British Moon Sister, Rachael Hertogs (aka Rachael Moon) author of Menarche, a Journey into Womanhood, mentions 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks in her latest blog. But more than that, she talks about ignoring the old taboo: the sight of blood…stains. http://www.moontimes.co.uk
My friend and colleague, Lea Bayles, invited me to be a part of a blog tour. How FUN! Her blog was posted last week, and now it’s my turn. Please see her blog here: http://www.leabayles.com/blog. Thanks, Lea! Beautiful.
Our assignment is to write about our writing life and process. This is a little tricky for me because even though I’m an author, I’ve never really considered myself a writer. My sister, Rose, and our cousin, Violet, were always the writers in the family.
It’s sort of hard to explain what I actually do—what my best gifts are or medicine for the world—which is the heart of the problem when it comes to writing. If I were truly a writer, I would have no problem explaining what I do! Writing is simply the vehicle in which I’m best able to deliver what I see in my head, but it is in no way fast, easy, or necessarily done well. I do, however, immensely enjoy the process of writing anyway. It relaxes and soothes my brain.
Ultimately I suppose, I’m a “messenger of conceptual systems”, which I will be the first to say sounds absurd. I will join you in the loud groan. The truth is though, is that’s the truth.
What it means is that every once in a while I’ll get a large vision that shows me the intricate details of a simple concept that is an easier and healthier version of a system our society currently acts out. It might show up in my head as a vast painting, a diagram or symbol, or an invention, and it will happen in seconds. I’m thinking it is similar to the way composers hear a melody or riff in their head, or how a person with Asperger’s might think in complicated mathematical equations.
What these images do for me is to put things into a much bigger context than what our human population tends to do. I’m thinking the right hemisphere of my brain gets triggered by something my left hemisphere is focused on and goes into super-expansion mode, telescoping out to encompass the entire world and dimensional layers, putting it into a whole different context.
As I’ve gotten older, the presentations in my mind have become stronger and seemingly much more important. In addition to having the system laid before me, I instantly understand specifically how it works, along with the personal and global importance of it. Once in a while there are details to it which seem counter-intuitive, but everything else is so clear that I’ve learned to just be patient and trust that eventually the reason for this anomaly will surface. And it always does.
Anyhow, this is a lot to write down or even put into words (especially when one isn’t a writer).
In the late 1990s, I received two such systems. One was a business system, and the other had to do with women’s power in the world and the societal taboo of the female hormonal cycle. I was shown the hidden secrets of the womb’s guiding sequence.
I first began to write about the business system because, after it came to me, I tried it out on my overly-stressed business. It was easy, fun, and it completely turned the business around! I discovered it worked for relationships as well. As I was writing that book, it was a male friend who would convince me to drop that temporarily to write about the women’s piece, because as a man, he finally understood the rhythmic sex drive of his wife, and the energy of his daughter.
At first it my writing was slow-going. The image in my head spread out in all directions because the female monthly rhythm affects every area of human existence. It ripples out from each woman’s core into society, politics, religion, living conditions, and the environment (so when a culture takes away the right for a woman to manage her own womb, the very thing that she is spiritually and communally responsible for it rips and destroys the fabric of the global community). It was hard to know where to begin writing about it, so I just began at random places. It was hard to have the images come through my fingers effectively. New information would start coming at me rapidly and I couldn’t keep up. The words felt like they were exiting my fingers like molasses.
I knew that to get the book done, I would need to get disciplined.
Once I decided on that, the rest fell into place. I felt I was woken at 3:30-4 every morning with a new batch of info to put into the book, or future books. So I sat up in bed, opened my laptop, and would proceed to document what I could. It would be 7 years before the book, 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks, was published. It’s not a masterpiece of writing—it’s actually a bit rough and raw, sometimes giving too much info and other places not giving enough—but it serves as a vessel for some pretty sacred stuff. My workshops and retreats have begun to polish the work up. It should be luminous by the time it goes to its second printing.
