Since the Middle Ages, menstruation has been labeled as a curse. Religion in the past has marked women as damaged and perceived monthly bleeding as punishment. Through this stigma, women internalized this misinformation as shame, dislike, and a disconnect towards themselves, wanting to reject the connection between menstrual pain, fatigue, cravings, and mood swings from their own selves.
During biblical times, our ancestors had moon cycle rituals that allowed them to celebrate their bleeding time. It was seen as a time for creation, cleansing, and self-care. The mind and body are connected therefore the way we view our period can have a big influence on our physical experience. Thus, creating your own personal moon cycle ritual can be a very healing and pleasurable time. Always do what feels best and natural for you because the goal is to release tension and stress to be able to surrender to your cycle and allow the magic to happen for you. Here are some moon cycle ritual ideas to incorporate before, during, or after.
Just before and during the menstruation phase, estrogen and progesterone levels are at their lowest, therefore your mood and energy decrease. Sometimes the onset of your period can create drastic changes in your moods, especially if experiencing PMDD, PCOS, or Endometriosis. So, low-impact exercises like walking, hiking, yoga, and dancing are great ways to get grounded and show yourself some love. As your energy levels tend to be low during your cycle I do not recommend forcing yourself past your limits but rather tuning into your body and honoring what it is asking of you. Slow and intentional movement is a great way to release stress and increase blood flow as well.
Yoni steaming is an ancient ritual that cleanses the womb and also can help regulate your cycle and minimize cramps, bloating, and also may holistically heal bacterial imbalances, which can happen post-cycle. Yoni steaming is deeply nourishing for your vagina and cervix while also being a way to take time for yourself and relax. You can make your own DIY yoni steam at home and get creative with your herbs of choice or find a place near you. I would recommend yoni steaming a few days before your period to help lessen menstruation symptoms. Avoid during your period.
During your cycle, performing self-care rituals can be deeply relaxing. Dedicate the time to take a warm bath with candles and dim the lights. This is the chance to go inward and just enjoy the stillness. Dry brushing is also a good idea as it is detoxifying and eliminates toxins from your body, helping to circulate your blood flow. Create a day that you do a full at-home spa day to relax and replenish your physical body and mental well being.
Creating a “go-to” list of meals specifically for your period can reduce your stress and make things a lot easier. Some foods can really nourish our soul and help us feel rooted during a time of cleansing. Whole and nutrient-dense foods can help aid in relieving PMS symptoms. During your cycle the digestive system goes through changes as well, with the different hormones being released. So, being kind and tender to your gut is key. Herbs like red raspberry, chamomile, ginger, and motherwort, and dates are some ideas to incorporate in your morning teas or homemade broths.
Oxytocin is natural pain reducer and is a hormone that is released when having an orgasm. Orgasms during your period are extremely powerful and pleasurable. Oftentimes we tend to feel yucky during our cycle, yet our libido can still be strong, so we have this conflicting feeling of wanting to experience pleasure but not feeling sexy to do so. But this is your sign to let that go and lean into what your body is asking of you. This is an opportunity to reduce stress, cramps, and release happy hormones.
If you want to try something different and completely freeing, at night try free-flowing. Free-flowing is when you allow your period blood to openly release with no pad/tampon/or cup. Menstruation products like pads and tampons have toxic chemicals that may disrupt our endocrine system which may influence painful periods, cysts and fibroids. This may not be for everybody but I do feel like through generational stigma that period blood is dirty we view ourselves during this time as that. So instead embracing the blood and not trying to hide it can be a completely freeing experience.
Create Solo Sacred Space
Honoring our ancestor’s practices, if this is available for you to do so, creating a sacred area dedicated to you during your period can be helpful in being able to surrender to the process and let all the emotions you may be feeling come out without any fear of judgment when having to deal with other people when you are just not in the mood. Naturally, we tend to want space when we are on our period but with jobs, kids, and daily obligations we don’t typically have that ability or may feel guilty to do so. But, sometimes we need to disconnect to reconnect, and being mindful of yourself will only strengthen your interactions with others. It is said that our cycle is a great time for creativity and ideas but when we have a lot of outside stimuli it can be difficult to bring these new thoughts to fruition. Some ideas is a little space wherever you can find it and make it a space for meditation, journaling, or just a comfortable place to just lay and be. It is up to you how you like to dedicate your space, but have fun with it!
As always take what resonates and leave what does not, these are some ideas but what makes it sacred is choosing a routine that is unique for you and easy for you to consistently achieve each cycle. The purpose of creating a ritual is for comfort, peace, and connection within yourself. We do not often get to celebrate ourselves and by switching the negative programming behind our period from a punishment or annoyance to a powerful healing experience, it can shift the relationship into a positive one. Stress is such a powerful influencer on our hormones creating irregular and painful periods and when we have a routine that is relaxing and rejuvenating we can holistically ease those symptoms.
Written by Rikki Jones