In the Shadow of the Moon

In the deeper mysteries of womanhood, there are subjects that are rarely talked about. One of them is the effects of the moon on our bodies. It’s no secret that women are connected to the moon during our monthly cycle. While we may not sync up completely with the phases of the moon, we have our own phases.

During the “Mother” phase of our life, that time between childhood (Maiden) and menopause (Crone), we are subjected to a twenty eight day cycle for our reproductive system. Women around the world have understood this connection for generations but only now are we able to start talking about it free and openly. Granted, there are many women around the world who suffer because of this cycle. In India, there are still some places where women are forced to live in disgusting conditions during their cycle because they are seen to be “unclean”. What a load of horse shit, I can’t believe the subjection of women is still happening in places around the world in our so called “modern age.”

I am in the middle of my “Mother” phase of my life and it’s taken be a long time to accept that my cycle is a blessing and not a curse. I know that some women hate their cycle and anything that has to do with is. To me, the cycle is deeply connection with the greater cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Every single month, I get to experience that. There’s all sorts of chemicals and hormones in my body that signal the different changes that occur. I think that understanding the science of your cycle is important in accepting what’s happening to you. I am grateful for my grade school education on such things.

I have spoken before about the Red Moon Cycle, which is a not so subtle reference to a woman’s monthly cycle. The reason we call it the Red Moon Cycle is not because our cycle literally syncs up with the lunar cycle but because it’s a twenty eight day (on average) cycle and we have our own phases within it. The science helps us to understand what hormones are active and why we go through such an emotional roller coaster during our twenty eight days. All that aside, there’s a chance for a deeper understanding of yourself in those phases.

I am not a trained Red Priestess and I don’t specialize in women’s mysteries but I do have my own way of keeping track of my own Red Moon Cycle that I am happy to share.

The Science:

Understanding biologically what is happening is the first step I took in making a greater connection with my cycle. I firmly believe that knowledge is power and the key to greater acceptance. I could go into detail about how the system works but I would rather share with you a few Wikipedia articles to get your started.

This first one is the basics of what makes women biologically female:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female

This one is about how the female reproductive cycle works biologically:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_reproductive_system

This final one is focuses just on the menstrual cycle:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menstrual_cycle

If you want a further understanding to your cycle, I recommend that you take a first year biology class that has a section of human anatomy. I would even go so far as to start researching the male reproductive cycle too. Understanding men and what’s going on inside them, only helps to deepen your connection with them. They have just as complicated hormone cycles as we do and theirs is a daily cycle as well as yearly.

Tracking:

Back in the day, I used to use a calendar to track my cycle but with the changes in technology, I use my mobile device instead of pen and paper. I use a period tracking app called “P Tracker” and I have the paid version which let’s me track different physical and emotional changes through the month. The best part of the app is the ability to leave notes about significant changes such as life events and lunar phases. The bonus to using this tracker is that I can see when my predicted ovulation will be taking place. It’s nice to had a bit of warning for that, more importantly because I use it to see if it’s a good time to be sexually active.

Journaling:

I have a journal that I created to help me deepen my connection to the Goddess where I store information like emotional events and dreams. I can look back in this journal to see if there is a pattern that syncs up with what’s going on in my period tracking app.

This past month, I had significantly more dreams about the people in my life. I think this was a way for me to death with the recently social changes in my life. I went from having regular social events that I would attend to not going to any at all. I will admit, this has left me depressed and feeling like no one wants to be around me. I can’t exactly blame them, I have not been a cheerful or positive person that last few months. This is not for a lack of me trying to shift my attitude but some days a worse than other. My dreams have not been very helpful regarding this as they tend to remind me of what I have lost and what I did wrong. It’s not self punishment but it feels like it sometimes when I wake up and know that everything is different for me now.

Dark Moon:

There is a time during my cycle which I call my “Dark Moon Days” and these are just a few past post finishing my period where I get depressed. I recognize it when it happens but there is little I can do to stop it from happening. I have learned that during this time I don’t want to cook for myself, I don’t want to see people, I don’t want to get out of my house if I can help it. This most recent dark moon days were particularly bad for me. I have recently decided to cut someone out of my life who was doing nothing but hurting me with their actions and words. I needed a few days to recover from that loss. It was heartbreaking for me to make that choice but I feel that it was the best thing for me to do. I will admit, that recovering from this choice will take longer that a few dark days and I may need to ignore my feelings of wishing to backslide on it for a while to come.

Self Care:

During the actual five days where my cycle is waning, I tend to be super introspective and attentive to my needs. I like having long baths with soothing music and candle light. I will retreat within myself and figure out what I need to do in order ready myself for the coming month.

During the days where I am waxing in my cycle, I tend to focus on the more practical day to day things like making my meals, shopping, and my work. During this time, I find that I am able to focus on all outside things like friends, family, politics, and other outside connections.

During my seven peak days, the ones around ovulation, I find that I have a surge of creative energy that does not occur the rest of the month. During this time, I will be inspired to work on creative things like writing, crafting, and playing music. I have done all sorts of things during this time and it’s hard to get that energy the other twenty one days of the month.

These are all the ways in which I keep connected to my mind, body, and spirit while I am going through my Red Moon Cycle. If you have ways in which you track or care for yourself during your monthly cycle, I would love to hear all about it.

Blessed Be!