After the book was published, the writing didn’t stop there, nor was that ever the plan. I write every single day. I have a lifetime of offshoots for 4s4w to write (such as the Moon Maiden Manual), as well as the business series and an endless array of right brain telescoping. I’m still very slow, but I still love the process. Most of my mini-musings are posted on Facebook, not even my blog. That’s because I get the most interaction from others there. Interaction gives me energy and makes my writing feel alive. When my writing feels alive, I feel like a real, live writer.
Cheers to the writing process.
Next week on June 30th, please visit the following two women on the blog tour:
I am an Mexican Indian born in U.S. America. I come from farm workers who lived close to the land and I now feel a responsibility to be a leader that empowers women to accept their own powers and assist men in relinquishing it to return to balance. I have a very innate sense of justice and use love as a skill, tool, and practice to walk this transition we find ourselves in. We are all in this together!
Jessica Vineyard was born in the wrong century. She should have lived during Queen Elizabeth I’s reign in the latter half of the sixteenth century so she could wear those amazing clothes, travel by carriage, and receive hand-delivered secret messages by knights on horseback. But as a twenty-first century woman, she wears solids, drives a RAV4, and texts multiple times a day. She occasionally tries her hand at writing, but more often she can be found editing other authors’ musings. When she’s not writing or editing, she can be found stargazing, reading historical novels, or playing her guitar.
Today, in addition to honoring all of the military warriors who bravely fought and sacrificed their lives while serving their country throughout time, I would like to honor the mothers, throughout every culture and throughout time, who endured a tortuous labor and died during childbirth. We don’t have a holiday to honor these everyday female warriors who shed their own blood in the taken-for-granted sacrifice to create nurturing circles for all of us and to keep the population of the human race moving forward. Nor do we give out medals, benefits, or any special burial of honor equaling the 21-gun salute.. So here’s to The Fallen, whether by war or womb – our brothers and sisters and ancestors who faced the fire and fought hard.
I honor you.
You are not forgotten.
Let’s Talk. Period.
A post from http://www.thedailystar.net/lifestyle/lets-talk-period-20824
In 2009, a UNICEF report showed that “in countries where menstrual hygiene is considered a taboo, girls going through puberty are typically absent for 20 per cent of the school year”*. Societies across the world still treat menstruation as an unmentionable topic. With so few people willing to broach this subject, most of the information being passed on is based on myths, superstitions and false beliefs. Girls are taught to stay a little afar, especially from religious practices or partaking in public/social events if one is menstruating.
Dealing with menstruation is challenging enough, especially for young girls who are still getting accustomed to the turbulence that is puberty. With limited to no space to talk about menstruation openly, these myths and half-truths are constantly perpetuated, which leads to many women feeling isolated and baffled by what’s happening to their bodies. Not to mention continuation of unhygienic practices leading to severe health problems perpetuated by these myths and half-truths among adolescent girls and women**.
At a social level, increasingly, girls are expected to compete with their male counterparts. Whether it’s in education, sports or their careers, women and girls are breaking down barriers and showing that whatever boys can do, they can do equally well, if not better. This is all being done with period cramps and other discomforts that are well hidden from the public eye.
Women and girls attend school, college and the workplace often without usable toilet facilities; not to mention the non-existent sanitation options for women while travelling long distances or in public transportations such as trains and launches.
With health and social issues directly and indirectly connected to issues of menstruation, we still do not talk about it, address it, and educate our daughters about it. If every girl gets it and every girl knows about it, why not talk about it?
Why is it important to talk about periods?
Looking at it from a medical perspective, there are hundreds of health conditions and diseases related to menstruation (the period) and menstrual cycle (the time from the beginning of one period to the next), so dealing with periods in a clean and smart manner is imperative.
It is very important for a woman to have regular periods, especially if she is trying to conceive. During each menstrual cycle, levels of the hormone oestrogen rise, resulting in an egg developing and being released by the ovary (ovulation). The womb lining thickens in preparation for a possible pregnancy.
