“Because of their age-long training in human relations—for that is what feminine intuition really is—women have a special contribution to make to any group enterprise.”
“One of your particular gifts is your feminine intuition. Do not limit yourselves. Femininity is part of the God-given divinity within each of you. It is your incomparable power and influence to do good. You can, through your supernal gifts, bless the lives of children, women, and men. Be proud of your womanhood. Enhance it. Use it to serve others.”
~ James E. Faust
A few years ago, after surviving the death of both of our fathers, our dog, and three failed IVF (in vitro fertilization) attempts, my husband and I decided to go to Hawaii. A week later, we were on a plane. That trip was fabulous in so many ways, but there is one evening that I will never forget.
We had gotten tickets to a luau and were blessed to attend on the evening before the full moon. The moon was luminous that night and seemed larger than life. When I made a comment to that effect to our table mates, one woman said to me, “I've never really noticed the moon.”
I was shocked. How could a woman not be in touch with the moon? Didn’t she know that before fluorescent lights were invented, back in agricultural societies when we lived outside, women would bleed on the New Moon and ovulate on the Full? That's where the word menstruation comes from (mensis=moon, month), for crying out loud! To me, not knowing what phase the moon was in was like being a surfer and not knowing when the tides were coming in. It made no sense.
Then it hit me. Most women today are so out of touch with their bodies, with their cycles, that they don't know the phase of the moon, much less where they are in their menstrual cycle (unless they are actually having their period).
It's time to remedy that. No, I'm not asking you to be an astronomer or to start reading your daily horoscope (although that can be fun!). Instead, I want you to become more aware of your daily hormone scope, which you might find does in fact relate to the moon in a profound way.
So here we go: in an ideal world where women spend some time out in the fresh air every day and are not exposed to pollution, fluorescent lights, or toxins, our menstrual cycles would be like those of our ancestors – a beautiful monthly journey mimicking that of the moon.
There are 13 Full Moons each year; as such, most women bleed 13 times a year. In ancient times, women lived their lives in flow with the moon (that’s one of the reasons the ancient Chinese referred to the menstrual cycle as “heavenly waters” – love that!).
Beginning on the New Moon (full dark – the moon is not visible), most women would bleed for 1-3 days (in modern times, it’s common for women to bleed for 3-7 days, but that is not in harmony with nature and can be changed). In some cultures, women celebrated their monthly cycles and, as all women were on the same cycle, they would set up red tents – sacred places where they could celebrate their Feminine Divinity at each New Moon.
You were only allowed in these red tents when you were bleeding – no men allowed – and it was considered a great honor to be allowed in (young girls looked forward to getting their periods instead of dreading them or viewing them as “The Curse”). Women sequestered themselves around their moon time (as they called their periods) not because they viewed the blood as shameful, but because it was sacred. Women would sit on the ground, naked, and let the blood flow back into the earth, from which it (symbolically) came. Most women would bleed for only one day and then all the women would pack up the tent until the next New Moon. The moon day was a day of rest and meditation. The men would even fix a feast for the women and leave it outside the tent. (Yes, this was back in the time that men were still in awe that women had the power to give birth! I miss those days! J)
Waxing Moon (the light of the moon is growing in size) – this is what we now call the follicular phase. This is the time when your body prepares to release another egg. Estrogen rises and your energy is sky high. Women in ancient times would work the fields and do tasks that required manual labor or extra energy, as they had energy to spare during this phase of their cycle.
Full moon (moon is completely light and forms a bright, white, round ball in the sky) – in ancient times, women ovulated on the full moon. Estrogen continues to rise during this phase, as does testosterone (and your libido!). Mother Nature intended this time for baby making. You may notice a clear, slippery vaginal discharge during ovulation – it disappears once the egg is released. The full moon is a time of connecting with your community – especially your loved ones and romantic partner. Women tend to report more interest in sex during their ovulatory period.
Waning moon (light begins to decrease as the moon moves from full to new once again) – this is what we call the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle in modern times. Your energy is directed inward and you may be more tired than usual as your body prepares to either make a baby or shed its uterine lining. If you are not pregnant, progesterone levels will fall dramatically making you moody and you’ll crave foods that will increase your serotonin (our “feel good” neurotransmitter) levels. If there is a time of the month when self-care is of utmost importance, this is it. Many women find themselves more contemplative as their periods approach. This is a great time to get a massage or get out your journal and do some much-needed self-reflection.
This sounds like a beautiful way to live your life, doesn’t it? What can you do to start getting in touch with and honoring your moon cycle once again? I have three suggestions:
- Become aware of the phase of the moon (the sign can also be important, but we’ll save that for another post). There are many websites and apps that allow you to do this. Just google “moon phase” or type that phrase into your iTunes store.
- Try to sync your cycles back with Mother Nature – if you currently are not having your moon time at the New Moon, get aside when the moon is out. It may take a few months, but exposure to the moon can sync your cycle back up with Mother Nature.
