May 20, 2014

Going with the Flow: A Women’s Guide to Menstruation & the Moon.



If life wasn’t so stressful and if we weren’t so disconnected from Nature and her rhythms, what would our bodies tell us?

Is there an ideal time for women to bleed each month that coincides with the Moon cycles and the earth’s rhythms?

The Moon is such a primary force in our lives—connected to emotions, our inner tides, the feminine, creativity and change. She brings her constant dance into our lives, changing our moods and feelings with her waxes and wanes. She changes nakshatras about once every day and changes signs roughly every two and a half days.

We feel her many changes within us, moving through us, moving us, constantly. As Jupiter moves into Cancer on June 18th, 2014, our work with the emotions and the Moon increases and expands for the coming 12 months. (Moon rules the sign of Cancer). Read more about this remarkable Jupiter transit.

Women, the divine beings that we are, get to experience the Moon’s flow in a very physical way through out her cycles. When we ovulate, creative potential is ripe. When we bleed, we are letting go of and cleansing the previous cycle. In this way, we wax and wane with her, inviting in and letting go with each of her tidal shifts.

Ayurvedically speaking, it is ideal to bleed with the full Moon. This is what my dear and trusted ayurvedic doctor, Vaidya Rama Kant Mishra of the Shaka Vansya tradition, says:

“The ayurvedic shastras, ancient medical texts, explain that the expected time for the menstrual cycle is during the full moon. During the full moon, women have access to the flow of uninterrupted soma. However, due to stress, hectic lifestyle, imbalanced diet, and many other factors, many women will tend to have their cycle erratically, not with or around the full moon. Most have their cycle during the new moon. This is an indication that there are imbalances that need to be addressed. It is a sign to pay more attention to restoring the natural cycles of her body, and to support it, so that she can get back on track and have her flow with the full moon.”

Not surprisingly, this corroborates with what Jyotish says about Suklanta, which is starting our “new Moon” cycle with the full Moon. Similar to exalted planets in that they are “full” and can’t be “added to,” a full Moon (or Purnima) means that it is full to capacity, there’s no more room for it to expand and grow; it is complete.

In this way, we can interpret the full Moon as a “new Moon” in that it marks the beginning of a new cycle of emptying itself and refilling itself.

Beginning a lunar month at the Purnima is called Suklanta and differs from starting the count from the new Moon (Amavasya) which is the point when the Moon is empty and is waiting to be filled by the Sun.

Purnima is in the middle of the Lakshmi phase of the Moon cycle, whereas Amavasya is the moment during the cycle where Kali and Durga meet. Clearly, the energy is quite different for each of these.

These different methods of starting the lunar calendar remind me of the saying “is your glass half empty or half full?!” When do we start our “new Moon” calendar and begin our new lunar month? When we are full and satisfied or when we are empty and needing to be nourished?
moon phases lunar

If we think of our menstrual cycle as a signal from the body, and our connection to the lunar messages, then this way of counting with the Moon makes sense. The full Moon is the ripest phase of the transit and the menstrual cycle is the body’s signal that we are full and filled to capacity; our cup runneth over. Literally.

Ovulation, however, is considered a time of potential.

Eggs are being released for possible fertilization, which is a signal that the body is ripe and ready for that special spark of creativity. This is a time of possibility, momentum, action and desire. This “potential” aligns with the new Moon, or amavasya; a time when our cups are empty and waiting to be filled.

When we listen to our body’s messages (really listen) then we get answers. Here are some questions for your harvesting process during both the waxing cycle (Shukla Paksha) leading up to the full Moon (Purnima), as well as the for the waning cycle (Krishna Paksha) leading into the new Moon (Amavasya).

Harvesting for the new Moon (Amavasya):

What is ripe and ready for? What are my desires for the next two weeks? What action steps can I take for greater fruits and a richer harvest? What potential awaits me? What strength am I arriving at? What actions were left undone in the last cycle that I need to revisit? How do I want to move forward? Where do I want to channel my creativity and how? What support do I need with my efforts? What am I stepping towards

Harvesting for the full Moon (Purnima):

Where am I full? Where am I willing to let go and release? Where can I surrender and allow my self to flow more? Where have I been pushing too hard? Where can I allow more ease? What needs are not being met? What parts of my life do I need more support with? Can I ask for what I need? What am I not expressing? What am I depressed/frustrated/angry/sad about from this last cycle? What feels disappointing? What would I like to see shift in the next cycle?

These harvesting questions are especially helpful with embodiment work that bridges movement + art and harnesses the creativity within us. Please explore my workshop offerings and podcasts for details.

I also love working with mandalas for both new and full Moon. Mandalas and the Moon are symbolically and metaphorically unified. This shape can offer us much awareness and creative potential. Get ideas for mandala creation from my waxing and waning Creative Rituals.

Need more connection with the Moon? Read more about the importance of the Moon.


Chasing Dreams by Moonlight


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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photos: Chris Isherwood/Flickr, Marion Doss/Flickr



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