The egg travels down the fallopian tube and if it meets a sperm and is fertilised, a pregnancy can occur. The egg lives for about 24 hours and if it isn’t fertilised, it will be absorbed into the body.
The lining of the womb will come away and leave the body through the vagina mixed with blood. This is a period.
So by now you should be able to understand that if there are no regular periods, there won’t be regular ovulation and no pregnancy.
If the period doesn’t start by 16 years of age, it’s called “delayed menarche” and needs medical attention. If the period starts and then stops it may be due to stress, extreme weight loss, medications or even conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
If the period starts on time, but is too heavy or happens too often, it may cause too much blood loss which can eventually lead to anaemia if supplements or adequate nutrition is not given.
Periods may be irregular in the beginning which is normal but it can also be caused by unsuspected pregnancy, PCOS or thyroid problems. Periods can often be painful (the pain can range from mild to severe), due to the uterine muscles contracting to remove the blood, but in few cases this may indicate an underlying disease such as endometriosis, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory diseases, etc.
These are few examples of the diseases related to periods. Maintaining proper hygiene alone can get rid of many complications and infections.
What are the dangers associated with poor hygiene?
It is extremely important that the girls are taught about the importance of hygiene and the potential risks if hygiene is not maintained. The risk of infection is higher than normal during menstruation. A plug of mucus normally found at the mouth of the cervix is dislodged and the cervix opens to allow blood to pass out of the body.
This creates a passage for bacteria to travel back into the uterus and pelvic cavity. In addition, the pH of the vagina is less acidic at this time which can increase the chances of gaining yeast infections such as Thrush (Candidiasis). Some examples of poor hygienic practices include unclean sanitary pads which can cause infection; infrequent change of pads that can cause local skin irritation and rashes; and wiping from back to front, which can lead to bacteria from the bowel to move to the vagina.
Teaching our daughters, helping the future
Parents, guardians, older siblings, especially sisters play a crucial role in teaching girls about their bodies particularly on this important rite of passage. Girls who were taught about their bodies, menstruation cycles and how to hygienically manage their periods, are found to be more confident, able to participate in school and other social events.
Different girls become women at different ages and the first period can start anytime and anywhere, so it is good to start preparing yourself early on. Once she starts her period explain to her what is happening and slowly answer her why’s and how’s.
Most parents avoid talking about periods because of the uncomfortable topic of sex and reproduction, but these topics can be better handled in a culturally sensitive way if you start preparing yourself to have the “talk”.
Given cultural barriers, sometimes it is easier for an aunt or an older sister/cousin to talk to your daughter. Reaching out to close female confidants will show your daughter that she has a community, a support system. Teach her how to manage her first period, and whom she can go for help with how to use a pad, how often to change it and the importance of maintaining hygiene.
Show her how to dispose used pads. Help her to be prepared for leaks, unexpected irregular period dates and stomach cramps.
Take her shopping. Let her decide what kind of sanitary napkins she wants, and what form of undergarments she might be comfortable using. If she’s uncomfortable shopping with you, give her some space. Instead of giving her a list of dos and don’ts, take her out and celebrate the day. Boost her confidence with some compliments. Let her know that what she’s going through doesn’t have to be scary and that she always has someone to talk to.
If you think you still have questions of your own, remember, as a parent, there is nothing wrong in admitting that you don’t have answers to everything. Mothers please remember that realities of today’s girl children are far different from what you had experienced during your adolescence. If you are unsure about any topic related to menstruation (irregularity, cramps, sanitary napkins and feminine products, etc.), you can find important and culturally relevant information on the web at sites like Maya. If you are still unsure, make an appointment with a health professional to have a candid conversation that will be beneficial to both you and your child.
If mum isn’t around, your daughter should be comfortable asking you — the Dads — to get her a packet of sanitary napkin instead of wearing the same dirty one. Braving an uncomfortable moment now can help your daughter from avoiding major medical complications in the future. For her health and happiness, be as supportive as you can, be as open as you can. You will raise a more confident and self-assured woman if you acknowledge her new womanhood in a positive manner.
