13 Keys of wisdom - menopause
Since most of us were not welcomed into womanhood when we came of age, we now can fully embrace this time, as initiation, and meet the ending of our menstrual cycling years in an empowered and beauty way. We are being asked to grow into elders, to re-ember the wise woman's ways and pave a new way for all our children in both blood and spirit.
1. I am Birthing my future, wise elder self., It will be experienced differently for every woman and yet still have common threads.
2. I am being asked by life, to let go of patterns of thought and action that keep me small.
3. Resistance is painful.
4. I am being moved by the primordial forces of the universe, I can trust my body.
5. When I experience Rising heat in the body, - I know it's the fires of life - burning through what does not serve me.
6. When I experience Sweat and tears - I know it's the oceans of purifying love - clearing and cleansing
7. When I experience wild Moods that swing - I know it is the winds of change - fanning true passion for what is real for me in my life, I am called to hold more presence in all I do and say.
8. Whenever I fear being out of control, pause - stop - be with whatever it was that is moving, look deeply and choose, I am the queen of my queendom, I am responsible with my energy.
9. I am being called to cultivate orgasmic energy in my body, ensuring the waters of my womb are full. I once took time to bleed each cycle now I take time for sensual pleasure.
10. I sing, pray and dance my gratitude, this opens my heart and in turn my body, so that whatever is moving, is released through my movement.
11. After a period of time of consciously being with the wild fiery moments, the emotional turbulent oceanic currents, the winds that whip through my life, I make peace with the elemental Alchemy that's calling me ever deeper into the mystery. This doesn't mean everything goes away, what it means is that I move through what arises with presence, I grow, and I shift what could be a wildly emotional, physically challenging experience into one of the most empowering events of my life.
12. My sacred ovaries have up until now produced eggs to nourish life within, now that I hold my blood, my sacred ovaries release the memories spiralling back the first blood to the first woman, lineages of ancient feminine medicine and wisdom. I listen inside I chart my cycle and my dreams, I learn the language of my being.
13. What I experience is my rite of passage, it marks the end of my fertile years. I have passed through the threshold, now I walk towards wisdom. On this path, I am being asked to empty myself enough so that I may receive the gifts life offers, and open enough to understand the responsibilities that come with these gifts.
Image by Lidia Wylongo
Men and menstruation
When a man is in relation with a woman he is in relation with the natural cycles of the Earth and the moon. This is ancient knowledge that has been lost and is no longer fully understood in the world. If a man can connect with and understand the cyclical nature of women, and begin to flow with and support her rhythm, the relationship can receive so many benefits.
In the current day, there is so much emphasis around the negatives of the bleeding time of a woman's cycle.The message that most men have received is that this is a time to stay away, a time when woman is erratic and moody, and best avoided. Many men have come to understand that they are expected to stay away from their woman at this time. These loving men, with so much to offer and the best of intentions, have learned that the best way they can support their woman is to create distance, both physically and emotionally, during the bleeding time of a woman’s cycle. It comes to pass that this time feels like a curse, not only to her, but to him. The menstrual cycle and anything associated with it feels like women’s business alone, a mystery that men are kept from knowing.
Let's look at it from a different perspective. Menstruation is not simply a period of bleeding, followed and preceded by longer periods of ‘normal’. Instead all of the women in your life are cycling every month on a journey through the four seasons. For most women this cycle turns around every 28 days, with each season representing about a week. So when the woman in your life is bleeding, she is in the winter of her cycle. During this time, as in the winter, there is a sense of darkness and looking inward. When we are in a dark room, our other senses become more highly tuned and this is how it is for a woman in the winter of her cycle. She is experiencing a far more sensorily stimulated existence, so noise, touch, and changes in her environment are more impactful and disturb her equilibrium more than at other times. The bleeding woman is open to the world, ready to receive messages and insights and is deeply sensitive to her intuition.
During this bleeding time, it's vital to understand that woman is not only releasing the uterine wall of her uterus. She is also releasing the build of of energies that no longer serve from the previous cycle. If you are in a sexual relationship with a woman, then she is also bleeding and releasing any distortions and energies that have imprinted themselves within her womb. When a woman opens her body to you, this is a divine gift that you can honour by coming to her clean in your energy, honouring her with the purity of your love. In a bigger sense, she is also bleeding the distortion of the world’s psyche through her body. This is the gift of woman in her fullest, most sacred capacity, in her divinity. Through bleeding and shedding from her body, she is purifying the psyche of the world, letting go of what has arisen through a cycle that is now ready to be released. In that sense she is serving not only herself and your relationship, but also the world.
