Tag Archives: moon time

The Power to Shock!

There is an undeniable power in our menstrual blood.The power to shock.

Perhaps it is truly the last taboo in a seemingly unshockable world.

It is expected that we keep it hidden – we do not talk about it, we do not show it. It is therefore invisible, often even to our intimate partners.

But even those of us who feel pretty liberated, who speak openly of it, can find ourselves shocked…

I have just discovered this website – where artists from around the world make art with, or about, menstrual blood. How does it make YOU feel?

Image credit:”My First Menstruation,” 1999, Ana Elana Pena, Spain.

It is only blood!

If you cut your finger, chances are you would put it straight in your mouth. No fear, no hang ups, no disgust.

But menstrual blood…

Are YOU unshockable?

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A Yearning for Woman-space

I find myself yearning at this my moon time, for woman-space, for the rhythm of women, the flow. For rhythm. I find myself drawn to spirals and circles and bright colours.

I dream of a red tent, a yurt – a circle space of ornate decoration and luxuriant fabrics.Touching the earth, out in the night air. The owls hooting beyond. It is a primitive experience, a tribal memory that I have never had – one which modern day campsites or large festivals awaken but cannot fulfill.

A space where the women can gather. And sing together. And dance – silk scarves flowing in the air. Beating the drums, shaking the rattles as we shimmy our hips.

Lying on soft cushions, drinking tea. Laughing, crying. Colouring mandalas. Reading aloud to each other passages that inspire us. A fire flickering. A voice begins to sing. A sad song, of lost love and yearning. A poem is spoken and

breaths are held.

Candle light, fairy lights, tea lights – soft, gentle, magical. Showing the softness of each face, each body. Their beauty and sensitivity.
Painting bellies, hands and feet with flowing henna designs.

Here we can howl like wolves, dance naked in the moonlight.

And be, just be. Connected, beautiful, complete.

 

Guest post: Seeing red – going with the flow

I have developed a fascination with red tents since researching my book Moon Time: a guide to celebrating your menstrual cycle, which it turns out, is the first book to document the emerging phenomenon of red tents.

Many women have not heard of them – and so when I discovered Ayla Mellani‘s beautiful post, I knew it would be a great evocative introduction to them for women who do not have a red tent near them and might want to create their own at home.

***

It’s been two days of pure bliss.  No distractions.  No interruptions.  Rain and wind outside. Warm woodstove fire inside.  The flicker of candlelight, casting a delicate red hue throughout the room.  Food brought to me on a tray.  Art supplies surrounding my bed.  Red foods, red drink.  Red bliss.

Welcome to my Red Room.

There are red flannel sheets, red pillowcases and a cozy red comforter.  Red candles, red curtains and a red altar cloth.  Even, delicious ruby red beet kvass juice.

My Red Room.  My own private Red Tent.

A place of soulful retreat, exquisite release and deep rejuvenation.  A place of Moon Time.

“Moon Time” is a phrase that now rolls off my tongue with ease, spoken with reverence, like a mantra.  It represents my time of monthly retreat and I greet its arrival as I would a long lost friend… with sweet remembrance.  It is an experience of connecting deeply with what makes me a Woman.  It is a time of the most ancient and sacred.  It is a time of communion with my Blood.

It wasn’t always this way.

I, like most women, grew up not being initiated into the Great Mystery of Woman’s Wisdom. My mother, her mother, and her mother before that, had long forgotten these ways.  Many, many, many generations ago, this transmission of wisdom had been lost.  With it, the belief of Woman as Sacred and her Blood as a Gift.

I don’t remember exactly when it began for me.

This feeling that something wasn’t right.  That the pain and emotional rollercoaster I felt each month was more a signal that something was off, rather than a normal occurrence of my body’s biology.  Whatever triggered it, I had been called.  And nothing was going to change in my monthly experience of my Blood until I answered.

