[guest blog] A young woman’s description of her menarche

RachadminGuest Writings, Menarche, Menstrual Health, Moon Lodge/Red Tent, Musings

This article is published in ‘Menarche a Journey into Womanhood’ by Rachael Crow (Hertogs).

My Menarche Ceremony at Sacred Arts Camp by Ro Ocean 2006

My Menarche Ceremony this year was truly beautiful. I just wish every girl could experience what I did. The sweat lodge the night before the ceremony was just as important as the actual thing, as it cleansed your body to give that sense of readiness to the experience.

Just before dusk us girls and our moon mothers gathered by the roaring fire and where smudged with sage before entering the small dome tent which was the sweat lodge. I felt nervous seeing as this was the first sweat lodge I’d ever been to. As our eyes adjusted to the blackness, seven stones were produced and put into a pit in the centre of the circle we had formed. Then we sang ‘we are sacred’ into the sticky atmosphere to the beat of a boran. We went round the circle saying what we wanted to let go of and what we wanted to bring with us on our sacred journey to womanhood.

The air grew unbearably hot and when it was time to go back to reality I felt as if I’d just come out of a swimming pool! Coming out of the dark was like being reborn- an experience I will treasure for ever and ever and ever!

On the day of the ceremony, I made my way to the moon lodge to meet my moon mother, Chrystia and change into my white clothes. I was glad to have the company of the other girls although I knew everyone was there to celebrate and support me.

Once we were ready, the maidens came to lead us to the big top where we entered through a beautiful ash tree arch. Then we were smudged with sage by the crones in their gorgeous black and purple robes and shouted our names into the immense circle of women and girls. When they sung to us songs old and new, I felt more comfortable as I know most of the old songs from past menarche’s so I sang along.

Then we changed into our daring red dresses back in the moon lodge and came out to something very unexpected! We walked between two lines of men and boys with their backs to us; drumming random beats every now and again with minutes between each singular beat. The energy in that path so incredibly powerful- you’d really have to experience it to understand it!

Once we were in the big top again, while the women danced and sung to us, my moon mother whispered my moon name to me and handed me a precious card. I felt honoured to have so much attention paid to me!

After we had witnessed belly dancing and listened to a story, we turned our heads to hear the questions of the crones who were guarding the gates; “should we let these men in?” “Do they respect and honour us as sisters?” the men were let in and they stood in front of us girls who were in a line with our moon mothers by our side. Then the men sang ‘we honour you’, once for every girl being celebrated.

Then the moon fathers stepped forward to crown their moon daughters one by one.

I was proud of my luscious crown; it was decorated with small flowers and two red roses at the side- in fact, it is sitting on my hearth right this minute.

 

‘Menarche a Journey into Womanhood’ by Rachael Crow (Hertogs). available from www.moontimes.co.uk 

Menstrual Health Tips…what tips would you like to share?

RachadminMenstrual Health, Moon Lodge/Red Tent, Musings

Menstrual Health Tips collected from REAL Women!
As featured in my Thirteen Moons Book

Use your pre-menstrual energy to clean the house and prepare food so you can relax and not have to take care of others while you are bleeding.

Take care of your diet and try to avoid fatty foods and processed foods, coffee, tea, fizzy drinks etc in the second half of your cycle. (the week before your period)

Be selective about how and who you spend your time with!

Evening Primrose Oil (HIGH doses) and St John’s Wort oil capsules have helped me immensely.
Lessens the severe cramping I was getting as well as the depression and rage. I’m not nearly as psychotic as I used to be, period or not 🙂

Try switching from paper pads and tampons to cloth pads. Soak them in a closed bucket with a bit of detergent, or, if you have a garden, skip the detergent and use the water for your plants.

Drink hot red teas, especially no caffeine herb teas, like Cranberry Apple, Blackcurrant and Raspberry Leaf.

If you suffer from mood swings, bloating, headaches, depression etc and use a hormonal contraceptive such as the implant or pill, consider changing to a more natural method- read the book THE PILL!

Zinc relieves cramps–eat dark green veggies like spinach!–and potassium relieves bloating, so eat those bananas too. Both need to be eaten in the second half of your cycle. Works for me!

