cyclical living, healing, history of misogyny, menstrual cycle awareness

Reclaiming our power

In my last post, I promised I would talk about reclaiming Feminine power, so let’s dive right in.

Knowing how our power was taken from us is essential to restoring it. If you haven’t read my previous post, this is a pretty neat summary: “… the idea that women alone possessed an internal organ that was variously interpreted as a mechanically defective body-part, a sentient and passionate animal, and then finally a demon with malicious intent, who bites and poisons the female body.”1 In case you didn’t understand from that description, we’re talking about the womb. Yes, the place we ALL grew inside – that incredible, indescribable, human-growing organ, which has been touted as the cause of everything ‘wrong’ with women for millennia. THERE, my friends, is where our power resides, and that is precisely why it has been described as “a mechanically defective body-part, a sentient and passionate animal, and then finally a demon with malicious intent” – depending on what was the worst crime of that time period. In ancient Greece, physical perfection was the goal, so we say women have this ‘wandering womb’ they cannot control. In medieval Christian Europe, there is nothing worse than seduction and temptation, so we say it comes from the womb. It was a malicious, cunning campaign, and worst of all, it worked. The damage that has been done to the female rep over hundreds (thousands!) of years is going to take decades to repair. So how do we start?

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Embrace the Feminine

Women are naturally cyclical. We do and do again, and it’s easy to get trapped in that and just go round and round. But if we cycle consciously, every cycle will be more expansive and enlightening than the one before. This is true Feminine energy: a spiral outwards, covering more ground, taking in more each time, glancing sideways to how it used to be and what you have learned.

Masculine energy is naturally linear. It moves onwards and upwards – faster, better, higher – and never looks back. It gets things done, it achieves, it accomplishes, but it doesn’t look at what it moves past on the way, where it has been, or what has been crushed underfoot to reach those heights.

But the two energies working together…

I imagine it to be this beautiful, dynamic energy going onward and upward on a trajectory: the Feminine causing it to spiral around and around inside itself; the Masculine holding the moving spiral gently on their joint progressive course.

Do you see it? Sure you do, but what does that mean, really, in the real world? What does that mean for us?

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It means tap into your Feminine. Because we all have Masculine energy coming out of our ears. Our cultures and societies, our systems and countries are built almost exclusively on Masculine principles. Don’t try to hide your ‘Feminine’ traits like empathy, compassion, cooperation, and using your intuition. These are not negative, they are not ‘soft’. They are part of your power. Really, as Gandhi is (very often!) quoted as saying, we have to be the change we wish to see in the world. Let yourself spiral, and do it consciously. Imagine billions of us spiralling consciously. That alone would change the world.

Accept and embrace your Feminine nature. You are, deep down, made a certain way, but most of us have been taught to suppress that and be go-getters, boss ladies, career girls, alpha mums – whatever. Maybe your subconscious really does love that. But maybe how you really work is through connection and community. You can still succeed without stamping on others on your way, although it might not be how most of society works. Yet.

Live in your cycle

I said it earlier, but I’ll say it again, just to be crystal-clear: you are a cyclical being. Even if you don’t have a menstrual cycle, you are still a cyclical being. It’s in your wild, primeval nature to be so. If you do bleed, it’s easier to appreciate this fact, and I highly recommend charting your cycle – not just to know when you ovulate or when you menstruate, but everything in between. Find something that works for you. For me, that’s working with female archetypes that correspond to phases of the cycle (menstruation, the Wise Woman; pre-ovulation, the Maiden; ovulation, the Mother; pre-menstruation, the Enchantress).

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I’ve been working with this for a few years now, and working from home since the pandemic began has allowed me to be a lot more free with my time – to experiment and change things up, to truly flow with my flow. Amazingly, I am so much more productive when not confined to an 8-hour 9-5 working day, and so much healthier when I give my body what it needs. For example, in my Maiden phase, I can easily do the school run, pull 11-hour working days with breaks for exercise, cook three meals at once, and take my kids out in the evening. In Wise Woman, I’ll wake later, do more gentle exercise, and have fewer working hours with more time for contemplation. Living like this – more organically, more in flow – my general mood has improved, my boss is as happy as ever, and I feel like there is much more SPACE in my life, despite the fact that my workload at the moment is huge.

Pass it on to the next gen

First, raise conscious kids. Raise kids that care. Raise kind kids. It’s not easy. I saw a meme the other day that said, “Check on your friends who are trying to raise assertive girls who also listen to them.” Haha – spot on (I have three daughters). It’s tough to have a strong will and a kind heart, but it’s possible – and it’s possible to raise children that do.

Second, if you have a female child, please, please, please don’t demonise ‘the period’. Don’t make her hate and dread ‘that time of the month’. Don’t avoid the subject like some dirty secret. Be open. Let her see that you bleed. Show her the power and magic and knowledge that her cycle can bring her. Teach her that it is a cycle not five days of discomfort and annoyance every month. Let her know what a gift she possesses.

And after that, I can’t think of a better way to close than with one of my favourite quotations of all time.

The great mother whom we call Innana gave a gift to women that is not known among men, and this is the secret of blood. The flow at the dark of the moon, the healing blood of the moon’s birth – to men, this is flux and distemper, bother and pain. They imagine we suffer and consider themselves lucky. We do not disabuse them.

In the red tent, the truth is known. In the red tent, where days pass like a gentle stream, as the gift of Innana courses through us, cleansing the body of last month’s death, preparing the body to receive the new month’s life, women give thanks — for repose and restoration, for the knowledge that life comes from between our legs, and that life costs blood.”

The Red Tent, Anita Diamant

What greater power is there than that?

1 Catonné JP. L’hystérie hippocratique [Hippocratic concept of hysteria]. Ann Med Psychol (Paris). 1992 Dec;150(10):705-19. French. PMID: 1343498.

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