The Power of menstruation: Native American Moon time ritual
Moon Time for some of you will already know that woman on their moon time CAN NOT take part in some ceremony’s
However during lodges I am happy for woman to attend.
For others this may not be the case and I totally respect and honour their beliefs after witnessing and experiencing powerful changes within ceremonies.
Here is some reading that you may wish to read .
Why? I hear some of you wonder, I have personally attended other Inip ceremonies and woman are allowed. This is due to each individual teachers , their teachings and culture, which I totally honour and respect. However while speaking to some on this subject and further reading I total respect of his request that NO woman can join us whilst on their moon time in either the Inipi or Chiefs Standing Cloud Ceremonies..u that are not aware during that weekend, we also have the FULL MOON and for those individual women this will be an extremely powerful, healing and insightful journey. Therefore Chief Standing Cloud has requested a Moon Lodge purely for those sacred woman.
The Sacred Moon Lodge will be just for woman only and will be located on the land with us . As Chief Standing Cloud mentioned, they are highly honoured and respected within his tribe as “life givers” and therefore to receive woman teachings, healing and rituals ceremonies throughout the weekend. This area will be facilitated by woman and teachings will be with practitioners who deliver beautiful ceremonies of grandmother moon. Alongside this there will be a woman Inipi Lodge and on the 4th day they will undertake a ceremony with Chief Standing Cloud. If permitted you will also have Chief Standing Cloud wife, who brings her grandmother teaching, form the Cherokee tribe but this is still to be confirmed.
For Chief Standing Cloud, myself and others within our journey will be an honour to have all sacred woman present.
Please read below information that I gathered around the power of menstruation and from some discussion with Chief Standing Cloud from a Native perspective and traditional indigenous teachings.
Now you’re thinking “hmmm ok, what is she talking about?” or “ewwww not reading this”.
For women readers, this is information that has been lost in our society, but it can help us in achieving the life balance we all seek.
To male readers, please read this in the spirit of gaining a better understanding of female mysteries! Learn to appreciate the women in your life as energetic beings in tune with the cycles of nature.
What is moon time?
Moon time is the time of the month the woman gets her periods and it does refer to the cycle of the moon. In most Native cultures, it is considered to be a sacred time. A time of inner purification, of and as a woman, I can say I understand that. In one’s moon time, there is a sense of being purified, of getting rid of some sort of energy or negativity. Moon time for a woman would be considered a ceremony in itself. It would represent the power of birth. The power of life. Hence why women in the Native culture are often called life givers. And that’s one hell of a gift to have! When our ancestors were alive, men would literally leave women alone (who could go in a moon lodge) as they feared their power at that time of the month! As though we turned into witches for a week 😉
What is the story of the moon?
So why go with the cycle of the moon? Why call it moon time? Well I will relate a version of a story I once heard. As you know, within the Native culture, natural elements are our relations. We have Father Sky, Mother Earth, Grandfather Sun and Grandmother Moon. Therefore, in this case, the story involves Grandmother Moon.
So a long time ago, women were considered powerful in that they held in a lot of their family emotions, their joy and happiness but also their sadness and sorrow. They were the life-force of the family. However, sometimes that would become exhausting. As taking in all the emotions and heartache would be tiring. However, the Creator had created the woman to take on the burdens of the family.
So one day, the woman went to nature to try to find help and yelled out because the burden was too much. The Raven heard her and went to see her, asking her why she was crying. The woman stated she was overwhelmed with the burdens of her family. She added loving her family but not being able to take everything in anymore. Raven said that he understood her pain, as he felt it too and went to ask Grandmother Ocean for help. Grandmother Ocean offered to wash away the pain of the women who would come to her but that she could not help those farther away. So she went to ask for help from her sister Grandmother Moon.
So Grandmother Moon said that she represented the feminine power and would send the waters of Grandmother Ocean into the women so her power would reach them. Once every moon cycle, Grandmother Ocean shall come into the women and purify them. And she did just that. Every month, there is thus a time when the women embody the power of Grandmother Moon and are cleansed by the waters of Grandmother Ocean.
I don’t know about you but this story makes moon time seems more tolerable than it is! It makes me see things from a different perspective. One in which great power comes into me and every woman, and a cleansing takes place.
So what should a woman do and not do in her moon time?
According to some, this is a time of inward purification. A time of prayer, of actually asking the moon for guidance and assistance. And as this is a time of purification, women have to be careful not to take in negativity. Not taking in negativity from others around them, not taking in their burdens. And well, that is easier said than done. But it needs to be. Grandmother Moon is there for guidance.
Further, it is very important that women in their moon time do NOT participate in ceremonies. Including touching or handling any sacred objects such as pipes or medicine. Menstruation signifies the power of birth, ceremonies often signify a spiritual rebirth. The two do not mix. Ceremonies are also about creating outward energy while moon time is about inner prayer. A lot of ceremonies also involve the sun, while moon time obviously involves the moon. Thus moving in a different direction than the rest of the participants.
Why nothing is what it seems
The first thing to understand is that, in the Native American way, there is a reason for everything, and that reason always goes back to our relationship to Spirit.
Seen through Western eyes, the role of native women seems grounded in sexism.
Seen through Native eyes, women are honored and revered.
I once participated in a ceremony in Australia performed by the Maori [the indigenous people of New Zealand] in which the men either stood or sat on chairs and the women sat on the ground.