I try to take a moon lodge day sometime during my flow, preferably the first day. i find that tarot reading is especially insightful during my moon time also. I take vitex extract regularly and it has eased my heavy flow. Also, raspberry leaf tea is wonderful, there are plenty of women’s menstrual teas available and
there are lots of books that are excellent resources with things like suggestions for honouring your flow such as creating a blood jar from your (cloth) pads and using the blood water to nourish your house plants.

To all of you who have an especially rough time with your periods, learn to chart your cycle and understand the hormonal changes that occur in your body. My own change in attitude about my body and its moon cycles have made a tremendous difference in my life.

Eat lots of chocolate, drink lots of herbal tea. Stay in bed for a week, watch soap operas on TV. You don’t have to pretend you feel fine when you don’t. Just do whatever makes you happy!!

Have a day off. I’ve found this to be my best medicine. Meditate, dance wildly, be creative, watch the moon, sleep more, read, do nothing, do whatever turns you on.

Gather a group of women together, have a RED TENT day/evening. The more diverse the group, the better. Tell them in advance that you’ll be getting together to talk about your moon time. Have everyone bring food. Make herbal tea. Share stories about your menses and what it has meant to you. It’s so empowering to be able to share these stories with other women.

Wear red. It stimulates the circulation and replaces the red you are losing from the aura.

Moon Times July Newsletter

RachadminMusings

Hello lovely ladies 🙂
Moon Times is now settled in wet and wild Pembrokeshire, the amazing sun rises we have had and occasional sunny days make up for the mostly rainy weather that seems to be the ‘norm’ here in West Wales!

Below is our July Newsletter, please pass it on to friends who might be interested 🙂
Do keep scrolling down to see info on my colleague DeAnna’s Menstrual Health course- in Vienna! 10% off the course fee when you mention Moon Times 🙂

Have any of you had time to check out our new look website? Moon Times
We have simplified things so hopefully it’s easier to find what you’re looking for. We’d LOVE to have your reviews of our products on there!

We have also launched our ‘LIMITED EDITION’ patterned pads – they’ve all got fun and funky names like our PUNKY PIRATE pads with skulls and crossbones on! For sailing the monthly Red Seas! Limited Edition pads

NEW PRODUCTS:
We have a new Baby Moon section with some fab pro breastfeeding T-shirts (and amber teething necklaces, eco potties and more) check it out here Baby Moon

EARTH PATHWAYS DIARIES 2012 are in stock! Grab one now as every year they sell out! (in our Calendars and Diaries section)

Have you added us on Facebook? We now have over 100 friends and Vicky won a Moon Sponge by tipping us over to 101! It’s the best way to get our latest updates!
click here for our Facebook page

 

 

Follow us on Twitter!

We look forward to connecting with you and seeing your photos on Facebook!
have a great Summer….come on sun!!
Take care, much love
Rachael and the Moon Times Team xxx

Red Moon – Cycles Of Women Empowerment
A Week-long Training (Aug 6-12)
for women wishing to be empowered by their cycle,
reclaim their cycle as source of inner guidance and spiritual renewal,
and become a role-model for today’s girls!

Menstruation as a spiritual journey,
is the last uncovered frontier in personal growth and spirituality today.

Women of all ages find deep solace in it.

It will help you dissolve PMS symptoms,
discover your cycle as source of inner guidance and spiritual renewal,
and deepen your relationship with your daughter at any age.
It contains the last missing pieces of our womanhood’s jigsaw puzzle.

Training includes:
– Learning to use your cycle as source of empowerment
– The spiritual and emotional aspects of menstruation
– Healing your Inner Maiden
– Reclaiming menstruation as celebrated in indigenous cultures
– Receiving the Coming-Of-Age ceremony you never had
– Shamanic trance journeys
– Integrating all parts of your womanhood into a whole
– Full Moon ritual
– Inspiring the girls in your life to empowered womanhood

FACILITATOR:
DeAnna L’am, author of Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Woman hood, has been transforming women’s and girls’ lives around the world for over 20 years.
DeAnna specializes in helping women reclaim menstruation as source of inner guidance and spiritual renewal, coaches moms to welcome their girls into womanhood with comfort and ease, and trains women to hold Red Tents in their communities.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=198635960177310

