Wednesday, July 4, 2012

MOONLODGES

Since the beginning of human history, woman have always gotten together monthly to share, bond and heal. In Aboriginal tradition, women would gather around the time of the Full Moon to bleed together and share their stories and visions.We call our bleeding time - Moontime - because if we follow natural cycles, it usually coincides with the Full Moon.  Also, the cycle is also the same cycle as Grandmother Moon, 28-29 days. 


Women purify by bleeding monthly. It is the time to rest and renew and let go of all that you lived, healed and learned in the previous month, in preparation for the next cycle. Today many woman use tampons and stop the flow of the blood. The tampons are discretely tossed in  the garbage. In the past, woman would bleed on the moss and offer it back to Mother Earth in gratitude for the nourishment she provided. 

I first learned of this custom at a Peace Elders Gathering with Grandmother Twylah Nitsch of the Seneca Nation. It was in 1991. The day I arrived there, I started bleeding. I was told I didn't have to work in the kitchen as I had planned to do as an exchange. When I asked what I was supposed to do, they said "Nothing, you're free for the weekend". I was stunned, and walked away with mixed feelings... disbelief, guilt for not helping out, confusion.... until I realized it was a gift! That weekend was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. I was having incredible vivid visions continuously. The Medicine Men would make a wide path around me, as if they knew.... I felt bad about that too until I was told that they stay away from Women on their time, because we are so powerful! Also, Moon energy is feminine, different from the energy the men need to do the work they do.


Weeks later I returned for a Woman's weekend and learned more about the power of women and the importance of gathering together. When I walked into the same space that we had gathered before to hear the Elders speak, the energy was totally different. There were over 100 women of power and medicine in that small circular building with the dirt floor and wooden benches all around. It felt like I was walking into a vacuum! Feminine energy is like the Void, it is empty, deep and dark.The songs, the stories and the messages came loud and clear. "Remember who you are"! "Honor yourself as women, honor Mother Earth and Grandmother Moon."  "Honor your Moontime and the Visions you receive".

After that, I became more aware of my monthly cycle. I would wear a special red skirt, moon jewellery, and write in a journal that I kept for while on my Moontime. I learned to take time out for myself. I stopped wearing tampons, I began wearing cloth pads and rinsing the blood out on the Earth. I would cry at how profound this experience was for me. I had been taught that our "period" was dirty and something to be ashamed of... Where does the word period come from anyway. It has no power and no significance to what we as women live on a monthly basis. I once offered my Moon blood to a rose bush that was dying. It revived and produced many more beautiful flowers.

Today many women do not know how to honor themselves, the feminine or their Moontime. They call it the curse and keep up the fast paced life. I once saw an ad of a woman in a business suit, high heels and carrying a briefcase. She looked like she was running. The ad said, "You can now keep going at that time of the month"... or something like that. "NO - I screamed inside. That time of the month, we should stop everything, go inside, renew, purify, have visions, bleed, connect with Mother Earth, Grandmother Moon, ourselves, other women... When did we become like men? When did we start to see the Feminine as something powerless? How do we become balanced in our power without losing our Femininity?

Some women have a lot of pain and suffer terribly monthly. But many that I have worked with have come to actually enjoy and look forward to this time of the month. We can change our attitudes and feel better about ourselves. 

Years later while studying Shamanic Dreaming and Shamanism with Lisa (Okwaho Lablanc), I learned that Woman do not dream during their Moontime. They have Visions. That was another profound revelation. The difference between Dreams and Visions is that in Dreams you are an active participant, while in Visions you are an observer. You do not engage in the story or interact with the characters.You see so much more clearly when you just observe.

There is so much more to being a woman than make-up, perfume, high heels, plastic surgery, implants, etc... Today woman are programmed that they have to look a certain way, dress a certain way, act a certain way... in order to be considered beautiful. In Shamanism, we go much deeper than that. We look at the heart and soul of a woman. In Moonlodges, we share our stories, we empower ourselves, we support each other, we do ritual to honor ourselves and our connection to Mother Earth and Grandmother Moon, we connect to the Goddesses that we identify with. 

We do the hard work of looking at our broken moons... our unresolved childhood issues. 

We meet monthly around the time of the Full Moon and journey with the 13 Grandmothers, as well as our 13 inner children. We find healing and balance. In the Medicine Wheel teachings, the 13 Moons refer to the first 13 years of life, the 13 Grandmothers, as well as the 12 moons of the year and the 13th moon which occurs every three years.

Shamanism is based on Natural and Cosmological Laws. Humans have created their own laws which do not have the power of Natural Laws. Imagine if we lived by the natural calender, the 13 moons instead of the Western calender that we follow today that has nothing to do with anything, it is arbitrary and disconnected from Natural seasons and cycles.

There is so much to learn and share as women. It is important that we learn to come together and support one another instead of being competitive. As women, we can make the world a better place... by changing how we bring up our children, how we treat ourselves and each other and by doing our own personal healing work. 

I am looking forward to doing the Moonlodge Workshop, "Daughters of the Goddess" in Camrose, Alberta on July 28th, 2012.


If you are interested in attending, contact me at wheelkeeper@hotmail.com





2 comments:

Gypsymoon said...

I agree completely about women all looking and dressing the same and how much we have become like men. I have actually had a friend give me a bag of jeans because she thought i didnt have money to buy popular clothes cause I choose skirts all the time. I have always worried though, since my hysterectomy do I still experience that same kind of power? What happens to a woman when she no longer bleeds after menopause?

Wheelkeeper said...

Great questions GypsyMoon.

Having a hysterectomy does not make you less of a woman. Woman are born connected to the Earth and Moon, surgery can not take that away from us. But often women who are strong dreamers will having problems with their menstrual cycles. It just means that you are stronger as a Dreamer than a Visionary.

With Menopause we become Matriarchs. It means that we have done many cycles with the 13 moons and have gone through childhood, adulthood and are in the Elder phase of the Moons. We become one with the Grandmothers.

Thanks for asking!

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