I cannot say that I was sad to no longer have the possibility of giving birth. 4 children, an ovarian cyst and the long- lasting anxiety of the possibility of pregnancy were enough. It was a relief to get through peri- menopause. I don’t bleed anymore and I think that it’s great!
I’ve come to a place where my energy can go elsewhere… and my money. (Sanitary items should be refundable on Medicare!) I haven’t given the whole thing much thought since…
But last week I had the privilege of attending a RED TENT circle. My daughter in law told me it was happening and suggested that I might like to go along.
I have referred clients to RED TENT because I think it’s a great movement. Even though I hadn’t been to a circle I liked the idea of seeing the cycle of bleeding in a different light to how I experienced it. As I thought about going along I reflected on my own experience of the cycle.
The monthly bleed or period was referred to as “the curse” when I was first visited by it. It’s amazing how significant language is- it seemed very fitting to me to have this name. I regularly spent a day off school or college until I had our first baby. I would be doubled up in pain to the point of vomiting and then it would be blessed sleep for the remainder of the day. Even as I headed into menopause it was pretty awful, debilitating at times. I was reminded of when as a young girl I worried about bleeding out of my sanitary pad onto my clothing and being seen- how embarrassing. Tampons were not yet available when I started menstruating. As an adult, when the bleeding was out of control, I felt no longer able to trust my body, vulnerable and exposed as well as homebound on occasion.
Red Tent honours the cycle of bleeding, as the different phases of womanhood are traversed- from menarche to menopause. The feminine is respected, rather than underestimated and even scorned as being ” bloody feminism”.
The Red Tent Circles are a sacred space aligned with the natural lunar cycles for women where we can learn to reclaim our power and light as divine and loving goddesses that we are. These fun and soul nourishing events enable you to align with your inner self, other women and the greater cycles as we gather at the new moon to reflect upon the lessons of our last lunar cycle and focus and intention for the coming month.
Through the suppression of the Divine Feminine, women have disconnected from their true natures. Most women are so focused on getting through each day, fulfilling roles and pleasing everyone that they forget about themselves and who they are.
Things have changed through the ages. Women used to bleed at the same time of the month and would gather together in a separate place nourishing each other and honouring spirit connection, the goddesses. Women recognized the demands of the nurturing self, of the feeling of being drained when bleeding, of the responsibility of birthing , feeding and caring for babes, etc… the menopausal woman was sought out for advice and words of wisdom gained through her years and lived experience. There was no debating the relevance of this ritual and recognition of the feminine.
Ahh…what happened to this wisdom?
So called evolution?
The industrial revolution?
There are many things that have brought about change. It’s now about how we choose to move forward; how we honour this experience of the female cycle for our daughters and granddaughters. We consciously let go of the stereotypes, the representations portrayed in the media, the shame and the embarrassment, the fear of being seen to bleed; of the possibility of being fertile.
I felt nurtured at Red Tent, even though I no longer bleed. I was respected for my knowing and experiencing. I listened to the women share their vulnerability without shame of being judged. There was a different “speak” there. There was no reference to “the curse”! There was support and acceptance. It was a heart-warming experience and one I will return to. I am sure that it will be different next time. There may be new people, different people there, but the intent will be the same.
We are taking back our power! We are accepting our uniqueness! YAY!
Now your experience was probably different to mine because we are individuals. There are different family beliefs, different cultures, different times. I didn’t develop any ritual for my daughter and I am sorry for that but I will certainly encourage one for my granddaughters. It is good to see that there is grater consciousness around.
I often come away from these reflections with more questions than answers and this is one of the times that has occurred. I think that’s a positive thing.
What was your introduction to this rite of passage ?
What do you do as a family now to honour the cycles of the month?
What impacted on you as you grew up ?
I’d love to hear more. PM me , call or email if you would like to share your thoughts,or better still if you struggle to find your feminine self expressed in the cycle make a time to meet up and we will explore further how it is for you
Red tent also offers celebrations for young girls as they enter the cycle. What a wonderful thing to do; to be celebrated for who we are as women, for what we offer and how important we are in our role of being female, not only for the possibility for procreation.