Tag Archives: menstruation

Red Tents

I’m cycling again!  Reader, have you heard of the ancient red tent / menstruation hut / Moonlodge?  A place where women join together in a communal support and love during their menstruation.  I’m relatively new to the world of learning more about my blood and cycle, too.  Let’s indulge ourselves together!  So, for the past year I have been joining the most fabulous group of women each dark moon (that’s the new moon on most calendars, when the moon is dark), and my soul feeds on and lives for and dies with and composts and rebirths and love love loves this ritual.  Early last year I was meeting only in the evening.  Willa was still very young, in fact, she attended my first three Moonlodge’s with me.  When she became more mobile, but could not yet contribute to the sacred content of the ceremony, she began to stay at home with her papa (which, let me tell you, has been beautiful for their relationship) and I became eons more committed to the nourishment my soul felt in response to this group and ritual. And in November last year I was invited to meet all day on every dark moon celebrating our womanhood, our cycle of life, and support of one another.  I love these women.

I have found a portal of knowledge about my ancestors, about myself, about my sisters, mothers, daughters, grandmothers, and so on and so on and so on and so on again.  Each dark moon brings new teachings to my plate.

This month I am spending some quality time remembering my first menstruation.  I am remembering the details, the dark details.  This month I am rejoicing in the return of this moon cycle, many many moons have passed without blood from my uterus after the sweetest Willa began growing in my belly.  And now, my body rejoices in the return of my fascinating moon cycle!

I celebrate my menstruation, and yours.  It’s so interesting that our culture is based around celebrating many many other things that are so directly correlated with our blood, but shuns the talk of the blood itself.  And, interestingly enough, we allow our cycle and our reproductive rights to be on the table of many political discussions.  Let’s get the party started before we let anyone crash it, let’s celebrate our bodies!

I want my daughter to grow up in a place where she is comfortable talking about her sync and symbiosis with the moon, where she feels loved and honored for the entire woman that she is, where she understands and loves the functions and goings-on of her body, and I am going to give my all to create this world.  Too, I know you know balance is important in this realm; that’s what Glitter & Grit is about: balancing these two worlds.  So I’m not suggesting that we run around the streets shouting about our periods (do it if you like), but I do believe that our culture could use a little more information and confidence from us ladies on the issue.  There are plenty of organizations out there doing their part, too!

How can we create a society where there is no longer shame around our blood?  You wonder?  (Me too.)  I’m thinking first off, we should spread the word about these Red Tents!  Second, do you have a keeper cup (to catch your moon blood to give it back to the earth)?  I originally bought mine as a financial investment; women spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on tampons and plastic pad supplies and my reusable keeper cup saves me!  I’m certain to write more on this topic another post.  Stay tuned.

I said oh my dang today, because I believe Red Tents all around the globe equals a safe place for women to shed shame of bleeding every month, a place for us to truly be ourselves, every single bit of ourselves, with women.  It saddens me to think that some young girls have no idea how to express their new blood to anyone, that they may feel shame because no one talks about it.  In my research to further educate myself about my menstruation, I fell in love with the beautiful women empowering other women in their writing and bleeding.  I love you, I am grateful for you.  We’re all in this life together, whether we choose to honor that or not.  And I’m glad we are in this together.  I think you’re beautiful.  Just exactly the way you are.

I think I’ve told you about this movie before, but I really want to share the video with you again.

Did you get goosebumps?  I do every time the beat changes and that woman starts dancing in the quaint dining room with her sisters.  I do every time I see my Santa Cruz Moonlodge on the beach!  I love this movie trailer, and I’m thrilled to see the extensive work these ladies have put forth come to fruition.

Have you read The Red Tent?  Do you have a Red Tent?  What is the most nourishing thing you do for your body / mind / spirit during your dark moon?  Do you have rituals which help heal and open your soul?

What Sex Education Forgot

Ironically, just before Willa came to be, Cody and I thought it would be so cool to practice and master fertility awareness (as a method of birth control), by reading this book our friends Marisa and Jimmy let us borrow.  We cast it aside as the intensity of our job increased, and were in and out of town during training.  Our time together–bits of rapture and fleeting emotion filled with monumental connection–was passionate, to say the least.  Now that we are getting into a routine again, the book is once again on my bedside table, and my reading is more frequent!

I have found myself, since grade school, drawn to the very cool art of knowing my very unique body better than anyone else.  I vaguely remember sex education in 5th grade–a room filled with girls, Diane made a joke that we should just wear diapers instead of pads because everyone knows when a girl is on her “rag.”  I left with a sense of curiosity and feeling confused, still.  A friend’s older sister told her that she couldn’t wear tampons until she had sex.  Diane’s joke still sometimes lingers in the bathroom closet (she must have had a tormenting older brother).  Most of the girls I know start out very confused about their bodies and cycles and little is done to correct this misinformation.

I was one of my first friends to get my menstruation (age 11, at an amusement park, with my first crush).  Still, I felt fine about bleeding each month.  There weren’t many things that happened as rare as once a month.  The moon became full once a month.  We played Matt Ball (our favorite gym game) once a month.  I am glad I was among the first in my friend circle to lead the way with my period.  I was confident and collected.  I even wore tampons and helped some of my friends feel confident to wear theirs, too.

Looking back, I realize how much was missing from my sex education class in that lonely classroom filled self-curious girls.  In seventh or eighth grade my best friend and I re-wrote the words to the song Brass Monkey to say “we charged that funky monkey” as a cue to one another that we had “discharged” that day.  I know, I know, middle school girls are silly, and we were among the silliest, but no one taught us the meaning of our cervical fluids and how to read our body’s very deliberate signals.  Little did we know, but Mel and I were very in tune to our body’s ovulation calendar!  And how cool that we were sharing that information with each other (howbeit silly!).

Cody has really taken to measuring my temperature each morning (“I want to be a part of your kicking butt” he said “plus, it’s my responsibility, too”), I know, ladies, I know.  I have a renaissance man!  I’m in charge of charting my cervical fluid.  I quite like taking notice of what my body is doing.  I like even more the notion of knowing my body and knowing when I am fertile and knowing when I am infertile.  Therefore, I have a contraception that does not include a condom (wearing a raincoat while taking a shower), or taking hormonal charges each day!

In the name of education and experience, and the simple art of knowing my own body, I’m becoming more and more aware of my fertility.  Let’s chart our womanhood together!  What is your method of birth control or pregnancy achievment?  How do you feel during the time of menstruation (or guys: how do you feel during the ladies in your life’s menstruation)? Is there anything you wish you knew about your body but haven’t taken the time to learn?  What is your favorite part about your body and your cycle?