The arrival of my moon cycle as a teen was neither welcomed nor condemned. The day it arrived I was set to leave for a seaside holiday and my grandma’s. Although it was exciting to have finally “come of age”, understandably the timing couldn’t have been more awkward. My mum was wonderful that day, she had thoroughly prepared me for this moment and made such a fuss over celebrating it.
Everything started off well. I never experienced any major pain or mood swings, though I did notice my cycle was a bit irregular.
What started off as a missed period here or there, turned into blood clotting, heavy bleeding and anemia. I went four months without a single period that went straight into a month long bleed. It was hardly something I wanted to be worrying about at 14 years old.
After multiple trips to the gynaecologist, including ultrasounds and examinations, they concluded they had no idea what was wrong with me. Unsurprisingly they suggested I start taking an oral contraceptive pill to regulate my cycle, so at 14 years of age I started taking the pill.
Things straightened up after I started taking the pill. No more heaving bleeding and a completely regular cycle. I was quite happy taking the pill for 11 years, that is until I started to notice a shift in my feelings surrounding this constant consumption of a synthetic hormone.
The pill had served me well for many years, providing me with a convenient method of contraception as well as hassle free and regular periods. However at the end of an important long term relationship, I sensed deep within my gut that I could no longer continue taking it.
There was definitely uncertainty surrounding this decision. Considering my short track record before taking the pill, I had basically no knowledge of what my menstrual cycle would be like after coming off. I was fearful that without the pill my cycle would revert back to the crazy unpredictable ways of my youth, but the strength of my inner voice confirmed this was the right thing for me.
The day I finally stopped, I felt an incredible sense of liberation. Like I had finally freed myself from an internal prison.
Much to my amazement, I slipped straight into an almost perfect monthly cycle. Somewhere along the line my body had balanced itself, and I believe the inner knowing I felt was her call. Her gentle voice whispering to let me know I no longer needed the synthetic support of the pill.
I feel incredibly lucky that my body was able to settle into the harmony of equilibrium so fast, I know that for many women this is not the case.
Everyone is different. I believe the amount of time it takes us to balance is directly proportional to our need for inner processing, as well as any physical hormonal adjustments. In my case, I was incredibly ready for this change on every level.
This was two and a half years ago, and since then I have developed a beautiful relationship with my cycle. Although the physical changes have been minimal since coming off the pill (my cycle is slightly shorter, I bleed heavier on the first day, and I experience slightly more cramping), the biggest change for me has been on an emotional level.
Adjusting to the fluctuating hormonal state of my body has been difficult. I never experienced mood swings or the emotional aspects of PMS while on the pill, however since coming off I have noticed a steady increase in their affect on me. Around the end of my cycle I notice an intense dip in my moods. I become highly emotional, I am more irritable, and the air around me hangs thick with the sense of melancholy.
This is where I’m at today. A few days out from starting my moon cycle, my heart feels tender and overwhelmed with emotion. My body holds the tension ready to be released in my menstrual blood, though it is yet to find relief through the cleansing of the bleed.
This affects me strongly, I feel the tension on every level as if something within me isn’t sitting right. It’s the sense that something’s off without knowing exactly what it is.
Thankfully I've been tracking my cycle since coming off the pill and have now grown accustomed to feeling this way before every moon time. I am mentally prepared, which provides me with comfort and a sense of compassion when I'm entering this phase.
It can be easy to brush things off or judge ourselves when we enter periods like this, but when you’re feeling tender and vulnerable because of the natural state of your hormonal cycle, the best thing to do is to give yourself even more love than you feel you deserve.
Last night I ran myself a hot bath and filled it with some of my favourite essential oils. I’m particularly loving Lavender right now, as the spirit of the plant feels like the epitome of a loving and nurturing grandmother. As I’d hoped, Grandmother Lavender wrapped me in her warm embrace as I entered the water, I felt her holding me in loving support. It wasn’t long before I began to weep, opening to a hidden well of heartache that I thought I had already released.