It has taken me many years of journeying on the path toward remembering and reclaiming the ancient wisdom and truth of my Blood.  With each month/moon the relationship deepens and new levels of spiritual insight are experienced.  In the beginning, there were many layers of untruth that needed to be cleansed and released.  Month after month, moon after moon, layers of shame were shed.

There was shame of bleeding.  Shame of my body.  Shame of being born Woman.

Generations and generations of shame, denigration and denial.  It was as if the flowing of my blood each month carried with it the pain of generations of women in my ancestral line.  As more and more healing was experienced, I opened to a new relationship with my Blood, my Self and the world around me.

I built altars and sacred shrines to my bleeding time.  I stopped wearing tampons, (desiring to feel my flow and not impede the release of blood/emotions).  I changed from using toxic pads that fill our landfills to wearing soft and earth honoring handcrafted cloth.  I began looking at my Blood as life giving and nourishing and collected it each moon to give back to the earth… wisdom taught by many native traditions.

I learned how to move through the guilt of taking time for myself and enjoyed being nurtured by my family.  It challenged our beliefs and the way in which I had created my relationships with them.  The all giving, all loving, never ending mother/woman dynamic shifted.  A new paradigm was born.  I became a woman who had needs, desires and was entitled to rest and experience deep rejuvenation.  My womb and her bleeding demanded it… and so did my family… little did they know.

I devoured books from women who had journeyed before me ~

“Sister Moon Lodge” by Kisma K. Stepanich;

“Blood, Bread and Roses – How Menstruation Created the World” by Judy Grahn;

“The Wise Wound” by Penelope Shuttle and Peter Redgrove;

“Dragontime – Magic and Mytery of Menstruation” by Luisa Francis;

“Moon Lodge” tapes and teachings by Brooke Medicine Eagle

and many, many others.  Each taking me deeper into the mystery of the Blood that was Woman’s birthrite.

I began the process of taking my blood from the realm of the hidden and profane to the visible and most sacred.  I made necklaces to wear that revealed to my family and friends I was in my “Moon Time”.  I charted my cycle and arranged my life to provide down time when my bleeding arrived.  I became mindful of my language and how I spoke of this sacred experience and consciously chose words that expressed what I was feeling internally.  No more being on the “rag”; or experiencing “the curse”.  I was now “in my power” or on my “moon time”, connecting with the powerful relationship between women and the moon.

When hearing other sisters were in their Moon Time, I spoke softly and bowed deeply to the sacred space they were in.

I reclaimed the ancient practices honored in native cultures for monthly retreats.  Giving my Self permission to empty my cup each month… a cup that held all of the emotions and responsibilities of carrying for all the others in my life.

As my blood flowed, I opened to spontaneous release of emotions, artistic urges, much need sleep, or whatever called from within for expression and replenishment.

I began to notice changes prior to my moon’s arrival.  The messages from within to begin withdrawing from others and start in preparations toward nourishing my Self.  Each “Moon Time” wanted something different and I was remembering how to listen.

My family shifted in priorities during this time to accomodate my time away.  They began to experience first hand what happened when I returned rested and deeply renewed.  I was glowing, sparkly, happy, joyful and so overflowing with the love I had for each of them.  I had so much more energy and vitality.  They also experienced what happened when I did not take this necessary time away.  How angry I was, how frustrated I became, how little I had to give and how resentful I was to be giving it.  It wasn’t long before they were helping me to remember it was time for the Red Room and my Moon Time.

Reclaiming the Wisdom of the Blood is an individual journey for each woman… but one that is collective in need.  It is not only imperative for the releasing of all that we hold for others each month; for the cleansing of what we no longer need; for our rejuvenation at a deep level and for the development of our own spiritual wisdom and insight… but for the healing of the world around us.

There was a time when life revolved around the cycles of Women’s Blood.

When our monthly time was held as sacred.  When the tribe understood the need for our replenishment and honored the spiritual wisdom that was available to us during our retreat.

