First Blood or Menarche
Another part of becoming friends with our menstrual cycles is becoming aware of all the baggage we carry about menstruating...
This 'baggage' is often the sum of our experiences, memories and stories that we have heard about bleeding from the people living around us. Often the attitudes of family and friends has a huge impact on us, establishing a particular flavour around being a woman. Hopefully this flavour is positive but more often than not it is decidedly negative.
At the time when we have our first period or "menarche", we are crossing the line from girlhood to womanhood.
Of course, in these modern times with artificial light and a western diet full of artificial hormones, girl are having their menarche earlier and earlier. Whereas in ancient times when a girl starting menstruating at 14 or 16 years old and was ready then to bear children and often did soon after. These days the gap between the onset of menses and childbirth is getting longer and longer.
However, menarche still is and should be 'the Great initiation' into the gifts of womanhood. Gifts that are intrinsically tied up with our fertility and reproductive cycles and yet able to be utilised in a myriad of other creative pursuits.
In our modern western culture, we are given little cause to celebrate this special crossing over, more often than not it is a secret shameful experience, a burden to bear rather than a gift to celebrate.
There are very few initiations or rites of passage open to us now compared to older tribal traditions. As a result young women can sometimes feel as if they are caught in a netherworld, neither girl and neither woman. We may feel a keen sense of loss with no concept of what is to replace our girlhood. We are expected to cross the bridge from girlhood to womanhood as if nothing has happened, missing all the wonder and sacredness along the way.
What was your own first bleeding like? Joyful? Frightening?
Enlightening? Shameful? Celebarated? Ignored?Happy? Sad?
What was the reaction of the people around you? Mother, Father, family and friends?
Take a minute now to imagine that moment when you first bled, how different would it have been if your mother and elder sisters (or extended family, friends) had celebrated your menstruation, welcoming you into womanhood with love and joy.
What if you were blessed, told how wonderful the gifts of menstruation were, with its cycles and value being explained to you...
How would you feel about being a woman? Your body and its functions? Is it different to how you feel now?
If your experience was less than ideal, you can re-write or re-create history or rather her-story. We have provided a few suggestions below to inspire you with possible ways of re-writing your past.
Choose a quiet spot, become very relaxed and then visualise a TV or movie screen in your minds eye. Watch your less-than-ideal experience on the screen, supplying as much detail as possible.. colour, sound, smells etc whilst staying detached. When you have finished watching the episode, imagine yourself destroying the tape of what you have just seen. Then imagine that you are pressing the record button and replay the experience just as you would have liked it to be.. as joyful, special and happy as you desire, again with as much vivid detail as possible. When you are finished, come gently and slowly back into your body and normal awareness of where you are.
Do a ritual, using candles, baths, aromatherapy oils, new clothes, jewellery, whatever to symbolise the letting go of the old and embracing the new. This can be done alone or with trusted friends.
A picture, drawing, poem, tapestry, feast to celebrate your new beliefs and connection to your feminine cycle.
A letter telling of your feelings and experiences, be as honest and candid as you can. This letter doesn't have to be sent, but can be used as a tool for completion.
the past during your next bleed, try to consciously imagine any negativity or other "stuff" that you don't need in your person or life flowing out of your body with your blood. It may be nice to assist this process with meditation or natural essences or massage or hot water bottles.
If your experiences have been particularly negative, any physical symptoms may worsen temporarily at this point as you release the toxins out of your body. Be gentle with yourself and breathe, affirming that you are releasing things you no longer need for your highest good..
Essences that may be helpful
Australian Bush Flower Essences "Femin" complex
Go Here for more information
Rose of Raphael Essences These essences encompass a range of issues concerned with female fertility and sexuality. For example, healing low self esteem to do with femininity, healing that cursed feeling so that bleeding does not leave you drained of energy, and healing sexual guilt. The essences are availble from this site, please follow the link above.
Bach Flower Essences Rescue Remedy is always good, or Willow, Crab Apple, Chicory, Honeysuckle, Walnut.. these are particularly for moving stuck energy. If unfamiliar with essences please consult a therapist, good book or follow this link
FES..Sagebrush, Sticky monkey flower, Fuchsia, Black eyed Susan etc, again please research properly the effects of any essences you may be planning on using if you are unfamiliar with their action because they are powerful tools.
*The point of these exercises is to actually tune into our body or cellular memory of these events or feelings and then to utilise a physical symbol to facilitate the transformation of any negative experiences. If you have suffered rape, molestation or other forms of violence, please ensure that you have all the physical, emotional or spiritual support that you need because doing this healing work may bring up other issues that need to be released out of your physical body.
Take a minute now to imagine that moment when you first bled...
How different would it have been if your mother and elder sisters (or extended family, friends) had celebrated your menstruation, welcoming you into womanhood with love and joy.
What if you were blessed, told how wonderful the gifts of menstruation were, with its cycles and value being explained to you.....
How would you feel about being a woman?
Your body and its functions?
Is it different to how you feel now?
It is never too late to reframe your experience of menstruation into an attitude that is positive and empowering.
Written by Nadia MacLeod