I wept for an hour in the bath, until the bath water started to turn cold. There really is something to be said about the cleansing properties of water and tears.
As I left the bath I felt my entire auric field had shifted. Like I’d shedded another layer and was able to drop into a deeper, far more connected and expansive state of being. I felt at peace, like the tears had carried the tension out of my body and into the water, sucked down the drain as I emptied the tub.
Sharing my experience with mum this morning raised the topic of cleansing rituals. I have always been attracted to the practice of rituals, the further I sink into my true nature the more I understand how incredibly important they are for us as women. They allow us to connect with our intentions and desires, potentising our acts with a powerful form of creative energy.
Cleansing rituals are incredibly powerful as they can purify our system, allowing the release of stagnant energy and built up tension.
A RITUAL FOR RELEASE
This ritual works best with a bath, but if you don’t have access to one you can use a similar process in the shower. The most important thing is to create a sacred space that feels nurturing and supportive to you.
While the first two elements below are crucial to this ritual, anything else you choose to include is completely up to you. I’ve included some other elements as suggestions that you might like to include in your ritual. I love them all for different reasons, and I’ve found using a diverse combination provides a beautiful web of support that holds me safely in this space.
What you'll need:
A bathtub or shower
Some uninterrupted personal time
Epsom salts or magnesium crystals
Candles and crystals
Incense, sage or pal santo to smudge
Essential oils or loose herbs/flower petals
Choose a time when you won’t be interrupted and can have the bathroom to yourself for at least 30 minutes.
Create your sacred space in the bathroom in a way that feels nourishing to you. This could include smudging the room with incense or sage, lighting candles, placing special or sacred objects around the tub, and turning on some soothing music.
Fill your bath with hot water, as hot as you feel comfortable in. The hot water will help to relax your muscles and will begin to ease tension in your body.
Add epsom salts or magnesium crystals, essentials oils, and any herbs to the bath, allowing their purifying energy to integrate with the water. I recommend Lavender or Frankincense essential oil, or perhaps some rose petals scattered through the water. All of which are incredibly supportive for the heart and soul.
As you enter the bath and allow your body to relax into the water, feel the tension in your body begin to ease. This is a beautiful time to set your intention for this ritual. What are you hoping to release during this time? How would it be to feel cleansed of this emotion?
Bring awareness to how the water feels around your body and the support it provides as it surrounds you from every side. Get intimate with what’s going on for you, perhaps your body has been trying to tell you something in the form of this tension. Allow yourself to be with the sensations of the body, following that energy wherever it leads you.
Sink deeper into the relaxation of the moment, visualising any tension draining from your limbs into the water. If you hit an emotional block, soften into that. Surround it in the same way the water gently surrounds you in the bath.
Whatever arises, accept it without judgement and continue bringing yourself back to the feelings that are present for you. You may feel a spontaneous need to cry or to release the energy and emotion you are feeling, allow this to unfold within the soft and tender space you have created.
Continue this process for as long as you need. Intuitively you will know when the ritual is complete as you will no longer feel like you need to be in the bath. When this occurs, thank your soul for this sacred gift you have given yourself.
Pull the plug while still lying in the bath and allow its contents along with anything you released energetically, to be sucked down the drain and back into the Earth. This powerful act completes your cleansing process and finalises the ritual.
I highly recommend you use this cleansing ritual in the days preceding your moon time, when you feel overcome with emotion or tension, and at the time of the full moon. There is often a build up of emotional tension ready to be released at these times, and you may find it easier to cleanse through your tenderness.
While womanhood is an incredible blessing, the vastness of our internal landscape of emotion can often feel like a curse. Rituals like this can do wonders for helping us move through the unstable and more challenging moments of our lives.
Ultimately it’s important to honour your tenderness, this is just a phase so remember to be gentle with yourself.
In love, light and magic,