Lisa Li |
I don’t know about you, but my teenage years were when things started to get dramatically harder as a young woman.. When periods came, along with hormones and emotions, it was easy to start to feel incredibly alone.. What a confusing time, with so much going on, so many new experiences. Not a mother or a grandmother to share their knowledge, or a sisterhood to lean upon. I can see now how a ceremony to mark my ﬁrst bleed would have set me up with such stronger foundations. A routine women’s circle or a gathering to strengthen the feminine ties and let us know we are normal and not alone. This would have been a game changer. But somewhere along the line, the knowledge in this area has been lost.
A Woman’s Moontime refers to the time a woman bleeds during her menstrual cycle. Through this cycle, a woman feels the effects of the moon on her body, much like the ocean tides are affected by the moon, the woman is also affected. Women sacriﬁce and give to the people during their moontime and also through childbirth. Bleeding women used to be respected in this time for their natural ability to nourish life and this bleeding time was viewed as the ﬁrst ceremony to connect with spirit. Much knowledge of these women’s traditions have been lost due to the genocide of native people and the outlawing of their ceremonies. Native women would routinely withdraw during moontime from their regular duties of childcare and food preparation to a moon lodge during their bleeding in order to rest and receive dream guidance from the Great Spirit and Creator for their people.
Some view this time of separation as a vision quest, a time to step away from daily tasks to focus on one’s relationship with Spirit. The people honored and respected these bleeding women and their sacred role by covering the work otherwise done by them, even cooking for them and protecting them. This is a woman’s time to go through her natural monthly puriﬁcation process. Whilst her body is going through this cleanse, this is also a time for her to rest and restore her energies. Because her energies are so strong around this time, this is why she must also stay away from any group ceremonies during her moon time as it can draw energy away from the ceremony, it is that strong.
Patriachal society continues to view womens bleeding as a curse, dirty and something to be ashamed of, so many of us are wrought with shame over something that is the most natural, beautiful thing about a woman’s body. Only learned about embarrassingly from sex education videos we tried not to laugh at in school or from whispers in the playground. The support and awareness lost, we were led to believe it’s something disgusting, that stops you from playing sport, or to be ridiculed over. Women’s bodies ﬂow with the tides and change constantly with the times of the month. If supported, loved and encouraged we will thrive with these changes and so beautifully dance to the rhythm of our soul. Left alone, we become confused, feel abandoned in our pain and a suppression of emotion is sure to ensue. We become a shadow of who we could truly be if fully supported and we are deemed unstable or crazy as we try to ﬁt into the masculine mold.
This most important ritual must come back! We must remember! To listen to our bodies more closely, To move with the tides and our time of the month.. Our moontime. To step back into our personal ceremonies during moontime and heal what we need, ready to emerge once more on the other side, released of all that was old, full of strength and creativity for the new!
We must come back to our sister circles and learn to truly nourish and support each other and ourselves. We must be proud of our changing and so sensitive selves. And most of all we must heal the ancestral wounds of connections and traditions lost. For Grandmothers hold a world of wisdom. For how many generations has this been lost? If
only we can build these bridges in our awareness once more. So reach out to other women in your family, ask questions, think how can we make this generation different?
Look to the indigenous and old ways.. How can this be added back into our society? Where can you build a women’s circle? What can you do to make things different for your daughter’s ﬁrst moontime? We are the change. What can you do?