have been the closest confidants because of common origins. From the Cosmos your Soul agreed to also walk with your biological body and bring your cosmic mind into consciousness. Your cosmic consciousness wraps around mind-body-spirit at the peak moment of your Birth and then all that stardust seems to fold in on itself. Ask your sparkly cosmic consciousness to open beyond a rose bud to reveal more beautiful petals.

Consider why Soul is less talked about than other earthly experiences of human beings; we rarely share intimate meditations. If you begin a meditation practice just for this pilgrimage to review your life, more will be revealed and you will have an interesting perspective to share. Perhaps you could agree to an email drop to your circle of Soul Sisters and Mentors. Sharing your immersion will likely expand the vistas for every witness.

This time may be approached from many angles, try asking, what needs healing? Did you choose this warm and welcoming environment? Can you tell the story of why you made the choice of parents, of geography, and so many other details? What essential part of yourself came from your Father and what came from your Mother? For tender-hearts from divorced families, do you see and feel the difference between nurture and Nature? How can this reflective point of view expand your healing?

On the national and global historical timeline surrounding your Birth, what happened? Be curious. Wikipedia will help answer this curiosity for your origin story. Go there and plug in a date, like your birth year or conception year.

Your intuition is the best guide for this approach to review for healing. Remember you came with a purpose. Listening to your intuitive mind that delivers messages in subtle and complex ways will connect you to Source. Perhaps your purpose is already fulfilled or perhaps this pilgrimage will reveal the reason long known to your Soul-self. Look around to your friends now, how were their lives affected by history’s timeline?

The emotions stirred by questions, mine and those you ask yourself, become clues to follow and journal about because the origin of your joy or pain lies somewhere in those emotions, not necessarily in plain view. While you have your mind in the womb-space, your biological creation brings a renewed appreciation for your body as a remarkable miracle. It brings into stark focus the need to think about your Soul.

If I asked you to please write a sweet letter to your Mother, do you jump at the chance or cringe? Nearly everyone has some kind of mommy-wound. Your personal experience may be well reasoned and understood or the consideration begins here while you’re in reflection with her bulbous womb that became you. Your thoughts and feelings may fly back to this neonatal or postnatal birth time. Somehow mommy didn’t attend quite perfectly. My Mother didn’t nurse me, so at some point I decided she didn’t love me enough.

Here and now is where forgiveness rises in me and flows out. Each one of us has our own definition of perfection for Mother. Without her perfect attention, we decide our Mother has abandoned us. This dance of attention and abandonment is reinforced each time you felt alone or did not have your needs met, perfectly. This rock and a hard spot is an old story for Mothers without many Aunties around. I let Mothers off the hook for this unfortunate cultural wounding wheel this way, as daughters we must realize we cannot know all the facts.

Write, dance, share and share more to heal those wounds for this reason if for no other: Culture has been far too hard on women; we bear so much unnecessary stress. This guilt and shame can be healed here and wherever it surfaces again. In Endnotes you will find Brené Brown, an authority on the topic of shame and vulnerability, how to recognize it, and what to do about it.

Perhaps it all started when Mother divided her focus while you were still an infant. Half of her attention went somewhere away from you and you couldn’t get it back. This wounding is natural, we all have it because we made mommy our only focus. She focused on baby for much of your deep dependence and then returned to herself. This is true for more than half of all mommy-wounds. What were your specific details?

Before your Birth threshold, while in the wet and warm womb space, you will be opened by my suggestions. Take what is useful and leave the rest. Please get comfortable with your routine as you flex and stretch to accommodate your new ritual habits. Write about everything in your heart and mind, write about your Ancestors who beckoned you to return to a body to complete your lessons. Then write about your parents, your siblings, and your earthly grandparents. Perhaps you hovered over the scene with your spirit guide. Once or twice each month, strengthen your circle with a call or a meeting. Your Soul circle needs you and you need them.

Be willing to examine your inner realm, to heal and grow. Be willing to listen to your intuition as the Divine Feminine, the Source, or perhaps the voice of God of your understanding.

