Many of the processes in our body are cyclical. The circadian (circa= approximately, dies = day) rhythm underlies a whole host of physiological functions, including the release of certain hormones (e.g., testosterone) and our sleep cycle (which, of course, is also governed in part by hormones).
The menstrual cycle is just another one of these cyclical events in a human body. Curiously, this cycle is adapted to a monthly rhythm; a cycle that was modeled roughly around one full cycle of the moon. Though this may seem esoteric at first, the moon is actually responsible for a number of physical events, not least of all the ebb and flow of the ocean’s tides; a phenomenon which has been used variously as metaphor for menstruation.
Unsurprisingly then, the moon is an ancient symbol for the feminine and cultural traditions surrounding menstruation include the moon as symbol in many ways (moon time: time of bleeding; moon lodges: ; or, more recently, moon cups: reusable silicone cups used to collect menstrual blood). Interestingly, the different stages of the menstrual cycle and the fluctuations in energy associated with them can be mapped onto the different stages of the moon (new moon/ waxing moon/ full moon/ waning moon) quite well.
Over time, other symbols have joined the moon in describing the changes in a person’s physical and mental state as we move through our menstrual cycle.
Some examples of these are:
* The seasons (Winter/Spring/Summer/Autumn)
* The archetypes (The Wise Woman/ The Maiden/ The Mother/ The Enchantress)
I have decided to share with you, over the course of the next few weeks, the various embodiments or symbols of the stages of the menstrual cycle.
As always, not everything will resonate with everyone equally and that is perfectly fine! This is why it’s so wonderful and so important that there are many voices, offering different approaches and perspectives on the same knowledge.
I invite you to choose the symbols that work for you, and leave the other ones aside. Or, if you prefer, take the opportunity as you move through the stages of your cycle, too look deeply within yourself and discover your own personal symbols to support yourself through the ebb and flow of your hormonal changes.
If you find that you need inspiration or advice, do let me know.
I would be happy to work with you on this journey of discovery!