Women’s Rites of Passage: Ceremony of Bleeding
So this one is inspired by the fact that it is my moon cycle, you’re probably thinking that is way too much information. But in all seriousness I wanted to address this as we in the western world have been told we are dirty and unclean and that this part of our lives is disgusting. From the time we first begin the mysteries of womanhood in our early teens we are told this, this a perfectly natural event for women. Growing up I had been taught that women on there moon time need to be separate from men, not for the reasons some of you may think. You see being of Cree descent I learned in my teachings that a woman on her time was way too powerful, that she could strip a man of all his powers during this time because she wields the powers of life and death during this time.
This is a big revelation for many when they learn it, see when a woman has her time she is essentially releasing the energies of life from her womb (that would be menstrual blood) a woman is the power of life and death we hold that with in us at all times and these powers are amplified during our moon time as we shed that lining that would sustain a child were we to be pregnant. During the our time the powers of death are heightened which is why in mine and many Indigenous cultures would segregate women from the rest of the tribe and the mysteries of the moon were shared with others during this time. Powerful magicks could be achieved by the wise mothers and daughters during this time as well, this was the rituals performed at this time. We have lost these sacred rites in the western world, being a shaman and healer I perform my own rights but most don’t have the luxury to take four to six days away from work during this time, heck I don’t have the luxury to do this either, I can make time but it’s usually only a few hours at most. Not exactly what i would want to do I would love to set up a tee-pee in my back yard and hold moon time mysteries every month, maybe some time soon 🙂
A little while ago I was searching the interwebs and came across an article called The Ceremony of the Bleeding Earth, here’s an excerpt from it.
In Western culture, our women do not have the societal right to hold menstrual traditions while functioning in society. Whereas in many cultures, women have the foundation of cultural heritage to remove themselves for the “ceremony of bleeding”, our women simply go to work, business as usual. However, in many of the lineages that I have studied with, and now often teach the essence of their “woman medicine” in my work, this “ceremony of woman”, or “ceremony of bleeding” is considered a sacred time. In order for women to channel the cosmic energies present during this time of “death & rebirth”, a woman needs her isolated space, to which she may conduct any rituals, prayers, or meditations, accordingly.
How many women in our society are fully aware of the 4 phase cycle that occurs each month? Has our society made it possible to at least educate our girls so that they are aware of their own fertility and bleeding schedule, and all of the natural forces that it entails? When a woman bleeds in this culture, is it common practice to call her boss and say “I have begun bleeding and will not be into work for the next 5 (or however many) days”? When a woman achieves her first bleeding, is she met with an initiation ceremony, or is she simply handed a box of tampons by her mother?
You can read the full article (recommended) here
From a different perspective we know that Christians placed restrictions on women during her time, calling her unclean and telling the woman she couldn’t go to church if she was on her time. If she died in childbirth she was considered unclean and couldn’t be buried in the cemetery, if she gave birth to a girl she had to wait longer to return to church then if she gave birth to a boy. This is a huge cause of why women are told their periods are gross or dirty, it’s because of this and this is something we do need to start changing by telling our daughters that they are powerful and by letting them claim their power.
In my pagan circle when a girl comes of age and she has her first cycle we celebrate and hold a party where we exchange stories of our times and of rituals and share what it’s like to be a woman so that the girl will know what to expect as she gets older.
I’ve been talking about the ceremony of bleeding but what do we do when a woman no longer bleeds is no longer fertile and has entered into or finished menopause? Well much the same as we do when a girl starts to bleed. We celebrate the woman passing into her crone phase, she has the knowledge of all her years she is now an elder and is respected for her knowledge. In modern society we shun our elders we mock their experiences when we should be open to their knowledge.
If you would like to learn more about this you can contact me here
~The Wyrding Wytch