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Author Topic: Periods and the menstrual cycle - spirituality, magic, sexuality, and remedies!  (Read 52084 times)
Ceri
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« on: 2005/May/15 @ 23:25:46 »

Ok, here's some stuff that I have researched about periods that I'd like to share with you all. There is a bit about attuning to and using menstrual energies, including spiritual and magical associations, then there is a section about sexual desire and how it relates to the menstrual cycle, and then there is a list of remedies aimed at preventing or curing period pain and/or heavy bleeding and then a couple of ones re PMS ( not a lot). There is some explicit content that I hope is appropriate. I have used scientific language in many places, but then often have then defined what it means or added the more common or slang term as well. Its a long message, I hope some of you may find it worth reading through.

With blessings,

Ceri. Smiley


ATTUNING TO AND USING MENSTRUAL ENERGIES

Menstruation, like the Dark Moon is the time of psychic and magic openess and both power and vulnerability for women, where they are most in tune with all the elements of the Crone or Dark Goddesses. Eg Hecate who rules Witchcraft and the Night.

At the end of the bleeding, a woman is energetically re-born, like the Waxing Crescent Moon where energy is expanding and outward directed. Women are more in tune with into Bright Maiden/Amazon/Warrior Goddesses, eg Artemis, Athene, Kore.  

The middle of the cycle where she ovulates is like the Full Moon, it is the Mother phase. It is a time of openess and giving and surrender. Women are more in tune with Earth and Mother and Domestic Goddesses. Eg Hestia, Demeter.


The Pre-Menstrual time is a phase like the Waning Crescent Moon where energy is 'pulled' or 'devouring' or '(re)turning inward' . Women are more in tune with Dark Maiden/Priestess/Enchantress Goddesses such as Persephone who descends to rule the Underworld.

The Hindu Kuala Tantra sees a menstruating woman as the living embodiment of the goddess Kali, the power of transcendence. Her menstrual blood is the flowery life essence of humankind and all creation, a potent rejuvenating and transforming force.

Interesting translation of a line from the Song of Solomon/Song of songs (one of books of the bible!):

'Thy c*** is like a round goblet; which never lacks mixed wine'

ie. think white and red wine.....

The word 'blessing' comes from the old English word 'bloedsen' or 'bleeding' and the word 'c***' is related to the old word 'cunning' in the sense of 'wise' ie wise woman/man. Far from its modern use as an insult - I hope I've not offended anyone by using it.


Much of the lore about the phases of the moon correspond to the lore of the phases of the menstrual cycle. For example the advice to work banishing spells in the dark moon would equate to a woman being most powerful to do banishing spells when she is menstruating. If you are more in tune with your body than you are with the moon, IMO it is well worth timing your spells to your own energies.

It is thought that once upon a time, a Community of women (ie a village) would almost all bleed at the dark moon and ovulate at the full moon. This is called the white moon cycle and the outer (moon) and inner (the woman) energies match with the power of the full moon enhancing a womans fertility and 'Mother' energies. In a red moon cycle the woman menstruates at the full moon, and the full moon lends its energy to a woman's menstruation, inhancing her inner development and 'Crone' energies.

Apparently, most women's cycles still fall into one or the other types (mine never have though!) particularly if they attune to the moon - by looking at it a lot and stuff! It is also quite common for best friends or work colleagues to have their periods at the same time (I've had this one!).

For anyone who would like to do some reading on how to get over the taboos about bleeding and be more aware of the Menstrual cycle and how its energies influence women physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, I recommend:

Red Moon: Understanding and Using The Gifts of The Menstrual Cycle.Miranda Grey (Copyright Miranda Grey and Richard Grey), Element Books Limited, 1994.

I'm a bloody woman and proud!  

ORGASM AND DESIRE

According to ' The Wise Wound: Menstruation and Everywoman' by Penelope Shuttle and Peter Redgrove, - women have increased sexuality and desire before, during and after the period,(this is called the paramenstruum in the book) when they are not fertile.

Apparently, it was only in the early 1900's that it was discovered that women were not commonly fertile during their bleeding - it was agreed about 1920. Up until that time it was freely acknowledged by researchers and writers that there were peaks in sxuality at both ovulation and at some point during the paramenstruum (ie immediately before, during, or immediately after the period). For example,in a study by Havelock-Ellis in 1910 (quoting several other observers) he said \"there can be no doupt whatever that immediately before and immediately after, very commonly at both times - this varying slightly in different women - there is usually a marked heightening of actual desire. It is at this period (and sometimes during the menstrual flow) that masturbation may take place in women who at other times have no strong auto-erotic impulse'

(Masters and Johnston also reported that many women masturbate to relieve menstrual cramps, finding that orgasms increased the rate of blood flow, and reduced cramping and backache. I can wholeheartedly testify to this one. Lavender and marjoram oils rubbed in help me, but not nearly as much as multiple orgasms, especially followed by a couple of hours sleep.)

