When I first got my period, I was thrilled! I viewed it as a right of passage, marking my transition into womanhood, and I welcomed the opportunity to embrace my newfound femininity. However, like many women, over the years I eventually started to resent my time of the month, dreading my painful cramps and counting all of the things I felt I missed out on because of it. Society treats periods as though they’re dirty and shouldn’t be spoken of, and even women look down upon them as well; but, it wasn’t always like this.
Menstruation used to be celebrated and seen as a gift, an element of the Divine feminine that deserved appreciation and recognition. It’s a beautiful form of detoxification only women get to enjoy and this process allows us to birth life, a miracle that can only be made possible through menstruation.
Society used to refer to this sacred period as women’s “moon time,” as their cycle was actually synced with the moon. The word menstruation itself is derived from Greek and Latin words meaning month and moon. Menstruation not only ties us to nature, but it can also give women a better picture of their health and their chakra systems. So, how did we, as women, become so disconnected from the sacredness of our moon times, and how can we change the dialogue and the way we experience our periods?
The Divinity Behind Women’s Moon Cycles
Those few days when women shed their menstrual blood used to be celebrated, as women were not permitted to be on their feet working; instead, they were encouraged to rest and nurture their bodies. Our cycles were naturally aligned with the rhythm of the moon as it waxed and waned. Menstruation would begin around the New Moon and ovulation would occur around the Full Moon.
The feminine energy in the villages was incredibly powerful, as women were experiencing their moon times together. Women were usually able to bond and relax during this time, so they could receive healing energy and appreciate this period of purification and rejuvenation.
To be clear, the fact that menstruation is a detoxification process does not imply women are dirty. In fact, it implies quite the opposite, as menstruation is a gift that only women were blessed with, which can help to detoxify them both physically and emotionally. Menstrual periods should be empowering for women, not embarrassing.
The image of periods appearing to be “dirty” only gained popularity when we shifted towards patriarchy; but, now that the Divine feminine is coming into light, we’re starting to honour our moon cycles once again.
Toxins stored in the blood and liver have a chance to be flushed out as we menstruate. The liver is the primary detoxification organ of the body, as it’s the organ that’s responsible for filtering out toxins. Our cycles can also cleanse our reproductive systems, releasing bacteria from inside of it and helping the body to discharge excess iron.
This process is both natural and beautiful and it shouldn’t be shunned. There’s so much beauty within the dualistic nature of our moon cycles: The shedding of blood allows us to give life and benefit from the detoxification. However, our periods have shifted over the years, becoming far more painful and in many cases heavier. Many women are no longer connected to the moon, and they view their periods as something to dread rather than an event to get excited over. How did we, as women, arrive at this point?
Why Our Periods Have Drastically Shifted and Changed
If your cycle isn’t synced with the Full Moon or New Moon, don’t stress! Just because your cycle isn’t in sync with the moon cycles doesn’t mean it’s not doing its job. There are many ways for you to sync it with the moon naturally, but the best part about menstruation is that it’s meant to flow, so it’s best not to try to control it.
This is one of the reasons why birth control is such a huge issue. Birth control literally controls when your period starts and finishes, and so it very rarely moves or experiences irregularities. There are a number of health issues with birth control, including a greater risk of certain types of cancer, depression, blood clots, heart disease, and more (read about it in our CE article here). Since your cycle cannot freely flow, you can’t learn from it in the same way you could if you weren’t on birth control.
Your period is such a gift; it communicates with your body and can tell you when something is wrong or when something needs to be looked at. When you experience PMS, irregular periods, a shift in start time, or any other symptom regarding your menstruation, that’s your body telling you that your health requires attention.
My period has always been synced with the New Moon, and the only time it changed since getting off birth control was after my grandmother passed away, when it synced with my cousins’ cycles on the Full Moon and didn’t shift back for months. I was experiencing other irregular symptoms during my period, forcing me to look inwards. I realized I not only had a health issue affecting my menstruation, but I also had a severe block on my sacral chakra, which was in turn affecting my period. Immediately after I dealt with these issues, my period returned to its regular cycle and started on the New Moon once again.
Everything happens for a reason, especially in our bodies! If you’re experiencing painful menstrual cramps, that’s not just a “regular” symptom of having your period. Whenever we have pain in our bodies, it’s always telling us that we need to look deeper and search for the root cause of the issue.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the liver is said to govern emotion and anger. Since the liver holds a strong relationship to menstruation, as it’s detoxified during this process, our periods can also reveal the health of our livers. Many women have an emotional reaction to their menstruation, often referred to as PMS, and they express anger or other extreme emotions. Since anger and emotions are connected to the liver, PMS could either mean that we’re experiencing changes within our livers, which is natural during our periods, or that we need to focus more on the health of our livers.
