How can I honour my cycle when I no longer have a menstrual cycle?
The collective need to connect more deeply with our own bodies, with others, and with the divine is bringing about a huge shift in consciousness. We are revitalising menstrual rituals that have been hidden in the shadows for too long. Rituals that many of us were doing shamefully behind closed doors. But not anymore!
As I wrote about in part 1.
Our womb space heeds the seed of our creative life force.
Without our blood we would not have the human race. We would not experience such rich ebbs and flows. And in times gone by the time of bleeding was held sacred. It was a time for women to unite as the veil between worlds became thin and they visioned for their community.
Rituals and ceremonies were once the foundation of our human existence. We relied on ritual and rites of passage to provide deep understanding of our place in the world. These rites of passage told us of the expectations placed on us at each stage. They allowed for a passing down of vital teachings and wisdom. We were taught about life, the earth and our community by our respected elders who were said to hold the most potent magic and wisdom. But most importantly, these rituals instilled a deep sense of belonging at every stage and age. There was no one phase revered as ‘better’ or more important or more celebrated. Each held it’s own important place in the community and in our lives as earthly beings. You can read more about the rituals and rhythm of life in an upcoming blog.
There are many rituals and practices that connect us more deeply during our bleeding phase. However, in this piece I would like to focus on the rite of passage of honouring the sacred cycle for those many women that are not bleeding.
Specifically, as we reclaim our inner wisdom and the connection to our womb, we must also reinvigorate the honouring of our Wise Women/Crones. These women were once said to hold the greatest powers within their wombs to assist in healing and teaching (read more here about the redirection of energy during menopause in pt 1 of this blog series). But in recent times they have been shunned and shamed in our society.
We are a society that currently only honours the young and fresh- the maidens. The yang energy. We only celebrate part of our rhythm of life. It is exhausting to continually try to fight our natural rhythm and flow! To deny and be ashamed of the magic that evokes and matures as we do. This creates many barriers and blocks within us both emotionally and physically.
So, we must unite!
And reclaim this vital part of our womanhood. To celebrate again the women who teach us so much about life, who pass down the wisdom, and who continue the cycle of life. These women are magic.
Our transitions from one phase to another can be a huge rollercoaster- physical and emotional! There can be joy, and deep deep grieving. For many women the one of the biggest challenge they have experienced has been the unexpected grief that they were ashamed to express. Many think that no one would understand. Who would I even talk to about grieving this? Why am I even feeling sad? I should feel happy shouldn’t I?
This confusion and loss is something that we used to support through rites of passage. By way of women explaining what to expect, validating and reassuring, and allowing for the very vital out pouring of emotions. We talk to children about having ‘big feelings,’ but this doesn’t end when we become adults. We continue to need the same supportive circle of security that children need as we navigate each of our phases.
How do you ensure a smooth transition when your menstrual phase ceases?
When practicing any ritual or ceremony always know that there is no right or wrong way. It is all about intention and about your intuition about what feels right for you.
It is also vital to acknowledge anything and everything that arises with compassion, love, non-judgement and no shame.
Before beginning, ensure that you ground yourself. Bare feet in the earth, moon bathing if possible (choose a moon phase that resonates with this time for you. Often a Dark Moon is associated with bleeding and with the phase of the crone. I also like to practice ritual on my birth moon) , and smudge or anoint yourself if it feels right for you.
Take some deep belly breaths and set your intention.
Some possible rituals you could practice (with or without a circle of other women) include:
Gift your ‘blood’ back to the earth:
Many bleeding women like to gift their blood back to the earth during menstruation. They may have a particular sacred place where they gift their blood and say their intentions or prayers for the next cycle. They may also like to practice gratitude at this time for the gifts of their cycle and blood. Some women may also include a prayer or a message for their ancestors during this ritual.
You may like to honour your cycle in a similar way, even if you are not bleeding. You could gift something else as a symbol of your blood (something natural and healthy for the earth of course). Whatever you feel drawn to gift that represents your own seed magic- a fruit, juice, wine, a prick of blood from your finger, hair. You may like to do this as a once off, or once a month.
You could also take a prick of blood (or something red that would stain) and place it on your third eye as a symbol of power from your moon blood. For some this is a symbol of the connection with their womb/inner wisdom, a connection with other women in the same phase, or as a symbol of purification.
Your gift is about connecting yourself back with the earth as a cyclic being.
