I used to hate my moon time. Just the thought of it brought worry, anxiety and body discomfort. There was nothing about it that said "sacred", much less "celebratory". You may be wondering, "moon time"...what's that?" Moon time, another name for a woman's menstrual cycle, is the sacred time of a woman when she is honored as the Mother of the Creative Force. During this time her body is allowed to release the old energy her body has carried and prepare for re-connection to the Earth, her fertility and one which will be carried in the next Moon or month. Our ancestors understood the importance of allowing a woman her Sacred Space during this time because women were the carriers of abundance and fertility. The moon carries with it energy and is considered the weaver of tides (water or blood of the Earth), so a woman's cycle follows the rhythm of that weaving. Many cultures believe when women live together in a common space, their bodies begin to regulate their menses and all will eventually have their Moon Time concurrently. While we may think, "women mensing at the same time...and under one roof? That's too much hormornal imbalance in one space!" Actually, This natural rhythm is one of the bonds of Sisterhood.
I was thirteen when my moon time first appeared..it was the summer prior to entering freshman year in high school. Although I wasn't fully prepared for what was to come, I felt like the character "Carrie" in the move of the same name. My mom did as much mental prepping as she possibly could, but nothing could prepare me for what I would release from my body. It was an extremely scary and isolating moment for me. Unfortunately, I did not have much support from the women in my family, partly because this was not something which was announced or discussed with others in the family. My first period was not celebrated. It may have been considered a rite of passage, but I felt I was hidden away. I had been brought up to believe that menstruation was a biological disadvantage, making women emotional, unreasonable and unreliable workers. Early on, I went through seasons of guilt, irritability, cramping, bloating and sometimes depression, often missing school. I hated the sight of blood. I thought it was icky...dirty...unsanitary. I was always worried about spotting, leaking or being found out. I thought if I went out in public, someone would know I was menstruating and treat me like a leper, shouting "Unclean! Unclean!" What a terrible thing to go through as a young girl transitioning into womanhood. Actually, I don't blame my mother for what I was going through - I love her very much - however she may not have been equipped to fully support me in ways which would help me process this time in my life. Nevertheless, my mom did something very special for me, although I didn't know how special until I became an adult.
I recall my sister and I going with my mom to her friend's house. My mom asked her to piece our ears. The women asked my mom how old we were and she replied, "Regina is thirteen...". The woman inspected me from head to toe as if she were giving me a physical exam. She said to my mom, "Come back in few months when the moon cycle is better". I looked at the women, then looked at mom, who simply replied "ok". My mom and her friend continued their conversation and that was that. Wait..."Moon Cycle?" I was confused by the language. She was my mom's friend, but at moment she sounded like the village witch doctor.
What I later learned was many tribal traditions celebrate a young woman's "first blood" by honoring them with gifts, such as allowing their daughters to have their ears pierced as a sign of her stepping into womanhood. At the time, I had no idea I was being honored. This is certainly a treasured memory I carry with me to this day. However, many young girls are never honored and how a woman is guided through this experience will affect her for the rest of her life.
Later I learned my pre-menstrual symptoms was my body's way of telling me "Go within." "Connect with Self." "What is it you truly desire?" "What do you want to release from your life?" What do you want to attract into your life?" "What are your goals or creative aspirations?"
I keep a moon time calendar. I know exactly when to expect my cycle. I plan all social activities around my moon time and I cancel activities which will prevent me from tuning into me and I avoid emotionally draining conversations. This year I turned 50 and my moon time started on that day. What a gift! I celebrated my birthday, but not in the usual fashion. I went out with select friends, ate light meals, typically salads, seeds, nuts, dried fruit, dark chocolate and drank Moon Time Balance Tea starting two days prior to my cycle and the first three days into my cycle, which are typically days I experience some perfectly normal emotional imbalance. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important, as food allows your body to detoxify during this time. Our bodies requires foods which will encourage nutrient absorption.
As far as activities, this is the perfect time to turn off the television and journal. Go for walks. Pray. Meditate. Read spiritual books. Attend a yoga class. Take Aromatherapy Salt Baths or Milk Baths. Light candles. Take a nap. Listen to soothing music. Sit in nature. Visit a park or botanic garden. Commune with God, Source, Creator. Women are spiritually intuitive during this time, allowing for creative energy to flow. Who knows? You may be able to provide the guidance or intuition needed for that business idea or project your spouse/significant may be wrestling with. My ex-husband can testify. When he wanted to become an entrepreneur and lacked the resources, I provided him the resources and business ideas to launch his business. I received all of these idea "downloads" during my moon time. He's has been working his barber business successfully for over 14 years. I am very proud to have been part of that process.
Now is not the time to become quiet about what you need. Your family is important, but so are you. Take the time you need...a few hours each day during your moon time. Be sure to communicate how you'd like to be supported. Perhaps regular chores can be delegated to someone else in your family or farmed out to a service provider. Talk to your family and let them know you need this time for yourself, in a way they can understand. What I know to be true is this - when you honor and respect your body and your moon cycle, others will too. As our bodies are supported, nurtured and nourished, it will support us on other levels - mental, emotional and spiritual. As you begin the healing process and look within by addressing your relationship with your cycle, your pre-menstral symptoms will decrease.
Let's talk about menstrual products. Yes, I'm going there, so stay with me. The disposable sanitary industry is a billion dollar business. It is said, the average woman uses a whopping 15,000 disposable sanitary items in her lifetime - to hide the bleeding. We use cotton materials, typically bleached cotton to plunge into our delicate, sensitive vaginas and just about all of the products were created by men. Good news! There are alternatives, such as washable pads, sponges and mooncups, which I prefer. There are also beautifully made sheet protectors, period pads and covers on the market which catches any leaked fluids overnight - you can typically find these items on Etsy.com. The best part...these products were created by women for WOMEN! Don't be afraid to come in contact with your blood. Washing your blood from your garments or from your re-usable moon cycle product can be a ceremony each month - allowing you time to nurture, reflect and respect the rhythms of your body as you wash.
Embrace your moon time...your daughter's, granddaughter's, sister's, niece's moon time. Each month is a time to take the opportunity to share and support out sisters, to reconnect with our ancestors, our heritage, educating our sons and brothers, connecting our inner magic and reclaiming our natural birthright.
I pray my experiences and information shared will have you thinking differently about your moon time.
You Are Beautiful.
Regina Thomas Dillard is the author of "FEED: Living Food Recipes to be Made and Eaten with Love", and founder of Inner + Sanctum Wellness, a business dedicated to assist others as they embark on their holistic journey. All products are handmade and sourced from reputable organic and natural ingredients purveyors.