- Honor your Divine Feminine by honoring your body – Take the first day of your period off work (if you can) and relax as much as you can. If that’s not feasible, then at least try to take a hot bath that evening when you get home from work or journal. Our energy levels tend to be low during the menstrual phase of our cycle; honor your body’s wisdom by letting it rest and go within. After your period ends, you’ll notice a surge of energy. Take full advantage of this; this is a great time to start new projects or get a little yard- or housework done. As you approach ovulation, plan a date night with your significant other. Your hormones are telling you to mate – have at it!
Then as you enter the luteal phase, you’ll want to start withdrawing again. Get some rest and make sure to pamper yourself as your body prepares to shed its uterine lining again. If you are on birth control pills, you can still follow this cycle (even if you don’t bleed). Use Day 1-3 as your menstrual days of rest; Days 4-12 as your follicular phase; Days 13-17 as your ovulatory phase; and 18-28 as your luteal phase. That will approximate a natural cycle. If you are in a phase of your life where you do not ovulate, then please follow the cycles of the moon the way nature intended!
I hope you find these suggestions helpful. We’ll dive more into moon signs and other ways to honor the phases of the moon in future blogs. Until then, know that you are the essence of the Divine Feminine. Honor her and honor yourself! Let your inner goddess shine!
by guest contributer Linda Joy
If you look closely you’ll catch a glimpse of it. I’m talking about the Superwoman cape peeking out from under the blouse of so many women as they do their best to balance all their roles. Everywhere you look women are struggling to juggle their roles as the perfect wife, mother, hostess, friend, volunteer and Martha Stewart home decorator, chef, chauffeur, business owner and more. We have been programmed by the media and society to DO, strive and out-perform in order to meet a standard that in reality just can’t be met. For many, the Superwoman cape has become a second skin. It becomes a part of the illusion of who we believe we must be in order to be loved, appreciated and valued. You may have heard about the syndrome affecting millions of women. It’s called the Superwoman Syndrome!
Here are a few of the symptoms to watch for including…
A Disconnect from your Authentic Self
The Loss of your Physical Health and Emotional Well-being
A Loss of Your Sense of Joy and Gratitude
Feeling Spiritually alone, disconnected and disenchanted
Loss of Connection to those around You
Feeling as if Life is Spiraling out of Control and you can’t catch up.
Fear of Dropping the Ball and letting the ‘world’ down
Feeling like a ‘visitor’ in your own life
Tips from a Recovering Superwoman
I’m very familiar with the symptoms of Superwoman Syndrome. Like many others, I’ve been there, done that and it literally came close to killing me at just 40 years old. (I’m now 50.) During my years as reigning SUPERWOMAN I lost my sense of self while going 100 mph trying to fulfill every role imaginable – single mom, award-winning entrepreneur, motivational speaker, community advocate for women and children, running fundraising events and much, much more. The Superwoman Syndrome gives those afflicted the illusion that the more they do for others the more they will feel loved, valued, appreciated, worthy and important.
In my case I lost my sense of self-worth and the Superwoman Syndrome became my crutch to feel all the things that I NOW know have to come from within. In my desire never to let anyone down and in order to fill the empty void within I gave so much of myself that I literally crashed and burned. I missed out on beautiful family memories just to make one more fundraiser or speak at one more shelter. I wanted to ‘help, save, inspire’ just one more woman to believe in herself and not give up – and all the while I was unable to save, help or inspire myself. As Superwoman I spent all my energy on giving, supporting and balancing the balls – until one day there was no energy left in the well.
Like many women I was once afflicted with a serious case of Superwoman Syndrome and though it is curable – a relapse can happen at any time if we are not aware. I share my story with the hope that I can prevent even one woman from finding out the hard way – and to bring awareness that our perceived role as Superwoman is an illusion –one that can cost you everything.
The Truth Behind Superwoman Syndrome
Let me bring you back in time. Ten years ago this Superwoman was flying high and at the speed of light. Even as Superwoman I knew deep inside that I couldn’t possibly balance one more plate or juggle another ball – Superwoman was barely holding on – physically, emotionally or spiritually. (Though of course, back then I would NEVER have admitted that to myself or anyone else).
I was as disconnected from my body as one could possibly be and still be alive. I was so focused on doing, doing , doing that I had lost my ability to ‘BE”. I was wearing so many hats and balancing so many balls that my days began to run together. I began existing on caffeine and sugar just to maintain my frantic Superwoman pace. The more I juggled the more fearful I became about dropping a ball or not living up to the expectations of this Superwoman persona. Then the day came that SHOULD’VE acted as my personal WAKE-UP CALL. Being the slow-learner I was back then I , of course waited for the Cosmic Two-by-Four to hit just months later.
Should’ve Seen the Signs
For many years I owned a successful retail store and was active in the community on issues related to women and children. After winning a local business award one of the local magazine’s ran an article sub-titled “Superwoman’s Cape Must Have Been Behind the Door!. The article profiled all I had overcome as a former welfare mom and all I was doing in life and in the community to support women and children who were going through transition along with mentioning all my other roles as Superwoman. The day the story was released one of my employee’s came in with the new issue and gushing about what a great story it was. I went into my office, closed the door and began reading the article.