However, when it was discovered that the period was not a fertile time, many researchers began to find only desire at ovulation - because that is what they expected and wanted to see - confirmation that sexuality was for reproduction rather than for pleasure for example, or for social bonding (also a survival issue!). Also, apparently, a lot of the questionnaires they used did not distinguish between different types of sexual desire, or discounted the type of sexuality women experienced around their periods.

For example, a study by a psychoanalyst called Benedek in 1939, based on analysing womens dreams. The women said they felt most desire at or around their period: but Benedek insisted they were actually more sexual around ovulation, because the dreams they were having around their bleeding time, and the feelings they were having were not the kind they ought to have! The menstrual feelings were of an impatient demand for sex, and had the character of 'an extroverted activity and urgency'. She said this was masculine, unwomanly, and therefore a lower kind of sexuality, in comparison to the higher form of loving, receptive and passive, sexuality they experienced at ovulation - this, therefore, must be their real sexual peak!

Other studies have also shown that women tend to feel a desire to surrender or be 'occupied' at ovulation, and to capture and envelop at the period.

Apparently, a reveiw of studies (Mc Cance et al 1937) showed that married women had increased desire at ovulation and paramenstruum, whilst single women showed only increased desire at paramenstruum.

PERIOD REMEDIES

Everything in the list below applies to period pain, unless I say its for heavy bleeding.

Words for talking to doctors and looking in books:

Dysmenorrhea - cramping pains caused by womb spasms
Menorrhagia - excessive menstual flow (heavy bleeding) (though this word is also sometimes used for irregular bleeding, and clotting)

Anyone who has heavy bleeding - have you been checked for fibroids and endometriosis? For uterine cancer? Also for spinal problems such as spinal lesions, or lumbar lordosis (sway back) which can lead to your insides dropping down basically (visceroptosis). Don't want to scare anyone, but these came up in my reading.

Remedies. ok:

Acupressure: For headache, facial soreness, toothache and menstrual pain, locate the fleshy piece of skin between the thumb and the forefinger and squeeze firmly, pressing towards the forefinger. the pressure should be applied for about 5 minutes and either hand can be used. point is known as 'large intestine 4'

Meditation/Visualisation: imagine white light coming down from above the crown of your head and cleansing you down through your feet, into the earth, then close off your feet and feel the light filling you up till you are full.

Exercise and posture :
Make sure you do moderate exercise regularly to ensure a good circulation,(like 30 mins walk every day, or swimming esp good) and particularly to give you good abdominal muscles (do crunches - not sit ups), and pelvic muscles and ligaments, to support your womb. Exercise allows you to have good posture, eg, keep your back straight. Avoid high heels. Before and after birth, do the exercises for the perineum -  'pelvic floor exercises' - when you draw up the muscles around your vagina and then let them out again.  When your period starts, do regular gentle stretching. However, heavy bleeding can be caused by to vigorous exercise or muscular strain.

Diet:
Avoid constipation - eat plenty of fresh fruit and veg and avoid white bread, pasta, cakes, pop etc...
Avoid coffee, tea, chocolate and cola - methylxanthines(!!) in these can cause period pain and PMT
Make sure you don't have deficiencies of Vitamin B6 (particularly for PMT), folic acid, B2, B complex,E...
CALCIUM this one's well proven, and really important if you have heavy bloodloss as well ( you can get lots of it from dark green leafy veg like broccoli and spinach, also bread, soya, fish, sesame seeds, haricot beans (baked beans!), almonds, parsley, turnips as you should avoid dairy foods - but you might want to think of a full on pill, 1000 to 2,500 mg's a day - especially if you're bleeding heavily and/or on the pill, you need extra calcium for that as well),
iron - from eg spinach, meat, apricots, nettle ( eaten as vegetable)(with heavy loss, 25 - 50 mg /day)
vitamin K,(avoid aspirin, it destroys Vitamin K) and protein (but don't eat too much meat - it can lead to calcium deficiency?)
Evening primrose oil.
Also for excess bleeding, Vitamin C + bioflavinoids, 1000 - 2000 mg 2 or more times a day (up to bowel tolerance), Vit A, zinc, and cut down on alcohol.  

