2014 Recap in Pics ~ Moon Lodge @ the Goddess Temple of Ashland

The Goddess Temple of Ashland is a gorgeous dome sitting on the sacred land of natural hotsprings at Jackson Wellsprings in Oregon. The entire chunk of land at the far corner of the facility is generously donated and dedicated to the Feminine by owner Gerry Lehrberger.

The Goddess Temple was the brainchild of founders Graell Corsini and Jumana King-Harris. Along with a hive of volunteers, these women maintain an incredibly beautiful space within a dome donated by Pacific Domes of Ashland. The Feminine grounds, which are also home to beekeeping, a mikvah, a moon lodge, and an assortment of areas to honor earth and spirit are maintained by all, including a whole lot of supportive men.

Visiting the dome and the grounds is free and encouraged. Women who live in Ashland and visit for the first time can’t believe they didn’t know it was there. It’s meant to be a sanctuary to give time to one’s self.

Because of my work with 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks, I was asked to oversee the moon lodge this year. A traditional moon lodge has Native American origins  (other indigenous cultures create something similar as well) and is a resting space set aside for women who are “on their moon” in order to lay low, stay away from chores, and receive the rejuvenation needed during this time.  A red tent is basically the same thing only somewhat Hebrew or Middle Eastern in origin.

I explained that what I teach is honor for all 4 phases of the monthly hormonal rhythm, rather than just one week, so I may not be right for the job. But they wanted me to do that and I enthusiastically accepted. So, Moon of the 7 Opals as I call it, is a space for females of any age to honor the phase they are in when sitting inside of the lodge (tipi). There are 4 colors, 4 quadrants to choose from, depending on where a woman is at in her cycle or if non-cycling, what phase the moon is currently in.

Men are welcomed and encouraged to visit the Goddess Temple and DO, and the Moon of the 7 Opals is for females only. I had stepping stones built to lead from the Goddess Temple to the lodge and had moon phases painted on them. Thank you to Steve G for building the path and to Jessica Vineyard (Ms. Galaxy) for painting the 28 phases!

The main alter inside of the Goddess Temple. The decor is always changing and always beautiful.

The main alter inside of the Goddess Temple. The decor is always changing and always beautiful.

This is the location of last year's moon lodge. It is now a mud alter. Shelley Sage Heart is the loving artist who spends time creating beauty with rose petals. This represents giving our blood back to the land, which equates to Mother Nature's rivers and streams, and vice versa.

This is the location of last year’s moon lodge. It is now a mud alter. Shelley Sage Heart is the loving artist who spends time creating beauty with rose petals. This represents giving our blood back to the land, which equates to Mother Nature’s rivers and streams, and vice versa.

This is the day we erected the moon lodge (tipi). We carried it in and stopped to honor the previous year's location, which is now the rose petaled mud alter.

This is the day we erected the moon lodge (tipi). Several of us carried it in and stopped to honor the previous year’s location, which is now the rose petaled mud alter.

Raising the moon lodge

Raising the moon lodge

Even the babies help!

Even the babies help!

Suz given the honor of cinching up the opening of the lodge with the newly made needles. Friend Rico is helping me - wish I wasn't blocking him!

Suz given the honor of cinching up the opening of the lodge with the newly made needles. Friend Rico is helping me – wish I wasn’t blocking him!

Finished! Graell - co-founder of the Goddess Temple and Suz, Wisdom Keeper of the Moon Lodge 2014. This tipi belongs to Graell and her daughter.

Finished! Graell – co-founder of the Goddess Temple and Suz, Wisdom Keeper of the Moon Lodge 2014. This tipi belongs to Graell and her daughter.

Beautiful Napili helping to decorate the interior of the moon lodge.

Beautiful Napili helping to decorate the interior of the moon lodge.

The 4 quadrants of the interior of the moon lodge, looking up.

The 4 quadrants of the interior of the moon lodge, looking up.

Suz peeking inside of the Goddess Temple to see if it is available to show to friends.

Suz peeking inside of the Goddess Temple to see if it is available to show to friends.

MoonPath from the Goddess Temple to the Moon of the 7 Opals Lodge.

MoonPath from the Goddess Temple to the Moon of the 7 Opals Lodge.

 

 

Let’s Talk. Period

Let’s Talk. Period.

A post from http://www.thedailystar.net/lifestyle/lets-talk-period-20824

blog unicef articleIn 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?

Let's talk. Period.

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”.

Sources:
*http://changeobserver.designobserver.com/media/pdf/unicef_girls.pdf
**http://www.realising-rights.org/docs/monograph_menstruation_BRAC.pdf
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

Moon Lodge Celebration, May 24, 2014

I am “over the moon” about being asked to be the “pillar” for our local “moon lodge” created by the Goddess Temple of Ashland!

A moon lodge is basically the same idea as a “red tent”—a place where females can go to rest when on their moon time. This is a tipi. To be clear, although I am a trained indigenous ceremonialist and a medicine carrier of a sacred stone healing bowl, this moon lodge follows no Native American tradition. We simply honor the practice and what it represents. Our moon lodge will be expanding on the concept.

WHAT IS GOING TO BE VERY DIFFERENT about this moon lodge:

I’m very excited to announce that instead of honoring one “phase” of a female’s monthly hormonal journey, that we will be honoring all 4 phases, following the 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks practice. The space will have 4 alters instead of one. When a girl or woman goes inside, she will sit in the area that reflects the “week” she is on in order to support, at that time, her own greater self-care while also  preparing for the next. Because 4s4w holds the idea that this 4-phase cycle is the imprint of being female and surfaces during our reproductive years to show us the “blueprint” of it, it is held that it is a supportive rhythm that is still available after menopause, sans the reproductive challenges.

Right now we have a very small tipi which would result in 1 or 2 women going in at a time. I’ll know more soon if a larger one is going to be loaned to us. If you have a larger tipi sitting in storage or on your land that you don’t use anymore and would like to donate to us, please me at: 4s4wContact@gmail.com.

We will erect the lodge mid-May and then hold a celebration from 1:30-6:30 pm on Saturday, May 24, 2014. We’ll have a moon labyrinth and live archetypes to help everyone embody the natural lunar rhythm of women, and a ceremony to officially open our Moon Lodge.. Event is open to women, men, and children of all ages. Please join us!