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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in menstruation

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Red Ocher People

They say it's Earth's moon-blood, from which we're all born.

We've been painting ourselves and our dead with it since before we were sapiens.

Red ocher.

FeO2: iron oxide. Hematite (from Greek hêma, “blood”). It's found practically everywhere, and practically everywhere our people make use of it for purposes both religious and practical.

Rubbed on the skin, it acts as sunscreen, and keeps off bugs.

Sprinkled on the dead, it hastens rebirth.

We used to joke that if we were a Wiccan tradition, it would have to be Cro-Magnon Wicca. Really, once you start using red ocher in ritual, you'll never stop. There's nothing, nothing, nothing more authentic.

Here in the Upper Midwest, we've been using it since the end of the last Ice Age. (Before that, there were no people here, only ice.) There's even an archaeological horizon known as the Red Ocher People.

Be warned: this stuff is pretty damn close to permanent. Some years ago, I was privileged to see the original Willendorf Mother at an exhibit of Ice Age art. Even at 40,000 years, you could still see the red ocher in her hair.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I've read a little about the red ocher people in Northern Europe, apparently they were very similar to the red paint people in New

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Simple Ritual for Menstruation

Long treated as a source of shame and impurity, menstruation is once again coming to be regarded as a sacred process and state of being. Rituals and celebrations for menarche and menopause aren't quite as rare as they were a generation ago, and those of us who menstruate are finding that we can talk more openly about the process.

However, although it's increasingly easy to find rituals for menarche and menopause, and although practices like ritual baths mark the end of each month's cycle, it's harder to find rituals that mark the beginning. The moment when the cervix opens and the first blood emerges is significant--for example, the first day of a pregnant person's last period is used to calculate their due date--yet most of us mark it with little more than a hurriedly placed tampon or pad.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Why Don't You Convert to Islam?

When you're the last surviving pagans of the Hindu Kush, I suppose you get used to the fact that every now and then you're going to be up to your ears in anthropologists.

And sometimes that's a good thing.

Wynne Maggi had come to the three remote valleys in Northwestern Pakistan where the Kalasha, a people some 4000-strong, continue to practice their ancestral religion, in order to study the women of the culture and, in particular, the role of the basháli, the moon-house, in their lives. Generally, when the missionaries come, the moon-house is one of the first institutions to go, and surprisingly little anthropological study has actually been done on the subject as a living concern.

One morning, while she was drinking tea with her hostess Wasiara Aya, two of Wasiara Aya's relatives, both converts to Islam, came to visit.

After some general conversation, one of them asked Wasiara Aya point blank: "Why don't you convert to Islam so you can go to Heaven, and not burn in Hell forever?"

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • john stitely
    john stitely says #
    I would like a middle position. I think that steve is right that we can never assume that we are individually morally superior.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I honor your many years of experience, Elle; as a community, we are fortunate in our elders. Who is a pagan? In the absence of an
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    My understanding is that the gunman is also heathen (or, at least, claims to be heathen), although the article that you reference
  • Elle
    Elle says #
    I think, until you can provide some proof that the gunman was "pagan, or a heathen", I will err on the side of the present facts.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    On April 13, 2014, a pagan guy gunned down three people on the (mistaken) belief that they were Jewish. Does that (despicable) act

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

“Moontime opens up our intuition.
By allowing ourselves to honour this time,
we can eliminate premenstrual tendencies…
Moontime is a sacred passage leading
to a greater awareness of self.”

–Veronika Robinson, Cycle to the Moon (p. 142)

One evening as I prepared for a Red Tent Circle, a package arrived for me from the UK. In it was the beautiful book by Veronika Robinson: Cycle to the Moon.

Cycle to the Moon is a quick read and an inspiring one. The line illustrations are beautiful and the combination of journal pages/prompts and text is nice.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_moonandyou.jpgI learned about The Moon and You: A Woman's Guide to an Easier Monthly Cycle when the author, Barbara Hanneloré, told me she'd selected words from The Woman's Belly Book for her book's page one. I'm honored Barbara chose my invitation — that we women consider our bellies as sheltering "the creative energy kin to the majestic Power of Being informing the universe" — to set the direction for her book.

In a warm and personal voice, Barbara offers practical ways to address, reduce, and perhaps eliminate pre-menstrual and menstrual distress, both emotional and physical. She does so by reframing the monthly cycle as an ally, not an enemy, provoking us to balance our lives in every dimension. She offers us the possibility of understanding and experiencing the menstrual cycle that we embody as kin to the cycle of moon phases and the circling of seasons in nature at large.

Organized in five sections, illustrated with delightful line drawings, the book guides us to:

  • explore our connection with these cycles of nature;
  • validate and nurture our inner lives with self-awareness and self-care in a variety of expressions;
  • nourish our bodies with balancing foods, herbs, and physical practices of many kinds;
  • understand the impact of cultural beliefs and values regarding menstruation on our personal experience;
  • remember and then re-imagine our first menstruation — menarche — as welcoming us into womanhood in the way we've always wanted.

Each section provides references enabling the reader to investigate topics in greater depth. And each section concludes with an activity that helps the reader to integrate ideas and practices into the details of daily life.

Aside from the pleasure of knowing The Woman's Belly Book has provided inspiration and support for Barbara's The Moon and You, two threads of interest wrap me up and draw me to this book....

[click on "Continue reading" below for more]

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs


My blood
My deep red flowing blood
Flowing in joyous delight
Through the caverns and crevices
Of my life
My good red blood
Racing in anticipation
Of things yet to be revealed
Full of curiosity
Feeling no restraint
Innocent of dangers
Powerful beyond my knowing….yet…..

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    Thank you so much dearest sister Anique! I loved your poem and can imagine you singing it. I can relate to your menstruation story
  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    I posted a quote from your blog post Anique on my FB page and linked back to this page. I'm still in aw
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you. I am loving the croning process and appreciate your wise words on the deepening of our blood at this time in life.

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