Cultivate deep trust in your body; she will know the way home.
The menstrual cycle is one of the most natural and earthly cycles we know of.
It is our connection to the archetypal feminine, to the waning and waxing phases of the moon. The female cycle represents life itself and the ebb and flow of the tides in the ocean; it represents the changes of the four seasons.
For many years, the female cycle has been both shamed and neglected, misunderstood and deemed irrelevant by society. The female cycle is not a subject that is spoken openly about, and, even in these modern times, women’s bodily functions, our cycle, and menstrual blood are layered with taboos and stigma.
How did it come to be this way?
It’s not an easy question to navigate, nor do I believe it has one simple answer. Why such a natural and important process of our bodies has become a topic of shame and stigma is something I find hard to understand and accept.
In ancient times, menstruation and the female cycle was in most cultures looked upon as sacred and beautiful. Women were honoured for their life-giving abilities. For their ability to bring children into this world, bringing forth the next generation.
But during the past hundreds, or even thousands, of years, the very foundation of a woman’s ability to bring forth life has been made dirty and shameful. This idea, which formed a long, long time ago, still floats around in today’s society: women’s bodies must be controlled, and the way to do this is to keep it secret and hidden away, in the dark.
This view oppresses women and was formed by a society ruled by men and their quest for power, turning a woman’s natural bodily functions into something we regard as irrelevant and impure.
I hope and believe that we are on the verge of changing the way we view and talk about the female cycle and reproductive system. That women may reclaim the right to their own bodies. And I hope society will support us in the fight for our right to be understood, acknowledged, and seen—normalizing the subject of the female cycle and menstruation.
“If you want to know where your true power lies, go to those places you’ve been taught to fear the most. Your orgasm, your period, labour and birth, menopause. This is where your real power lies; in the sacred temple of your pelvis.” ~ Dr. Christiane Northrup
Stating the Facts
I want to touch on some basic knowledge about the female cycle, as we bleed and cycle for many different reasons. It is how we come into this life and how the cycle of death and birth is kept intact.
Women’s hormonal cycle regulates as much as 150 essential bodily functions, which in turn means that having a regular and well-functioning cycle is a clear indicator of physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The American Committee of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recognises a healthy cycle to be the fifth vital sign of health for women.
There are also deeper and less tangible reasons for women to bleed and cycle. The feminine cycle is a source and sign of female power and femininity, and it is every woman’s right to know, understand, and respect her cycle—and to be seen, understood, and respected for it. As a result of all of the above, understanding how our body works is basic female empowerment and an important step in the work for equal rights between the sexes.
Leaning In and Listening
My passion and interest for cycles and cyclic awareness is the result of years of neglecting my own. For a long time, I blindly overlooked and neglected my menstruation (or rather, the absence of it) and my cyclic health.
After a few years of amenorrhea (the absence of periods), I began feeling as though a vital part of me was missing. I knew I wasn’t getting my period due to a serious disconnection from my body, stemming from almost a decade of disordered eating (in the form of anorexia nervosa) and an anxiety disorder that controlled much of my everyday life.
Naturally, as I began my journey of healing my relationship with my body, I also began connecting to my cycle and its natural rhythms. Today, this connection is one of my greatest allies in my daily life.
Healing is a Change of Perception
As I started making changes and adjustments in my lifestyle to bring back my period, I also began changing how I felt and viewed my cycle. Having a monthly bleeding went from being something I deemed rather inconvenient to something I regard as extremely important, incredibly beautiful, and sacred.
As to this day, my body is still sensitive to change, and any drastic changes in my environment, diet, or emotional life greatly impact my cycle. Because of this, it has become important for me to understand how my body works and what I can do in order to best support it during all four seasons of my cycle.
Learning to trust my intuition—my own inner guide and wisdom—is the most important work I have done to heal my mind and body. I know that when I truly listen to my body and inner wisdom, I know what is right; my body knows when to eat and what to put on my plate. It tells me when to move and when to be still. She knows how much to sleep, where to seek connection, and generally what to allow into my life and into my body.
This kind of listening is eventually what brought back my period and helped me bleed regularly and experience cycles that are more or less pain-free.
What We Do to Ourselves, We Do to Others
I love being a woman and living within the walls of a female body.
I view the female cycle as a gift. It connects me to the Earth, to my feminine powers, and to my fluid, creative energies. My cycle has taught me how to connect deeper to my intuition, to my inner wisdom.
During my days of bleeding, I find that I am more open and sensitive, but also more loving, nurturing, and caring. It is a wonderful time for letting go, surrendering, and tuning in. I cry a lot on the first few days of my cycle, as I feel my emotions on such a deep level.
Interestingly, studies have shown that during the time before menstruation, we spend more time with our right brain hemisphere active (the part that is linked to creativity and arts) and less with our left brain hemisphere active (which is linked to our logical thinking). It’s been shown women’s dreams are more frequent and even more vivid during the pre-menstrual and bleeding days of their cycle.
As a woman’s body prepares for menstruation, the “veil” between the worlds of the seen and unseen, the conscious and the unconscious, is thinner, as the right hemisphere of the brain, which is also the part associated with our intuition, becomes more active. We have also seen that communication between the two hemispheres may be increased at this time of a woman’s cycle.
Therefore, the time right before a woman has her period is the time she can really tune in to her magic.
As the female body prepares itself to shed and let go, we also become more aware of what’s important and meaningful in our lives, and what is not serving us. Many women experience a wider range of emotions, and at a deeper intensity, yet these feelings are always connected to things that are real and that hold deep value her life.
Learning how my body works and becoming familiar with my cycle makes me feel more at ease and peace within my own body. I feel more whole and able to stay more rooted and grounded throughout the different phases of my cycle.
Here to heal. Here to remember.