7 Wonders of the Womb

7 Wonders of the Womb: Discover the Powers of the Amazing Uterus

GUEST BLOG By Kara Maria Ananda

Emma-Plunkett-art-Uterus-15-67-1024x1024

Women’s bodies hold within them an incredible organ filled with sexual and creative power.

It is time that we celebrate the astonishing capabilities and mysteries of the fantastic uterus!

Every single human being that has ever been alive upon this planet, now and throughout all of history, has achieved this existence thanks to this very organ.

Thus, we have all been intimately acquainted with the uterus, since the dawn of our lives, whether or not you have one personally within your own body.

However, the uterus is an endangered organ. Hysterectomy (the removal of the uterus) is currently the #2 most common surgery performed in the United States. The #1 most common surgery in the US today is Cesarean Section, the cutting of the uterus to remove a baby.

The uterus is sensitive and permeable to the industrial chemicals now inundating our environment. Hundreds of toxic chemicals are now finding their way into the wombs of women, and thus into the amniotic fluid of pregnant mothers and detectable in the blood of newborns.

It’s important to raise awareness today about the power, purpose and potential of the amazing uterus, so we can focus more energy on the health, vitality and preservation of this amazing female organ.

#1: The Uterus is Super Strong

The uterus is the strongest muscle in the body by weight. The uterus has multiple layers of muscle tissue that run in every direction, spiral together, and are ultra-strong. A laboring uterus exerts incredible pressure to push a baby out into the world, and is the strongest force exerted by any muscle in the body.

The Guinness Book of World Records lists the jaw muscle as the strongest muscle in the body due to a biting contest that measured pressure, but that’s just because people haven’t thought up a good way to make measuring the power of a women’s uterus in labor into a contest. Some people don’t value the uterus as the strongest muscle because not everyone has them (ahem, men) but that doesn’t mean it’s not still the strongest. We know what’s up. Womb power, that’s what.

#2: The Uterus is Incredibly Flexible

A uterus is stretchier than Gumby! During pregnancy a women’s uterus goes from being the size of a pear and tucked behind the pubic bone, to being as large as a balloon and reaching all the way to the ribcage and stretching the abdomen outwards visibly. Then it shrinks back down after birth. That’s totally amazing! Not only is the uterus super strong but it’s super stretchy too!

#3: The Uterus Heals

Menstrual blood is rich in stem cells which are found to be adaptive within the body to heal a wide variety of diseases. Each month during her fertile years, a woman’s body creates a rich endometrial layer in preparation to grow and nourish a whole new human being. When a baby is not conceived the body releases this extremely valuable and nutritive substance during the menstrual cycle.

The abundance of stem cells in the menstrual blood are being researched to treat a wide variety of conditions from stroke, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s, diabetes, wounds, neurodegenerative diseases and more. Women create the most abundant free source of stem cells during monthly menstrual flows, which is much more ethical to harvest than from cord blood of newborns or from aborted embryos, yet it is slow to catch on because of cultural taboos still surrounding menstruation.

#4: The Uterus is Orgasmic

When a women orgasms, she experiences not just pleasurable and euphoric sensations, but waves of contracting muscles throughout the uterus, as well as the vagina and pelvic floor. The whole uterus has waves of muscular contractions which helps to facilitate the movement of sperm from the vagina into the uterus.

Some women also experience deep pleasure from their wombs during orgasm, and say that relaxing and deepening into the feeling allows a whole body orgasmic release.

#5: The Uterus is Connected to the Universe

A women’s menstrual cycles and stages of life are intrinsically linked to the cycles of the Earth, Moon and Sun. The moon cycle is 29.5 days, and the average woman’s menstrual cycle is 29.5 days. Women who’s cycles are closest to the 29.5 day cycle have higher rates of fertility.

In addition, there are 13 moon cycles in a calendar year, and the average age of menarche (a girl’s first menstruation) is age 13. The average age of menopause is 52, which is also the number of weeks in a year. There are an average of 4 weeks to a women’s menstrual cycle and 4 seasons in a year.

Women’s ancient menstrual calendars consisting of notches carved into bone or stone are said to be some of the earliest forms of calendars known. Women’s wombs hold a powerful connection to the astronomical cycles of the Earth, Sun and Moon.

