I had an epiphany last night. You man readers, gentlemen, gentle men, you are so not going to like this. But in time, I feel sure you will buy in. I believe in the end the results will prove me right. You see, it’s not even really me that will be proven correct. It is generation after generation of our ancestors. If you know a woman, don’t turn away.
I posted about PMS this week and then last night I went to a very dark and dreary place. I was miserable. Beyond miserable. Teeter-tottering on the edge and just begging to be pushed over. Put out of my misery. PMS can be a dark place for a girl in the throes of grief. This is something I was not warned about; it’s not in any of the books. But it’s one of the first things I discovered, just a couple months in. If you read my earlier post, I questioned just what in the heck cave women did during their menses. Just how did our ancestors handle this horrendous issue of PMS? Why did God make us this way? I also surmised that we are possibly just too giving during the other 3 weeks of the month, and during that PMS week, we just can’t give any more. And we blow. Turns out, I don’t think that’s way off base.
Prior to modern times, many cultures held a much different perspective on PMS. PMS was not a curse. The menstrual cycle was not dreaded. These women were not being told they were losing their minds, nor were they being diagnosed with PMS, and now even the hell of all hells, PMDD. They weren’t being offered Prozac and anti-anxiety medications to deal with their symptoms. Because they weren’t considered unwell. In fact, quite the opposite was true. The menses were referred to as “Moon time”. And the women were held in high regard during this period. In some cultures the blood from the menses was mixed with the earth or the sea and it was used in rituals, so sacred was it considered. It was said that “In the dark of the moon, when bleeding, the veil between you and the Great Mystery is the thinnest.” The women knew to be receptive to their visions, insights, intuitions. They weren’t sorry for having the urge to speak out. No. Instead, everyone was patiently awaiting what they had to say. There was a special place called the Moon Lodge. A moon lodge. Yeah. I’m so getting one of those. It was where the women went to quietly reflect. To have down time. To receive their visions. Calmly. The other women took care of their families. Can you imagine? I got this, sista. Carry your li’l pretty self down to the Lodge, by the sea, surrounded by wildflowers, and just sit. Quietly. Without your kids. Without your husband. Here’s a pretty little basket I’ve woven just for you. All your favorite food and drink is right there. And I can’t wait to talk with you, like sisters, when you return.
Think about yourself as an adolescent girl. Who first instructed you about periods? Were you told it was a curse? That the intuition and the insight that seems to burst from you like a volcano was indeed called PMS and yes, in fact, it was to be loathed and cursed? Yeah, because no one wants to hear that stuff. You are mean, and full of yourself. You’re miserable because of your period. Just go to your room and wait for it to go away. And try not to open your mouth. No one wants to hear all that negative BS.
I found this story last night. I emailed the guy and asked his permission to share it.
A long time ago, women did as they do now—they held the family, they held the power (life-force) for the family, they held the happiness and joy, they held the sorrow and disappointments. After time, the negative emotions and heartache that the women took upon themselves on behalf of their families would begin to weigh them down. The women would become sick and finally, could no longer take on the burdens of the family. Yet the nature to do so had been imbued into them by Creator.
One day, a woman was out in the forest, crying because the burden had become so great, when Raven heard her and asked, "Mother, why do you cry?"
The woman responded, "I love my family so very much. I hold my family in my heart and soul, but the pains of life have filled me up. I can no longer help my family. I can no longer take their burdens from them. I just don't know what to do."
Raven responded, "I understand the pain you feel, as I feel it also. I will go and ask Grandmother Ocean if she knows what to do." So Raven flew to the ocean and shared with Grandmother the plight of the women.
Grandmother Ocean responded, "If the women will come to me, I will wash their pain from them, but this won't help the ones who are far away. Let me ask my sister, Grandmother Moon, if she can help."
So Grandmother Ocean spoke to her sister of the women's plight. Grandmother Moon responded, "I am the power of the feminine. I will send into the women, my sisters, your waters carrying my power. Once every moon cycle, you shall come into the women through me and purify them." And, she did this. So ever since then, every woman has a time each moon cycle when she embodies the power of the moon and flows the cleansing of the ocean. We call this the woman's time of the moon, or moon-time. (originally published in Sacred Hoop magazine, Winter 2000/2001) copyright by Nicholas Noble Wolf. Please visit nicholasnoblewolf.com. He is a shaman. I love that word.)