Did you know that you have an ancient feminine heritage encoded inside you? For most women, this is surprising news, maybe even revolutionary. It’s been hidden from our view for so long that we’ve almost forgotten about it. Our menstrual cycle offers profound gifts of insight and self-knowledge, creativity and healing, emotional and mental capacity that we can tune into if we learn how to recognize and flow with them.
But as women most of us have a conflicted relationship with the menstrual cycle. It’s hard not to—our society treats our periods as an embarrassment, our mothers and other women commonly teach that periods are little more than an unfortunate biological necessity (and they were probably taught the same thing themselves), and there’s no denying that periods can be messy, inconvenient, and painful.
We tend to ignore our cycles except during pre-menstruation and menstruation, the phases strong enough to force attention to them, and even then our focus is usually negative. Periods are a hassle we have no choice but to tolerate before we can go back to business as usual. We’re mostly unaware of the changing phases the cycle continues through after menstruation, and we expect ourselves to be, like men, linear and consistent throughout the month.
The quest to conceive might be the first time a woman becomes conscious of any phase of her cycle beyond her period and PMS. Now is when she’s likely to educate herself on the specifics of ovulation and become focused on its crucial role in achieving her goal.
But especially if she’s been trying for a while or has invested considerable resources, the pressure on that brief ovulation window can become intense, a source of stress and even panic. She may feel let down by her cycle, exhausted and disempowered as she strives to bend it to her will. But there is another way, another option to experience her cycle from a much more expansive and empowering place.
It starts by recognizing the ways we’ve been trying to squeeze our cyclical natures into a linear masculine structure. This structure has been passed down for centuries by patriarchal society and is the basis of the culture that forms and surrounds us from birth, so it’s no wonder we try to fit into it, usually with no idea we’re doing it.
So many of us women are stressed out, and this unconscious struggle against our natural rhythms is a huge reason why. But when we choose to stop seeing our periods as a curse and instead look deeper, we find that together, the four phases of the menstrual cycle offer a holistic circle of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual information vital to a woman’s emotional and reproductive health. Especially for a woman on the fertility journey, the wisdom of her cycle is an essential missing element.
What I find most beautiful about the very nature of being a woman is that our female cycle is reflected in the cycles of Mother Nature herself. Like the moon we have distinct phases, waxing and waning from light to darkness, from the fullness and fertility of the follicular phase to the withdrawn interiority of the luteal phase. Like the tides we ebb and flow. Like the earth we transition from the abundance and flourishing of spring and summer to the restful, fallow hibernation of the darker seasons. Respecting and flowing with the natural movements of our own menstrual-moon cycles aligns us with this natural wisdom. Let me show you how…
The four phases of the menstrual cycle are the pre-ovulation phase before we release an egg, ovulation when the egg is released, pre-menstruation as our bodies prepare to shed the lining of the uterus, and menstruation when we bleed. Each physical phase goes hand in hand with spiritual, emotional, and mental changes, a cycle of shifting energy that we can tap into to help us understand and heal ourselves and our bodies.
The energy of pre-ovulation is the energy of the maiden. This is our crescent moon phase. The time right after we bleed is all about rebirth, new enthusiasm, mental clarity and physical vigour. It’s a get-up-and-go energy, ready to take on new ventures, outline goals, develop new ideas. For a woman trying to conceive, pre-ovulation is a fresh month and a fresh start. It’s an ideal time to repeat positive affirmations and plan for the future you desire.
Ovulation ushers in the nurturing and supportive energy of the mother, bright and fertile as the full moon. The hormones that peak in the body at ovulation create the perfect environment not only for the support of a fertilized egg but for the nourishment of our dreams, ideas and creative goals, our “creative children.”
This is a time of full creative expression, when we’re most capable of nurturing ourselves, our loved ones, and our deepest desires. Our energy has shifted from a mental focus to a strong emotional focus. This is the time to reach out, to bond, to discuss relationship problems, because now is when we bring the most empathy to communication. Especially if infertility has created stress and disconnection between you and your partner, ovulation is the optimum time to nurture your relationship and to reconnect on the deepest emotional levels.
The pre-menstrual phase brings the energy of the enchantress: emotional, wild, unpredictable, and powerful. This is the energy many of us struggle with, the energy that is misunderstood and dismissed by the world at large (“oh, she’s just PMS-ing”). Frustration and anger arise because such a powerful energy is overwhelming when you have no idea how to work in harmony with it.
As hormones shift in the body with the completion of ovulation and preparation for menstruation, a woman’s energy turns inward. Like the moon waning toward darkness, she becomes more introspective, reflective, with a strong desire to retreat, be alone, go deeper.
This is the ideal time for evaluation, journaling, meditation, seeking answers and asking for healing. Channel negativity into a yoga practice. Allow yourself to feel, without judgment, the pain that stays buried the rest of the month. It is said that right before menstruation, the veil between the physical and spiritual worlds is thinnest. It’s important not to ignore our powerful feelings at this time because they can give insight into the truths we’re unconscious of in the more outward phases of the cycle. This can be an intensely creative time if we allow ourselves to be exactly where we are and follow the energy where it takes us.
The final phase of the cycle brings us the wise woman: the quiet and intuitive energy of menstruation. The arrival of her period can be crushing for a woman who yearns to conceive. The moon is dark, and so are we. If it’s honoured, though, the energy of menstruation can open up an ideal space for the renewal and intuitive understanding needed on the fertility journey.
The stress of pre-menstruation is released as we begin to bleed. During this phase our awareness is diffuse and we’re deeply attuned to the spiritual, so time spent alone in retreat from the intellectual and physical demands of everyday life, unplugging from the world to meditate, journal, and tune in to the quiet inner voice, can provide transformational wisdom and direction.
During menstruation, practice extreme graciousness with your body and your heart, carving out time to be still, to listen, to assess your path, realign your perspective, and receive guidance for the month ahead. It can be challenging to make space for this kind of stillness—most of us are overrun with obligations and responsibilities that don’t have a pause button—but even half an hour of conscious connection with your inner self during this phase can help open you to deep emotional release and spiritual renewal. This is your new moon time. Drop into a space of reception that transcends rational thought. Open to the Divine, and let it speak.
I hope you’ll be as excited by this information as I was when I first stumbled on it. It changed my life and my relationship to my body completely.
Over and over women tell me they had no idea of the wisdom available to them through their menstrual cycles, that it would have made such a difference in their lives if they’d learned it earlier. This is why it’s so important to me to share this with as many women as possible, and especially with women struggling with unexplained infertility.
Engaging with your cycle from this holistic perspective will put you deeply in touch with your body and its capacities. As you learn to pay attention to and respect your ebbs and flows, you’ll stop experiencing your body as a failure or disappointment, and can instead tap into a deep, wise resource inside yourself to birth your dreams.
Want to learn more? Good!
If you've been intrigued by what you've been reading here, I invite you to step into your ancient feminine heritage by honouring yourself as the Moon Goddess you are. No matter where in the world you live, access Moon Goddess online and complete the journey into your goddess energies from the comforting surroundings of your own home – along with hundreds of women in over 25 countries!
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