We’ve created a series of images for use on social media and they’re available via the Brigid’s Grove blog: National Fertility Awareness Week (#1in6) – Brigid’s Grove
Earthprayer, Birthprayer, Lifeprayer, Womanprayer is a 114 page book of earth-based poetry containing four thematic sections all rooted in connection to the land and to the cycles of life. This poetry collection is one of the results of my committed, devotional year-long “woodspriestess” practice. I maintained this practice throughout 2013, eventually spending approximately 330 days during the year in the same place in the woods listening to what they had to tell me about life, myself, and the Earth.
In late December 2012, I decided to begin a year-long spiritual practice of checking in every day at rocks in the woods behind my house. I committed to spending at least a few minutes there every day, rain or sleet or shine, with children or without, and whether day or night throughout 2013. My idea was to really, really get to know the space deeply. To notice that which changed and evolved on a daily basis, to see what shared the space with me, to watch and listen and learn from and interact with the same patch of ground every day and discover what I could learn about it and about myself. I wanted to really come into a relationship with the land I live on, rather than remain caught up in my head and my ideas and also the sometimes-frantic feeling hum of everyday life as a parent and professor.
I tend towards a Goddess-oriented, panentheistic, spiritual naturalism. When I enter the woods, I often experience what I have termed “theapoetics”–-spontaneous, spoken aloud poetry that brings me into direct connection with that source of life I call the Goddess. These theapoetical explorations form the heart of the book.
A digital version is also available in print-ready pdf. If you previously purchased the 60 page digital version, we are happy to offer you a 20% discount on the newly expanded version of the book. Please contact us for the discount code to use.
Everyone who signs up for the free author interview series will have access to it as well as Module 1 of the Course FREE as a thank you.
I love the opportunity to connect with people around the world thanks to the internet. Lucy and I chatted away via Skype like old friends even though she is in Ireland and I am here in Missouri!
Disclosure: affiliate link included.
“We are only now beginning to discover the long term destructive effects on human beings and families of treated women as if they were containers to be opened and relieved of their contents.”
Sheila Kitzinger’s new autobiography, A Passion for Birth, is an absolute treasure. One of the most long-term and pivotal influences in the world of birth activism, I have quoted her work more times than I can count. In fact, I judge the quality of a book by the number of pages I dog-ear to return to. I turned down the corners of so many pages in A Passion for Birth, that it will take me a year’s worth of blog posts to share all the provocative quotes that caught my attention! While Sheila always included a personal flavor in her other books, this book is truly about her, her life, her passions, her family, her activism, her work. Interwoven throughout is the social justice oriented thread of her absolutely devoted dedication to women, feminism, and childbirth activism. Her book is very real, relatable, and readable as well as often charming. She doesn’t hold back from treading into controversial waters, however, and she is straightforward and unapologetic even when writing about topics that can be divisive in the birth world.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover the full-color series of photos in the center insert to the book, they range from Kitzinger’s childhood, a homebirth picture of the birth of one of her daughters, and ending with a poignant photo of Sheila’s casket, decorated by her family, resting easily on some chairs in the dining room of home she so loved.
An internationally recognized author and expert, Kitzinger was an anthropologist and one of the first professional people to acknowledge that women’s birth wisdom, stories, and experiences are worthy of study and attention. Spanning an impressive career of more than fifty years, Kitzinger’s anthropological and activist work was undertaken at a global level and her clear and unwavering commitment to social justice work and activism is a thread running strongly throughout her entire autobiography. The book takes us from Sheila writing and studying while sitting in a playpen in her yard (an effort to have a work area undisturbed by her five children!) to traveling with her family to Jamaica to study the birth customs and stories of the women there. Her identity as an anthropologist is clearly reflected in the cross-cultural birth experiences she surveys and describes and the autobiography includes lots of travel! It also includes homey touches like favorite recipes and descriptions of family traditions as well as stories of her own four homebirths, including that of twin daughters. I found myself wanting more content about her life with children, her life as a mother, which, while acknowledged and integrated through the text, was curiously absent from much of the narrative’s exploration. I was also curious to know more about the accident and serious brain injury experienced by her daughter Polly, which was mentioned somewhat incidentally (though it clearly had a significant impact on the family), as was the passing mention in a photo caption referencing her husband Uwe’s eye removal surgery.
Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in birth work, birth activism, feminist studies, women’s health, or anthropology, A Passion for Birth was compelling, inspirational, funny, straightforward, assertive, honest, candid, wry and dedicated.
“The way we give birth is an expression of culture. It can be spontaneous and instinctual, but it is still patterned by the society in which we live.”
Stay tuned for an ongoing series of themed posts based on additional content and thought-provoking quotes!
In a pioneering career spanning more than 50 years she campaigned for and oversaw a radical change in maternity care, placing women’s rights and choices at the very heart of childbirth. Her passion, research and knowledge of childbirth have had enormous impact on millions of women worldwide.
Publishing and purchasing details:
Author: Sheila Kitzinger
Published: 7 May 2015
Format: 240 x 160 mm
Illustrations: colour and b/w photographs
Pinter & Martin edition available: worldwide
Translation rights: Pinter & Martin
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.
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It is World Breastfeeding Week and we’ve been busy supporting celebratory events around the country. We donated nursing mama sculptures to the World Breastfeeding Week picnic in Springfield, MO and to two LLL Leader workshops, one in NY and one in Tennessee. Today, we donated a birth sculpture and 4o goodie packets to the upcoming Women in the Wild photo shoot in Kansas City and we also mailed a spiral mama sculpture and 20 goodie packets to a Live, Love, Latch event in Portland, TN.
Is there a Live, Love, Latch event near you? Check it out here: Events – Live, Love, Latch!
On August 22, we’ll be giving away some goodies at MamaFest in Rolla, which is also registered as a Live, Love, Latch event.
What is MamaFest?
It’s a celebration! A celebration of women, of community organizations that serve women, of women-owned/women-oriented businesses. We want you to come visit the vendors, have some refreshments, visit with your friends on the couch, and take home awareness of what your community has to offer YOU.
(Men and children are welcome to attend!)
via MamaFest 2015.
I’m particularly excited about the Women in the Wild event. This article about the effort really brings home why it matters:
…The women behind this photo would like to shift the paradigm, to change the narrative of shame that is inflicted upon mothers. They would like to celebrate the bodies of mothers, with all of their glorious imperfections, because they are strong, and beautiful. Mother of one, Jacklyn Kosakowski, shared: ”When the opportunity came up to take this photo, I honestly wasn’t doing it for others. I did it for myself. My changing body during pregnancy was difficult for me, and especially afterwards was hard. I’m at a good place with myself and I have just recently began to appreciate my stretch marks and mommy belly. This body carried and nourished my baby for nine months and pushed for four hours just to meet her, so I should be proud of this body. To just be out in the open, half naked, with other beautiful mothers was such an amazing feeling. There was no judgement, we all looked beautiful.”
You can also visit Erin White Photography on Facebook for more information and beautiful, inspiring photos.
The theme of the 2015 World Breastfeeding Week is: “Let’s Make it Work” and it focuses on mothers combining breastfeeding and employment.
The WBW 2015 theme on working women and breastfeeding revisits the 1993 WBW campaign on the Mother-Friendly Workplace Initiative. Much has been achieved in 22 years of global action supporting women in combining breastfeeding and work, particularly the adoption of the revised ILO Convention 183 on Maternity Protection with much stronger maternity entitlements, and more country actions on improving national laws and practices. At the workplace level, we have also seen more actions taken to set up breastfeeding or mother-friendly workplaces including awards for breastfeeding-friendly employers, as well as greater mass awareness on working women’s rights to breastfeed.
Images for the 2015 theme of “Let’s Make it Work” are available here: WHO | World Breastfeeding Week.
Why does the support of employers matter to breastfeeding women? It matters immensely. Women and their babies don’t exist in isolation, they are nestled within larger systems that can either help make or break the breastfeeding relationship:
“Governments and commercial companies will ‘invest’ billions in expensive new technology: roads, bridges, airports, dams or power generation plants, ‘for the good of society’. They may even ‘invest’ in schools and hospitals, but the crucial primary investment in the emotional, physical and mental health of all humans, which breastfeeding and mothering provide, is invisible.”
