There are fewer words associated with the feminine experience that are more loaded than these two: “menstrual cycle.” There are so many thoughts and ideas and rules surrounding the natural cycle that occurs in most women’s bodies. Some of these include men who think women’s periods are “distracting [us] from our full potential” (and inventing a terrifying period product that clearly shows a lack of basic understanding of the labia and cycle), and women who find their flow to be a disgusting thing that must be hidden at all costs. A recent Buzzfeed Ladylike video shows the women of the group trying free bleeding for a day, and their commentary clearly demonstrates the stigma and misconceptions our society pushes about menstruation.
It’s time to fight back against these misconceptions and get in touch with our bodies and our cycle. Not every woman experiences the menstrual cycle, but there is no denying the sacred and incredibly feminine power of our cycles. If you’re sitting there and thinking to yourself “what kind of power comes from this thing that gives me cramps and mood swings once a month*” I’ve got a fun fact for you. One of the earliest religious rites of the Gnostic Christians involved preparing the “drink of immortality” made from menstrual blood “which is full of healing stem cells, which can actually activate our cellular capacity to regenerate and transport us to endocrine states of rapture.” The beliefs of the menstrual cycle as sacred have continued in numerous religions around the world, even today.
If you’re looking for inspiration to get in touch with your cycle, check out this series where one woman shares her experiences that turned her attitude towards her cycle from dreading it as a “curse” to embracing it as ancient cultures have as a way to cleanse and bring rebirth to a woman physically, emotionally, spiritually. With the return of her cycle years after experiencing a hormonal treatment that brought an early onset of menopause, this woman decided to research everything she could on the female reproductive system. She also found that connecting with the ideas of women from the past, of finding menstruation as a sacred time and connecting to the lunar cycle as well as her period helped her feel more well-rounded and deeply connected to her own feminine energy.
It has only been in the last few centuries that women have moved away from working with the lunar cycle. In times with less light pollution women usually ovulated with the full moon and bled during the new. This aligns the long held symbolism as the full moon as a time of fertility and highest point of feminine energy to the new moon as the time of cleansing and rebirth and the lowest point of feminine energy. Not to mention that women’s bodies are naturally synchronized with the moon and lunar cycles. Women used to gather together during menstruation and spend time reflecting independently and as a group on important matters, often finding inspiration and creativity. Not to mention the power of coming together as a group of women for prayer or magic making, as was popular in so many cultures.
While our society has moved away from honoring the sacredness of both lunar and menstrual cycles, it’s so important for women to find the power that lies in both. Many women find their physical energy stores run lower during their cycle, which is frequently offset by an increase in our intuition and sensitivity. Your flow may be a strong indication that now is a time to meditate and focus on some of your important goals and wishes. The times when we are feeling most intuitive can be exceptional catalysts for manifestation. One interesting physical way to connect with the power of manifestation and growth that come from our menstruation is to use diluted blood to fertilize a garden.
Finding ways to connect with our cycles and even connecting them with the lunar cycle and the energies associated with it, like in this article, can help us feel more in tune with our bodies our emotions, and the world around us. Finding ways to honor our cycles, and creating our own rituals, whether they fall into the cape-and-altar imagery that surrounds the word “ritual” or they are simply a series of thoughts and actions that we repeat every cycle, can connect us to the powerful feminine energies in our world and the feminine divine. These energies run through all of us. And the more connected and empowered we are by them, the more powerful a woman becomes, making groups of us coming together to support and uplift one another all the more powerful as a whole.
For decades our misogynistic society has convinced everyone that the menstrual cycle is a curse, something to be dreaded and disgusted by. Something that makes women unclean or less capable, even in professional settings. But the thing is, our society has done this to divide women. To divide us from developing deep, meaningful relationships with other women, and to divide us from knowing ourselves and our bodies, from knowing the true potential and power within us. Across a myriad of ancient religions, including older sects of Christianity we see that the menstruation was revered as a symbol of rebirth and regeneration. A symbol of untold power. Menstruation and the menstrual cycle are powerful physical manifestations of the divine feminine energy that lives within all of us. But we have long been shunned from connecting to this side of ourselves individually, much less as a group. And it’s time we take back the power that has always been inside of us, inside every woman.
*The author knows not all women experience cramps or mood swings with their cycles, and also that not all cycles are once a month.
Bubble Bordeaux is a body positive advocate, writer, and burlesque performer on a mission to help people discover the vibrant beauty in their bodies and themselves. When she isn’t focused on body pos and fat acceptance she’s advocating for feminism, polyamory, and bisexual people. She recently became a Brand Ambassador for Livi Rae Lingerie, a body positive lingerie boutique in Atlanta committed to helping every woman find her own sexy.
Photo Credit: Nylon