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Sep 24, 2010 14:15 # 46808
"Imagine how it would be if we were raised to think of our blood as divine, as magical, as precious. Experiencing the beauty and intense spirituality of bleeding can dramatically change a woman's relationship with herself. While meditating during my period I have seen my womb as a golden chalice spilling forth a constant stream of white light, intermingled with the red blood of life. Visions such as this can have the effect of permanently altering and healing the negative images of the female that we have been fed ~ this heals us, body and soul..." ~ Lara Owen, "Her Blood Is Gold"
Having, in the last year, begun to experience the early stages of menopause, and bleeding irregularities, I've focused, until now, on lessening the symptoms, on taking herbs such Oona's formulation for menopause and PMS. But I almost missed the chance to let my cycle become a deeper part of who I am as a woman.
Once, several years ago, after coming back from the Hindu temple I used to go to, someone asked what the bindi, the red dot, was on my forehead. I'd painted it there with the red kum kum powder. My response to him surprised me. Instead of telling him about how Hindu married women have this dot, I said it was a symbol of the power of a woman's menstrual blood. I did not know then that the practice of marking the third eye with a red dot originated long ago with women using their actual blood. The blood was meant to invoke the visionary aspect of menstruation and 'women's' intuition.
But the person I said this to was wierded out, and I have to ask why? Two answers come to mind:
One: fear of death. Our Euro-Western culture has a deep fear of death, and the cycles of menstruation parllel the cycles of birth, death and rebirth. Menstruation marks the death of a potential life, and also the cyclic release of emotional and psychic debris. In our cultures, women's emotionality and candidness around the menses is seen more as a liability, when in reality it is a huge gift to be able to let go pent up emotions...to let old issues die by facing them bluntly, squarely, and head on.
Two: the moon-time, the bleeding time, has an inherent magickal connotation, and a link to women's power, which for some people is frightening.
Monica Sjöö says that "shamanism, an ecstatic lunar technology, relies on the natural psychic descent into body-consciousness that menstruation brings each month to women." ~ "The Great Cosmic Mother"
The altered states of consciousness into which any cultural shaman passes into parallel the descent into body-consciousness which the menses offer. There is a feeling of descent, of a sort of going-down-into-the-darkness-of-oneself that is presaged by the premenstruum. Descent is an essential part of shamanic transformation. The way a shaman descends into the underworld, faces death, and then returns with gifts, with wisdom is very similar to what women could use the opportunity of their menstruation for...even the death posture on the belly for shamanic journeying is healing for the cramps and pain; and in Kundalini Yoga there is a variation on Kirtan Kriya done on the belly to help seperate a woman's aura from the auras of any men she has slept with whom she does not want to be connected to anymore.
Women hold so much of the energy of the world in our wombs. We can become highly emotional on our cycles, I posit, because we spend so much time the rest of the month 'not' saying what we mean, and then the floodgates literally open and our inner-Kalis speak the truth sometimes in harsh ways. Emotions are full of energy. Emotions are food. The menstrual blood is rich with emotion.
I am just now, a week away from turning 43, coming to realize how much I value my menstrual blood. I value how my cycles have become more natural in the 6 years since I stopped taking birth control. How that, among many other things, healed my body and soul. My blood is no longer thick, black and congealed. It is red and flowing like wine. It is beautiful!
For the first time in my life I want to celebrate seeing that blood that nurtures so much including the earth if I bleed on it. And after 14 years of denying my womanhood through shaving all the hair off my Venus mound, I am growing it back. The scent is rich and fecund like the earth now, like moss, like labdanum. Like violets and clover, and the earth clinging to their tiny roots.
It's interesting that as I visualize my yoni as a cup filled with the rich, red wine of life my cramps, my headaches disappear! It's as if the Sumerian myth of Innana and Erishkegal were true, and I have honored Erishkegal (and Kali's) rage at being ignored, of having to speak in hushed whispers about tampons, pads, Diva cups and mugwort and haw's bark tea. My body is happy to be feeling like a woman's again, and not a little girl's. As I move slowly toward becoming a crone in the next several decades, I want to grow in respect for the gift of this woman's body which contains so much life-giving power, which I may choose to share...or not!
My mind is made up...not like my bed, which is a mess.