#6: The Uterus Can Grow a Placenta

The uterus is the only organ that can grow a whole new organ within it. The placenta is absolutely amazing, and is an organ that is grown within the uterus when a woman is pregnant that nourishes and feeds the fetus with exactly what it needs every moment for the entire pregnancy. The placenta connects the mother and baby, through it’s attachment to the uterine wall of the mother and to the baby through the umbilical cord. It’s a physical manifestation of the nurturing of the mother for the child and is released after the birth of the child.

The placenta and umbilical cord have a pattern visible in the arteries that looks like the tree of life and is an ancient symbol of life and vitality. Placentas have been highly honored by cultures around the world since the beginning of humanity. The word “placenta” comes from Old English and actually means “a round flat cake”, and the tradition of honoring our placenta continues today as we celebrate around a birthday cake each year on the anniversary of our birth.

#7: The Uterus Can Grow a HUMAN!

It’s totally mind-boggling but true. Within the womb of a woman it is possible to conceive and gestate a whole new human being! WOW! Every single one of us is here alive on the planet today because we we started life growing within the womb of our mother, and we come from a long-line of ancestors born from the wombs of their mothers.

The first time I ever attended a birth as a doula, I was totally amazed at the power of a woman to birth a baby, and walked around for days in total amazement at every woman I saw, thinking how miraculous it is that women have wombs and that we can grow other humans within us. AMAZING.

Now you know why they called her WONDER Woman! Right?

The Universe Within the Uterus

Women can use the power of our wombs not just to grow babies but to tune into the creative potential of the Universe and birth great ideas, businesses, projects, art and more. The womb is a women’s unique connection to a primal source of creativity and can be used for not just procreation but conscious co-creation with nature and spirit.

Let’s honor and celebrate the wonders of the womb and keep our uteruses healthy and loved!

Many blessings,
Kara Maria Ananda

 

http://karamariaananda.com

Art by Emma Plunket: http://www.missplunkett.tv/tagged/womb-art/

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.

 

 

Blog Tour – A Real Live Writer

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.

Suzanne

Next week on June 30th, please visit the following two women on the blog tour:

Teresa Cisneros

http://mujerinthisworld.blogspot.com/?m=1

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

http://www.redletterediting.com/broken/

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.
.

 

 

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

You are More than Your Cycle and Your Cycle is More than Your Period

By 4s4w Lover and Guest Blogger, Sheri Croy
Fall-low-res (2)Chances are, if you were raised in the modern Western world you’ve been conditioned to think of your female cycle at three distinct moments: the moment you have an emotional, passionate, irritable or angry response that someone else deems unreasonable for the circumstance; the moment you see blood, and the moment you don’t see it when it’s expected. Even if you have been raised in a family with a more human centered, body-conscious, healthy view of being a woman, if you are reading this, chances are you’ve been at least witness to the larger Western societal paradigm that has demonized the period — and women with it. If you’ve ever been asked “Where are you in your cycle?” In response to sharing your opinion or stating your feelings, you’ve experienced the demonization first hand. If you’ve ever posed that question to another, or discounted your own feelings and experiences as “PMSing,” you’re (at least a little) conditioned.

What our evolving Western society has done a very good job of with their pills and potions, perfumes and protocols over the last few decades is compartmentalizing the period. Women’s cycles have come to be addressed in terms of PMS and periods — with a focus on the inconvenience, mess and expense of “handling the problem.” Society’s evolution from a family and community centric model in which grandmothers, mothers, aunties and wise women handed down their wisdom to their daughters, nieces and valued young girls is all but lost for the majority of women today. I can sum up what my mother shared with me about my cycle in just a few words, “There are paper towels in the kitchen, just use those.” And when my little sister asked questions I needed my mom to help me answer, her response was, “Your sister can learn about it at school, just like you did.”

I’m not upset about these beginnings; I have tried to do things differently with my daughters — probably to the other extreme (maybe things will even out once I have granddaughters!) In my mom’s case, maybe there was a stigma about discussing “it” with me and my sister. Perhaps my mother had never heard it from her mother. Maybe she was bought in to the cultural idea that your cycle really is nothing more than an inconvenient show of blood once monthly interspersed with some cramping and a few mood swings. Perhaps she was just embarrassed. Or, maybe she just didn’t have anything nice to say, so she chose nothing at all.