I can guess what you’re thinking, because I know what I thought at the time: “They don’t think women deserve to sit in chairs.”
But the real reason was something that my Western mind would never have come up with on my own: the Maori are a warrior people — the men might start throwing daggers at one another and getting into a fight with little notice. By being on the ground out of the range of swords and daggers, the women were kept safe.
Women are sacred in the Maori culture, as they are in most indigenous cultures, because they bear and raise children, which is the most honored role in the tribe. By keeping up the tradition of the women staying safe on the ground, it serves as a constant reminder to the tribe of how cherished the women are.
What Western world mothers don’t know
When I had my first menstrual period, my mother passed on the teaching she received from her mother: it’s known as “the curse,” a major inconvenience in our lives and something women just have to learn to put up with.
In the view of traditional indigenous people, a woman’s moon time is a ceremony in and of itself. It is when she is the most sensitive, creative and intuitive.
To understand why this is, we need to understand the cycles of the moon.
While the sun has been viewed by ancient societies as male energy, the moon has almost always been female. The moon rules the flow of liquids on earth [think of the ocean tides] and in women’s bodies.
The time of the full moon is one of energy and outward activity. Walk in the country on the night of the full moon and you can see everything you need to see, but it’s as though the landscape is lit by magic.
At the new moon, called the dark of the moon, it’s said that the veil between the physical plane and the Great Mystery is the thinnest. It’s a more spiritual, introspective time – there’s less light and, therefore, less activity.
Women who lived traditionally, in nature without artificial light, almost always had their menses at the time of the new moon. Hence the term, “moon time.”
To have our bodies’ cycles synchronized with the moon, we have to be able to see it. In the modern world of artificial light, we tend to be indoors and not noticing where the moon is. This makes it more difficult for us to perceive the natural cycles.
This is also the reason why many women have irregular menstrual cycles – their bodies are no longer in sync with the energetic rhythms of the natural world and the moon.
A woman’s moon time is a time for retreat and vision and quiet reflection. In some tribes, a traditional woman on her moon time would go to a Moon Lodge, a place of quiet and beauty separate from the activity of daily life. It was a kind of vision quest. Food was brought to her. She was considered on retreat and had no responsibilities other than to pray, dream, to call for vision on behalf of her people and do her creative work.
The visions and dreams women received in the moon lodge were often passed on to the tribe as messages from the Great Spirit. It could be something as simple as a recipe, a rug design or a larger scale project.
But some of the most amazing prophecies about modern times were made by women in their moon lodges: prophecies of giant silver birds and great spider webs covering the land [planes and power lines] are said to have come from the moon lodge visions.
This heightened sensitivity which Native people acknowledge and honor during the moon time is the same sensitivity that creates what our society calls PMS.
Unfortunately, because we keep up a normal schedule at that time, we often get stressed and misunderstood. Taking at least one day during our moon times to nurture ourselves, meditate and rest is indescribably beneficial. The moon time cleanses our bodies and our time in solitude nurtures our spirits.
As the moon becomes full again, the women work to manifest their visions. The full moon is a time of outward contact and connection. Also the time of ovulation if we are in cycle with the moon.
A week or so after the full moon, we might start feeling our energy draining, impatience, restlessness or cramps. This is the signal it’s time to start withdrawing and doing less outward activity. Carefully choose what you do and who you spend time with.
I’ve heard of new moon drumming circles but that may be what the men did. Traditional women would not have drumming circles on the new moon; first, they were probably in the moon lodge; the new moon is a time of quiet and retreat and drumming is too much activity. The full moon is the time for drumming circles for women.
While the moon time is viewed as a ceremony, it works with a very different energy than most other ceremonies. In the view of many Native American tribes, energy, and most of life, is seen as moving clockwise, or “sun wise.”
When a medicine person is conducting a ceremony and needs to communicate with spirits or animals in the area, he or she does so by psychically traveling on that sun wise energy.
The energy of a woman on her moon time is a counter clockwise energy because it is an undoing energy. After the body has built it’s monthly nest, to be ready for the possibility of new life, the nest is discarded to make room for a new one.
That discarding and undoing process is our menses, which creates a counter clockwise energy in and around the woman’s body. Since most other ceremonies utilize clockwise energy, there is an incompatibility.
The moon time energy is so powerful that it can get in the way of a medicine person communicating with the spiritual realm during a ceremony. [A very in-tune woman friend of mine once wanted to test this out at a very large gathering for a Sun Dance ceremony on a reservation in South Dakota. Although she was not menstruating at the time, she concentrated on creating a counter clockwise energy in her body. Within 5 minutes an announcement was made over the loudspeaker reminding any women on their moon time to please leave the area. So the medicine people truly can tell.]
Another Native view of the moon time is that it is the body’s natural purification process. Not only are we releasing blood, but also the toxins we have accumulated over the course of the month. A little known fact is that the purification [sweat] lodge ceremony originated many generations ago to allow men an opportunity to purify their bodies the way women naturally do on a monthly basis.
It’s only been in recent times, due to the extreme pollution and toxicity in our world, that women even started going into the purification lodge.
Women who have achieved menopause are considered the elders, whose wisdom is held inside their bodies. It’s sad that in “civilized” society, older women are not revered, but in traditional societies, they are – very much so.
Hope this helps all of you in some understanding and for those who will join us in the Moon time lodge and those who will honour those during this time.
So if you, move into your moon time please let me know as soon as you arrive.