How you do what you do deepens this experience your way and leads straight to the drumroll—the Birth Passage which marked your emergence into the Earth plane and the whole of your life? The first and most dramatic of all of the Passages happens when your Soul meets your body.

gailburkettGail Burkett, PhD, author of Soul Stories, and Gifts from the Elders.

www.ninepassages.com
https://www.facebook.com/authorgailburkett

 

 

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For My Teenage Daughter

When my daughter comes back from school and tells me everyone is calling her a drama queen because she stands up for her right to be treated with respect, I cringe and die a little inside.

When she slams her bedroom door and I go in to listen and comfort her and she tells me boys wonder how much she costs in bed, I cringe and die a little inside.

When she is angry at the injustice of being a woman even in this day and age because she feels she isn’t valued as much as boys, I cringe and die a little inside.

When she is told to calm down, sit pretty, be quiet, behave because she’s a girl, I cringe and die a little inside.

BUT when my beautiful daughter stands up to the ones who bring her down because of jealousy and hate and she is able to keep going and keep reaching higher and higher, I smile and I shine from the inside.

And when my shy daughter asks me for her own Menarche Ceremony in order to bless and acknowledge her becoming a woman, I smile and I shine from the inside.

And when my strong daughter shows amazing empathy for causes that are dear to her heart and she isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in, I smile and I shine from the inside.

And when my proud daughter dresses as she likes and wears what she wants and isn’t influenced by others and refuses to conform, I laugh with glee and tell her she can, most definitely, without a doubt, do what SHE wants!

How I wish I could take away the pain of growing up, the occasional anguish of being a girl. How I wish I could carry you far, far away from the negative experiences of growing up. I sometimes dream of a meadow, of us laying in the flowers and the scented swaying grasses, just you and I, safe, sheltered, protected from the harshness of this life. I cannot do such things, and so I rest in the comfort that I, my dear daughter, I have taught you well.

This life will bring you immense joy, and yes, sometimes immense pain, but I know that you can and will remember. Remember to look within, remember to search deep down for your truth, remember, dear daughter, that you come from a long long line of women, and we call you One of Us. You, my dear one, are WOMAN, and you are precious beyond words.”

10682113_10154618189730096_2124383018_nGenevieve Losier is a stay at home mama of three who has also been working closely with women and girls in the last 10 years, having successfully built her brand of organic designer cloth pads and advocating the whys of choosing cloth for both their babies and themselves.  She also is extremely passionate about herbalism, connecting to women through the Red Tent, and advocating women’s rights.  Her own connection to our beautiful earth and the nature that surrounds her pushes her forward with intent.  Genevieve is building her knowledge of healing herbs and is excited about offering wild harvested and healing products to others so they too can make a conscious choice on what they put on and in their bodies.  Her goal is to promote and help heal women as well as our Mother Earth with healing medicines, and supporting other women in their quest for a better Earth.  You can find her at;

www.facebook.com/theclothcanoe

theclothcanoe@gmail.com

 

The Red Tent has a history, but what is it?

Women often ask these questions when they discover red tents.

  • Was there a Red Tent in history?
  • Why do women need Red Tents?
  • There’s a Red Tent movement, where?
  • How am I a part of it?

Learn the surprising history of the Red tent. A new eBook & Audiobook titled “The Red Tent Movement: A Historical Perspective” by Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, PhD and ALisa Starkweather.

ebook-cover(new-subtitle)

An excerpt from the eBook:

There are thousands of women across the globe who are bringing forth their gifts as Red Tent leaders in their communities. Women who are standing in their power are essential to shifting present paradigms; these pioneers are a balm to an ailing world. But after years of oppression, how do women rise up out of trauma to remember the beauty that lives at one’s core? How do we strip away that which prevents us from rising as wise female leaders? This reclamation work is what many are a part of because when we find our voices, our inspired action, and our needed vision then we stand a better chance at creating a world we can thrive in. And it is with this spirit that the Red Tent movement has flourished as a global phenomenon.