The single thing that has made the biggest difference for me — not only in being able to have something nice to say about my cycle — but also having something to hand down to my daughters and help them rise above the stigma and demonization they are plummeted with hundreds of times daily through media, peers and even just interacting with other humans has been the new understanding that my “period” is only one aspect of a vital, dynamic, recirculating cycle. The 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks insights have facilitated such a refreshing and smooth transition for me in thinking and being, I wish I’d had access to this wisdom when I was emerging into womanhood, or at the very least when my girls were younger and I first noticed their mood cycling.

Had I known then, as a young mother, what I know now, I would have known that the predictable moods and behaviors I was seeing acted out in my 5 and 7 year old daughters were just their female blueprints coming into view. I would have been able to guide them better to find times that felt good for talking about the big things affecting their hearts and other times for the big things affecting their minds. I would have been able to show them there are some times that are ideal for playing with our friends and other times that we need to be by ourselves a bit. I would have been able to talk to them about the prime time for building relationships with all their important people and how that time can affect the entire rest of their lives. I would have been able to help them attune to their little bodies and recognize the times for resting and being still and the times for exuberant activity. I could have helped them better to identify the times that felt right for reading, writing or drawing as well as the times that felt right for tackling a big, important project or performing some great feat. I could have done all this in the context of the four seasons.

Even the smallest child can observe the changes in the seasons. The chill of autumn sending us to our cozy jammies and blankets to observe the leaves turning red and falling to the ground; the way the world becomes more quiet under the weight of the sky, the way the plants turn in to the earth, pushing their roots down to prepare for winter. The way winter sends us indoors to play and connect with our families, to snuggle close and watch movies or play games or do crafts activities; the feasts and family celebrations that define our holiday celebrations; the slow building of the light after the winter solstice and the way tiny green shoots appear signaling the approach of spring. The arrival of spring with its lengthening days and bursts of color, birds singing, flowers blooming, rosy cheeks and laughter, the return of shirt-sleeves weather and the joy of spinning and spinning in the sun or rolling down grassy hills. And summer, with its hot, sticky don’t-touch-me, she’s-breathing-my-air days, grass that’s browning with too little water and too harsh of sunlight, flowers in need of dead-heading, and all around, too-hot-for-too-long uncomfortableness. Mother Nature’s seasons, so easy to observe and interact with in my little girls’ lives would have been so easy to translate to their own miniature rhythms, their personal 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks, just as they have been for mine as an adult.

I am finding it easier and easier to navigate my own ebbs and flows, to recognize Week 1, Fall as a time for inward focus, for drawing, writing, resting and recouping; to feel the pull of Week 2, Winter to strengthen my relationships with my spouse, my children, my friends and coworkers, and have the deep heart-to-heart talks at a time when I am closest to my own heart-truth and ability to express myself; to embrace the burgeoning fullness of Week 3, Spring, to acknowledge my inner and outer beauty and allow myself a few indulgences with my partner, to allow my world leader to step forward and offer my truth on the mind-to-mind level; and to steal myself for Week 4, Summer, to face the personal hot-spots head on, to take note of the areas in my life that are breathing-my-air this too-hot week. Instead of pushing off my emotions and passions as a symptom of “PMS,” I’m seeing them through the lens of my pre-menstrual truth telling — journaling and processing in anticipation of releasing what no longer serves me, and taking note of the things I will need to bring up later in my heart-to-heart talks. There is an ease to this way of being, a flow. And every month, every cycle it becomes a little more a part of me. My own rhythm is revealing itself in the most beautiful and powerful way. I’m glad to be finding it now, even at 40, it’s making all the difference for me.

4s4w Week 1, Fall, artwork by Cecile Miranda, 2012

 

Friday the 13th, 2013 – an Auspicious Day

12+1Terrific article by Donna Henes in from 2012. Worth the read and repost.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donna-henes/friday-13th_b_1418812.html

Why Friday the 13th Is a Very Lucky Day, Indeed!

Posted: 04/13/2012 7:37 am, Huffington Post

Fear of the number 13 is the most prevalent superstition in the Western world. We even have a name for it: triskaidekaphobia. It is quite common for even the most ordinarily rational and otherwise exemplary person — Winston Churchill, for example — to refuse to sit in row 13 in the theater or on an airplane.

