Category Archives: Menstruation

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

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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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A War on Wombs

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing the Bonus chapter that never made it into the new version of my Amazon #1 bestseller in menstruation, Moon Time: harness the ever-changing energy of your menstrual cycle.

Read part one: Welcome to your Womb…

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Every year, according to Dr Eve Agee, in the Uterine Health Companion, over 600,000 hysterectomies take place in the United States.

Whilst 10% of hysterectomies are for cancer, the remaining 90% are for benign conditions such as fibroids and endometriosis. Hysterectomy is the second most common surgery after caesarean sections. Both major surgeries. Both on the very same part of the body: the womb.

The Western medical model, it seems, has declared war on the womb, surgically correcting and interfering with it, in order to save women from their own organs.

This is not a judgement on women who have had hysterectomies. But a big question mark over the system which deems these operations necessary. And a culture which makes women’s bodies suffer to the degree that half of the population need an integral part of their bodies removed with such regularity.

In many cases these surgeries are life-saving for women – and for the babies they are carrying.

But what is going wrong?

Mammals have had wombs for hundreds of thousands of years. Women have given birth for this time. They have menstruated for this time. Wombs are not a new thing.

And yet, we seem to be unable to live with them now. What is going wrong? If one in three women is now unable to give birth without surgical assistance. If 70% of women have fibroids. Something is out of balance. Inside. And outside.

Think for a minute: what does this mean for women?

The womb is intimately connected to fertility, to creativity, to sexual pleasure. The womb is a major hormone producer, and its structure key to a woman’s posture, balance and the support of her other organs.

Firstly we ignore our wombs, breasts and genital health until our bodies are screaming at us, and our symptoms are big. Either through numbness, or embarrassment, or lack of awareness. We tend not to prioritise our feminine health. We lack the culture of being able to talk with ease and openness about our bodies.

When we do approach health care providers, the care we receive often does not heal or resolve the issue, simply address the major symptoms. Treatment is often painful, invasive and traumatic, leading to further issues. It is usually delivered in a way that does not understand or value the holistic nature of the womb and its cycles. Or our symptoms are ignored or downplayed as “women’s problems” or psychosomatic.

Without wombs, human life on this planet cannot continue.

That is the biggest picture.

But the smaller picture is this – each woman who is in pain, who is suffering each month, is a woman whose energy is not fully there for herself, for her loved ones, for her work that she gives the world.

Our health and fertility is important – not only to us, but to our families, communities and even our economy.

We live in a culture that is dictated by sun-time. By man-made weeks and months. In which we are expected to work 9-5 for five days a week, and be the same every day. But as women, we are powered by something different. We live by moon time: the 29 day cycle of the moon, which dictates the length of our menstrual cycles.

Just like the constantly changing phases of the moon, the energy in our cycles is always changing, shifting us through different moods, capabilities and physical issues. We are very different creatures at each part of our cycle… and at each part of our fertility process: menstrual, pregnant, breastfeeding, menopausal. And yet our world, especially the world of work, has been set up by men, whose bodies are not cyclical in the same way as women’s. Women have entered this man’s world, and have been expected to prove themselves worthy to be part of it. Not weak. Not unreliable.  And so we have learned to shut down our sensitivity, our awareness of our cycling selves. In exchange for acceptance, belonging or survival.

Look Out for Part Three next week…

Welcome to your womb

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing the Bonus chapter that never made it into the new version of my Amazon #1 bestseller in menstruation, Moon Time: harness the ever-changing energy of your menstrual cycle.

Here is part one: Welcome to your Womb…

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As women raised in industrial societies, we have been taught to ignore and hide our embodied processes, rather than learn from them.

Emily Martin, The Woman in the Body

What do you think of when I say the word womb? Is it something you identify with? Or is it an abstract concept, a hazily remembered diagram from biology textbooks? Do you have a felt sense of your womb? How often do you think about your womb? Most of us are only aware we have them when they are causing problems: menstrual cramps, contractions during birth. Otherwise we just ignore them.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Which is a little unfortunate, bearing in mind that the womb is considered by many healing systems to be the central node of the feminine energy system. In yogic traditions, it lies at the heart of the second chakra. It is often referred to as a woman’s second heart, and many believe it to be central to all her creative functions – not just her fertility, but also visioning and artistic abilities. It is said to be a crucible for her powers, and where a woman’s sexual energy is coiled.

However in Western medicine it has been perceived as a capricious organ, which is often more trouble than it’s worth. It is the cause of “women’s problems” and makes women hysterical, and non-functional. Science and medicine has never really felt at ease with the womb throughout their history, and their focus has only been on its reproductive functions. Or rather dysfunctions.

The womb tends to be seen as no more than a piece of meat. One that can carry babies. But other than that is essentially redundant. However research is now showing what other traditions have understood for centuries: that the womb is central to a woman’s bodily processes. It has an impact on our heart’s health, blood clotting and sexual health. The womb is intimately interconnected with the body’s structural, hormonal and postural abilities. Says Dr Eve Agee,

“Everything is interconnected. If your uterus is depleted or removed, it cannot function properly to help create wellness in other areas of your body.”