The workshop will be in ENGLISH,
with GERMAN TRANSLATION as needed.
For INFO & A REGISTRATION PACKAGE
please contact:
Hildegard Kirchweger – Email: avalontempel@gmail.com
Phone:+43 (0) 699 1 924 06 68

Website:http://members.inode.at/299106/avalontempel_english/workshops/workshops.htm
You can visit facilitator DeAnna L’am on her website, at:

Home New(Tribe)

Going Within

RachadminMenstrual Health, Moon Lodge/Red Tent, Musings

How do We “Go Within?”
Most of us live over-committed, complicated lives, with guilt and/or income-generation as our primary motivator. Though we have precious little time in our current incarnation, it is still hard to say no to work, family or group activities that we don’t find personally meaningful. There are so many “shoulds” planning our daily schedule. So be courageous, say “No” to the things you don’t want to do, but feel obliged, clear your schedule of chores and duties, ask your family for support and take some time for yourself.
This means turning off your TV (now that’s courageous!) and tuning into the broadcast channel of existence. So much in life distracts our energy and stops us from searching for deeper truth and meaning.
Consider the profound impact of focusing our energies only on activities that enliven our search for deeper meaning. Taking time out helps deepen into a search for our true calling: that which finds its source in inspiration, gifting and joyfulness. Think of your job. For many people, the work they do for money is not the work they do for spiritual enlivenment. We are told from a young age that we cannot support ourselves doing work we love, especially if that work is artistic and/or spiritual. Perhaps you could create ritual around revisioning your beliefs about work. Use this time to reconsider how to be generous with your time and love, while figuring out a way to fill your life with work and activities that feed your spirit.
Another thing you could focus on is to look at what you dislike outside of yourself, and then look within to find where it lives within you. That is your shadow, the projection onto external reality of the darkness that lives within you. Remind yourself that you have the power to find your own truth, by looking inward with a truthful eye.
Meaning doesn’t live somewhere far away. It is not in heaven, it is not in the words of some channeler, it is not in your guru, it is not in your church, it is not in your school, it is not in your therapist, it is not in your psychic, tarot card reader or astrologer, it is not in your government, it is not in your guides, angels, or other disembodied entities you have chosen to give away your power. The Earth is speaking to you, every minute of every day! The answers you seek are in the wind, the movement of the waves, in the activity in a bee hive or an ant hill, in the intelligence that moves the stars and planets, in the storms and earthquakes, in the songs of birds, in the howl of a wolf, in the grace of a deer, in the smile of your child/spouse/parent/friend, in the sensual embrace of your lover, in the flowing water of a river, in the shape of a cloud, in the cosmic music of the shimmering particles and waves that make up our universe! Go outside, be in nature and tune in to the teachings of Mother Earth. Get your Ego out of spirit’s way and open yourself to listening deeply to the existent wisdom of our world. Accepting the animal part of humanity as a source of knowledge will help bring harmony, peace and generosity back to our deadened species.
It is time to initiate a new quest for spiritual knowledge. Is your spiritual path ready for an overhaul? Have you been doing the same practice day in and day out without questioning its effectiveness? Take stock and question your current beliefs, whatever they may be. Be open. Seek knowledge from cultures and spiritual traditions that exist all around the globe. Don’t concentrate solely on seeking an intellectual understanding of spirituality through written or spoken words. If you haven’t tried to do a ritual yet, this is the time to start. Just open up and listen, you will know exactly what to do!

recommending a course…. RED MOON- Cycles of Women Empowerment

RachadminMenstrual Health

I’m recommending this course as it’s run by a wonderful colleague of mine…also a fellow Red Web Foundation member….10% off when you mention Moon Times 🙂

Red Moon – Cycles Of Women Empowerment

A Week-long Training
for women wishing to be empowered by their cycle,
reclaim their cycle as source of inner guidance and spiritual renewal,
and become a role-model for today’s girls!

Menstruation as a spiritual journey,
is the last uncovered frontier in personal growth and spirituality today.

Women of all ages find deep solace in it.

It will help you dissolve PMS symptoms,
discover your cycle as source of inner guidance and spiritual renewal,
and deepen your relationship with your daughter at any age.
It contains the last missing pieces of our womanhood’s jigsaw puzzle.

