Knowledge is power, and having an understanding of the innate biology of the female menstrual cycle and the natural, hormonal changes that come with it can be not only empowering, but also astrological, and is a phenomena that has occurred all throughout history.
A typical menstrual cycle can be divided into four distinct, emotional phases, which can be compared with the seasons of the earth. ‘Summer’, when emotions are high and one typically feels most productive, excited and energised. ‘Autumn’, when the body is preparing itself for rest, and one might start to slowly wind down. ‘Winter’, when the body requires rest and rejuvenation (a time for healing and letting go, perhaps), and ‘spring’, when energy begins to rise and productivity levels generally start to increase. A chemical reaction occurs in the female body throughout the menstrual cycle, which usually lasts for 30 days, producing hormones which contribute to these energy states.
In today’s world many have lost connection to their natural menstrual cycle, through taking hormonal-stabilising pills, for example, and as such are unable to properly listen to the body and allow natural hormonal fluctuations to occur. Many do find positive benefits to taking the pill, however, and should ultimately do what feels right to them.
In many past traditions, menstrual cycles were sacred, highly respected events. There are example from tribal groups in which women would be expected to rest and not do much during the time of menstruation. Unfortunately, today many women don’t have the option to do that and work the same they might on other days. It is important, if possible, to listen to the body and to give it the time it needs to process all kinds of changes and traumas, with respect and understanding of the body’s incredible capacity for self healing.
In ancient history, it has been uncovered that it would be normal for women who lived in small communities to menstruate at the same time as those they lived close to, with many menstrual cycles falling on the day of the new moon: a period which represents change in many spiritual beliefs.
The moon controls the tides all over the planet, and it also has a strong connection with many women’s menstrual cycles. Even knowing when the moon is full or new can be a tool for some women to track their periods. We, like the earth, also live in cycles. This phenomena of female menstrual cycles and luna changes sheds light on the interconnectivity of life on earth…we are one.
There are apps such as ‘FLO’ which can help women track their period, and understand better their menstrual cycle. For many, with greater understanding, comes empowerment. Awareness of changing energy levels, and how this can often be biological, can significantly improve mental health and wellbeing. Understanding that times of low-productivity may be linked to a natural dip in hormones can help take the weight off of those feelings, and bring more stability and familiarity to mood changes. Similarly, if one is able to track ones menstrual cycle, then there will be weeks in the month that produce more productivity (such as when the moon, and hormones, are rising) and other moments that are for resting and winding down. Being able to predict these changes can be helpful for managing work loads, understanding emotions and having self-compassion in the more difficult times.