Before I begin, this is a series of articles about menstruation—but it’s not just for women!
Sure, menstruation may seem irrelevant to a man, but it’s about understanding each other, and we need more understanding in the world! This is a topic that men (and women) have shied away from for so long that you kind of have to wonder, are we overlooking something here?
So if you’re one of those who cringe at the mention of “period blood” or refer to menstruation only as “that time of the month”, just relax yourself and read.
For me it started about six months ago when I was sitting on a mountain with a new friend, quietly breathing in the fresh nighttime air and the vast, moonlit landscape before us.
I looked up.
I’ve always appreciated a kind of magic in the subtle movements of the moon: sometimes a pale ghost in the daylight, sometimes nothing but a smile in the lilac sky after sunset, sometimes retreating completely into mysterious darkness, allowing the stars to dominate.
I’ve known for a long time that symbolically the moon represents feminine energy, which has been a subconscious theme in my artwork for years now, but I admit that I never fully analysed the connection.
It was on this night, beneath the ethereal glow of her fully illuminated face, that I came to consciously understand the significance and depth of that symbol for the first time.
I was soaking in her light, content, when my friend broke my silent admiration to ask me if I was menstruating (um, why?). I responded that I was and added a sarcastic “fun, right?” because you know, who likes getting their period? Maybe I thought we would bond a little over this struggle that all women share.
But there was no conversation after that and in the thickness of our silence I became painfully aware that behind my thoughtless words was a negation of one of the most defining aspects of the feminine: her cyclical nature.
And there was the link, as stirringly poetic as it was literal: The cycles of life are reflected in the womb of the female, just as they ebb and flow with the rhythms of the moon! This is a realisation that moves me again and again. What magic!
Over the next couple of weeks that I spent with that beautiful new friend, and with the help of some books she recommended to me, I began to understand and integrate the implications of this realisation—beyond just the airy-fairyness of moon magic.
Do allow me to elaborate on what I’ve learnt:
Like the phases of the moon (and the seasons of the year) the menstrual cycle also has four distinct phases: pre-ovulation, ovulation, pre-menstruation, and menstruation. (If you need a quick biology refresher on the processes of the female reproductive system, now’s the time.) And during each phase, just like those of the moon, the woman experiences and expresses different energies.
Think of ovulation as the full moon, a time of heightened energy and creative power; a woman has the potential to create new life or new ideas. Her energy is radiant like the Mother Moon.
When the woman’s hormone levels decrease, like the moon’s now waning light, her energy begins descending towards the darkness of its interior: the almost infamous pre-menstrual phase. It is a time when logical thinking gives way to emotion and intuition.
By the time the lining of the uterus has deteriorated and she begins to bleed, it’s like the new moon. It is a time of darkness, reflection, death and cleansing of the old. Physical energy levels are way lower and she naturally requires more time to rest, sleep and dream. Here is the potential for renewal and rebirth.
As the moon begins to show herself again, the woman’s energy becomes like that of a virgin, vibrant, refreshed, liberated from her procreative cycle and filled with renewed focus and passion for life!
And the cycle continues.
To understand how this applies, think about it like this: if an egg is released and fertilised, the energy is channeled into the creation of a new life. If, on the other hand, the egg is not fertilised, the same creative energy still exists and will instead need to be expressed by the woman in some other way.
The idea is to understand the energies of each phase so that they can be expressed positively and productively, transforming the menstrual cycle (meaning the entire cycle, not just the time of bleeding) into a source of serious physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, sexual, and creative energy.
When a woman truly acknowledges her cyclical nature, she recognises that she forms part of the great rhythms of the Universe, and as such, can act in a way that creates and radiates harmony!
In the next article, I’m just gonna go ahead and rant about society’s menstrual taboo, its detrimental effects and why it’s so important that we step up and integrate this wisdom into our lives and into society, and then afterwards I’ll end the series with some actual practical steps on how to integrate the wisdom.