For more information on menstruation, please visit www.maya.com.bd. For medical advice, ask your question to our doctors on “Maya Apa Ki Bole”.
By Dr Kazi Mashfia Fardeen, Medical Specialist, maya.com.bd
Published: 12:02 am Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Last modified: 1:42 pm Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Last night a mountain lion suddenly walked right into the middle of a dream I was having. I don’t remember the rest of the dream, but the cougar and its powerful presence has stayed with me all day. So of course (if you know me), I looked up “mountain lion medicine”.
My inner-indigenous does her best to see and acknowledge the symbolic teachings presented in the form of messengers, coincidences, and turning points. It makes no difference to me whether they come to me from the Great Outer Dimension handing this guidance to me on a silver platter, or an ancient ancestor surfacing from my DNA, or whether it comes from my focused brain scanning the landscape while open to clues, connecting to the good and the potential and the manifestations as I walk my own Heroine’s Journey. Life requires the courage to be brave and bravery to be courageous.
My minutes and hours and days are mostly consumed by staying embodied in the meaningful messages of my work, yet there is a practical end to this gig. Sifting through the plethora of online marketing option bombardment over the years has felt like walking through quicksand (please don’t leave any marketing suggestions on this post!). It’s a slower and more stressful road, yet I’m determined to only go with the few marketing paths that resonate in order to honor the work and it’s readers.
Enter, the gifts of the Mountain Lion.
…Mountain Lion totem guides and teaches us that we must find our own way, be true to our own heart—our own journey of discovery, our own “space” of identity despite the difficulty along the way, or the time one must spend alone developing inner power and strength to embrace this path—this rite of passage to true freedom
…Mountain Lion teaches us about having the patience to develop our personal power and vision
… Mountain Lion roams far and wide…his boundaries are clear. No Mountain Lion is to enter the domain of another. Each must find his own space, and the journey may be very long getting there.
…. Mountain Lion shows the need to stay on course and maintain the quest. This is strong totem medicine
….the Mountain Lion is connected to the land and a great teacher of cycles and rebirth.
Aho to that.
WHAT ANIMAL HAS CROSSED YOUR PATH OR ENTERED YOUR SPACE LATELY? Try looking up its medicine~it’s message for you.
Water that comes from the source represents the womb water of Mother Earth and the return of the Feminine.
Myan was born in the water at home. She was also born right in the middle of her due date, which just happened to be International Women’s Day. I love that, of course.
At the time of Myan’s birth, I would not have guessed that my life’s work would present itself in my 50s and would be about teaching an entirely different (new but actually old) way of viewing a woman’s monthly womb rhythm. Nor was it on my radar that a Lakota woman would have a vision about me and tell me I was to be the Keeper of an ancient stone medicine bowl for water ceremonies (and then actually gift it to me).
Also, the number 19 is a particularly auspicious number for the return of Feminine honor and rightful say on the planet. It has to do with the Celtic Goddess, Brigid, and interestingly, the sacredness of “wells” along with a host of other powerful and fascinating influences. It’s my feeling that the story of Brigid needs to be taught in history classes. She is the originating heart, soul, and force behind much of the British Isles symbolism, legends, and ways. If interested, there is much to know and many blogs about her: www.druidry.org/library/gods-goddesses/brigit
My ancestry is all British Isles at least as far back as 1505, Wales. I believe I must have some strong, early Celtic women in my DNA who have been surfacing and speaking for a very long time. I believe Myan carries strong Celtic women in her as well, probably stronger. At 19 years old, she’s just coming in to her own visions on how to best serve the planet as a strong woman. There are many young women in her generation (and the one just prior) who I consider to be the “New Goddesses”. Since I am teaching the ancient “way” of the female, they are coming to me and speaking their truth and knowings, so I’m experiencing this firsthand. It’s very powerful.
Life is so, so interesting. I’m grateful for the ever unfolding surprises that are put before me as I walk this Earth path.
~ Love and Thanks,
Suzanne (the proud mama)