May 2007 APA Newsletter

APA May 2007

By Lady Birch

Sacred Blood, Sacred Life
For women, the menstrual period is something we often live 
with for30 to 50 years of our lives. Attitudes about 
this once-mysterious process have changed greatly over time.

There are some things I want to share with you regarding 
menstruation---- menarche to menopause, something beyond 
PMS, Menopause, etc

Many, many pagans in general (these would be true Pagans in the 
sense that they were polytheistic/nature-based even 
before Patriarchal organized religions developed. 
(It would be more correct to call myself neo-Pagan, 
but it saves long explanations 
of what the difference is... Like this one, lol!) for thousands 
of years were very reverent of menstruation and a woman’s 
ability to bleed monthly but live, to bring new life into the 
world, then at some point, stopping the blood. Menstruation fit 
into a cycle consistent with the original Trinity, which was 
FEMALE! (Book named When God Was a Woman is excellent background) 
It was Maiden, Mother, Crone. 3 distinct phases, and all were
 honored and brought rites of passage in some way. Maiden 
represented younger girls, up to their 1st M….this usually 
was celebrated and the girl became a woman in her society, 
but was often still considered Maiden until the 1st pregnancy. 
Then followed the Mother, who gave birth and almost always 
went to a special place that menstruating women used during 
this powerful time---and as a special benefit---got 4-5 days 
off from the constant labor of survival, as others would share 
their work and bring food. It made for a strong female network, 
each taking their turns at helping the others. Once 
menstruation stopped, a woman obtained the highest status 
of all----Crone. We’re not talking Shakespeare’s idea of ugly 
old crones with warty faces! These women had survived 
the growing/Maiden years; as a Mother, bleeding years & 
childbirth (which used to be the MOST dangerous thing a 
woman could do, into the early 20th century), then 
stopped menstruation and was considered not only lucky and 
favored by the Goddesses and Gods, but thought to possess 
great wisdom and other skills vital to the tribe. 
Native Americans put it best, in my opinion. 
A young woman (Mother), is still bleeding, 
but a Crone (or Elder, etc., there were 
many titles) was “holding her blood”. She was holding in the 
sacred forces of life itself, and was treated with 
great respect.Often a council of women solved disputes, 
made decisions for the tribe, and other important matters.

It was only after Patriarchal organized religions such 
as Christianity became prominent that all Goddesses and 
Gods became a single male God. Menstruation, along with 
sexual behavior were mandated as "good" or "evil" by those 
leaders, who were superstitious enough still to fear womens' 
power. Therefore, women were made to feel shame and guilt 
when once they were honored. 

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