Community danced in rhythm to women’s rhythms. Life spiraled around the cycles of Moon, Womb and Blood.

The journey with my Blood has brought up deep memories of this wisdom and a longing to share what is possible for each of us, our families and Tribe if… once again… life spiraled around our rhythms.

Sisters… listen to the yearnings of your Blood.  

Hear the call every month to retreat in some way.  Create ways to honor and hold sacred once again the monthly dance of your Moon.  Retreat, build altars, dance, sway, trance, drum, draw, paint, sleep.

The way you see your Self will change. The way you dance in life will change… and because of this… you… dear sister… will change the world.

Blessings of the Blood to you all ~ Ayla

Ayla Mellani, (Founding Mother and Director of Chrysalis Woman) is an ordained Dianic High Priestess, community herbwyfe and CW WomanCraft Practitioner. 

She has been facilitating sacred space for women to gather and remember the Sacred Feminine, Feminist Theory and Wise Woman Ways for over a decade and is completely devoted to helping women awaken to their Sacred Divinity by remembering HER story, experiencing ritual and honoring their Sacred Womb Wisdom and Rites. 

 She guides Women along the Red Thread of Remembrance through her year long WomanCraft and Priestess programs and monthly Goddess Circles and corresponding Goddess Studies.

She is currently working on creating the online Chrysalis Woman School of WomanCraft ~ where all of the CW programs will be available and where Sisters who feel the call to lead in their own communities can become a Certified CW WomanCraft Practitioner and  High Priestess.  Stop by for a visit!  www.chrysaliswoman.com

Personally, she loves growing flower/veggie & herb gardens, belly dancing, yoga, making herbals with the green allies, devouring books, and continues to deepen in her practice of self sufficient, sustainable, cyclical and goddess centered living.

www.facebook.com/chrysaliswoman

www.twitter.com/chrysaliswoman

 To contribute a guest post please see guidelines above. Contact me at lucy@thehappywomb.com

 

 

 

Full moon rising

February 7th is this month’s full moon. And I am looking forward to consciously celebrating. Tomorrow I will be taking part in Miranda Gray’s Womb Blessing which I am looking forward to. And I will be heading outside and absorbing her glowing, positive, renewing, sustaining light.

Last month I was so deluged under bad nights’ sleep, editing Moon Time and miserable winter weather that I didn’t get out in the moonlight, the first time in many moons. And so perhaps for that reason alone, or all of them conbined, my cycle has realigned itself, mother moon having a gentle joke at my expense about my very limited human understanding, and the irony that I have just written an “authoritative” book on her unknowable mystery. So here I am, with my greater knowledge and awareness than ever before, with my beautiful moon dial mandala having just arrived (these will be available from the Happy Womb very soon), and for the first time since my cycles returned, not knowing where in my cycle I am!

Moon Dial Mandala – Created by Zoe Shekinah now available to buy here!

But that is a true reflection of my state of creativity right now. I did a lot of extra work on Moon Time, so now I am in the situation of awaiting a proof once more, holding off on promoting it till I have a release date. Wating, still waiting to hear back from publishers on the Creative Rainbow Mama book, and wanting to be getting cracking on it again, doing more research for it, more digesting and dreaming. And yet I know that I need to allow enough energy for the final birthing pushes of Moon Time before immersing myself in the deep challenge of shaping all the content that I have for Creative Rainbow Mamas. I am between birth and gestation. I am planning a women’s workshop with a dear friend for April, and organising promoting JUNO at the Irish Homebirth Conference, where I am hoping to interview Ina May Gaskin in person – wahoo!

This on top of two sick girlies, and going from nearly weaned to exclusively breastfeeding our two-year-old. I am so excited to have so many creative dreams coming to fruition these next few months. My painting course starts today. I am literally vibrating with excitement about all these strands of my life. But my body is not sure if it is coming or going. I am being creative, then being a full time mama, pulled back and forth like the tide between the twin moons of my creative babies and my flesh babies.