Priestess Spiritsong

Return of the Red Moon

A couple months back, I wrote an article about going on DEPO and how it affected my Red Moon Cycle. I am happy to follow up on that article and say that the Red Moon has returned to its regular cycle.

At last, this terrible nightmare is over!

A couple months back, I wrote an article about going on DEPO and how it affected my Red Moon Cycle. I am happy to follow up on that article and say that the Red Moon has returned to its regular cycle.

Why is this important? There are some of us in the pagan community who use our cycle to connect with the moon and the Goddess divine energies. Having cut myself off from my Red Moon by artificially changing it using hormones to keep myself from getting pregnant when I had a partner who didn’t even want to be with me was completely pointless. Of all the bad choices I have made this year, this was the worst one. I put myself through months of depression (which led to the breakup of that relationship) and emotional roller coaster from hell. It took over three months for my Red Moon Cycle to return to normal after the effects of DEPO were supposed to have worn off.

My point is, I have learned a valuable lesson about body and emotional awareness. I will not take any birth control that forces my body out of its normal hormonal functions again and I will not let a partner force me to choose between being with them and going on birth control again. I know now that if someone wants to be with me, they will not only accept my choices but will encourage them. If they don’t, I won’t negotiate the issue with them. Going on any kind of hormonal birth control is a deal-breaker with me.

Ideally, I would like to be with someone who also wants children and would like to share that experience and task with me. At this time, I would like to have one child but I am open to the idea of two. I have a feeling that I would be one of those hippy moms with the cloth diapers hanging on the clothesline with my own baby food made in the fridge. I would likely also be one of those moms that stayed home most of the time or maybe work part time if there was a financial need for it. That’s all future dreaming though, I am certainly not ready to take on that momentous task just yet.

To come back to the point, I welcome back my Red Moon Cycle with open arms and joy. I can’t believe that for the first time in my life, I am actually excited to have it return. I know myself better when I am on my cycle then when it’s gone. I felt absolutely not like myself when it was gone. Now that it is back, I can continue where I left off with my awareness study of it. I will post another follow up blog more about how you can deepen your relationship with your Red Moon Cycle.

Blessed Be!

Priestess Spritisong Dreamweaver

Red Moon Cycle

What is the Red Moon cycle you might ask? It’s a symbolic way of speaking of a woman’s monthly cycle. Most women’s cycles are 28 days long and that’s the same amount of time that it takes our moon to do a full set of phases. This is why women in mythology are historically connected to the moon.

I have been tracking my Red Moon cycle for just over two years now. I was almost a perfect 28 days for the majority of that time but then I did something very stupid in the name of love. I went on the DEPO shot. You see, my ex and I were trying to figure out the best ways to prevent pregnancy in order to help our intimate relationship. I am very afraid of getting pregnant at this point in my life because I am not ready to raise a child and my partner had made it very clear that he did not want children, ever. Actually, one of the reasons we broke up is because he never wants children.

I made an appointment to speak with a sexual health nurse and we went over the options. I was basically talked into going on a progesterone based birth control. Between my ex and I, we decided to go with DEPO. I took the shot and I instantly regretted it. From that point on I experience a delay in my cycle that sent both my ex and I in fear that we might be pregnant because it took almost am extra month before my cycle returned and when it did, it was both heavy and it lasted three weeks!

I can tell you right now that going on DEPO drove a bigger divide between my ex and I then ever. Instead of helping our relationship, it cause us to retreat even further from one another. My body was causing me all sorts of discomfort and he was afraid of us getting pregnant to the point where he would not engage in any kind of intimacy. I grew resentful of him for talking me into DEPO and for blaming me for the pregnancy scare.

I have been off the DEPO for a over month now and it’s still messing with my cycle. I have been light spotting for almost a month solid . I have read that it can take up to 18 months to fully recover from the effects of the progesterone. It makes me ill to think about what I just put my body through all in an effort to appease someone who didn’t even love me anymore. I am writing this as a warning to anyone who maybe thinking of doing the same. Unless you have a medical reason such as endometriosis, I do not recommend any kind of progesterone based birth control if you value your connection to your Red Moon.

I have no fear of my Red Moon cycle, in fact I think of it as a deep spiritual connection. It’s a natural part of being female and binds us to the Earth and the Moon. We were never meant to mess with our bodies like this and I think the more we are aware of that, the healthier we will be. There are plenty of ways to be intimate if you fear getting pregnant. You can track your cycle using apps or marking it down in a journal, you can choose abstinence during times of ovulation, you can explore other forms of intimacy that don’t require penetration.

Your body is sacred and needs to be respected. If you find yourself in a relationship where you are being pressured into doing something you think might be bad for your body, please talked to your partner about it. That was my mistake and I wish I had been more clear, I might have been able to avoid the last four months of complications with my Red Moon cycle.

Men, if you are reading this and you are feeling uncomfortable talking about a woman’s natural cycle or talking about sexual options, you need to grow up. As cold as that sounds, you have no excuse in this day and age for not knowing. If you think your body is more important than your female companions, then you are not ready to be in a mature relationship. Education brings freedom to both men and women.

Women, learn about your cycle, talk about your cycle with your partner, be open and honest about it.

Men, learn about a woman’s cycle, ask questions about it, be open to hear what your companion has to say.

I hope that my story helps someone out there make an informed choice about their body and their Red Moon cycle.

Blessed be,

Priestess Spiritsong Dreamweaver