HONOURING YOUR CYCLE: Menstruation • Winter • Days 1-7

Do you hate your period?

Do you dread its’ presence every month? Do you feel shamed and dirty every time you menstruate? Has someone scoffed at you or made a joke about “that time of the month” when you’ve showed any type of emotion other that what they felt was acceptable at the time? Maybe you’ve made the comment yourself, maybe you’ve berated yourself for feeling things more intensely during the time leading up to your bleed and for feeling sad and withdrawn during your bleed.

In Western Society – likely you learned about your period (if you were lucky enough to not start menstruating before grade 6) in a sterile Sex Education class in which the boys snickered and made groaning noises the whole time and the entire experience was embarrassing and medically sterile – lacking any emotion or room for deep conversations that should be held over this type of information – and you just couldn’t wait for it to be over!

If you are a mainstream family – likely periods were something that were shushed and hushed and not acknowledged as an everyday fact of life for 50% of the population. Likely you would shamefully hide your sanitary product in your sleeve or your purse as you snuck to the bathroom to tend to your dirty chore.

But that’s not the way it’s meant to be. God didn’t intend menstruation to be a shameful secret, He created the female reproductive system to create life! To sustain life! Menstruation is one part of that magnificent creation – and it can teach us so much about how we are doing physically, spiritually, and emotionally – if we would just change our view on menstruation and listen to our bodies.

I want you to consider the possibility that you could love your period and honour your whole cycle. I’m not talking about the dancing in a field of daisies in a white muslin gown “love your period” idea that menstrual products ads pedal in a desperate attempt to get you to buy their wares. I mean to really understand it, to acknowledge its’ separate parts and what that means for your everyday. I mean to know your body and its’ deepest workings so that you immediately know when something is not right. I want you to see your cycle and your period as a gift from God. The ability to grow and sustain a new human life inside your very own body, and then to bring that life forth to the world. This miracle could not exist for us if we did not have a menstrual cycle.

Yeah, but the Bible says menstruation is “unclean” or “impure” (Lev 15:19-30). But in this context, and for most of Leviticus for that matter, it is a series of laws written for a people in a very different environment with a different culture and in a different time. The concept of “unclean” in this context is ritual impurity. “Unclean” does not mean that God finds something “disgusting”. Rather, in these laws to the Jews around making sacrifices at the temple, an “unclean” person is not properly prepared to offer sacrifices before God. Many things could make people, men and women unclean, even a man who has had an emission of semen was considered unclean for a full day after (Lev 15:16). Before these unclean people could go into the holy places and once again offer sacrifices to God they had to go through cleansing rituals to become “clean” again. It was basic laws that followed along the ideas of good personal hygiene in a time when running water and soap were perhaps not as plentiful as today.

There is so much more to our Menstrual Cycle than PMS and bloating and moodiness and inconvenience. Our periods can teach us so much about how we have been treating ourselves, if we have been nourishing ourselves properly, and whether we have been respecting ourselves and honouring our own personal limitations.

So, what happens during our Menstrual Period or Moon that makes it something to celebrate?

Menstruation Winter Days 1-7

Our senses are heightened – taste, smell, sight, touch, and hearing, and as a result we are more aware of everything around us. We dream more! Bright vibrant and often prophetic dreams! Our energy has more inward focus which makes us less emotionally available for those around us. We go into hibernation, rest and repair. And we are in a process of death and rebirth – of this cycle to the next one, which makes this the perfect time to replace habits and intentions that are no longer serving you with new ones. And you will know what those habits and intentions are, because your intuition is heightened and you can see things more clearly during your Moon!

No wonder women who are in their Moon time are often considered prickly, sensitive and moody. Everything in their nature is telling them to recede, to spend time alone, to be quiet and reflective, and yet external demands of family, work, friends don’t just disappear. But doesn’t the knowledge of why you are feeling or reacting in a certain way change your actual feelings around that reaction if not the reaction itself?

So how can you honour your Moon time and even make it something you look forward to?

– Set aside a parcel of quiet time for yourself every day during your Moon to read or journal or just take a hot bath
– Prepare nutritious meals ahead of time and freeze them so you are spared this work when you are not feeling your best. This is an excellent practice if you have others who rely on you for nutrition during this time.
– SLEEP, sleep and more sleep. Sleep more hours during the night or schedule in a nap each day.
– Slow Down! Don’t expect to be as productive during your Moon as you are in other phases of your cycle.
– Schedule a self-care appointment each month during your Moon time like Reflexology or a Massage. Maybe you’d prefer a pedicure. Give yourself a reason to find joy in this time.
– Drink plenty of hot fluids that include ingredients like ginger, hawthorn and hibiscus. Go ahead and treat yourself with a little honey.
– Consider natural and organic cotton menstrual products or use a menstrual cup or cloth pads. Mainstream “cheaper” menstrual products come with the cost of more cramping and heavier flow as toxic chemicals and plastics (BPA and BPG) are situated right next to very tender mucous membranes.
– Recognize that any cramping and clotting (excluding Endometriosis/Adenomyosis pain) is the result of poor diet, increased stress and shoddy self-care and vow to do it better during the next cycle.