Can I chart, understand and honour my cycle even if I don’t actually menstruate?
As someone who works a lot with pregnant and breastfeeding women, I get asked this question a lot. The simple answer is YES!
You absolutely can chart, develop a deep understanding of, and connection with your cycle and womb/womb space even if you don’t menstruate (or have irregular cycles).
You can definitely still honour and benefit from all of the same gifts our cycles offer even if you are not bleeding. Things may feel different (particularly if you are on hormonal contraception), may be a bit diluted, or could feel slightly more challenging to decipher (particularly when synthetic hormones are in the mix). But being connected to your body, your womb and your cycle is the seed of your womanly wisdom and your power! Reclaim it!
The menstrual cycle begins from day 1 of your bleeding, and ends the day before you bleed again. For most women a cycle length will average around 28-31 days, but can vary considerably. Menstruation is considered to be the phase within your cycle that you are bleeding; which can vary from 2-8 days of bleeding. You may have a very predictable cycle, or you may have a very irregular bleed cycle, but it is still a cycle nonetheless. So what if you don’t bleed? You are a cyclic being, with an innate rhythm and flow and you will continue to experience a repetitive cycle even if you do not experience menstruation (yes, even if you are a male).
There are a myriad of reasons why you may not menstruate:
- Hormonal imbalances (which could include PCOS or ENDO, or just regulating back after being on hormonal birth control or after pregnancy or breastfeeding)
- Hormonal Birth Control
- Very high stress
- Pregnancy or postpartum
- Low body weight
- If you do not have a womb
- Breastfeeding (you can still ovulate which you are breastfeeding, but you may not bleed)
Miranda Gray talks about Red Moon vs White Moon bleeding, and that our cycles shift and change depending on where our focus lies. Some believe that our blueprint is to bleed ‘in sync’ with the moon cycles (ovulate on the full, bleed on the dark). However we also know that our cycles shift and change over our lifetime. Miranda suggests that depending on which moon we bleed, our energy can be best diverted in the area of either fertility/home-making, or more healing/creative pursuits. She also says it is unclear which comes first; does your focus determine your bleeding, or your bleeding determine your focus? This is up for personal interpretation. I would love to hear what your charting tells you!
Other wise women such as Lisa Lister suggest that bleeding in sync with any of the moon phases has it’s own very specific and special messages about our purpose. Thus being in ‘sync’ is more about being in your own unique flow and rhythm with yourself.
Our bleed time, and the inner season of winter is considered to be the most intuitive and dream-like phase of our menstrual cycle. A time where the veil between worlds is thinnest for us to receive messages, visions and healing.
In past times, before the introduction of menstrual shame and artificial light the majority women are said to have bled together under the dark moon. They would vision and dream together for their families, community and tribe. The visions they had while bleeding were held in high esteem and assisted with many number of important aspects of community life. These abilities are said to be seeded in our womb space and in our blood.
Women in the phases of life where they bleed are said to hold many creative and healing abilities. From our first menarche to menstruation we are ripening and our body is focused on fertility (whether in the form of a child or other fertile projects). This is generally associated with being connected to life, blooming, growing, ripening and summer vitality.
However, apart from that very first menarche bleed, women who have reached menopause (blood-stop/pause) are said to be the most connected to their power and intuition.
In the times of the red tents, older women were always considered to hold the most power and magic- for healing, visioning, intuition and guidance.
It is said that this heightened magic stems from their womb space, where their blood is retained and held within now that they had transitioned to crone. Closer to the end of their life cycle, and closer to the threshold of death and rebirth. Perhaps a reason why they have been shunned and overlooked and ignored in modern day for fear of their powerful, influential ‘witchy ways.’ Fables often tell tales of old women weaving their magic of life and death, holding the powers to drastically affect the lives of others.
In retaining their blood within their womb space, women are said to maintain and heighten their intuitive and spiritual powers. This allows them to redirect their energy toward their intuition, healing, wise practices, creativity and supporting the passing down of the knowledge and wisdom to the women after them.
While this is considered to be the case for those in their crone/wise woman phase, it is also theorised that we can all access this same level of activation for a short period of time at other phases in our life.
More specifically, women going through radical/creative transformation may keep her blood inside as a way to preserve her energy and creative life-force.
Our most potent creative seed magic lies within our blood.
Thus, on entering a transformation, a rebirth, a birthing of projects or any creative or life-changing endeavor, we may require more spiritual and creative force to back us in that space.
Our womb activates its highest potency within it’s blood.
Our cycles are patterns that repeat over a period of time (Phenology is the science of nature’s cycles). As we are so connected with the cycles of the earth (such as seasons and weather and the moon), as humans we experience a number of very prominent rhythm of life. At the very foundation of our being we experience the life cycle- birth, bloom, decay, death, rebirth. This repetitive sequence can be seen in any life form, and within any cycle on earth.
