by Corinna Wood

Most women can feel it coming on – the dark time. Our partners may comment that we don’t seem to want their company or anyone else’s for that matter. We get caught up in our emotions  – we’re not usual selves. We’re hypersensitive. We weep, and we bleed.

Modern society tries to minimize this experience. Women attempt to suppress the wave of feelings that surge to the surface, to put on a happy face and push through. But stoic as we may be, we’re often forced to acknowledge the power of our bodies and our emotions. Cramps, headaches and fatigue drive us to our beds or into the bath, soaking away our woes.

You would think we could take a hint; our bodies and spirits are crying out for sanctuary and succor. Somehow, we’ve come to view menstruation as an aberration rather than a grace.

Yet the ancient wisdom, that many women today are rediscovering, is that the Moontime is when the veils between the worlds are at their thinnest, when we as women have a unique window into our own souls, our inner guidance, our divine wisdom. The physical and emotional intensity of this time is an opportunity for healing and release–when we nourish ourselves, body and soul, and allow all of who we are.

During menstruation when our emotions and perceptions are heightened, there is a primal urge to remove ourselves from the daily routine and allow these feelings to move through our bodies and our spirits. We crave the Moon Lodge.

In societies where the natural order of things is revered, the Moon Lodge offered a retreat – a cradle to receive us when we felt most vulnerable, when the veil between our inner and outer worlds was thin. Women would gather there during their menses, but not as an exile imposed upon the “unclean”. The Moon Lodge offered a sacred space to be immersed in reflection, to be still and truly be in our bodies.

These days, our busy lives don’t always afford us the option of leaving our responsibilities behind for a week, but we can honor this need by taking a Moon Day (or even an hour!), either just before our bleeding begins or at its height (usually the second day). Many women find taking a Moon Day does wonders to allay menstrual woes and pains - when we’re already in the Moon Lodge, our bodies don’t need to yell so loudly to call us back there!

With the high incidences of stress-related illness and the women challenged by reproductive issues ranging from infertility to menstrual disorders, it is simply good common sense to take some time to care for ourselves, whether as a preventative or a restorative.

The key to creating a healthy, embracing approach to our life-long, lunar dance is to treat it, and ourselves, with the respect and nurturing that we extend to all those we care for. Nourish your body, nourish your soul, and you will be well prepared to nourish others.

Portions reprinted from:
Nourishing Body & Soul: Wise Women Ways for Moontime & Menopause by Corinna Wood
First printed in New Life Journal, August 2007

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