Thursday, July 29, 2010

How Might your Life be Different?

"How might your life have been different if there had been a place for you...a place of women, where you were received and affirmed? A place where other women, perhaps somewhat older, had been affirmed before you, each in her time, affirmed, as she struggled to become more truly herself" 

I feel honored to bring to talk about my connection with Earth Mother. It is the direction North on the Medicine Wheel, the place of the elders, the time of contemplation where we ground our spirits and souls. It is the earth women are connected to most when we are either menstruating or in menarche.

I know some of you might be uncomfortable talking about menstruation, I know I was growing up. I didn't have that elder or grandmother to teach me about my connection to the earth and how to honor her or myself. Perhaps if more women were taught to pay homage to themselves and to be surrounded by men  loving  and supporting  them, Earth Mother might not be as desacrated as she has been. Some of us have been blessed to have view menstruation as the holy time that it is. Both men and women.

I have a twenty-two year old son who I raised myself and I swore when he was a baby that he would be comfortable with women, their bodies and to respect all the processes we women go through no matter how messy, uncomfortable or foreign it would be to him. I put myself down all the time for not doing this right or that right for him when he was growing up. But one thing I can claim with pride is that he truly feels and treats women with an empathy and a comfort that I am so proud of. His current girl-friend is always telling me how Alex is more at ease buying her sanitary napkins (think of the name even, "sanitary", what does that say about our culture?) than she is.

I think this is where we must either learn how our ancestors honored the earth. EWitch has had some incredible guest bloggers as well as our own Mother Moon discuss their relationship with each"element". I was really happy, when "Earth" was my element to blog about. For it is on the earth, the soil, and the place in the Wintery North that I feel I most need in my life right now. I'm forty-six and not yet, but soon I will stop bleeding and it will then be my turn to be one of those women helping the younger females how to venerate and love the Earth Mother internally and externally. I'm not trying to exclude men here because they have a very special yet obviously different relationship with Earth, but just as important as women's are. But since I am a woman, I will speak of my experience.

I've been really lucky to have spend some time around many Native Americans living both on reservations, in pueblos and our local Natives who taught me the most about how to appreciate Earth Mother's bounty of gifts. One grandmother told me, that "when women bleed, they move with the moon. And when stop bleeding they become the Moon." I thought that was one of the most beautiful thoughts and sayings I have ever heard. She told me that some tribes had a special place just for women when they are on their "Moontime". It's appropriately called a Moon Lodge or Moon hut. A place where women who were on their Moontime seperated themselves from the men of the tribe and gathered with other women for prayer, dreaming, and giving thanks to Earth Mother.

There's a  misnomer that it was the men of the tribe who forced the women when they were bleeding away from the tribe because they thougt that a woman on her Moontime would either taint their weapons if the were touched or that they were dirty. That's more our projection of why the Moon Lodge was built. The men and women knew that to bleed without dying was a powerful gift and medicine and similar to the initiation rites men undertook, women every month underwent a the the men of the tribe would be frightened of women when they were on their moontime or think that a woman would taint their weapons rendering them useless against their enemies.

This same grandmother told me, that no, women went to the moon lodge to not only dream and rest but to offer their Moontime blood back to Earth Mother which would nurture and make the Earth more fertile for the tribes well-being.

I could write a thesis on this topic, well actually I did on the which I called "Blessing the Curse." I refuse now to treat my   moontime as something shameful or secretive. Of course, I get cramps and feel bloated, and get really snippity ( a nice way of saying how I really am) but I acknowledge that this is part of being a warrior and all warriors give sacrifice in one way or another. If I don't stop the business, I suffer physically, emotionally and on a deeper level, spiritually. So, every Moontime, I collect my blood and pour it over my rose plants. The iron from my blood helps them to blossom and stay strong and healthy.

I know some of you are either grossing out or are really squeamish about this whole post and hearing what I do, and that's o.k., really it is. It's not your fault you didn't have women in your life, no matter your gender, who taught you about women representing the Earth Mother in human form. It's never too late though. And there are still moon-lodges around. If you can't find one, make one! Build an altar with Earth Mother represented, gather with other women whom you're close too and listen to their experiences of their first Moontime and how it has effected their whole lives. Find older women who can guide you and mentor you on your process. Or simply  walk bare foot on the earth and remembering your true spirit and soul and how you are connected to Earth Mother. It is only by loving ourselves that we can heal Earth Mother.  You might discover something about yourself that has laid buried like a treasure just waiting for you to discover it.

Mitakuye Oyasin (Lakota Sioux prayer of blessing "All my Relations or " We are all connected).

How might your life have been different if there had been a place for you...a place of women, where you were received and affirmed? A place where other women, perhaps somewhat older, had been affirmed before you, each in her own time, affirmed, as she struggled to become more truly herself. A place where, after the fires were lighted, and the drumming, and the silence, there would be a hush of expectancy filling the entire chamber...a knowing that each woman there was leaving old conformity to find her self...a sense that all of womanhood stood on a threshold. And if during the hush, the other women, slightly older, had helped you to trust your own trust it quietly and prayerfully to nurture might your life be different?

From the book, "A Circle of Stones; a Woman's Journey to Herself" by Judith Duerk.


Wendilea said...

Great post Wendy! I agree that the grandmother quote about moving with the moon is one of the most beautiful things I've heard... made me cry.

Mother's Moon's Message said...

where to start... lovely post Wendy. It is a sad thing how in our culture women have grown to sort of hide this part of themselves. Yet I do agree with you that it is a special gift we have been given.

I understand completely how a womens menstral cycle is likened to Moontime. A cycle comes every 28 days in most cases such as the moon itself. I myself ride much with the full moon and for many years have tracked my self in that manner.

Menstral blood is one if not the strongest energies their is. For years used in many a spell. I know as you stated that it is somewhat of a taboo subject and not discussed openly in a very comfortable manner. This is a sad thing as it is something unique and powerful in all women.

Like you I am closing in on the last days of my participation in this ritual. I will miss it in some ways yet I like how you stated that when that time comes I will no longer move with the moon yet become the moon.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful aspect of the element of earth, and how we as women have such a profound connection with her.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Moving with the moon . . . becoming the moon . . . how beautiful! Great post!

Lyn said...

Such a great post, Wendy and you've timed it so perfectly with what is reflecting in my own life! This month was the first time ever I did a ritual for my moontime.

Unlike Mother Moon, my cycle isn't yet perfectly aligned with the full moon (1 day off) but I've asked the Goddess to bring me into sync. I'm almost there lol!

I grew up with periods never being discussed and I didn't have any grandmothers for wisdom. But I feel honoured I can help my daughter, when it's her time, to see the sacredness in our moontimes.

Rue said...

What a beautiful post. It has taken me years to find my way from shame and frustration around my moon-time to embracing and loving what my body can do. What a great reminder!


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