When it comes to menstruation you can see this sequence quite clearly: the building of the uterine lining, the release of an egg, the decay of the lining and egg after not being fertilised, the death and removal of the lining in the form of a menstrual period, and the rebirth as it is repeated. And again when you consider the 4 phases on the menstrual cycle connecting with 4 inner seasons (inner spring of building momentum, inner summer of extroverted fertile light energy, inner autumn of slowing down and giving thanks, and inner winter of nourishing the mind body and spirit.)
The 4 inner seasons that we experience each cycle also directly correlate with the hormones in our body. Peaking at ovulation and dipping at Luteal. So if you’re thinking that this is just hippie-dippy stuff it is most definitely not! At each stage of the cycle a woman’s brain is very different! Thus everything about her might seem very different depending on where she is at in her cycle; her mood, her focus, her abilities, her communication, her energy, even her self esteem.
The potential to harness your energy, release what is no longer serving you, and live a life in full flow is endless!
The answers lie in understanding your own body (that flows through the cyclic sequence of birth, growth, decay, death, rebirth).
So if you don’t have a menstrual cycle what is the benefit for you? What are you looking for?
As a cyclic creature you experience many cycles each and every day, week, month, year and lifetime. But just as we breathe and blink, you just may not be overly aware of them. Becoming more consciously aware of your patterns and rhythms will unlock answers and messages about your own being you didn’t know were there!
This will pose as a reminder that you don’t need the external validation, or external advice of others.
The answers are already within you.
So how do you connect with your cycle without bleeding?
The answers you seek will be as unique and individual as you are. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way of being. To develop an understanding of your own unique rhythm (which can also assist you in understanding when things are ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’ for you) the easiest and most effective way is to take notes! Become consciously aware and make this awareness an active and vital part of your life.
If you aren’t sure where to start, here are some easy to follow tips:
- Begin by being still, with the intention of connecting.
- Tune into your womb space and your cycle daily.
- Ask how your womb (and you as a whole) is feeling each day.
- Take some time to deepen your awareness of the feeling and messages coming from your womb space. What are you feeling: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually?
- You may want to start with a focus around health, mental health, relationship patterns, business/work productivity, physical peaks, or just to see where it takes you.
- Learn about the 4 phases of the cycle so that you know what to look for (You can Journey with me or purchase your own Rewilding Womb Wisdom Guide- coming soon)
- Ask yourself whether you are living in flow? Are you living in equal balance of your cyclic yin and yang? Are you pushing your mind and/or body and/or spirit too hard? Are you living according to only the yang pressure in our culture, or are you daring to live by your own unique rhythm? Living in a solely pressured state of being is like only living as half of yourself. You are missing the complete other half. This is not sustainable. Stress and pressure are counter productive to flow.
Living in flow is not a self care practice, it is a way of being.
To be is to flow
(read more about flow here).
Once you have found your daily practice of stillness and connection with your womb, begin charting your patterns. Be sure to note any changes you make to your routine (particularly large stress events, any health issues, changes in diet) and see what arises! You can start by choosing a moon phase (whichever you connect with- I like to choose either the Dark, the Full or my birth moon).
Download my free cycle charting guides and start noting your daily messages and findings.
I hope that you find it useful to flow in this daily practice and watch it evolve over time. This practice will become more ritualised and part of your everyday life. It will evolve over your lifetime so you may choose to get more specific and look for very specific patterns or changes over time.
It may also feel important to honour the transitions of your life and cycle- particularly if you are at the end of your menstrual journey. If you would like to know more about specific rituals to honour your cycle when you do not have a menstrual cycle Read Part 2 here. Otherwise you can Journey with me for 1:1 menstruality and rewilding mentoring.
You do not have to have a regular cycle, or even be bleeding at all to connect with your womb and/or your cycle!
You may have things that alter or interrupt your natural cycle (such as hormonal birth control, breastfeeding hormones, stress, illness). This awareness allows you to take back control and be more aware of how these are affecting you- and whether you feel you need to make changes to your routine.
This is not a self care practice!
Understanding your cycle is your ability to unlock an understanding of yourself that already exists within you!
Ensure that if you have any doubts about your health, hormones or menstruation, that you seek professional advice. Nobody knows your body as well as you do! While there have been many positives for women for many years using hormonal contraception, it is also well known for causing a lot of issues and negative side effects. It is important to trust in your womb. Deepening your relationship with your cycles and womb will make it easier to ask the question- “is what I am doing/using is working for me?”.
If in doubt, seek out professional support!
I would LOVE to know your personal experiences!! Connect with me via email, facebook or instagram (or use the hashtags #ultimateflow or #cyclesmatter) Let me know whether you have found this to be true for your own experiences. Got questions? leave a comment or Come Journey With Me!