“Moontime” is a term for menstruation that references the similarity of women’s monthly cycle to that of the moon’s cycles.
Throughout all cultures, the magic of creation resides in the blood women gave forth in apparent harmony with the moon, and which sometimes stayed inside to create a baby. This blood was regarded with reverence: it had mysterious magical powers, was inexplicably shed without pain, and was wholly foreign to male experience. Early menstrual rites were perhaps the first expression of human culture.
Native American (Lakota)
“Follow your Grandmother Moon. Her illuminating cycles will transform your spirit.” Begin with the Grandmother Moon at her brightest and most open. This is a time of outward activity and high energy. Sleep where the moonlight touches you. Walk outside where there are no artificial lights. Feel joy and creativity. As the Grandmother begins to cover her face, begin to withdraw into a quieter, less social place. Move to that inward place that is more about “being” than “doing.” In the dark of the moon, when bleeding, the veil between you and the Great Mystery is the thinnest. Be receptive to visions, insights, and intuitions. Go to a quiet separate place such as a Moon Lodge. Later, come out of the dark, a woman with a cleansed body. As the moon returns, come back out into the world, carrying your vision.
Customs and Traditions
- Indians of South American said all humans were made of “moon blood” in the beginning.
- In Mesopotamia, the Great Goddess created people out of clay and infused them with her blood of life. She taught women to form clay dolls and smear them with menstrual blood. Adam translates as bloody clay.
- In Hindu theory, as the Great Mother created the earth, solid matter coalesced into a clot with a crust. Women use this same method to produce new life.
- The Greeks believed the wisdom of man or god was centered in his blood which came from his mother.
- Egyptian pharaohs became divine by ingesting the blood of Isis called sa. Its hieroglyphic sign was the same as the sign of the vulva, a yonic loop like the one on the ankh.
- From the 8th to the 11th centuries, Christian churches refused communion to menstruating women.
- In ancient societies, menstrual blood carried authority, transmitting lineage of the clan or tribe.
- Among the Ashanti, girl children are more prized than boys because a girl is the carrier of the blood.
- Chinese sages called menstrual blood the essence of Mother Earth, the yin principle giving life to all things.
- Some African tribes believed that menstrual blood kept in a covered pot for nine months had the power to turn itself into a baby.
- Easter eggs, classic womb-symbols, were dyed red and laid on graves to strengthen the dead.
- A born-again ceremony from Australia showed the Aborigines linked rebirth with blood of the womb.
- Post-menopausal women were often the wisest because they retained their “wise blood.” In the 17th century these old women were constantly persecuted for witch craft because their menstrual blood remained in their veins.
Suggested Rituals for your Moontime
- Create a moon cord of thin red cord to tie around your waist under your clothes. You could tie herbs and charms to it to, if you wanted. Wear it each day of your period, to remind myself of the sacredness of this time.
- Create a bath ritual: prepare the bath with candles, music, bath salts, essential oils or herbal infusions, crystals and a glass of water, cup of tea or red clover herbal infusion to drink from a crystal glass – allow anything that ‘pisses you off’ to spin through your head – choose one item that you can change and decide what you will do about it that month – the second round is your gratitude round where you express gratitude for all the things that that you’re grateful for – the third round is new creation – make new goals and look at where you are in relation to long term goals – envision projects and artistic creations for the new month – then just relax and enjoy the water until you’re ready to get out.
- 105 Ways To Celebrate Menstruation by Kami McBride: – create a special tea blend that you drink during menstruation – read an inspirational book on women – make a menstrual journal by covering a notebook with fabric or pasting pictures on it that you like and use it to record your menstrual intuitions, inspirations and dreams – wear red lipstick – paint your nails red – henna your hair – wear red underwear – light red candles – take time to write in your journal and make a list of the things that were nourishing and made you happy in the past month – lay in bed all afternoon just sleeping and dreaming – wear rubies, garnet or moonstone – schedule an appointment for a massage or other healing therapy at the end of your moontime – splash your body with rosewater – create a pleasing herbal blend to bathe in at the end of your cycle. Do this to signify your re-emergence into the world.