Womb wisdom is a foreign language to most of us… we were not taught it. And so we are silent. And numb. Out of touch with our bodies and their wisdom. But embodied knowledge is our mother tongue… we just have to reawaken our latent memories and regain our fluency. Learning to celebrate your cyclical nature will naturally lead to a greater sense of ease, wellbeing, physical and emotional comfort which will spill out into every area of your life.

Read part two: A War on Wombs, next week…

Moon Time is re-born

 

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The second edition of my book, Moon Time, has LANDED! And until Saturday, there is a FABULOUS LAUNCH BONUS… read on for details… and grab it whilst you can.

Moon Time shares a fully-embodied understanding of the menstrual cycle whether you’re struggling with PMS, coming off hormonal birth control, getting your periods back after pregnancy… or wanting to deepen your understanding of your body. It is packed full of practical insight, empowering resources, creative activities and passion. Including:

  • Guidance on living and working in sync with your cycle.
  • Natural approaches to healing PMS.
  • Self-care practices to nurture and support.
  • How the moon impacts our cycles.
  • How to celebrate a girl’s first period.
  • How to start your own red tent or moon lodge (it was the first book in print to document the rise of the red tent phenomenon!)

Originally self-published back in 2012, Moon Time was my first book. It has been recommended woman to woman, being hailed as ‘life-changing’ by readers around the world, consistently placing it #1 in Menstruation on Amazon.com.

We are thrilled to be bringing it into the growing Womancraft Publishing catalogue at last. Join the mailing list and get a FREE SAMPLE of Moon Time plus 10% off signed copies.

CoverMoonTimeGet it now from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk or a signed copy from the Womancraft Publishing store.

The second edition is YOUR book. I have read every email, Amazon and Goodreads review, every letter, card and Facebook comment and incorporated your valuable feedback. The Moon Launch has been supported by a wonderful Moon Team of doulas – authors, teachers, coaches, creatrixes in my field – around the world. (Be sure to read to the end to find out more about these generous hearted sisters.)

This new edition has been lovingly revised, with a beautiful new cover and subtitle… and contains over 45 pages of additional material including:

  • Fertility charting.
  • Much more on creating ceremonies: menarche, mother blessing, menopause…
  • Moon phases and celebrations.
  • Healing modalities for the womb.
  • More on the red, white and wise woman cycles.
  • A hugely expanded and fully-updated resource section.

In revising it I actually doubled it in size… but then thought some of that new content would be better off in a new book… so I took it out… but the new book has taken on a life of its own in quite a different direction… So long story short… for one day only… I’m giving it away!

You can get your hands on my favourite missing chapter: Welcome to your Womb… plus access to a live group call with me next week.

But hurry! To qualify you need to buy a paperback or ebook copy on FRIDAY JUNE 5!

LiveCallBannerHow to claim your bonus features:

1. Buy a copy of Moon Time: harness the ever-changing energy of your menstrual cycle on launch day FRIDAY June 5 2015. (Paperback or ebook format – it doesn’t matter which.) Get it now from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk or a signed copy from the Womancraft Publishing store.

2. Simply fill in your name, email address and your Amazon order code, or order number from the Womancraft store on this handy form.

3. We’ll look after the rest! You will receive a bonus e-chapter this weekend of the book plus an invite to a video call with me: Living in Flow – harnessing the power of your menstrual cycle will take place on Wednesday June 10 2015 at 8pm GMT.

(Don’t worry if you aren’t available – we’ll send everyone a link to a recording of the session that will be available for 7 days after the event.)

PRAISE FOR MOON TIMELucy your book is monumental. The wisdom in Moon Time sets a new course where we glimpse a future culture reshaped by honoring our womanhood journeys one woman at a time.
ALisa Starkweather, author and founder of the Red Tent Temple movement.

A beautiful, inspiring book full of practical information and ideas. Lucy not only guides us through the wisdom inherent in our wombs, our cycles and our hearts, but also encourages us to share, express, celebrate and enjoy what it means to be female.
Miranda Gray, author Red Moon and The Optimized Woman

This book could change your life!
Rachael Hertogs, compiling editor Thirteen Moons and author Menarche: A Journey to Womanhood

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Meet my wonderful Moon Team of doulas…

I have become acquainted with every single one of these women via my book – I honour their support and am deeply grateful for their willingness to stand shoulder to shoulder with me and share my work with their people. There are sisters here from Ireland, UK, US, France and Australia. Do take a moment to visit their wonderful businesses, and check out their fab books and programs.

Holly Grigg-Spall & Dana Michelle Gillespie co-created #RockYourRhythm awareness campaign. www.rockyourrhythm.com Find out more about their charting app from http://www.mymoontime.com which was in part inspired by Moon Time.

Molly Remer is a priestess, writer, teacher, and artist. Author of Womanrunes: A guide to their use and interpretation, she blogs at Talk Birth (http://talkbirth.me) and (http://goddesspriestess.com).

