Delve into the blood mysteries
Day one of your bleed is the first day of your menstrual cycle - the circle starts here. Your estrogen levels are at their lowest point on day one and will begin to steadily rise during menstruation. It is your progesterone levels dropping, which causes your uterine lining to shed. The release of the lining of the uterus and other blood after your ovulated egg is not fertilized is what creates your period. The uterine lining is no longer needed for an embryo to implant for pregnancy and thus you bleed. Well, that’s the simple story. But there’s so much more magic to our menstrual blood. Let’s delve a little deeper into the blood mysteries.
This phase of the cycle is often the time when our energy levels are at their lowest. You might feel tired and dreamy right now. It’s very important to make space for radical rest. Letting go and surrendering to this dream-state can positively impact the whole rest of your menstrual cycle.
It’s possible that you feel calmer after the storm of your luteal phase (see earlier blog posts). Even if you can’t take a day off (recommended), lying in the grass, looking at the sky for ten minutes, or a 20-minute nap on the sofa or an hour for a yoga nidra practice will pay dividends later. Find ways to work as many pauses as you possibly can into each and every day.
THE RED TENT
Some cultures have a red tent - a place where women can go to recuperate and rest and dream during this phase. Although this may not be possible in our society, can you find ways in which to bring a sense of red tent-ness into your life at this time?
Seek a group of women you can journey with. Red tenets are popping up in our culture. You might find one nearby that you can join. Or be inspired to set up your own?
Some tribes honour the intuition of bleeding women so much that they encourage women to separate from the men and rest and dream. The tribe then uses the information gathered in the dreamtime to guide the next moves for the tribe.
Move slowly through your days now. Exercise might be more gentle as you have less energy. Think gentle yoga, easy walks and dance.
It’s especially important to consume plenty of iron-rich foods at this time, and to make sure its bioavailable. Think leafy greens, apricots, molasses and red meat and consider taking an iron supplement if necessary. Low iron can cause brain fogginess, tiredness and low mood.
To help me relax, I love a warm bath with Epsom salts and a hot water bottle. To ease cramping try a castor oil pack.
I love treating myself to some time in a hammock on lying on the sofa with a journal and a big pile of books. I love to make lots of space for dreaming now. I find that I’m very creative in terms of ideas, but lack any motivation to do anything about them. That comes later. It’s important to write stuff down or I forget!
The veil between the worlds becomes thinner at this time. You might feel more powerful, more spiritually attuned and more able to access your inner wisdom. It’s a good time to journal.
The winter of our cycle is not a time to give to others but rather to give to ourselves.
Sex whilst on your period can feel great. Orgasm is recommended for period pain. In fact, uterine contractions caused by an orgasm can release endorphins and oxytocin.
Medicine for this part of your cycle:
Keep a dream journal
Allow yourself to cry
Use divination tools such as tarot
Make a date with yourself
Wear comfortable clothing
Move with your natural rhythm - typically this is a lot slower during menstruation.
Book a massage
Self-massage with luscious oils
Eat simpler, warming foods like stews and soups
Build iron with plenty of greens
Get plenty of omega 3 fatty acids, like those found in krill oil
Avoid negative influences from TV, news, films etc.
Be aware you’re more sensitive to pain than usual
Remember the veil is thin and you may be feeling more vulnerable.
Let go of what no longer serves you.
Connect with nature
Have candlelit baths
Assess your life and allow anything that is not right to drop away
Go to bed earlier
Take daytime naps
Make life easier for yourself
Choose who you spend time with carefully - choose nourishing communication.
Delegate your daily tasks
Inform your family you’re entering your red tent and they’ll have to fend for themselves a bit more
Clear your calendar of events where you have to be ‘on’
Tell me how you tend to yourself whilst on your bleed.
PS: Get the whole cycle explained with medicine for each phase and naturopathic techniques in my new book Know Your Cycle.