By honouring your cycle and this phase you are also honouring the web of the feminine consciousness as a whole. You are intentionally sending a message about your place in the world; that you are connected to all of the other women on earth (and your ancestors). That you are committing to the next phase of your journey as a Wise Woman. That you are passing down the reigns to the next generation, but holding space in your very sacred space as an elder/wise woman. That you are embracing this phase as the wise woman that you are.
You are intentionally reminding yourself that you have a place in the world in this phase. That you belong. That you are important and you are sacred.
You may also like to incorporate a womb mediation. This could be a guided meditation or healing, an inner child meditation, a sound meditation like a drum journey or any other form of meditation that aligns with you.
A drum journey allows you to dive deep into your womb and connect with your inner goddess. You can ask questions, and seek guidance about this phase of your life, and set an intention to specifically honour your blood. You may receive messages or visions just as women did in their bleeding time during the days of the red tents.
Write a Letter to yourself:
Writing a letter to yourself can be a therapeutic way to support this transition. Writing either to yourself at another time in your life either past or future can be powerful for both healing and honouring.
A nourishing yoni steam could support you at this time through it’s wonderful ability to connect you with your sacred womb space. A steam is done with the intention of having some alone time to cleanse, heal, connect and dive deep. It would be wonderful to incorporate a yoni steam into a sacred ritual to honour your cycle. Learn more about Yoni Steaming in our Yoni Steaming Handbook (the 2nd edition will be released in the coming week so stay tuned!).
Another way to honour this phase in your life is in the form of a ceremony. Not much compares with the feeling of sitting in circle with other women who are holding your space and supporting you as you transition. Just as women have done for centuries.
Ceremonies could include:
Closing of the Bones ceremony, a tailored ‘Blessing’ Ceremony (similar to a mother blessing) or a Menarche Reclaiming Ceremony.
Closing the Bones:
A closing of the bones ceremony is traditionally for mothers to ‘close’ their bodies physically, spiritually and emotionally after birth.
If you have had a child and are not bleeding due to being post partum this can be a lovely way to honour this time. However if you are no longer bleeding due to menopause, you could have this ceremony adapted to ‘close’ your body from menstruation as a rite of passage into the next phase.
This is a beautiful ceremony that is often done 1:1 and incorporates meditation, a formal wrapping and ‘closing’ ceremony and blessing. It also includes nourishment, debriefing and talking about all that this transition means (which is important for any rite of passage as a means to find meaning, purpose, validation and belonging), and a deep holding of space.
Similarly to a closing ceremony, a Menarche Reclaiming is a sacred space to be held, nourished and nurtured. The intention is to reclaim all that occurred during your menarche and menstrual phase in order to heal and move forward into this phase without your blood. Sometimes we cannot move into the future without healing the past.
Reclaiming our menarche is one of the most important things women can do. For most of us, who’s menarche was not honoured, our memories of our first blood hold within them information about wounding around the feminine that comes to us from our Mother Line, down the Red Thread, and therefore the healing required to stop continuing this. It also holds within it clues to our relationship with feminine power.
Finally, a mother blessing is a group ceremony where women come to nourish a women transitioning from maiden to mother. A similar ceremony could be tailored to honour, nourish and celebrate a woman transitioning from mother to wise woman/crone (You could also adapt this ceremony for women who have had their first bleed after childbirth).
This ceremony is very much focused on sisterhood and vital need for women to come together. It is scientifically proven that magic explodes when women gather! Oxytocin (the happy hormone) rises, stress and cortisol reduces and you are left feeling strong, powerful and ready! (read more about the benefits of sisterhood here).
The options for ceremony are endless, so long as they are uniquely tailored to the needs of the woman. (Find more information about the blessing and ceremony packages that I offer here)
Moving into each phase of our womanhood is a beautiful and wonderful sacred transition that must be honoured. Each phase is so beautifully woven into our rhythm as we cycle through life.
By honouring your transitions throughout your journey you continue to acknowledge your value as a women- no matter what your age. You remind yourself and those around you that you are sacred and that your womb heightens in its potency. You are not redundant as your bleeding ends. No, you are just beginning in your power! We all rely on you as you get older to support the next generation and hold our community together.
Whatever emotions or feelings come up for you are valuable and important.
These are messages for you to acknowledge and perhaps work through. It is through ritual and the honouring of your cycle, and this transition that you will not only heal your past wounds, but support the collective healing of all women.
Have you honoured your cycle?
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If you would like to journey with me 1:1 to celebrate your womanhood, honour every phase, and ReWild and flow please get in touch!