RE chocolate: Unfortunately, the methylxanthines( whatever they are!!) in chocolate can apparently cause period pain. However the iron in really good chocolate ( chocolate with lots of cocoa solids in rather than lots of vegetavble fat and sugar) is good for you, because you need it in your blood + the caffeine in it  is a stimulant ( pick me up)  and there is another  chemical in cocao that stimulates the production of seratonin which is a natural opiate - ie it has an effect like heroin, opium, morphine - makes you feel relaxed, dreamy, contented.  So all in all, when I'm bleeding is the one time I often indulge in a quality chocolate bar or even a big piece of quality chocolate fudge cake! You decide.  Watch it doesn't mess with your blood sugar levels though. Ie eat stuff that will give you a slow release of energy as well, or you will get a miserable 'crash' when the effect wears off!

Pysiotherapy: Eww, Yuk!: Aternate hot and cold sitz baths, twice a day if poss - you sit your bum in hot water (belly button to thighs) and your feet in ice- cold water for 3 minutes and then swap, for 2 minutes, and repeat till you've done 3 of each!!Then you dry vigorously with a rough towel and exercise up a sweat. Well, this doctor says it is the best way of 'getting rid of uterine congestion and restoring ovarian and uterine health' ie healthy womb, healthy ovaries, no pain.

Depletion pack? - dunno what this is.

Spinal manipulation - lower thoracic, lumbar and lumbar/sacral (all parts of lower back)once weekly for 6 to 8 weeks. resta few weeks and repeat. (go to osteopath or chiropractor)

Herbs:  Dong quai (Angelica oylvestris) is good for all menstrual problems. For heavy periods, raspberry leaf, American cranesbill, lady's mantle, yarrow, cramp bark, wild yam, white peony and black haw. Agnus castus or motherwort for an irregular cycle.  For heavy menstrual bleeding, chuang xiong ( Ligusticum wallachii) , white peony, Chinese Angelica, Rehmannia - all roots - mixed together they are called 'four things soup' - a Chinese remedy. Also ( for heavy bleeding ) Shepherds purse, and nettle.

Homeopathy: I've got a list here, which I could pass on, but you should probably consult a homeopath becuase there are so many different factors taken into account to decide the appropriate remedy for the individual person as a holistic remedy.

Aromatherapy:
For cramps: clary sage, chamomile, marjoram, peppermint, lavender, valerian, ginger, sage, red thyme, nutmeg, rose, melissa, geranium, neroli, rosemary, cardomom, cinnamon leaf. In a hot bath, on a hot flannel, on your hot water bottle, on a burner, in some carrier oil and massaged into tummy and back, also the shoulders, thighs etc...try 4 to 5 drops of 3 oils (eg clary sage, lavender and marjoram) in 8 tsp of oil.
For heavy bleeding: cypress, geranium, rose, yarrow, chamomile (Roman), lavender, lemon.

Massage itself - Try massaging in a clockwise (ooh, deosil for those of you well into the witchy terms!) direction around the tummy. It is important to do it in this direction - because it follows the direction of your intestines (guts). Ie start at your lower right side with your left hand flat, and your right on top, stroke slowly and smoothly right up to your ribs, continue across to your left side, round and down, and then across your lower tummy right over your womb. Do this at least 3 times. Experiment to find the amount of pressure that feels right, and with smaller and larger circles.
Masturbation: Orgasm is a proven remedy for cramps. As mentioned above, Masters and Johnston ( scientific researchers ) reported that many women masturbate to relieve menstrual cramps, finding that orgasms increased the rate of blood flow, and reduced cramping and backache. Many women who do not masturbate at any other time masturbate around their 'paramenstruum' - the few days before the period, during their period, and the few days after.

PMS

Vit B6.

Cranial osteopathy - A friend who used to have awful migraines that had her moaning in bed ( no, not in a good way!) for a day, and suffering for the next - just before her period says she had a few sessions of  ( head manipulation ) and now she is Ok with just a paraceptomol! Big recommendation from her.

Herbs - Vervain, valerian, agnus castus or rosemary. Dandelion for fluid retention ( tea made from the leaves).


Aromatherapy oils / herbs
- Roman chamomile or marigold for breast tenderness and sore nipples.  
« Last Edit: 2009/Apr/15 @ 14:31:03 by Twilightgirl » Logged
MouseDemon
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« Reply #1 on: 2005/May/16 @ 19:29:20 »

Since no one else has said it. Thank you. This is very informative and interesting.

MouseDemon
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Ceri
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« Reply #2 on: 2005/May/16 @ 19:51:24 »

Thanks MouseDemon. It was looking like rather deafening silence! Lol.
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« Reply #3 on: 2005/May/16 @ 19:56:22 »

I have just read it properly and I have printed it out.