Most women have heard of the Red Tent because they read the book. The Red Tent was novel by Anita Diamant, published in 1997 that gave us a story of women who come together in a menstrual hut, known as the Red Tent. In the story, Diamant retells the biblical rape story of Dinah. “The Rape of Dinah” (Genesis, chapter 34) was recounted not by Dinah, but by her brothers. Diamant provided a fictional feminist retelling of the tale, giving Dinah her own voice. The book is presented through Dinah’s eyes and those of the women around her. The story showed us how the women raised young daughters who were taught the secrets held for women by women through initiation, stories, and relationships. For many, the story resonated deeply and caused us to question if there was a place like this in our society.

The Red Tent novel originally did not have a great impact on women’s lives. This began to change when the author herself initiated a word-of-mouth campaign by giving copies away to Rabbis, female Christian leaders, and independent booksellers. This approach proved successful, and by 2002 The Red Tent had become a New York Times bestseller and a publishing phenomenon. The book has since been published in twenty-five countries and translated into twenty languages.

Following the success of the book, Diamant’s number one question from her readers was whether or not the Red Tent ever existed. Here is her quoted response from her website:

It’s important to note that I have never claimed that the women of the Bible actually used a menstrual hut; there is no historical evidence to support such a claim. However, since there have been menstrual tents and huts throughout the pre-modern world, it seemed historically plausible to give them one. The importance of the tent developed in the process of writing, but the idea of making it a place of community, rest, and celebration predates [the book]. Some years prior to starting the book, I heard a lecture by a Jewish writer…who suggested rethinking a biblical law that required separation of a woman from the community for 60 days after the birth of a girl compared to 30 days after the birth of a boy…. This could be seen as a reflection of the notion that girl babies made mothers more “unclean” than boys. The lecturer asked us to consider a different theory, which was far more interesting to me. Perhaps, he said, this was an acknowledgment that giving birth to a birth-giver was a more sacred, a more powerful experience. The extra month could be seen not as a punishment, but as a reward.[i]

Menstrual hut and moon lodge traditions show us that the Red Tent has a history: The idea of a separate women’s space or menstrual hut is not a new idea. Anita Diamant claims that the Red Tent in her book was fictionalized, but is rooted in research from Africa. Menstrual hut and moon lodge traditions shape women’s understanding of the Red Tent as a women’s power space. There are menstrual hut and moon lodge traditions all over the world that date back to 800 C.E and in some places are still practiced today. These spaces offer a unique view of the Red Tent, but do they reinforce or contradict patriarchal oppression?

To READ MORE or for an audio sample of this excerpt or to purchase the eBook/audiobook visit: http://www.redtentmovie.com/audio-book.html

 Guest post by Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, PhD and ALisa Starkweather

About the Authors:

Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, PhD is trained as a both a filmmaker, a textile historian, and a feminist folklorist. She holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and a Masters and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She wants to create world where women believe they can accomplish anything and where they have the courage to change the world. She creates multi-media (films, videos, websites, and other designs) to inspire YOU and improve your life! She believes in creating a world that promotes cooperation rather than competition and believes in the value of sisterhood and women’s community. She has a deep love of textile traditions, which is why she has made 13 documentary films about women & fabric. Her award-winning, internationally known red tent movie “Things We Don’t Talk About,” has been keeping her very busy doing hundreds and hundreds of screenings & facilitating life-changing women’s events. www.redtentmovie.com

ALisa Starkweather is the founder of the Red Tent Temple Movement, Daughters of the Earth Gatherings, Women in Power initiations, Priestess Path women’s mystery school, the online Fierce Feminine Life series, and the Women’s Belly and Womb Conference. ALisa is also in the award winning anthology, Women, Spirituality and Transformative Leadership; Where Grace Meets Power. She has been facilitating women’s empowerment for three decades of her life. www.alisastarkweather.com

This article may not be re-published without permission from the authors. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

[i] Diamant, Anita. Website. Accessed Sunday November 1, 2009.

http://anitadiamant.com/?page_id=320

What if I Said YES to the Moon?

earthing

What if I said yes to the moon?