Training includes:
– Learning to use your cycle as source of empowerment
– The spiritual and emotional aspects of menstruation
– Healing your Inner Maiden
– Reclaiming menstruation as celebrated in indigenous cultures
– Receiving the Coming-Of-Age ceremony you never had
– Shamanic trance journeys
– Integrating all parts of your womanhood into a whole
– Full Moon ritual
– Inspiring the girls in your life to empowered womanhood

FACILITATOR:
DeAnna L’am, author of Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Woman hood, has been transforming women’s and girls’ lives around the world for over 20 years.
DeAnna specializes in helping women reclaim menstruation as source of inner guidance and spiritual renewal, coaches moms to welcome their girls into womanhood with comfort and ease, and trains women to hold Red Tents in their communities.
facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=198635960177310

The workshop will be in ENGLISH,
with GERMAN TRANSLATION as needed.

For INFO & A REGISTRATION PACKAGE
please contact:

Hildegard Kirchweger –

Email: avalontempel@gmail.com

on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/hildegard.firedancer

Phone:
+43 (0) 699 1 924 06 68

Website:http://members.inode.at/299106/avalontempel_english/workshops/workshops.htm

You can visit facilitator DeAnna L’am on her website, at:
http://www.deannalam.com/

What is a moon lodge?

RachadminMoon Lodge/Red Tent, Musings

A Moon Lodge … is a retreat place for bleeding women

 

A Moon Lodge … is where women share their wisdom

 

A Moon Lodge … is a place to dream

 

A Moon Lodge … is a place to rest

 

A Moon Lodge … is a place to just BE

 

A Moon Lodge … is a sacred place

 

A Moon Lodge … is a place to be nurtured

 

A Moon Lodge … is a place to be fed

 

A Moon Lodge … is a place to be loved

 

A Moon Lodge … is a place for ceremony

 

A Moon Lodge … is a quiet place

 

A Moon Lodge … is a relaxing place

 

A Moon Lodge … is a red place


© 2008 Rachael Hertogs, All Rights Reserved

Ask Aunt Flo…Moon Lodge Question

RachadminAunt Flo Answers, Moon Lodge/Red Tent

Dear Aunt Flo , What exactly is a Moon Lodge? could you explain? thanks Kate.

Hi Kate, well, The Moon lodge originates from the Native American Indian tradition. They honoured the moon time as sacred, it was treated with respect. The Moon Lodge is a Sacred Place for women to gather during their Bleeding Time. It was when we connected to Moon and Earth, Grandmother and Mother, and to each other. We were welcomed back into our communities, which eagerly awaited our return, to hear the wisdom we had gained.

In these modern, changing times, women are reconnecting with and recreating the Moon lodge Ceremonies. We are discovering our voices and our inherent role as Wisdom Keepers.

The information received as the menses begins in the clearest human picture from within the womb of the Great Mystery, of the unknown and our future. Among our dreaming peoples, the most prophetic dreams and visions were brought to the people through the Moon Lodge. In other words, the most useful information that can come to us comes from each of you women who use your moon time well.

For each of us who do not honour this time, much is lost, including the respect of others for our bleeding.

At the first Red Web Conference that their fantasy was that there would be a Moon Lodge in every town and that there would be some type of directory so one could just look it up and then drop in. What an amazing thought!

Setting up monthly Full Moon gatherings are a step towards building a local community a Moon Lodge- but for me the Lodge isn’t an actual space- it is the women who take part.

Much love Aunt Flo xxxx

Connect with me….. * My Patreon * Rachael Crow *Online teachings * Drum Making* Moon Times Products * Videos * Blog *Facebook * Instagram

Ask Aunt Flo…cycle charting concerns

RachadminAunt Flo Answers, Menstrual Health, Musings

Hi Aunt Flo

I am really interested in charting my cycle, but i’m a bit wary as a friend of mine was using it for natural birth control and became pregnant- twice! One time was while she was bleeding! (the first time she had an abortion, and the second time- quite soon after, she decided to keep the baby- and she was very welcome- although a bit of a surprise!)

I’d really like to come off the Pill and try something more natural but I am a bit scared, can you offer any advice?

Thanks, Denise, Exeter

 

Hi Denise

your question has brought up some interesting points.