J. Paul Getty and Franklin Delano Roosevelt suffered from triskaidekaphobia. Napoleon was also plagued by a dread of 13. Christopher Columbus, too, seems to have been afflicted. In the 1950s, the Columbiana, a group of Italian Columbus experts, concluded upon careful study of his ships’ logs and notes, that Columbus actually landed on the Western Hemisphere on October 13, 1492. The date, apparently, was deliberately changed to October 12, to avoid the imprint of such an evil omen.

When the 13th day of the month lands on a Friday, the culturally unfavorable attributes of each are multiplied by infinity. Friday is heavily charged with guilt and pain and death in the Judeo- Christian tradition. It was on a Friday that Eve served forbidden fruit pie at her legendary garden soiree. Friday was the day that Adam was expelled from Paradise, the day he repented, the day he died and the day he was cremated. And it was on a Friday — Good Friday — that Christ was killed on the cross.

Friday, the day of original sin, the day Jesus died, the day of public hangings, in combination with 13, the number of steps on a gallows, the number of coils of rope in a hangman’s noose, the number of the Death card in the tarot deck, is indubitably designated as a day of portent and doom.

The pitiful suicide note of a window washer that was found with his body in a gas-filled room at his home and quoted in a 1960 issue of the Yorkshire Post, underscores its powerful, popular reputation, “It just needed to rain today — Friday the 13th — for me to make up my mind.” Poor sod.

Ironically, and in definite defiance of the laws of probability, the 13th day of the month is more likely to fall on a Friday than on any other day of the week. The precisely aligned pattern of our calendar — days, weeks and months — repeats itself exactly every 400 years. In that 400-year period there are 688 Friday the 13ths. 2012 has three Friday the 13ths. “Just our luck!” some might say.

And, though they would mean it facetiously, they would, indeed, be right. For up until the patriarchal revolution, both Fridays and 13s were held in the very highest esteem. Both the day and the number were associated with the Great Goddesses, and therefore, regarded as the sacred essence of luck and good fortune.

Thirteen is certainly the most essentially female number — the average number of menstrual cycles in a year. The approximate number, too, of annual cycles of the moon. When Chinese women make offerings of moon cakes, there are sure to be 13 on the platter. Thirteen is the number of blood, fertility, and lunar potency. 13 is the lucky number of the Great Goddess.

Representing as it does, the number of revolutions the moon makes around the earth in a year, 13 was the number of regeneration for pre-Columbian Mexicans. In ancient Israel, 13 was a sanctified number. Thirteen items were decreed necessary for the tabernacle. At 13 years of age, a boy was (and still is) initiated into the adult Jewish community. In Wicca, the pagan goddess tradition of Old Europe, communicants convene in covens of 13 participants. Thirteen was also auspicious for the Egyptians, who believed that life has 13 stages, the last of which is death — the transition to eternal life.

Held holy in honor of Shekinah, the female aspect of God, Friday was observed as the day of Her special celebrations. Jews around the world still begin the observance of the Sabbath at sunset on Friday evenings when they invite in the Sabbath Bride. Friday is the Sabbath in the Islamic world. Friday is sacred to Oshun, the Yoruba orisha of opulent sensuality and overwhelming femininity, and also to Frig, the Norse Goddess of love and sex, of fertility and creativity. Her name became the Anglo-Saxon noun for love, and in the 16th century, frig came to mean “to copulate.”

Friday was associated with the early Mother Creation Goddesses for whom that day was named. In Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian, Icelandic, and Teutonic cultures She was called variously, Freya, Freia, Freyja, Fir, Frea and Frig. Friday is Frig’s Day, Frigedaeg, in Old English, Fredag in Danish, Freitag in Dutch. In Mediterranean lands, She reigned as Venus. In Latin, Friday is the Day of Venus, Dies Veneris; Vendredi in French, Venerdi in Italian and Viernes in Spanish.

Friday the 13th is ultimately the celebration of the lives and loves of Lady Luck. On this, Her doubly-dedicated day, let us consider what fortuitous coincidences constitute our fate. The lucky blend of just the right conditions, chemistries, elements, and energies that comprise our universe. The way it all works. The way we are. That we are at all.

That, despite whatever major or minor matters we might think are unlucky, we have somehow managed to remain alive and aware. This Friday the 13th, let us stand in full consciousness of the miraculousness of existence and count our blessings. Thank Goddess! Knock on wood!