What if I let my calendar mind fall quiet and forget

Let that incessant load of lists get parked

Over there,

by the side of the road

That I used to follow

when I thought I knew who I was

when I thought I knew what I was.

What if I fell still enough to hear the tides

The ones that rise and fall me

The ones that deeply inform me

The ones that guide and nourish me

That teach me who I am

When I let myself soften enough

To be carried inside

Carried and watered by the nature that lives me

When I do, will it show when you see me?

When I step out of time, out of line

Back into the full circle

of womankind?

Back into the river of life

That shows me who I am

So that now, I make sense to myself

So that now, I reclaim myself

And so it is

Rediscovered as woman

Amazed, inspired and captivated

Infused by that deeper flow that knows

Making sense to myself as the seasons unfold

I am home

Home on the inside in a life that is mine

Home in a mystery that makes sense to my soul

Back, on the throne of woman

~Clare Dakin, TreeSisters Founder

TreeSisters is launching explore our radical and revelatory new five week on-line course for women: Earthing The Moon – Reclaiming the Inner Gateways of Feminine Potency, Creativity, Sexuality and Spirituality

www.EarthingTheMoon.com

There are teachings that are the birthright of every woman alive.

Teachings that can reveal us to ourselves – that can replace ignorance with reverence, shame with self respect and pain with healing – teachings that can guide us into relationship with our bodies and wombs as the most profound spiritual teachers that we could ever know or need.

Radical? Yes. Gloriously radical – life changing and fundamentally feminine. Inside us we house a gateway to creation that is also a path back to ourselves.

The Power of a Birth Partner

This beautiful guest post on the importance of supportive birth partners is an extract from Birth, Breath and Death by Amy Glenn Wright. I LOVE this woman’s writing… as does Ina May Gaskin!

“Amy Wright Glenn has written a remarkable book that I found very touching, reading it as I did when I was caring for my husband during the last weeks of his life. Because she’s such a brave soul, I very much enjoyed her company as I journeyed deeper into that territory that had to be traveled.”
Ina May Gaskin, midwife and author of Spiritual Midwifery and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

When she was six months pregnant, my younger sister Rachel faced a painful marital separation. It proved too much for her to bear alone. She needed calm, security, friendship, and loving support. So did her soon-to-be-born daughter. My husband Clark and I opened our home and welcomed her with joy. She lived with us during the final trimester of her pregnancy, the birth, and the postpartum recovery.

Before she arrived, she called me. “Amy, will you be my birth partner?” she asked. I said yes. It was an answer that would change my life.
I projected confidence yet inside I felt nervous, hesitant, and out of place. Although I could outline the basic philosophies of various world religions, I knew next to nothing about childbirth. How could I support her through this rite of passage into motherhood?

While checking out a few books on birthing, I shared these fears with the librarian. “Have you considered hiring a doula?” she inquired. I never heard this word before. Gratefully, she took a break from her work to educate me about the services that doulas provide birthing women.
I wanted to hire a doula for Rachel. Later that afternoon, I met up with her and enthusiastically shared my new discovery.

She laughed and said, “Amy, I don’t need a doula. I have you!” I paused. “Well, I need a doula.” So, she humored me. We hired a doula. Rachel’s midwife fully supported us in bringing a doula on board. We found a wonderful woman, full of passion for her work. As a former opera singer, she sang like an angel. Her calming and beautiful melodies brought a great deal of peace to the early hours of labor.

When Rachel knocked on our bedroom door at 5:30 am on a late March morning, I bolted upright. My beloved niece was soon to be born. Knowing our doula would arrive at our request brought tremendous relief and calmed any lingering trepidation. I wouldn’t be alone in supporting Rachel through the trials ahead. Our doula joined us for the vast majority of Rachel’s twenty-four-hour labor. Her helpful, kind, and informed presence proved invaluable.

Rachel quickly morphed into the bravest person I knew. Wonder and pain mixed into a strong elixir coursing through my sister’s beautiful body. We spent hours walking through the springtime fields behind our home. She labored in the upstairs tub as water washes over her rhythmic contractions. At the hospital, she moaned and rocked and said she felt agonizing pressure. She cried and bled. I massaged her body as she mercifully rested during the five-minute respites between contractions. These respites are nature’s wise gift to birthing women.