Firstly – you can only consider cycle charting as a natural contraceptive if your cycle is regular (roughly every 28 days), if you have an irregular cycle, the first steps are getting it regular for quite a few months before using this method. (Alexandra Popes’ book Wild Genie has lots of info for healthy regular cycles)

The Billings Method book a clear guide for women whose cycles are regular or irregular, who are coming off the pill, breastfeeding or approaching menopause I’d recommend this book for women with irregular cycles.

If you are coming off the Pill (or any hormonal contraceptive) it can take a while for your cycle to normalise- so its recommended you chart your cycle for a few months while it regularises. In the meantime I would recommend using a barrier method (condom or similar) for contraceptive while you get the hang of charting your ovulation.

And once you have the hang of knowing when you’re ovulating, you still need to consider some sort of contraceptive! Or choose to abstain on those days.

As for your friend -well there are flaws in natural methods of contraception! You can ovulate when the Moon is in your Sun sign (so its always worth charting the moons cycles along side your own!) this is known as your natal moon- its something you can google!

And ….this is where I get a bit deep and spiritual!….. Its my belief that we have ‘soul agreements’ with other souls and one such agreement might be to bring them in to form!

I once had an amazing experience when I went with a friend for her abortion, while it was happening I sat and sent her reiki and loving energy and I became aware of a room filled with angels- there was no judgment of what she was doing, just pure love and my sense was that the ‘baby’ hadn’t incarnated yet (many religions believe the soul doesn’t incarnate (enter the physical form) til later in the pregnancy) and that this whole experience for my friend was all about a ‘lesson’ for her relationship rather than anything to do with the unborn child.

Anyway…back to your friend, it sounds like she had a soul ready to come through her, and because of her abortion, this soul decided to take any opportunity to come in- so although she was bleeding, that soul jumped in there and hung on!!

I would also like to point out that some women do bleed during pregnancy, which can confuse you if you are unaware you are pregnant and are trying to chart your cycle- so It could be that your friend was already pregnant and had a bleed and thought it was a period?

Well those are my thoughts on it all 🙂

Just to reassure you – I have been charting my cycle for contraception for 15 years, I do have a very regular cycle, and I have only become pregnant when I wanted to! Once! I do have 2 older children, my daughter is 22 and I become pregnant with her whilst on the Pill, and my son is 19 – it was after having him I began to explore natural fertility/contraception.

The Moon Times Cycle Charting book can be bought  here it comes with a set of beads as a visual aid to tracking your cycle and a moon chart so you can follow the moons cycle too!

Warm wishes, Aunt Flo xxx

© 2011 Rachael Crow, All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: Any health advice that I give is my opinion based on my general professional experience but not your specific case. As such, you should always seek the advice of your own health professionals, I would recommend a naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist, auvedic practitioner or acupuncturist …but go with what resonates for you.
By reading this guide, you agree that my company and myself are not responsible for your health or the health of your dependents.

Connect with me….. * My Patreon * Rachael Crow *Online teachings * Drum Making* Moon Times Products * Videos * Blog *Facebook * Instagram

 

‘Moon’ related web sites

RachadminMenstrual Health, Moon Lodge/Red Tent

websites for reconnecting with your body and your cycle- and for pleasure!

Moon Times Moon Lodge- Facebook Moon Lodge forum
A space to chat and share Moon Lodge stories

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Moon-Lodge/119489838085304

The Red Web Foundation is a member-run, non-profit organization dedicated to supporting a positive societal view of girls’ and women’s bodies and menstrual cycles from first menstruation (called menarche) through menopause. Members of The Red Web Foundation form a network of women committed to promoting menstrual health in their personal and professional lives. These “menstrual health advocates” offer a diverse range of products, workshops, and educational materials and include artists, mental health professionals, businesswomen, moms, students, teachers, and health care providers. The Foundation is committed to including a diversity of cultural views and experiences of the menstrual life-cycle. We honour individual and cultural practices of the present day and the past which promote a healthy outlook for women and society.

www.redwebfoundation.org

Crimson Wisdom invites you to reclaim your sacred heritage as woman who bleeds in time with the moon or as a wise woman who guides her community with strength and integrity. We invite you to rediscover menstrual community and reconnect with your embodied blood wisdom through circles, red tent gatherings and personalized ceremonies. The re-building of menstrual community is an essential journey in our work to transform the isolation, shame and secrecy that have surrounded women’s bodies. As we come together to share our stories, we discover the truths that empower us to become healthy, strong, and full wise women.
www.crimsonwisdom.com/

