As we come full circle in our monthly cycle, we end our cycles with Death in preparation for Rebirth. A significant time in the monthly cycle of the Woman, ancient cultures across the globe recognize this time as a sacred right of passage, laced mysteriously with it’s own form of ceremony. We explore here, how to channel this great gift through archetypal embodiment, symbolism, totem respects, elemental association, and inter-cultural rituals. Through raising our own vibration and consciousness surrounding the process of bleeding, we are transcending ignorance and fear surrounding the power of the Woman.
Phase 4: The Bleeding Woman
Animal: Bear or Owl
Life Cycle: Crone Woman, Elder, Death & Dying
Tree Cycle: Dormancy, Death
Energy: Death & Dying, Preparation for Rebirth, Inwardness, Reclusive, Restful, Surrender to Nature, Channel for Universal Transformation through Death, Cosmic Awakening, Intensive Dream States, Cleansing & Purification of Body/Mind/Spirit, Holy Communion with Ancestor Women & Mother Earth, Isolation & Aloneness (from others, even when physically present), Socially and Energetically Removed, Highly Sensitive, Immersed in “Other Worlds” (i.e. deeper states of being too highly vibrational for others to tune in to), Embodiment of Cosmic Energies Needing to be Cleansed & Purified (Akashic Records, Collective Consciousness, Self, & Past Lives).
The final phase of the woman marks the most powerful and sacred of all the phases: Transformation through Death & Rebirth. Throughout the ages, all cultures developed some form of ritual surrounding the reverence and harnessing of power through the woman’s ability to bleed. Sun Dances were created for men to have the opportunity to Bleed for the Earth as women do. Women bleeding in North & South American Cultures were considered TOO powerful to be in the same ceremony space as others in the community, thus special lodges were created for their bleeding ceremonies. In African hunter and Gatherer societies, and cultures around the world, women reside in a special lodge while bleeding to channel energy construct rituals for the community. The Red Tent movement was inspired by the Hebrew custom of women holding communal rituals while synchronized by their bleedings.
The infinite number of rituals created in regards to the sacredness of bleeding are too many to be listed, and the ignorance that our Western culture has developed around their meanings and root systems over-rides our birth rites to the deeply woven sacredness that they hold. The West developed a perceived “Sexist” view on indigenous customs of Divine Bleeding, labels of PMS are offensive representations of ignorance, and societal education on the power of bleeding is not taught. Our world, as Westerners, embodies the tactics of aversion and shame when regarding bleeding, which has resulted in ignorance of power regarding women’s rights to bleeding rituals.
See my article The Ceremony of Bleeding, for a deeper view into the sacredness of Bleeding Customs, as well as a reflection of commonly embodied Western perceptions.
As the final stage of the monthly cycle, and the life cycle, our Death represents a time of Purification & Cleansing of accumulated Mind/Body/Spirit attributes, thus making Rebirth into a new Cycle possible. We, as women, hold the power to channel Universal Energies, Memories, Traumas, Sicknesses & Imbalances. Thus we have the power to Purify & Cleanse them from the Akashic Records through Bleeding in Consciousness.
If we consciously understand that we are vessels for this process, we may channel the purification for Universal energies, community energies, family energies, and, of course, our own personal energies. This practice of attuned consciousness in bleeding, thus, created the foundation for the perceived sacredness of Bleeding in Indigenous Cultures around the World: The Woman is Purifying herself and the Energies of the Cosmos. Is it any wonder that it was seen as the most sacred of time for women, AND that cultures created such profound rituals of separation for such a process? The women were seen as channels for entire communities, a ceremony that the communities themselves depended upon in reverence; The woman NEEDED her isolation to conduct these rituals.
How does one channel the energy of this particular phase in consciousness? Rituals vary depending on the Woman, and I have found that sometimes I simply attune my consciousness to the channel in an isolated space. I am a firm believer that isolated space, for AT LEAST, the first 2 days are necessary for non-distractive channeling of pure energies. I tend to sing, hold fires, perform alter rituals, PRAY, and allow myself no restrictions when releasing energy: tears, shouting, wailing, speaking in strange languages, singing, beating drums, are all experiences that can (and for me, DO) happen.
Dietary changes and herbal incorporation, are excellent ways to amplify the consciousness within the process. For example, cleansing and light foods help the body purify itself, nettles (for example) help replenish the body of lost iron due to blood loss. Maya Tiwari (mentioned and cited below) offers and entire book on yoga poses, dietary recommendations, herbal suggestions, and mantras for the bleeding phase as well as the ovulation phase of the cycle.
I have found, when practicing dietary, herbal, mediation, ritual, and channeling techniques, that my consciousness is raised to such a sensitive state, that I am actually able to reach a state of being unattainable in any other phase or time in my own life.
One very useful practice for beginners is the traditional Fire Ceremony of Releasing. Write down on a sheet of paper ALL elements of your own life, or world events, that you wish to purify. Do this in prayer and, also in prayer, make a fire. Speak the purification list to the fire, speak your intention to purify these things, then burn the paper. Then, as you bleed throughout your cycle, when you feel the blood releasing itself through the sensations in the uterus, consciously recognize and associate your purification intentions with this moment. It is very empowering and I have felt and seen the spoken intentions manifest through my bleeding experience.