At one point as Rachel rested between pushing, our midwife turned to me and said, “You’d be a good doula.” Her words fell into the fertile soil of soon-to-manifest dreams.

Then Rachel’s cervix opened fully and the downward pressure compelled action. While pushing, she compressed every bone in my hand. I didn’t dare say anything given what was happening to her vagina. The baby crowned. Then, with a hearty push, new life slipped out of Rachel’s watery, warm womb. A threshold opened, and my sister gave birth.

The energy in the room shifted with celebratory grace and tearful smiles. We welcomed this precious one to the earthly realm of gravity, air, and land.

“A woman’s body knows what to do,” our midwife stated in the most matter-of- fact way.
Following Rachel’s birth experience, I devoted myself to doula training.

Aztec elders taught that women who died in childbirth go to the same level of paradise as men who died in battle. After attending over forty births, I fully understood why. Men die in battle from intense wounds. They bleed as they sacrifice for a greater cause. The same holds true for women who die in childbirth. They bleed as they open to life. The juxtaposition of beauty and pain in each birth astounds me. Each story lives in me.

 amyAmy Wright Glenn earned her MA in Religion and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She taught for eleven years in The Religion and Philosophy Department at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey earning the Dunbar Abston Jr. Chair for Teaching Excellence.

Amy is a Kripalu Yoga teacher, prenatal yoga teacher, (CD)DONA birth doula, and hospital chaplain. She is the voice for “Motherhood, Spirituality, and Religion” for Philly.com and blogs for Attachment Parenting International, Doula Trainings International, and The Birthing Site.

Amy is a regular columnist for Holistic Parenting Magazine and recently published her first book: Birth, Breath, and Death: Meditations on Motherhood, Chaplaincy, and Life as a Doula. Amy teaches private meditation classes via Skype to students across the United States. She also teaches prenatal yoga classes, Mommy and Me Yoga classes, and Breath and Movement Birth Preparation workshops in south Florida. To learn more: www.birthbreathanddeath.com

@amywrightglenn

https://www.facebook.com/AmyWrightGlenn

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Birth, Breath, and Death is available on Kindle and in print via Amazon. Click the book to go straight through to its Amazon page.

 

 

Memory Box

Loretta joined us at the East Cork Red Tent in June and spoke incredibly movingly about a poem she was writing. A poem about memory and forgiveness, about the line of pain and healing which passes down from mother to daughter, and its location in our wombs. I immediately asked her if I could see it for The Happy Womb, and am so honoured that she has allowed me to share it with you here as a guest post.

Memory Box

I am kneeling in my Grandmother’s kitchen
Slippery smells of iron and blood
Hang
Clotting in the air
Wearing my childbirth apron,
I gently unfurl my wounded inheritance
Poultice applications and salves of love
and forgiveness
Ready to apply.

I unstitch my foot soles, two flapping footprints
Examining the roads and trails these
Sentient beings have taken
Each labyrinth a path and player
In my identity.

I pop my corneas and holding each up to the light,
I peer through these misted lenses
These look outs which have captured all that myself
And my grandmothers have seen, watched and
Looked away from.

I scrub my tongue, lengthways and widthways,
Scouring at the sounds, roars and attempts to be heard
Embedded on it
All that we have spoken and hushed and cried and howled
I slice my belly open and reaching in
I touch my womb, pulsating and piping hot
In my cradling hands
Our womb, which has drawn down life and death
In dark bogs and air conditioned rooms
I run warm water through it, better examining the
Cemented imprints of coiled foetuses and smudged
Out souls, I cry for my grandmothers
For their children and mine.

I am resolute in my demand
That the pain stops here
I pray for healing in
The cleaning of this
Old memory Box.

**************

lorettaLoretta Kennedy is a freelance writer and advocate who lives in Cork with her partner and children.

