Ah ha! I found Pagan Blog Prompts tonight, and I think it’s finally pulled me out of the “what the crap am I going to write about?” slump of the last few days – Especially when I want to be well-researched on anything I write about. However, I can talk about what things mean to me without having to pick up five books and filling out a notebook or two on the subject.
This week’s subject is one of my favorites to terrorize all the males in my life with: Menstruation! It’s a subject near and dear to my heart, and if you’re a friend you know I’m always willing to inform you when I’m on my menses.
Lately I’ve been so busy looking at the larger cycles in life that I’ve missed out on the smaller ones. The moon and I haven’t been spending enough time together, for instance. I was shocked to find out that the moon was full and not new the other night. Then came the fact that my face broke out and I couldn’t figure out why. Well, a few days later I started menstruating, and I had one of those “Oh duh!” moments. It was much like the reaction I had to the moon being full. I felt like a bad Pagan on some deep level.
I’ve never hated my period. I’ve groaned a few times when I’ve bled through pants, stained bed sheets, or generally made a mess of something accidentally. I’ve lived through horrible cramps, acne, and mood swings that make life miserable. The fatigue is the worst. The inconvenience of going out is horrible. And the bloating? Ugh, don’t even get me started.
Still I don’t hate it. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m living with what will most likely end up being diagnosed as fibromyalgia, but I can take the small inconvenience of my period in stride.
Like most girls of a certain age, I waited and waited for my first period. I welcomed it. When I got it, I felt accomplished and womanly. I was finally a woman – At least in my own mind.
My cycle started when I was twelve. Six months later I read The 13 Original Clan Mothers by Jamie Sams, and while I don’t remember most of it, I do remember some of the things she said about menstruation. I think perhaps that it shaped my views early enough on that it left me in dumb confusion over my friends cursing their natural cycles.
In preparation for a healing quest, Jamie Sams explains that a woman will take a minimum of three days of silence and retreat every month while she is menstruating. During that time a woman only does personal activities and refrains from communication (Imagine three days away from your computer or cell phone once a month!). She doesn’t cook for anyone. She doesn’t have sex. Et cetera, et cetera.
I think in a way I’ve taken those thoughts into myself and really let them bury deeply into my mind. They speak to me. And most months I find myself thinking carefully about this lesson I learned, but doing very little to mirror something that completely speaks to me. I do refrain from sex, and I try my best to contemplate the female mysteries.
Yet I find myself longing for a little more spiritual connection to it all. In this fast-paced world, it’s hard to carve out a time of sacred healing. It’s nearly impossible to take off three days of work at the start or end of your period unless you run like clockwork or your job is very, very easy-going. With just a single living partner, I find it difficult to not cook or do any sort of housework for three days, because my sense of fairness tells me I shouldn’t do that to him.
Maybe, though, we don’t have to be so extreme as to take three days of silence. Maybe we can simply take an hour a day during our “time of the month” to sit and find a way to heal – be that taking a bath, creating something beautiful, or simply taking a nap.
(And while I’m on the subject of “lady things,” I truly feel the need to stand up and say that as Pagan women, we should attempt to reclaim our cycles. Part of the way of doing this, I feel, is to switch over to sustainable sanitary products. Cloth pads, the keeper, sponges, whatever floats your boat. And if you just can’t stand the thought of it, at least consider switching over to something like Seventh Generation’s feminine hygiene napkins. Not only does it help you become more aware of your cycle, but it also does something good for the Earth! We all want that, don’t we?)
In this year of attempting to get back into the swing of all things spiritual that I’ve put off for a few years while attending to other types of health, I’m making a promise to myself. I’m not going to ignore my cycle and what my body tells me about myself during that time. I will take time to honor the feminine power and mystery within me. I will go back to cloth, and I will be proud to be a woman.