A Simple Way to Overthrow Menstrual Taboos

This weekend I had the opportunity to vend my lunar calendars at the Natural Living Expo in Marlborough, Mass. I was so excited to share the Moon Wisdom with hundreds of people and to talk about my offerings around mindful movement for menstruation. To me, menstruation is such an exciting and empowering time, and I was anticipating my excitement to be met by the people I spoke with at the Expo. I brought some amazing organic cotton and flannel moon pads with me as well as herbal belly oils, flower essences, and an anti-viral yoni spray. I was excited and ready to talk about menstruation, sexual healing, and empowerment around the moon cycles. However, the response I got to the moon pads was surprising and sobering, and had me questioning how much menstruation is still taboo in our society.

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Many women at the Expo would hush their voices and begin to whisper when they found out what the pads where.

So, that’s what they are”

Often times women would physically recoil and scrunch their noses when they realized that these beautiful, soft fabrics were for catching moon blood. I became more timid in telling people about the pads as I began to anticipate being met with disgust. One woman yelled at me, “Good luck with THAT!” as she left the table. My afternoon turned around when a man walked up to my table and went to pick up a bundle of pads. I opened my mouth to tell him what they were when he looked at me and said, “I know what these are. How much?”

From then on I felt re-energized to speak confidently about the pads. There were still people who were disgusted by the idea of them, but I stayed strong in myself and kept shamelessly representing the cause, while speaking about the environmental impact of commercial menstrual products and the importance of not using chemically-drenched products on our lady parts. I even got to speak with one woman about how to isolate the vaginal muscles for releasing blood for ritual use without leaking urine.

This weekend taught me that cultural taboos around menstruation are still very real and alive.

The ONE thing that feels most important to the overthrowing of cultural taboos around menstruation is to

talk about it.

Share your stories.

 

 

What is your relationship to menstruation? Share with me in the comments below ❤

Lunar Blessings,

Kendall

 

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Into the depths: Reclaiming a Natural Cycle

At one point expanded, then introverted; reaching out and going within; we descend to depths of unfathomable complexity and return to the world empowered and ready to begin again” – Vicki Noble, The Double Goddess, p.15

Menstruation is not often celebrated in modern American society. In fact, many women hide this part of themselves each month: they don’t tell people they are bleeding and they continue on with their life, business as usual. I used to be that way – I was prescribed prescription birth control pills at age 15 to alleviate depression and clear up my skin. If i didn’t want to have a period one month, or saw it as somewhat of an inconvenience to my social life, I would skip the placebo pills and continue taking the hormones – bypassing my cycle all together. I didn’t see any value or point in it – my monthly cycle was merely an inconvenience that now I could completely control the presence of by the use of synthetic medication.

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In my late teens I started exploring yoga and meditation and learning about traditional ways of healing. I opened up to the world of herbs, Ayurveda, and nutrition and I no longer “felt right” about taking a pill every day. I didn’t want to be dependent on a pharmaceutical. As I started hearing stories of women who bled naturally without the use of hormones, I felt adolescent in their presence. I felt like they embodied a sense of womanhood that was just out of my reach.

What is this power that they hold, and will I ever be wise enough to attain it?

I tried to come off of the synthetic hormones, but months would go by and I wouldn’t bleed. After 8 or 9 months of no blood I’d go back to my western medical doctor and he’d tell me that my only option for regulating my cycle was to go back on birth control pills. And so, discouraged and disempowered in my own process of healing, I would go back on the birth control pills. Several months down the road, I would have the same realization again that I did not want to be on prescription meds and I would stop. Again, no blood. This cycle of going back on hormones happened a few times before I made the commitment that I never wanted to be on these pharmaceuticals again. I was willing to do whatever I needed to get my cycle back.

Without the power of pharmaceutical birth control keeping my endocrine system in check, everything seemed to fall apart. My skin erupted in crazy breakouts, I experienced extreme depression, and months went by with still no blood.

Going back on birth control pills was the only answer western medicine was giving me, and so I had to search elsewhere for healing.

I had never really had to take responsibility for my own healing before.

I grew up in a world where if I got sick, I was put on antibiotics so that I could go back to school as soon as possible. I’d never considered the possibility that sickness could be a messenger alerting me to a greater emotional or spiritual imbalance.

My journey through healing has been a long one and is never ending.I’ve realized more and more over time that to really heal I can’t hide anything.

No parts of my psyche can be ignored. No instances of shame can be swept under the rug. Nothing can be hidden or else it festers and grows – the more that I can share aloud the parts of myself that I am ashamed of (and when those parts are met in witness with loving compassion), the faster they can alchemize and transform.

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It’s been eight years since being off pharmaceutical birth control pills and I am still working on regulating my hormones. After experiencing years of no blood, I’ve developed a sacred reverence for my bleeding time. I’ve prayed and sang songs and done ritual to call the blood back. I’ve snuggled with my Sisters who are bleeding and asked them everything about their cycle. I’ve read literature on blood mysteries and menstrual traditions around the world. I’ve learned the connection between menstruation and being a sexual being.