Brooke Medicine Eagle is a Native American metis – an Earth wisdom teacher and catalyst for wholeness, visionary, sacred ecologist, Feng Shui practitioner, harmonist and recording artist. Her beauty way awakens physical and spiritual health, offers Native American music and chants, promotes ritual honouring of Earth cycles, provides women’s mystery teachings, and creates a sustainable, holy path for two-leggeds to walk. Her dedication is to bringing forward the ancient truths concerning how to live a fully human life in harmony with All Our Relations as we approach the crossroads into a golden age. She is excited about the opportunity to put her teachings ‘on the ground’ as she helps develop her childhood home ranch, Sacred Ground, as a teaching model and a buffalo/horse ranch.
www.medicine-eagle.com/

Faces of Woman Spirit website is designed to honour the Goddess and Her many guises. It is dedicated to Her Face as She reveals It through the Moon, the Planets, Worlds, Time, and of course yourself. The discovery of The Faces of Woman Spirit was obtained through the Shamanic Journey’s performed by Katherine Torres as she gave honour to the request of the Goddess to know Her. The journey’s were performed by travels to the Celtic Realm of Healing, the Isle of Avalon.
www.facesofwomanspirit.com/

Alternative Approaches, Home Remedies, and Herbs for Women www.menopause-metamorphosis.com

yoni.com is a celebration of the feminine sacred gateway
www.yoni.com/

Herbal Medicine and Spirit Healing the Wise Woman Way
500+ Pages of Alternative Health Resources for Women
Susun Weed, herbalist and author of women’s health books, invites you to rediscover the Wise Woman Tradition, herbal medicine healing, and how to make home remedies
www.susunweed.com

Christiane Northrup, MD, obstetrician/gynaecologist, is internationally known for her visionary, empowering approach to women’s health and wellness. As a practicing physician for over 25 years, Dr. Northrup is a leading proponent of medicine and healing that acknowledges the unity of the mind and body, as well as the powerful role of the human spirit in creating health.
Her pioneering work has shown that conditions such as PMS, endometriosis, breast symptoms, and uterine conditions are the language through which women’s bodies speak of wounding they have experienced in a culture which has been unsupportive to women and to those values we call “womanly.” Her years of clinical experience have taught her that life-threatening, chronic, or acute illness is often a catalyst for significant inner growth and change. The lessons learned from the thousands of women with whom she has worked over the years have taught her that we needn’t wait for illness to make health-enhancing adjustments in our lives. Regardless of one’s starting point, vibrant improvements can occur on all levels of a woman’s life and health when she learns how to respect and care for herself.
www.drnorthrup.com/

The Goddess Conference, Glastonbury-with Ceremonies, Adorations and Praise Songs to the Goddess of Love, the Goddess as Lover, Lady of Sexuality and Sensuality, She who is Sovereignty, Queen of the Land. With talks, presentations, workshops, beautiful Womanspirit Exhibitions, performances, music, song, poetry, dance, healing, stalls. Participate in Circles of Thirteen, in Preparation Rituals and the Opening Ceremony. Help create and perform ceremonies on Chalice Hill in celebration of the many faces of the Goddess of Love. Listen to a wonderful Goddess Concert. Make Lammas Bread Yonis. Enter into the Mysteries of the Goddess of Love as Ecstatic Dancer, ancient Grandmother and loving Healer. Dance the night away at the Goddess Gala Buffet and Masque and join our Pilgrimage through the Landscape to Chalice Well and Glastonbury Tor with a Fruit Feast!
www.goddessconference.com/

This site is dedicated to the power of one. Every individual is the product of many individual lives. Likewise, every individual touches many individual lives. There is multiplicity in singularity. This site celebrates the ways in which individual lives overlap and influence one another. Originally conceived as a showcase for one woman’s work, this site has become a showplace for the individual, and in many ways interrelated, passions of two women. Please explore our site, and as you do, think about the ways in which your life has impacted others and others have impacted you. www.onewoman.com/