Where are you at dear reader, as the moon becomes her fullest? Do you find that your cycles respond so acutely to your life? Are you celebrating the full moon this month? 

This post is from my personal blog Dreaming Aloud – do stop by there, and join the Facebook page to be kept up-to-date. I will link up with Dreaming Aloud each month to celebrate full moon.

Who I am… and why I do what I do…

I am a visionary, and imaginer, a whisperer, a maven, a witch, and wonderer, a dreamer of better things and exciting projects

I want to give inspiration and ideas to help to paint the future in brighter colours and to wrap women in a cloak of self acceptance and glory, to communicate with the higher visions of others in order to co-create a more vibrant, fulfilling, soulful, joyful, calm, mindful way of life.

I want to light the fire of self love, to fan the flames of beauty which emanate from every woman, to point at the moon and say “this, this radiant beauty is you”. To help women to gain a love and acceptance of their bodies and their miraculous life giving properties, to celebrate the mystery.

I want to whisper in the middle of the storm winds of life “it’s alright, dear one, you are an island with a lighthouse, shine your light, stay calm, stay strong nad soon the clouds will part and the sun break through.

What I want for you dearest one is happiness, awareness, freedom to be who you know yourself to be deep down, the courage and clarity to see your own path and follow it, in tune with your body’s knowing.

I want to help you to make love to your own body, to feel at home in your own skin, to find the peace at your centre which leads you home to yourself, the fullest vision of the woman you always wanted to be – unencumbered by the dreams of others, the demands of your family, the limitations of society, the fear of your physical form. A woman living in truth unto herself. This is what I choose for myself every day. This is what I share with you. A safe space to do it, resources to help you along the way, and a circle of sisters who are travelling this journey to dancing in self knowledge too.

Perhaps the most disempowering message we receive from our culture is about our bodies – they are deficient, untrustworthy, they cause pain and suffering, the get in our way, our reproduction needs to be controlled, is not to be trusted. Our sexuality is seen as a temptation to men, to be exploited or hidden away. Birth scares us. Period pain and PMT hold us hostage, menopause is the final tribulation before we become surplus to requirements, old ladies.

Let us learn a different song. One which celebrates the power to gestate and give birth with courage as a heroine. One which acknowledges stretchmarks as those of the warrior queen, that embraces aging as a stepping into our wisdom, our sexuality as a gift, our bodies are to be honoured and valued as they are. And our intuition is a precious treasure which can guide us living our lives in our own vision.

First self knowledge – knowing who we are, what we are, how we work – emotionally and biologically – to cease the war on our selves

Secondly to know our needs and to claim them for ourselves – both by serving ourselves and by learning to ask others for support. And by learning to give with an open heart rather than as a martyr.

Thirdly by gaining miss-tery over ourselves and visioning our own way forward which serves us (and therefore our families and communities and the earth) in our highest ability.

I am so glad you could join me here.

Woman Craft

Being a woman is not an illness/ disease (though many doctors have acted as though it is)

Being a woman is not a crime/sin (though many cultures and religions have acted as though it is)

Being a woman is an art/ craft (though we often do not act as though it is)

Being a woman may not come easy…You need support…information…love…initiation into the ways of womanhood

This education is rarely given to us formally by our mothers, our grandmothers, our sisters, our teachers…

Because they are yearning for it too.

Instead we pick it up, piece by piece along the way.

With much suffering, heartbreak, depression, illness, sadness, loss…

What if there could be a different way?

What if there were a place you could come to learn, to share in the wisdom of other women who have walked this path before you, a repository of information to support you in your learning and growth – scientific wisdom… spiritual wisdom

This site is dedicated to womancraft.

To teaching the ways of woman

Ways to keep you on a path of wholeness…happiness…health…creativity…fulfillment…joy

To support you in your swings between the darkness and the light

To help you to find your own rhythm, your own precious equilibrium

To be your own beautiful, natural self…