Another useful practice is the practice of bleeding on the Earth. It has been quoted many times that all killing will end on the Earth when all women return to bleeding on the soil of the Earth. This, to me, makes sense and we might only peer into the vast cultures that practiced sacrifice to see an intuitive connection with Blood, Sacrifice, and Appeasing the Balance of Earth. Blood Sacrifice, in its purest form, does not have to incorporate the Death of a Living Creature, which is why menstrual blood sacrifice is so unique.
I once created a Rock Spiral Garden in one of my communities in Peru, where a few women began dropping our blood. It was a powerful practice, and to drop blood on the Earth in consciousness, is connecting our Fertility and our Purification, our very existence with the Mother herself. To offer the sacrifice of our Blood makes us closer to Her, and she recognizes our devotion with great blessings in the life. Our strength, fertility, and essence, then becomes connected to the infinite power of Mother Earth. Imagine the increase of strength and wisdom one may gain when they have a blood-pact with Pachamama!
Yet, as many women are not aware of how to control the actual bleeding process (i.e. when and how the blood is released: a process that can actually develop with practice), this may be a strange concept at first, or difficult to imagine. Our modern menstrual technologies (i.e. pads, tampons, and sponges) do not energetically encourage the “giving” of blood, so much as they do the “removal & disposing” of our blood. We just put on a technology, go about our day, and drop it when it’s been used to it’s purpose. However, there are now modern menstrual technologies that allow women to actually CATCH their blood and offer it accordingly. Technologies such as Diva Cups, Moon Cups, etc. offer the opportunity for us to catch our blood and offer it to the Earth if we wish.
Some ideas for how to to get started with Gifting Blood to the Earth is dropping your blood in the compost or a flower bed (take care not to drop on edibles!), dropping in a place special to you (i.e. a rock garden, labyrinth, or special place in Nature), or at the base of special tree Tree (I’ve heard of some women giving their blood to the Tree that they later bury the placenta from their first babies birth, then begin dropping blood at the tree of their second: a practice fusing the fertility of the woman and the Mother Earth, gifting thanks for the upcoming children that she will bear).
Maya Tiwari, an Ayurvedic practitioner and author of Women’s Healing Arts through Ayurvedic systems, wrote a book called The Path of Practice. I first learned how to actually initiate the first dropping of blood (how to energetically and ritually kick off my menstrual cycle by MY own practice), how to control the flow of my blood throughout my cycle (i.e. harnessing the energy to conserve, then drop large deposits, which I often accompanied with song, prayer, or a yoga pose), as well as how to align one’s Bleeding cycle with Moon Cycles (Full or New, depending on the energetic intention of the woman).
In my own practice of Bleeding, at it’s most conscious time (i.e. living in the wilderness of Peru), I was able to take space in Nature, completely isolated from all other community members for extended periods of time, practice these ancient and indigenous forms of bleeding rituals, and come to a deeper understanding of the depth of power this sacred time can actually facilitate in the Modern Woman. Not all women can do such practices with their lifestyles, but I am hoping that, through conscious transformation of our collective humanity, we may return to such powerful rituals. For now, and in that process, I encourage women to adopt alternative technologies (mentioned above, also including GladRags), and to begin the path of practicing their own customs, both that create deeper awareness and connection to the Bleeding Cycle.
Associated with Death & Rebirth is the Sunset, always in the West. The West is my Direction when addressing my bleeding cycle. The West is also the Direction of Tlazolteotl, the Nahua depiction of Life, Death, & Rebirth, whom was Female in their Calendar and Temple depictions. As the Recycling Force of Life, Tlazolteotl guards the West, Recycling all that is no longer needed into new Energy for the Earth. The most complex figure I have yet to encounter, I encourage readers interested to look into the work of Patrisia Gonzales, especially the book on Female Healing Arts: Red Medicine: Traditional Indigenous Rites of Birthing & Healing.
The color Red signifies the Blood, and the Element Earth signifies this phases connection to the Mother Earth, as well as to the solidity we have in our Womanhood through the process of bleeding. The Bear, for me, is the totem animal representing the Inward Transformation we have through going inward to bleed, as the Bear Herself does through Winter. Winter, the Bleeding associated season, is the time when Nature Herself rests and “Dies” in preparation for Rebirth in the Spring. Such symbolism has offered deep insights to my process, as the energies found in those symbols, for me, mirrors the energy and elements of my own process.
To embody the Sacred Time of Bleeding, I encourage women to seek what is most resonate with them. For some of us, we may not have the lifestyle to embody a full ceremony every month, taking a weeks time from work, motherhood, and community responsibility. However, the beautiful aspect of ritual is that it is fluid to what resonates most with the person conducting the ritual. Whether it’s simply emptying your diva cup in a compost pile, saying a prayer, and going about your day, or it’s a multiple-day meditation, all women have the power to harness their inner strength and connection to Mother Earth & All of Creation.
Aho Blood Sisters ❤