by Carrie Jordan
For a long time I had a tenuous relationship with my moon cycle, that time of the month. My first moon came pretty late, at the age of 16. My mom exclaimed, “Thank goodness!” when it came and my dad gave me flowers.
In my experience, it didn’t feel like a big deal because all of my friends already had their menses (first moon) years ago.
Actually, I was enjoying that I didn’t have to worry about bleeding through my pants at school, and I remember actually feeling a little disappointed that now I had to join my friends with their monthly moon woes.
When I got to college, I began having very painful cycles, first craving a lot of sugar and chocolate, then lying in bed with cramps during my moon.
This continued into adulthood and seemed almost normal to me, until I brought my concerns to my teacher, Sweet Medicine. She encouraged me to rest during my menstrual (moon) cycle and encouraged me to ask for support from family and friends. To rest during my cycle had never occurred to me.
I halfheartedly took her advice and asked for help from friends with the disclaimer, “as long as it doesn’t inconvenience you.” So, really I continued to do everything on my own.
One day during my moon cycle, I was packing my car for a long trip from Seattle to Central Oregon by myself, rushing, stressed out that I was running late or doing things wrong, bent over in pain from cramps but doing it all anyway, and I spilled two smoothies all over my car.
The spilled smoothie mess changed everything. This was the moment when I realized, doing things quickly, efficiently, and all alone, was wrecking my life. Especially when I was on my moon cycle.
When I finally listened to my uterus…
I just wanted to rest, stop acting like a man at the office, open up, stoke the creative fire inside, and soften. Shortly after, I discovered that the moon mysteries are my medicine to bring to the world. That’s a story for another day!
I am very sensitive to my hormone levels throughout my cycle: I notice differences in my energy levels each week, what kind of movement or exercise I want, and what foods I want. Do you have this experience?
Some women do not notice the changes in their bodies at all, and some women notice a lot of changes throughout their cycles. In my opinion, both experiences require us to listen more closely to our bodies.
Learn to welcome the flow
Fighting menstrual, moon, and seasonal cycles can leave us feeling depleted. For example, during the week before menstruation (the luteal phase), progesterone often dips leaving some women feeling low-energy.
There is a distinct temptation to eat more sugar and drink more coffee in order to function at “normal” capacity and to keep up with the pace of our lives and our work. However, consider letting yourself be tired.
To flow with the river, let yourself be tired instead of drinking coffee and paddling your tired little boat upstream. There is an opportunity here to embrace the flow state with our femininity.
Many women experience irregular periods and may not be able to see a patten. If your cycles are regular, if you suffer irregular or painful cycles; if you had a hysterectomy; if you want to have a child, don’t want children, or if you have 5; if you’re perimenopausal, menopausal, or postmenopausal.
In any way your cycles show up or don’t show up, your cycles, your relationship (welcoming or unwelcoming) with your biological femininity can help you access your power, wisdom, joy, creativity, strength, and the Divine Feminine within.
Regardless of whether your sex organs are “in tact” or not, the energetic presence of them is there. You can connect with the cycles of the moon as well as the waxing and waning of your hormones to notice these cycles in your life.
Why moon cycles matter
Thirteen times a year for 28 days, the moon passes through a full cycle around the earth; She rises in the east and sets in the west just like the sun, but unlike the sun, the size and shape of the moon is ever-changing. Farmers are known to plant their gardens with the moon.
Meanwhile, a woman menstruates an average of 400 times in her lifetime. With this much influence on our lives, it’s worth discovering how to access the power in our moon and womb cycles.
Here are some ways to align with your menstrual cycle and the cycles of the natural world:
1. Track your cycle
on a calendar and mark when each cycle begins as well as when you ovulate so that you can anticipate each cycle. Honor this time by taking time to yourself for rest and inward reflection.
2. Track the moon cycle on your calendar, as well.
Note if you are bleeding with the new moon or ovulating with the full moon. This is a good way to find out if your body is aligned with its circadian rhythm.
3. When your menstrual phase is approaching, start to go to sleep earlier and rest more.
Take the escalator at the bus station instead of the stairs, sit whenever you get a chance, and ease up on rigorous exercise. Bring a heating pad to work, and take more breaks for red raspberry leaf tea. Consider not making plans after work—instead, go home and read or relax.