Thanks Ceri!
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« Reply #4 on: 2005/May/16 @ 20:03:34 »

Thanks Ceri some interesting reading there  Wink
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« Reply #5 on: 2005/May/16 @ 21:41:09 »

Thank you for putting that up, it was very informative!
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« Reply #6 on: 2005/May/17 @ 12:20:45 »

Very interesting reading thankyou ceri Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: 2005/May/17 @ 13:15:14 »

thanks v interesting
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« Reply #8 on: 2005/May/17 @ 13:31:37 »

Thanks Ceri, for a very informative and interesting piece of work.  I will be certainly printing this out for future reference  laugh

Moonraven xx
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« Reply #9 on: 2005/May/17 @ 15:09:07 »

Thanks Ceri - it's ages since I've read anything so positive and interesting about our moon cycles Smiley

I hope you don't think I'm hijacking your thread, but I thought I’d add a little bit about the word c***. It's a word I’ve been fascinated by ever since my dissertation on the Mediaeval French Fabliaux where cunts, cocks, balls and arses abound!!

Anyway, here are some interesting (I hope) little snippets....

The prefix 'ku' is believed to come from proto-Germanic and means 'hollow place'. It’s still considered one of the oldest word sounds and is linked with the feminine aspect. It even features in the names of several goddesses: Cunda in Japan: Cunina in ancient Rome: Quani in Korea: and in India CuntiDevi, Cunti, Kun, Kunda, Kundah, and Kunti are all variant names for the same goddess.

The world element 'Cu' has also been linked to ‘knowledge’; eg ‘can' (to know) comes from the Middle English 'cunne' and then there’s the Latin 'cognoscere’ which also appears to be related to the word c***, (interestingly in Middle French ‘cons’ meant c*** and in modern French ‘connais’ means know). Even today there seems to be a linguistic link between words for sex and knowledge, we can 'conceive' both ideas and babies and the word 'ken' can mean both 'to know' and 'to give birth'.

I think it's really sad that the word c***, which once projected such positive power (the feminine aspect, birth, sex & knowledge) is now one of the most censored and ‘shocking’ in our society!!

Maybe we should grab it back for ourselves – time for a bit of reclaiming I say!!!

Well, that’s my little c*** rant   rolleyes

BB
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Ceri
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« Reply #10 on: 2005/May/17 @ 20:10:26 »

Thanks everyone for the positive feedback, and Hedgie - thats not highjacking! Fabulous bits of extra info! I knew a few of those connections, re the word c***, but many of them I did not, thanks a bunch! You're a  cognisant conceptually cunning woman you ken...  ;D  Can I pass that info on please?

By the way - I appear not to have included full info on one of the books I reference above -

 ' The Wise Wound: Menstruation and Everywoman' by Penelope Shuttle and Peter Redgrove.

I'll edit it in.
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« Reply #11 on: 2005/May/17 @ 20:34:17 »

Thanks Ceri, glad you liked it  Wink  feel free to pass on whatever you like .....maybe we can form a c*** cognoscenti ?!!

(I should probably look up some of the books and papers I orginally used....but it was soooooooooo long ago! I'll have a dig around)

BB Hedgie
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Ceri
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« Reply #12 on: 2005/May/17 @ 20:36:05 »

cool! Smiley
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Ceri
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« Reply #13 on: 2005/May/17 @ 20:53:39 »

My Concise Oxford Dictionary ( 1983!)

cunning - from Middle English perhaps from Old Norse kunnandi - knowledge  kunna know;
cf 'can' from old English cunnan, = Old Saxon cunnan, Old High German kunnan, Old Norse kunna, Goth kunnan

c*** - Middle English = Old Norse kunta, Middle Low German and Middle Dutch kuntew from. Germanic *kunton.

So if c*** relates to 'can' as well as 'know' it relates to the ability to do, and the right to do so, as well as to knowledge.

Perhaps it also links to the sense of skilful, perceptive, and shrewd behavious and knowledge? - ie - canny?

Latin for vulva was cunnus. The horrible 'vagina' on the other hand, actually meant 'sword sheath' and only became a reference to a c*** through a very bad taste bawdy joke in a Roman play. Learning that put me right off the word 'vagina' and only helped me get myself acclimatised to reclaiming the word c*** from its modern day day use as an aggressive and degrading insult.
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« Reply #14 on: 2005/May/18 @ 13:30:03 »

This is really goood, thanks Ceri.
I'll remeber the bit about the chocolate for next time. laugh
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