When my blood finally came, it was like an answer to an ever pervasive prayer. How could I do anything but honor this time with complete devotion?

I’d call off of work and remember my Mayan Abdominal Massage practitioner’s advice to rest and dream as much as possible. And so I would do just that – lay and dream and journey into the corners of my subconscious mind. The blood time felt like a rite of passage and a gateway into a shamanic world. I greeted the blood as a sacred teacher, and honored it’s presence by giving it my full psychic attention.

I feel blessed in many ways to have had such a conscious experience with my menstruation. I feel like I went through puberty at age 25 and that I’ve really had to work on myself to become a fully embodied woman. It didn’t come easy, but hey, rites of passage are supposed to be challenging right?

It’s been two years now of having a consistent bleeding cycle. I still have to do the work to keep my cycle in check – make sure I’m eating enough, getting enough rest, expressing my emotions, not engaging in unhealthy relationship dynamics… Something my blood has taught me is that I need to be in alignment for it to come. If something is off – energetically, emotionally, physically – that will be communicated by the presence or absence of blood, as well as the duration of my cycle.

I’ve learned how intricately connected the bleeding process is to my psychology, and the greater I understand my blood the greater I understand my own mind.

Every cycle more wisdom comes. More practices, more information on how to release energetic imprints (particularly romantic relationships), more affirmations and realizations in my life’s direction. It’s a time of being in my power and building those reserves. I know that diving into the depths of my psyche each month in bleeding time supports my full creative potential in the world. For a snippet of one of the practices that’s come through during bleeding time, check out my post on flowing with the moon.

Thank you for reading this version of my story – as always there are things left unsaid and details omitted – how can you say it all? I am always eager to pass on the wisdom I’ve gained along my journey, so please reach out with any questions you’d like answered. I hope that this sharing in some way resonates with your own experience or sparks some potential within you.

I fully believe that the more we share our stories with each other, the more we awaken to our shared power and strengthen the web of Sisterhood.

Please share your experiences with me in the comments below.

Lunar Blessings in the dark of this Scorpio New Moon,

Kendall

Some recommended reading & links to check out:

This *amazing course* for a Coming Off the Pill Detox

Lara Owen – Her Blood is Gold

Moon Song – The Spiritual Practice of Menstruation

The Red Web – Reclaiming your Cycle

The Arvigo Technique of Mayan Abdominal Therapy

Flow with the Moon

Have you ever thought about how cool it would be to bleed in sync with the moon? It is so affirming to know that our bodies’ cycles are connected to the cosmic cycles. Stories say that in earlier times, before the influence of artificial lighting, women bled together in the dark of the New Moon. The magnetic force of the Moon influenced the waters of their wombs as well as the ocean tides, encouraging ovulation at the Full Moon and menstruation at the New.

In modern times, many people’s endocrine systems are affected by artificial light, unusual work schedules, pharmaceutical residues in the water, environmental pollutants (the list goes on), and women bleed at many different times of the Moon. I know many sisters who bleed on the New Moon, many who bleed on the Full, and equal amounts of sisters who alternate moons or bleed somewhere in between!

It’s important to remember that you are already flowing with the moon – no matter what lunar phase you bleed in.

There is no right or wrong – it’s not ‘better’ to bleed with the New, or ‘wrong’ if you’re bleeding at the first quarter…We are all different and unique. Notice the messages your blood may be carrying when it arrives early, or late, or in relation to changes in your life…

What is your blood telling you?

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Regardless of what phase of the moon I’m bleeding in, I do my best to carve out a space in my life where I can go into the darkness of that time – a space where I can be in the new moon of my womb – a place of archaic knowing, deep release, and where I can simply be a human being in my body. It’s important for me that I don’t have anything inside of my body that could be blocking my flow (diva cup, tampon, etc) – I want the blood to leave the body at the exact moment that it is flowing. So much of my life I have held tension in my womb area – especially around bleeding time when there was a fear of blood leaking on clothing – so now when I am bleeding I let the blood go freely: If I can be present in the exact moment that the blood is leaving, I bring conscious presence to my labia and all of the muscles around the opening of my vagina so that there is no held muscle tension in the body. I find this to be an empowering practice that is beneficial for releasing residual held traumas on a cellular level.

Tracking your menstruation around the cycles of the moon is a beautiful practice of building connection with your bleeding, regardless of what phase(s) you bleed in. It keeps you connected to the cycles of your life, the cycles of your body, and the cycles of the cosmos. It’s always interesting for me to look back through bleeding calendars over the years and see what I was able to release in the darkness of my moon.

Just as many of us bleed at different times, I know that we all have such different experiences of menstruation. I love hearing the diversity of women’s relationships to blood and also love sharing our common experiences. Please share your thoughts & experiences with me ❤

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In the light of the moon,

Kendall