4. A few days before moon time begins, do a yoni steam with lavender, rose petals, red raspberry leaf, and chamomile.
If you see dark blood at the beginning and end of the cycle, your uterus needs to be cleansed from within.
The dark blood at the beginning of your cycle is what did not flush out during the last cycle, and the dark blood at the end could be from months or years of accumulation on the uterine membrane.
This old membrane thickens and makes the uterus cramp to get rid of the old material. It is also good to do this postpartum (ask your midwife when the best time is), and for general health of your reproductive organs.
5. When I worked in an office, I took the day off if the first day of my moon cycle fell during the week.
In Italy, the parliament is considering giving 3 days off menstrual leave per month to women who experience painful cycles.
I highly recommend the practice of taking a day off. In indigenous Lakota tradition, women on their moon are honored, and it is frowned upon to do any heavy lifting or work during this high monthly ceremony.
The menstrual cycle influences every part of a woman’s life—hormones, creativity, productivity, connection to the moon, connection to the earth’s seasons, and our evolution throughout our lifetimes from maiden, to mother, to crone (also known as the triple Goddess).
These are the cycles of death and rebirth that women are so familiar with.
Through our menstrual cycles, we purify, shed, and cleanse what we no longer need (uterine lining) on a monthly basis.
If we follow the waxing and waning of the moon, we can do the same in life, starting the cycle with the dark new moon, planting seeds for intentions during the new moon and letting go of what no longer serves (a woman’s menstrual or shedding phase).
Working on projects during the waxing moon when the crescent appears growing larger night by night until it becomes the half moon, also called the first quarter (a woman’s follicular phase).
Finally we look back at our accomplishments and celebrate during the full moon (a woman’s ovulation phase), and the moon wanes once again as we tend to what we have created (a woman’s luteal phase), until it fades into the new moon and the cycle begins again.
Cycles in our modern world
Through the menstrual cycle, the cycles of the earth (seasons) and the lunar cycles, every woman has the opportunity to learn of the Divine Feminine.
Whether she knows it or not, the moon, the earth, and her own womb have a profound impact on her life.
However, when we don’t notice or give attention to these parts of our lives, there is often little connection to the divine feminine.
Tampon commercials give us the wrong idea
In our society we are subliminally taught to ignore the cycles.
Young women are taught that they can do everything even when they are on their moon cycle. Tampon and pad commercials show women playing tennis and being active during their moon.
The ad below is showing a woman in some kind of obstacle course race. This sounds awful to me. Moon time is the prime time to rest.
Most of us are constantly exposed to artificial light and our use of light at night causes us to ignore the cycle of the rising and setting sun.
In images from space, our planet glows because of the street lights and lights on commercial buildings that leave lights burning through the night.
In fact traditionally, women bled together with the dark new moon. Today women bleed at all times of the month because our circadian rhythms are not aligned, often due to light exposure.
Our offices and houses are even temperature controlled so that we don’t have to feel the seasons.
The life death life cycle persists in the natural world
The seasons are an additional illustration of the cycles of death and rebirth. We begin with winter: everything is dead or hibernating.
It is cold outside and there is not much food to eat. Traditionally people would survive on what they had saved in their root cellar in the winter.
Then we transition into spring, the time of rebirth. The flowers are blooming and it’s time to plant seeds. We feel alive and reinvigorated.
Spring turns into summer, when the sun is blazing, everything is growing quickly and we have a lot of energy, living life to the fullest and enjoying ourselves.
Soon the cycle begins again as plants start to wilt, we begin moving indoors in the fall, to hibernation and quiet reflection of winter once again.
In all, cycles show us contrast, expand our capacity to “be with” life, to welcome what comes, and to be present to what shows up.
The challenges that arise for us humans on a monthly basis come in the form of cramps, moods, conflicts, financial issues, illness, and death.
When we attune ourselves to the monthly and seasonal cycles of life, it can support us by illustrating that everything waxes and wanes.
About the Author:
Carrie Jordan is the creator of the Life Design Planner featuring her feminine-dominant goal setting method. She is the founder of TheRiseCollective.org, helping women step into their roles in their communities through her Feminine Business Accelerator and her signature Rise & Shine program. Her work in the world is empowering women through connection with their wombs, the earth, and co-creating a new feminine business paradigm. Carrie also hosts the Rise Collective Podcast featuring stories from wisdom keepers and light bringers of the world. Learn more and connect with our community here.
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