When woman becomes ultra-sensitive during the winter of her cycle, this is a message to her to go deeply within, to rest and replenish her body. Traditionally cultural practices allowed for woman to do this, moving away from daily responsibilities and into a state of deep rest and nourishment during the winter of her cycle. Often women were supported by each other during this time and given the opportunity to completely withdraw from the world Culturally today this is not as easy to achieve. It is not always possible for women to simply become unavailable to their families, employers and responsibilities for 4 or more days every month. But even a few hours, as a minimum, can support woman to rest and bring consciousness to her bleed so that she can release and let go. If she’s distracted and unable to consciously release and bleed, she will be stuck with the energetic shards and remnants of the previous cycle. If you can imagine this happening cycle and cycle after cycle, this accumulation causes pain. The pain is arisen in her body, because she has not been given the opportunity to fully release the shards of distortion from her body. Many women today experience pain during their bleeding time, but this is not natural. It has become normalised to the point that we expect women to experience pain during their bleeding. If you, in your relationship with a woman, can offer the gift of space to rest during her bleed you’re enabling her to have time to look inside and address this pain. Not only is it a gift to this woman, in her embodiment of the spirit of the Earth, but also a gift to you as a man, to your immediate family, and to your community. This is a gift to the world. If woman is to be in service to the world in releasing and bleeding these distortions from her body, then you, as the man who stands at her side, are in service to all of life.
Once a woman has experienced her bleeding, the darkness of winter gives way to the new life of spring. During the spring of a woman's cycle, if she has had the opportunity to rest and release during her bleeding time, she will arise with a new and enlivened energy in her body. She is revitalised and able to step forward with you by her side. She has the vital life energy to move into her family, her community and the world. This is a great time; a time for getting things done. If you're going to say, "Let's go climb a mountain," absolutely do that in the spring of a woman’s cycle. If you ask that question during her bleeding time she will resist, knowing that everything inside of her is saying “go inside, be deep”. Whereas in spring, the energy is saying, "Yes! Yes to life." This is a great time to initiate, to say yes to life’s adventures and challenges.
Around the middle of a woman’s cycle, she moves into summer. This is the time of ovulation, when woman is most fertile. When you look at her you can imagine the great mother, the creatrix of all life. In this woman's body, life is created. Life is born. This is a woman’s power. This is when her body is releasing the seeds of life, the eggs of life. Once again, if a woman has been given a safe space to really fall into her bleeding time, and to clear her body and being, summer can be such a juicy time. She is evermore available to receive from you in the summer, and it's not just your seed of life that comes from you. It's also the seeds that you carry to enact your vision, that she can receive from you at this time. This is a prime visioning time, not only to impregnate, and to start growing new life in its physical form, but a time for you to come together and see what your vision is to create as a man and woman. In the summer of a woman’s cycle, she can meet you there and will lend all of her creative juices. They will be available to you wholly and fully, and to fuse that with your seed of light and vision and direction is momentous. Summer is the time for this ultimate creation, this embodiment of the universe, with all the elements and energy available to bring your visions into being.
Woman next moves into the autumn of her cycle, the time to harvest. It's also the time to cut away what does not serve. Once again there is heightened sensitivity, but now the internal world of woman is turning. In the Autumn of a woman’s cycle it’s almost as though you can actually see the season turning, like the turning of the leaves before they let go. That is also what is happening within woman. She is beginning to turn inward, to see and be called on an energetic level to look around her, and see what is no longer serving. It's almost like she has new eyes in this Autumn phase, and those things that do not serve her love will become amplified. Old patterns play out so that they can be seen and shifted.
During the Autumn time, what also gets amplified is her own inner critic, and if you amplify what she is already seeing with such deep and painful clarity, it becomes like salt on a fresh wound. It's incredibly painful. In the autumn, woman is reflecting on what needs to be released so it’s a really important time in a relationship if you can go there with an open heart, instead of resistance. So often during this autumn time of a woman’s cycle, her seemingly unlovable aspects are met with resistance and abhorrence. However if you are able to stand in your love, and see that what is arising, the seemingly unlovable, is actually being called to be loved, she will then be able to move that out of her body in her winter. By holding her with love in this premenstrual stage, the Autumn of her cycle, you support her to release these things that no longer serve and this is act of release is in service to life.
There is an absolute dance in this movement between cycles, just as there is a dance between the the sun, the moon and the earth, and yet we have forgotten our part in this dance. What we more commonly see in the world today, is an awkward dance burdened with shame, pain and fear. And yet together men and women can lift these shrouded distortions and with love, restore the sacred to the earth. For a man to have an awareness not only of the biological aspects of a woman's cycle, but more importantly of the ever changing energetic cycle, we bring a new way of being in relation to each other into the world. Remembering that we dance this dance of life together, there can be real healing within the feminine in both man and woman. Open up the converstation around menstruation and cycling together. Be curious and playful. Every woman will have her own nuances; her own steps to the dance, so be enthalled with the ever changing nature of your dance together. A new and deep relationship can arise when we dance this dance of life together as man and woman.
Sh'ana Shean -