I wish I could tell you that I was beaming with pride as I read the article but this story is about the illusions that make up the Superwoman Syndrome and there are many. As I read the story I began to cry. Deep sobs came from deep within, sobs that I hadn’t allowed myself to release in a long, long time for fear that they wouldn’t stop and of course, Superwoman must remain in control.
Feeling Trapped by the Illusion
I still remember the intense feeling of dread that enveloped me as I read the story and remember thinking – “Oh my God! Now I’ll never be able to slow down or take this cape off.” (or I’ll let everyone down, etc. etc.) I felt so trapped by the life I had created and the Superwoman illusion that I was living under.
Today I look back and see that my reaction to that article was a sign from my soul that I had disconnected from my true purpose – but that’s a story for another day. Instead of listening to the wisdom that my reaction had evoked and beginning to review my beliefs around my need to be Superwoman – I wiped the tears, checked my cape for wrinkles and continued flying at the speed of light.
Superwoman was Brought to Her Knees
Less than six months later (after not heeding all the signs and symptoms my body tried to relay to me for quite awhile, ok for about two years) my body began shutting down. That’s right at 40 years old – Superwoman was hit with the Cosmic Two-by-Four. Body aches and fatigue so severe I couldn’t tie my own shoe to finally a mini-stroke at 40 that left me house-bound. Bounced around for eighteen months from specialist to specialist – with diagnoses ranging from Advanced Lyme Disease to Multiple Sclerosis – Superwoman could fly no more. Actually, Superwoman wasn’t even allowed to drive, run or play during one period of time.
Superwoman was told she couldn’t do ANYTHING! ME????? My initial thoughts were “My God, the world is going to fall apart. Who is going to fulfill all my roles? Who is going to take on all my responsibilities?” The questions, worries and concerns filled my mind with dread.
Words can’t explain the intense anxiety and guilt I experienced during those first few days of bed rest. Yes, GUILT! Imagine, my body was screaming for love, care and bed rest and I was feeling guilty about all those imagined people I was letting down. My Superwoman cape hung solemnly on the back of the door haunting me with thoughts of all I SHOULD be doing. It was only pure exhaustion and pain that kept me in that bed –ok, and the fact that my family took my car keys also helped.
As the days of rest turned to weeks my illusion of self-importance was shattered. The world continued spinning, projects were completed, my business ran without me and my world didn’t fall apart. Slowly the guilt was replaced with an immense sense of relief that I had an ‘excuse’ (illness) which prevented me from putting my cape back on. For the first time in years I felt released from the illusion of the persona I had worn for so long. With only time on my hands I began reading and filling my time with books on spirituality, holistic healing, personal development and inspirational topics. As I began the healing journey back to myself I was able to release the illusions that kept me chained to a persona that left me feeling empty.
Flash forward to 2013! I am happy, healthy and living my truth . I’ve spent the last ten years working on removing the masks and stories that held me hostage in my own life. It’s been a journey and though it took a Cosmic Two-by-Four to bring Superwoman to her knees (literally and figuratively) I believe that without that wake-up call I wouldn’t be here today.
I look back on my days of healing and see the blessings and lessons contained within. As hard as the healing experience was, I would do it again to gain the blessings, lessons and insights that came from such a dark time. I can’t say that I’ve healed all my self-care issues – it’s something that I continue to work on – but with much more gentleness and self-compassion than I had before.
Are you wondering what happened to the Superwoman cape or if I have relapsed during my journey? Yes, I’ve relapsed over the years and there have been days I’ve pranced around in front of the mirror in my Superwoman cape but it happens less and less now. As I’ve shared with other recovering Superwoman ‘unless we stay connected to our essence, our authentic self we can get pulled back into the illusion.” As I began the healing journey back to myself the Superwoman cape found its way to the back of the closet – where it remains today.
And the world still spins!
Queen of the Night
“I am the wise woman.
I have lived through many seasons
and seen strong men fall,
but every trouble has only made me stronger.”
Call upon Hekate when you seek inner guidance or to beef up your intuitiveness. She may also be called upon for protection, but beware, she is a very strong goddess and you may get what you wished for!
Traits Hekate Embodies:
- Inner Guidance
- Mysticism and magic
- Dream guidance
How to call on Hekate:
As Queen of the Night, Hekate can best be reached in the dark of the night, at midnight, the witching hour. If you don't wish to or it may be unsafe to go out when it is full dark, find a dark room in your home and light a candle. Call upon Hekate when you need to get in touch with your own inner wisdom and power or find yourself in need of protection.
Prayer to Hekate:
Hekate, Queen of the Night (or Goddess of Witches, if you prefer),
Hear my prayer.
I call upon your power and wisdom to [fill in your problem here]
Give me strength and inner knowing so that I may [fill in the blank].
In this dark of night, I pray.
Thank you Hekate!
Tribute to Hekate:
If you are burning a candle, let it burn down (safely) knowing that as it burns, Hekate will hear your prayer. If you are outside, you may wish to light some incense in gratitude to Hekate.