The Power of menstruation: Native American Moon time ritual
Caspar David Friedrich-Man and Woman looking at the moon
Pretty sure some of you saw the title of this post and were like: “hmmm ok, what is she talking about?” or “ewwww not reading this”. Well hang in there for a sec! It will be interesting I promise! So yes this post is about a woman’s time of the month. The power of menstruation. But from a Native perspective. Within the native culture, women’s periods are called being in one’s moon time. Referring to the monthly moon cycle. So let’s look at what that all means and the beauty that was seen in that time of the month. A beauty we have somewhat lost in the modern world.
What is moon time?
So yes, the moon time is the time of the month the woman gets her periods and it does refer to the cycle of the moon. In most Native cultures, it is considered to be a sacred time. A time of purification, of inner purification. And as a woman, I can say I understand that. In one’s moon time, there is a sense of being purified, of getting rid of some sort of energy or negativity. Moon time for a woman would be considered a ceremony in itself. It would represent the power of birth. The power of life. Hence why women in the Native culture are often called lifegivers. And that’s one hell of a gift to have! When our ancestors were alive, men would literally leave women alone (who could go in a moon lodge) as they feared their power at that time of the month! As though we turned into witches for a week 😉
What is the story of the moon?
So why go with the cycle of the moon? Why call it moon time? Well I will relate a version of a story that I once heard. As you know, within the Native culture, natural elements are our relations. We have Father Sky, Mother Earth, Grandfather Sun and Grandmother Moon. Therefore, in this case, the story involves Grandmother Moon.
So a long time ago, women were considered powerful in that they held in a lot of their family emotions, their joy and happiness but also their sadness and sorrow. They were the life-force of the family. However, sometimes that would become exhausting. As taking in all the emotions and heartache would be tiring. However, the Creator had created the woman to take on the burdens of the family.
So one day, the woman went to nature to try to find help and yelled out because the burden was too much. The Raven heard her and went to see her, asking her why she was crying. The woman stated she was overwhelmed with the burdens of her family. She added loving her family but not being able to take everything in anymore. Raven said that he understood her pain, as he felt it too and went to ask Grandmother Ocean for help. Grandmother Ocean offered to wash away the pain of the women who would come to her but that she could not help those farther away. So she went to ask for help from her sister Grandmother Moon.
So Grandmother Moon said that she represented the feminine power and would send the waters of Grandmother Ocean into the women so her power would reach them. Once every moon cycle, Grandmother Ocean shall come into the women and purify them. And she did just that. Every month, there is thus a time when the women embody the power of Grandmother Moon and are cleansed by the waters of Grandmother Ocean.
I don’t know about you but this story makes my moon time seems more tolerable than it is! It makes me see things from a different perspective. One in which great power comes into me and every woman, and a cleansing takes place.
So what should a woman do and not do in her moon time?
Good question. According to some, this is a time of inward purification. A time of prayer, of actually asking the moon for guidance and assistance. And as this is a time of purification, women have to be careful not to take in negativity. Not taking in negativity from others around them, not taking in their burdens. And well, that is easier said than done. But it needs to be. Grandmother Moon is there for guidance. Tonight, I will actually go sit outside with the moon.
Further, it is very important that women in their moon time do NOT participate in ceremonies. Including touching or handling any sacred objects such as pipes or medicine. Menstruation signifies the power of birth, ceremonies often signify a spiritual rebirth. The two do not mix. Ceremonies are also about creating outward energy while moon time is about inner prayer. A lot of ceremonies also involve the sun, while moon time obviously involve the moon. Thus moving in a different direction than the rest of the participants.
And thus why I could not attend the sweat I was scheduled to attend today. As it would have been disruptive and a lack of respect for everyone else. And as I just discussed earlier, women tend to take in the energy of others. One can only imagine what one would pick up in a sweat lodge when in her moon time. I am already very sensitive to others and pick up of lot from others. So staying away from the sweat lodge, which has the shape of a womb and represents a spiritual rebirth, was the right decision. I was disappointed not to go but going was never an option. There will be other sweats.
Hope you enjoyed reading about moon time and the story of Grandmother Moon. Had you heard about any of this before? Let me know below!