Learning To Cycle

Discovering the Lushness and Potency of My Menstrual Cycle

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Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine energy is in all of us, regardless of the gender we identify with.  I am a woman. And the Feminine is alive and well within me.  I had no idea what Feminine meant in Her truest form for the majority of my life. I had heard the terms feminine charms and feminine intuition, but the words were just throw away. They had no real essence and meant nothing except what I now see has been left over from Patriarchal conditioning which hinted that women and Feminine energy is at worst; weird and evil and at best can only be used to attract a mate.  This speaks volumes about the denegation of Feminine wisdom from its  ancient revered position in the Gnostic teachings, down to the abhorrence towards Her which was conjured up by the Witch Hunts and more recently in modern Herstory (not History) society’s cognitive dissonance regarding the glory and super luscious super powers of the Feminine, not to mention the menstrual cycle. That’s enough of a Herstory lesson for now (maybe you could continue your research by reading Rebecca Campbell’s Rise Sister Rise or Lisa Lister’s bloody genius work; Code Red), although all of this information is super linked and in flow with my choice to come off the pill and reconnect with the potent blood, sweat and tears of my menstrual cycle.

At age 15 I had severe acne.  It was really obvious and I felt freaking disgusting. My class ‘mates’ used to comment about it and often I would return home after school having bottled everything up during the day, and just cry. And I mean CRY. I would let rip with loud animalistic sobs and then stifle them into my pillow to stop my Mum hearing. My sobs were not even cathartic, but only fuelled the pain and sadness about feeling so vile. I was the only one in my class with acne.  Since I was tiny, like age 3, I had sucked up and drank in the media messages that women were not desirable if they were any less than perfect automaton Barbies. Part of me wanted to be this, part of me wanted to rebel against this.  I was beginning to act out Anorexia by avoiding food and exerting rigid control over my life AND I had more than a penchant for self-harm, which was getting worse. I had developed the misguided understanding that my feelings were unimportant and that emotions were an unholy inconvenience (like most things connected with being female so I had been told). Yep, things were less than lovely.

Our bathroom was awash with lotions, potions (not the exciting Witchy kind) and pills which I desperately hoped would clear up my skin. Nothing worked.   I went back to the doctor and pleaded through my sobs that there must be something else I could try ( I was never one to be fobbed off easily, which is a very feminine trait in standing one’s ground!). I was convinced that if I got rid of my spots I would have some hope of being happy.  My kind GP prescribed Mycrogynon 30, a combination pill which was known for helping to reduce acne and would also of course eradicate my menstrual cycle. I was elated and I had hope that my skin would clear AND I would kiss goodbye to the horror of PMS which had plagued me ( I really thought I was cursed and I deserved it)  since age 11. Nobody had celebrated me and told me that my cycle was sacred and a magnificent manifestation tool. Why would they? The women in my life did not know. Nobody had celebrated with them or taught them.  The general message was that the menstrual cycle was something to endure, ignore, hide (from ourselves and from men so as not to be considered  too much, too emotional or too inconvenient), it was there to let you have a baby and served no other function, and eventually it would cease completely and so would begin another ‘curse’ called Menopause. Fucking Fabulous.

At age 15 I was desperate for validation from outside sources because I was convinced I was so ugly. These sources were the approval of my friends, but mainly I craved the attention of teenage boys. Now that I was taking the pill, I became a special breed of teenage girl who could fuck without getting pregnant. In truth, the possibility of catching an STI didn’t really bother me and I was willing to forfeit my health in favour of the possibility that a boy might like me more than I liked myself, and that I could gain this approval by having sex.  This was a pattern which continued for many years until age thirty I found myself sitting in the recovery rooms of Sex and Love addicts Anonymous.

Staying on the pill had pros and cons. It cleared up my skin quickly and it stayed clear, my periods stopped and so I didn’t have to mess around with tampons or other products, I no longer had cramps and the rocky periods of PMS calmed down.  However, looking back there was a numbness, some kind of detachment from the flow of life which I am noticing and reconnecting with now aged 33 and ¾. I developed some twisted thinking that I was more useful and desirable to men because I didn’t have to concern myself with getting pregnant, bleeding heavily (although one boyfriend wouldn’t let me sleep in the bed with him when I had a withdrawal bleed from the combined pill, in case I dirtied the designer sheets), I could bypass the chaos and inconvenience of the menstrual cycle which I believed made me less of a hassle to my male partners. I had no physical way to experience the magic , mystery and power of the menstrual cycle and I had never been taught that  sensual wonderment of being a  woman having a natural cycle  was even a possibility. I took the pill to heal my acne and I’m glad it worked, but subconsciously I fell into the Patriarchal conditioning that it is best for a woman to be ‘easy going’ (read; unemotional, quiet, linear, sensible and be able to be available for sex at the drop of a hat but with no mess from a bleed).

The Feminine speaks in a quiet voice, to begin with at least. In 2015 I tried the practice of Orgasmic Meditation and began to meet women who stood proud in the Femininity. They were at home with their bodies, their emotions, their desires and their position as receivers rather than producers. They also talked of the power of cycles, the fact that women are cyclic creatures and are not meant to feel the same from week to week and that the womb and genitals were a cauldron for magic which has been being manifested since ancient times. Women could be in community around the time of their bleed and celebrate their magic. This was all foreign but totally captivating for me and I felt like I was coming home.  The soft quiet voice said; maybe I can do this…?

I ignored the bleed based wonderings of my inner Goddess until this month.  The conditioning was strong and I was traumatised from being shamed by men about bleeding.  Since 2015 I have been learning, experiencing and initiating myself with communities of women who wish to bring the ancient arts of Femininity back into the fore.  I could deny my menstrual cycle no longer and stopped taking the pill.  I am a huge mixture of feelings, intuitions, opinions, body sensations about the unfolding of my cycle, but I am excited and honoured to meet Her.  Pre Ovulation, Ovulation, Pre Menstrual and the Bleed.  All parts of Her and therefore all parts of me, unlike the denial of who I am, which began with the painful need for approval from my teenage self.

I am healing the deep wounds and letting the blood flow. It’ a new beginning, a rebirth. When I begin my first bleed, whenever it returns, I will celebrate and mark the occasion with my own Menarche ceremony.  I am learning from experts on this topic that when the Cycle’s energies are harnessed and honoured, periods need not be excruciatingly painful and exhausting. The Feminine is calling forth a new age. Listen to her voice.

Go to the profile of Sarah Elizabeth Wheeler

Sarah Elizabeth Wheeler

Teacher and Reiki Practicioner and Burlesque Perfomer, Reiki Renge and Venus Gallactica Burlesque

Hi! I am one of the Psychologies magazine Ambassadors and I am so thrilled to be here writing on this blog. I am a teacher, mindfulness practitioner, yogi, writer, Reiki healer, law of attraction lover and burlesque performer. I am on a spiritual path and as part of this path I have recovered from anorexia, body dismorphia and sexual assault. I have recently begun my own Reiki Healing practice called Reiki Renge, based in South East London. We all have the potential to alchemise our past into healing and power. I look forward to our journey together as we step into light.

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