Her poetry has appeared in magazines such as ‘The Stinging Fly’, ‘The Burning Bush’, ‘The Cuirt Journal’
and the poetry anthology ‘Jacobs Ladder’ (Six Gallery Press).Her parenting articles have appeared
in magazines such as ‘Juno’ and ‘Easy Parenting’.

She has worked as a stage manager, a magazine
editor, a nurse and an advocate and now primarily as a mother to three wild girls. She is currently
training as a birth doula.

Your Receptive Time: what it is…and why it is valuable

This is a guestpost by Barbara Hanneloré, founder of Women’s Way Moon Cycles.

Recently I was asked why I referred to the menstrual time of the month as being “receptive,” when it is, physically, a release of a flow outward. The woman said she would not think of that time as being receptive, and of course I could understand her point.

Why is menstruation considered a “receptive” time?

A receptive time of month is when we are more sensitive to impressions and more inwardly focused, which is what happens around the time of menstruation for most women. This is an energetic quality, more than a physical one. Menstruation is our “inner time,” energetically, when we turn toward ourselves and focus on our own feelings and needs.

This offers us a necessary and healing balance to all those other times of the month when we are most likely to be extending ourselves outward and focusing on other people!

When we think of our cycle as having “phases” throughout the month, like the moon or seasons, we can begin to appreciate these different qualities, and use them to our advantage.

“My cycle makes so much more sense, now that I understand what is happening all month long!” Renee, Realtor, TX

Generally, the time around ovulation is considered to be a “radiant” time of the month for a woman, like full moon or summer; our energy expands outward into social activity, projects and conversations. We are fully engaged with our community.

The balance to this outer focus is that the “light” then wanes as menstruation approaches – we enter a different phase, just as the moonlight and sunlight wane at certain times. Our quality becomes one of Being, more than Doing; we sit within ourselves, like dark moon or winter; our energy is drawing inward.

We are letting go of what no longer serves us, physically and on other levels as well. As we release the old, we absorb the beginnings of the new. Boundaries are more fluid at this time, and that means two we want to be open to new guidance and inspiration,while guarding ourselves from disturbing or exhausting input that has no value for us.

One of the reasons this time of month is so challenging for us is that we try to continue on with our lives as if nothing is happening, when we actually are being gifted with a highly sensitive time that can be a powerful tool for change! We are more affected by our surroundings, easily impacted, and need to take care of ourselves so as not to become overwhelmed or

“When I didn’t have enough energy, I just kept pushing, and really as I look back over the last couple decades, that
hasn’t served anyone!” Eva, Health Coach, OR

This is the time to step back and take a break – to gain wisdom by evaluating and making sense of the month that has just gone by. To receive guidance for the coming month. To absorb the subtle messages we may need in order to stay healthy and inspired.

We want to refresh and renew ourselves with yummy and comforting impressions – not deplete and exhaust ourselves with the overwhelm that we may deal with on a daily basis. The true gift of the menstrual time is that the sensitivity allows us to attain exquisite and transformative “inner” states of being – if we are not continually distracted by the “outer” concerns of

So – try to create a space for some “time out,” and guard this time as you would any other important appointment – free from unnecessary interruptions and disturbing images or drama. Take a break from the media! Save complex activities for a later time! Don’t engage in conversations that don’t feel good.

You can do it! This will be different for each woman, of course, but these personal “seasons” can become predictable, and used to your advantage. Not only for productivity, but for fulfillment as well…and when you’re happy, others are happy too!

Once you begin with small steps, more ideas will occur to you, and you will begin to transform your month into one that serves you, as it was meant to.
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Barbara HannDisplaying Image.jpgeloré is founder of Women’s Way Moon Cycles, a creative program that embraces the natural beauty of women’s cycles in a holistic and healing way. She has helped women re-discover the power of their inner rhythms through the gifts of Nature, Sacred Space and the Healing Arts for over 20 years. She is author of the award-winning book, The Moon and You: a Woman’s Guide to an Easier Monthly Cycle, and host of the virtual workshop, Welcome Your Rhythm.

Learn more at WomensWayMoonCycles.com.