Allowing ourselves a time of recollection, respecting our periods of loss and renewal, will connect us with our nature and our inner wisdom.
Women are closely linked to the cycles of nature, which affect our way of being, our energies and affective relationships. But, as we live in the outside world, we rarely stop to listen to them. The dance between the body of women and nature makes it clear that we are governed by a transcendent order that is difficult for us to translate but that, nevertheless, operates on the totality of human activities and feelings.
THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE: WOMEN’S CONNECTION TO THE MOON
Women in particular have a cyclical “clock” that concerns the functioning of the female body: the menstrual cycle.
From the beginning of humanity, the body and its interaction with its surroundings served as a basic measure; for example, the length of a foot on the ground. The experience of the menstrual cycle and its parallelism with the lunar cycle also helped organize the first concepts of measurement and time. From the ideas of sequence and measurement, the division of time was systematized, giving rise to the first clocks and calendars.
Many cultures have measured time in lunar nights and months, celebrating their religious holidays in accordance with the full moon. Many calendars, such as the Muslim or the Jewish, are ruled by the Moon.
Formerly, menstruation was not a curse that fell on women but, on the contrary, a gift from which women generated life; And, in this way, the Moon as a reflection of the feminine cycle, became a symbol of our creative energy. The synchronicity between the female cycle and the Moon’s orbit around the Earth also revealed the connection between “woman” and the “divine.”
DO YOU KNOW THE CHANGES YOUR BODY GOES THROUGH DURING THE CYCLE?
Each month, our body undergoes a series of changes that include, among other alterations, variations in hormonal balance, vaginal temperature, composition and quantity of urine, weight, vitamin concentration, fluid retention, size and the turgor of the breasts, the consistency of the vaginal discharge, the different levels of mental concentration, the various stages of pain.
However, most of these changes we may not consciously record. For this reason, it would be interesting for each of us to record how her body reacts during the menstrual cycle, how it affects her personality, her creative energies and her emotional ties. Consciously letting the old slip away and starting over is actually full of advantages.
A MONTHLY DELIVERY
The period reminds us that we must learn to die a little in the bleeding phase. It is something as natural in our life as breathing is for the respiratory cycle. That is why the disposition to sadness is so appropriate in this little process of dying every month. But in our times, it seems like this is never the right time to indulge in these kinds of feelings.
The period represents on a smaller scale a monthly delivery, it reminds us that life is always linked to death and detachment. Thus, it is both meaningless to completely relieve the pain of childbirth through anesthesia to the point that we can no longer even perceive it as to forget the period entirely with powerful painkillers.
It is true that women’s bleeding is uncontrollable. It is possible that, for such a powerful reason, what should be a natural symbol of the beauty of the female cycle has been transformed into confirmation that the nature of women is uncontrollable, unbalanced and dangerous; and therefore, we have decided to consider it inferior and degrading. The menstrual cycle and its meaning in the Western world have become the only subject that remains in the power of mothers and that society has not taken from us, since it ignores everything about menstruation beyond its physical manifestation and, in Consequently, it does not offer any guidance in this regard.
But even so, many women are so conditioned that we are unable to guide our own daughters, and we allow their education to fall into the hands of young friends as inexperienced as they. Possibly mothers have very little knowledge about our own cycle, or we have been traumatized by the first menstrual experiences, probably lived alone and under threat, or we lack female role models on which to base our guidance and instruction.
THE TWO FACES OF THE MOON
Menopausal women like pregnant or postpartum women abandon the rhythm of our menstrual cycle. While menopausal women remain and develop in the inner phase of the new moon, pregnant women develop in the outer phase of the full moon, since in our bellies the child is growing like the light of the crescent moon.
This introspection, this being out of the rhythmic world, can be mistakenly translated as depression if we women do not internally recognize that we need to renew ourselves through a spiritual fast. Retirement after childbirth is essential, because then it will function as a source of future energy.
After giving birth, we need rituals that ensure a prolonged break from routines, that mark a recollection of the concrete world. We need time to relocate to a new rhythm without bleeding guides, counting only on the itinerary marked by the baby’s sleep and wake rhythms, as well as by his times of hunger, digestion, defecation and exploration.
The puerperal period, during which women abandon our menstrual cycle, leaves us, on the one hand, more “orphans” in terms of our internal rhythm, and, on the other, forces us to depend in an invisible and delicate way on the most subtle in the mysterious rhythm of the young child. In that sense, our dependence on the child is total. Without the rhythm set on fire by their basic needs, we are lost.
RECOVER THE NATURAL RHYTHM
If we have lived these movements of rhythm and not rhythm with depth and wisdom, menopause will bring us a new way of apprehending the feminine fact outside the cycle. Women who have lived with full awareness the phases through our menstrual life can more easily accept the symptoms and the deep meaning of menopause.
The menopausal women focus our energies in one direction, but, unlike girls, headed toward our own interior. The energies of girls are linear, those of menstrual women are cyclical and the energies of menopausal women are a starting point towards the deep self.
The menstrual cycle forces us to descend and renew our creative energies to return them to the outside world. In contrast, menopausal women no longer descend again and again but remain in introspection. Our perception stops being cyclical to become a constant balance between the external and internal worlds.
The experiences that we have absorbed are now unfolding from within the female worlds. From this beneficial position of constant awareness of both worlds, menopausal women become, by our very nature, priestesses, healers, or seers. Because now we can continuously access that inner dimension of life that we only reached once a month during our menstrual phase.
Menopausal women, like postpartum women, live in permanent spiritual retreat. Out of the noise and maelstrom of the external world, we can offer our knowledge about the inner world. There is an additional advantage, and that is that mature women do not need to feed a child but we overcome that role by spiritually feeding the community of young and cyclical women.
I know that our civilization – which glorifies immaturity and pride, and disqualifies experience and detachment from the material is leading us to forget our phylogenetic memory, which is like forgetting who we are. However, each child who is born and each old man who dies reminds us again and again of the human ways of being born, passing through and dying. And they do it as all human beings have been doing for millions of years, linked to nature.