In addition, according to TCM, painful period cramps could actually be a symptom of a hormonal imbalance and a Qi deficiency. In TCM, Qi is believed to be everywhere on Earth, including our bodies. When you’re healthy, Qi is flowing freely through you, whereas when you’re unhealthy, you either have a blockage from Qi or your “Qi tank” is low. If there’s no Qi to move the blood out of your body during your moon time, the body is forced to cramp up and try to expel the blood out itself. You can learn more about this in an Organic Olivia video here.
If you do experience PMS and other symptoms society deems “regular” during menstruation, don’t stress too much. Yes, we need to learn to listen to our bodies more and look inwards more frequently, but to a certain degree, these phases of our cycle are normal.
Our cycles not only relate to the moon, but they also correlate to the seasons experienced in nature. For example, the week we have our period is related to winter, when we experience a little more darkness and feel the need to retreat. The following week, when our period is over, relates to spring, and then we experience summer when we’re ovulating, which is typically the time we feel best during the month. Lastly, the week before our menstruation, we enter into fall, a time when we experience heightened emotions as we start to let things go and fall away, otherwise when some women experience PMS symptoms.
I believe that, to a certain degree, many of these symptoms are meant to be felt, listened to, and learned from, but not to the extremes many women go through now. Many women are severely disconnected from their bodies, which is largely due to societal norms and beliefs and modern medicine.
Birth control is taken by many women, which not only hurts the body but prevents us from connecting with our periods. What’s more, women use toxic tampons and other feminine products that contain pesticides, we’re exposed to excessive amounts of toxins through our environment and our diets, and we suppress our emotional trauma, creating blockages on our chakras.
How Can We Rediscover and Reclaim Our Periods?
So, if you recognize that your period needs some extra attention, how can you give it the love it deserves? First of all, it’s about being gentle and compassionate towards your cycles. If you’re on birth control, experiencing extreme menstrual symptoms, have an irregular period, or whatever else, you must first be gentle with yourself. Recognize how this has served you in the past, and then figure out how you can positively change this.
Perhaps these extremities (severe PMS and cramps, disconnection from nature, etc.) were necessary in order for us to wake up and reclaim the sacredness surrounding women’s menstruation and the Divine feminine once again. Sometimes things need to get so bad that it’s almost a slap in the face, because it can trigger us and essentially force us to change.
There’s nothing wrong with having a period, but that doesn’t mean we need to suffer through it. As Dr. John A. McDougall says, “You should not look for defects in the ‘female design’ to explain the reasons for these epidemics of female troubles, but look rather to your own behavior.” How can you make changes in your own life in order to improve your menstruation cycle?
Exercise and reduction in weight in obese women can also lower their levels of estrogens. The net result from reducing the exaggerated amounts of hormones found in too many American women down to healthier levels will be better general well-being all the time and relief from troublesome signs and symptoms during menstruation. For example, painful periods and copious bleeding become lighter and less painful.
There is a clear relationship between diet and menstruation; this can be seen when an anorexic woman’s periods stop, or when vegans report experiencing less period pain or lighter bleeding. Dr. McDougall further elaborates on this, saying “Vegetarian women, compared with those who eat meats, excrete 2 to 3 times more estrogen in their feces. Furthermore, the blood levels of certain powerful estrogens are 50% lower than are those in meat-eaters.”
Since periods are a way to detoxify the body, it would make sense that the symptoms associated with menstruation could improve if we’re intaking less toxins. When it all comes down to it, rediscovering our periods means rediscovering ourselves. It means improving the health of your body, reconnecting with nature, and looking inward.
Odds are that through this process, you’ll find that your period does sync with the Full Moon or the New Moon, as many women have reported this for centuries, including myself. So, what’s the difference between having your period sync with the Full Moon versus the New Moon?
Author Miranda Gray says:
A woman with the White Moon cycle, bleeding with the dark (new) Moon, becomes linked to the deepest levels of her awareness, reminding her that there exists more than just the world she sees, because she is the carrier of the seed of life. A woman with a Red Moon cycle, bleeding with the full moon, brings the energies and mysteries of her inner darkness out into the world around her as a gift and an offering of the depths of her learning.
I personally resonate with this answer, as I can see when these trends emerged in my own life. But, then again, every woman’s period is different, so if this article doesn’t resonate with you, then trust your own intuition. That’s the beauty of menstruation: It’s free flowing and changing, and has something different to teach each and every woman.
Additionally, if you’re interested in learning more about the Divine feminine and the sacredness of menstruation, I’d recommend the books Rise Sister Rise by Rebecca Campbell and The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. Much love!
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