Rachael Hertogs, Creatress of Moon Times washable pads, author of Menarche a Journey into Womanhood, Doula, Reiki Teacher, Moon Mother, Red Tent facilitator, Beekeeper and Earthy lady! www.moontimes.co.uk

Lorraine Ferrier, Natural Fertility Expert and creator of the Fertility Joy Program—which blends ancient wisdom and scientific know-how to make your baby dreams a reality. www.lorraineferrier.com

Melia Keeton-Digby, sacred circle facilitator, transformational life coach, and author of the forthcoming book, The Heroine’s Club:  A Mother-Daughter Empowerment Circle  http://www.TheMotherDaughterNest.com

Giuliana Serena is a Ceremonialist, Rites-of-Passage Facilitator, Menstrual Cycle Educator, lover of Ritual and Magic and the Moon, and creator of the Moon Cycle Timepiece: a hands-on spiral calendar for lunar and fertility awareness. www.MoontimeRising.com

Karin Chandler ~ menstrual activist, writer and Druid celebrant; fusing feminism and spirituality with the blood mysteries.www@redwisdom.co.uk

Ruby Toad, a gifted intuitive, empath, healer and spiritual mentor bringing spirituality back to its roots as a powerful and practical tool for real life. www.rubytoadsoulfulenergies.com

Suzanne Thomas, Storyteller/weaver of the Red Thread, https://cranesfield.wordpress.com/

Corinne Andrews, Birthing Mama® Prenatal Yoga and Wellness ONLINE Holistic Pregnancy Program  www.birthingmama.org

Paula M. Youmell is an Holistic RN Healer, Health Educator, and Author in Potsdam, NY. www.PaulaYoumellRN.com

Avalon Darnesh’s calling is to support women reclaiming sexuality within motherhood, including sensual pregnancy and ecstatic birth, for a more blissful and beautiful family life. http://www.blossomingwoman.com.au

Karina Ladet is a soulful and creative mum, intuitive reader, coach, writer and teacher who helps people to trust and develop their own intuition. www.karinaladet.com

Becky Jaine, writer, mother, heARTist, joy activist in ever-rotating order. www.beckyjaine.com

Awen Clement, Virtual Assistant and Women’s Priestess working from the heart and womb. www.wildmagpie.co.uk www.connectedwomen.co.uk

Kathryn Cardinal – Herbalist, Fertility Awareness Educator & Moon Lodge Facilitator www.SpringMoonFertility.com www.Facebook.com/SpringMoonFertility

Christine Agro is the Founder and High Priestess of The Church of Nature and the Founder/Station Director for Nature’s Channel.FM. which offers all Nature based programming. www.Natureschannel.fm

Kirpal Joti Kaur is an International Bestselling Author / Healer / Teacher / Life Coach / Public Speaker / Priestess & Owner of “Lochcarron Retreat” www.lochcarronretreat.com

Becky Annison is a feminist and knitter who blogs about sustainable simple and sustainable living. https://westwickdreaming.wordpress.com/

Shirley Gain is a mindfulness and creativity coach and mother who is passionate about inspiring mothers to nurture their own needs and dreams amidst the ‘busy-ness’ of motherhood. www.sunflowermama.com

Lucinda Button works with Mothers as a Coach and Mentor, to help them go beyond what their parents didn’t give them, use their parenting triggers as mirrors, and helping them deepen their connection with themselves and their children. www.mamaspace.co.uk

Jackie Singer is a celebrant and healer, and author of Birthrites – Rituals and Celebrations for the Child Bearing Years. www.jackiesinger.co.uk

Fiona Morris is a medical herbalist, massage therapist, nature artist, astro-tarot reader, tutor and founder of Nourish and Flourish, empowering folk to heal with nature at her creative herbal workshops, wild remedy foraging walks, holistic clinics, and natural wellness blog. www.fionamorrisherbalist.co.uk
Lou Hayden –Wise Woman Well Woman – holistic health
Donna Raymond – Founder at Donna Raymond, Wise Wombman Dreaming
Jackie Stewart of FlowerSpirit and SoulSanctuary
Summer Thorp-Lancaster – Doula at Summer Birth Services
Wendy Cook -Artist/Owner at Mighty Girl Art

Eve Agee, Author – The Uterine Health Companion

Jane Hardwicke Collings – author and teacher of Shamanic Midwifery

Jane Bennett – teacher and co-author of The Pill:  Are you sure it’s for you?

Miranda Gray, founder Womb Blessings, author Red Moon and The Optimised Woman.

Katharine Krueger, creator of Occupy Menstruation and Journey of Young Women

Tree Sisters, Heidi Wyldewood, Anna McLoughlin, Anna Clapp, Deirdre Steele,
Amanda Krawczyk

And all the magazines that are currently considering it for review: SageWoman, Pagan Dawn, Green Parent, Holistic Parenting, Natural Parenting…

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.

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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.

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.