Part two of “thoughts on my retreat experience” will be coming up later this week. For reasons I will explain later, I am participating in an exercise where I can’t talk about the past for the next three days. This is a difficult exercise and I am sure I am going to reference the past here a little but I feel compelled to share something that is on my mind and what is permeating through my heart right now.
For the first time that I can remember, my cycle coincides with the full moon.
For the first time, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for being a woman.
Can you believe that?
I don’t think in all my gratitude journals and in all the circles I have attended or all of the nights I have shared what I am grateful for with my children have I ever simply stated,
“I am grateful to be a woman.”
For the first time, I am feeling every cramp, every breast soreness, every ounce of fatigue, every night sweat with a deep breath of gratitude. My body is telling me to stop, to surrender, and to breathe. If I close my eyes, it feels like the first moments of when I was ready to welcome my children into the world – the five most miraculous times of my life.
For the first time, I am not feeling the arrival of my menstrual flow as a burden or a hindrance. I am not sitting in frustration at the steps that I have to take in order to “deal” with this.
For the first time, I feel solidarity and community with every single woman who has ever lived, who lives now, and who has yet to come into this world. I know that all of our cycles were once in full rhythm with the moon. The true moon cycle repeated in our own bodies because we were once all in symbiosis with nature.
For the first time, I yearn deeply for a red tent. A place to gather and to honour my body with my mothers, my sisters, and my daughters. I am grateful for the weekly women’s circle here that is held by my new friend, Hannah, from Sacred Female Space, and who will be holding a space for women with other women, a Red Tent, at Envision Festival this week.
For the first time, I know why my throat has bothered me ever since my heart began to open. It is the lost voice coming through and returning on behalf of all of the women who haven’t been able to tell her story. My voice is changing. The words I use are changing. My language of what it means to be a woman is changing.
For the first time, I celebrate this release. This beautiful evidence of the feminine energy to create, house, and bring forth life.
For the first time, I am looking forward to finally allowing myself to see my moon-time as my sacred mama-time. A time to reflect on womanhood. A time to model for my daughters how to receive this time as a blessing and shift my own perspective of my cycle.
I now feel a deep sense of sorrow for all of the women who cannot go to school or to work during this time, or who have had to hide their feminine products, or who feel compelled to “push through” this week, or who have ever looked upon this time as a curse, or who have felt inferior, or who have seen this as a weakness instead of the most powerful strength. Myself included.
As my own daughters prepare to experience their moon times, I will tell them the story of Selene, the moon goddess, “Queen of the Starlit Heavens.” From Michael Babcock and Susan Seddon Boulet’s Goddessess cards, we read that she “represents the fullness of life, incorporating all phases of light and darkness in her shining.”
I will tell them the story of Medusa, a moon goddess in her own right who actually is, according to the cards, “a symbol of growth and generation that dies so that from death may come life.” Without her death, the winged horse Pegasus would not have been created. Pegasus represents “instinct, wisdom, imagination, life force, and intuitive understanding.”
I will tell them that there is a cycle for all things. An energy of creation/birth, preservation, and destruction/release. A time for rest and a time for activity. I will tell them how blessed we are as women to have this cycle of nature built within us, a gift to have the moon as the ultimate mid-wife and sister.
And above all else, I will tell them how grateful I am to be a woman.