In Judy Grahn’s book, Blood, Bread and Roses – How Menstruation Created the World, she traces the development of our cultural traditions back to a very female version of beginnings. We know that the female body was seen as having the same life-giving powers as the “feminine earth.” The fact that a woman’s menstrual cycle coincides with the cycles of the moon forms the foundation for origin stories that were grounded in a woman’s experience of life.
A stone carving at the entrance of a cave in France, dated 25,000 – 20,000 B.C. shows a full woman’s body that was painted red. Called Venus of Laussel, the woman holds a horn in the shape of a crescent moon in her right hand. The horn was incised with thirteen markings, corresponding with the 13 months in a lunar year.
In her book Judy follows the menstrual practices that developed and were grounded in the wisdom of what she calls “the menstrual mind.” Over time those practices became more complex, creating culture and extending into every aspect of the lives of early humanity.
Those traditions are still with us today only disguised by the patriarchal overlay that co-opted women’s wisdom, imbuing the older practices with their own origins and meaning. Women and their bodies were shamed in the new stories as well as “gifted” with the origin of suffering. Over time women came to be seen as culturally insignificant, even a necessary evil.
In Women Who Run With The Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes states, “Over time, we have seen the feminine instinctive nature looted, driven back, and overbuilt. For long periods it has been mismanaged like the wildlife and the wildlands. For several thousand years, as soon and as often as we turned our backs, it is relegated to the poorest land in the psyche. The spiritual lands of Wild Woman have, throughout history, been plundered or burnt, dens bulldozed, and natural cycles forced into unnatural rhythms to please others.”
The “man in the moon” is only a small symbol of an enormous shift that fundamentally changed the status of women and the nature of the relationship between men and women. A few examples of what we are left with in this revised patriarchal version:
- blood power is now about taking life as opposed to giving life
- the development of Kingship in a transfer of the innate powers of the feminine Queen to the masculine
- the power to create life is now solely the domain of a male creator
- children that are labeled illegitimate
- the wisdom of the Great Below is transformed into a Hell ruled by a male figure.
In short, the world was turned on its head. The path of the divine feminine is about reconnecting women to the innate wisdom of their bodies and the practices that honor a woman’s experience of life. It is about learning to own the truth of our experience, our voices. It is learning how to sit in the power of our knowing and having the courage to speak that truth. I invite you to join me on this journey of reclaiming the divine feminine.
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