—Gabrielle Palmer (The Politics of Breastfeeding, p. 333)
Seriously. This is why World Breastfeeding Week matters. It isn’t just about breastfeeding memes and platitudes, it is about systemic change in the US and around the world.
I was interested by this story about an Argentinian politician and her baby breastfeeding at work:
…We’re having a moment here when it comes to the cultural conversation surround public breastfeeding. When we talk about women balancing work and childcare, part of what we’re talking about is women living in a world that makes it difficult to care for their children while simultaneously managing the rest of their lives. It’s not that it’s physically impossible to care for a baby while going about one’s day, it’s that we live in a world in which women are shamed for things like breastfeeding in public.
…We are mammals because as a species we nurse our young. This is a fundamental tie between the women of our time and place and the women of all other times and places as well as between the female members of every mammal species that have ever lived. It is our root tie to the planet, to the cycles of life, and to mammal life on earth. It is precisely this connection to the physical, the earthy, the material, the mundane, the body, that breastfeeding challenges men, feminists, and society.
Breastfeeding is a feminist issue and a fundamental women’s issue. And, it is an issue deeply embedded in a sociocultural context. Attitudes towards breastfeeding are intimately entwined with attitudes toward women, women’s bodies, and who has “ownership” of them. Patriarchy chafes at a woman having the audacity to feed her child with her own body, under her own authority, and without the need for any other. Feminism sometimes chafes at the “control” over the woman’s body exerted by the breastfeeding infant…
Past World Breastfeeding Week posts:
- Wednesday Tidbits: World Breastfeeding Week!
- World Breastfeeding Week Post Round Up
- Tuesday Tidbits: National Breastfeeding Month
- The WHO Code: Why Should We Care?
- Tuesday Tidbits: Breastfeeding and Ecofeminism | Talk Birth
- Tuesday Tidbits: Breastfeeding Research | Talk Birth
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And, as is our tradition, in honor of WBW and National Breastfeeding Month, you can get 10% off items in our shop throughout August: WBW10OFF.
North America’s leading surrogacy agency, Family Source Consultants, highlights five of the biggest misconceptions about surrogacy
Chicago – June 4th, 2015 – If you’re thinking about becoming or using a surrogate, you may feel inundated with information and unsure where to start. There can often initially be a lack of understanding about the process involved and a lot of misinformation out there, too.
Staci Swiderski, Co-Founder of Family Source Consultants, says: “If you’re in a position where you’re contemplating an alternative path to family creation, you might be overwhelmed and possibly apprehensive when looking at the many choices you have before you. It is our mission to alleviate the pressures all parties are facing and to help make this experience positive and fulfilling for everyone involved.”
Here are five common misconceptions about the surrogacy process:
- The child is genetically-related to the surrogate. Although this can be true if the arrangement is considered to be a traditional surrogacy, with a gestational surrogacy arrangement, the embryos are created with either the intended mother’s eggs or an egg donor – never those of the surrogate.
- Building a family via surrogacy is only for the wealthy. Based on Family Source Consultants’ experience, many intended parents have an average income. Additionally, there are financing options available from lenders who specialize in reproductive arrangements, as well as cash discounts and payment plans.
- The surrogate may not give up the child. Surrogates have to already have their own children and completely understand that they are helping another family to have this child. Of course, the surrogate will care for the child and have an emotional bond, however, she is fully aware that the child is not her’s to keep. Surrogacy agencies should always work with attorneys who specialize in reproductive law and, with the correct legal procedures in place, intended parents are the legal parents of the baby. In addition, a surrogate (and her partner if applicable) must undergo a psychological evaluation prior to entering into a legal agreement with the intended parents.
- The surrogate needs the compensation or is poor. Many surrogates who are enrolled in Family Source Consultants’ surrogacy programs have a full-time career, are financially stable and often have a partner who has a secure, well-paid job, too. Family Source Consultants have actually worked with many surrogates who are considered to be the breadwinners of their marriage or partnership. A surrogate should never fully depend on the compensation that she receives in order to live a stable lifestyle. Financial problems or any indication that a surrogate candidate is motivated by money can be reason for disqualification.
- Intended parents who live in a less surrogate ‘friendly’ state cannot utilize surrogacy as a family building option. Family Source Consultants’ intended parent clients come from all 50 states and internationally. The important factor is that the surrogate must deliver in a state where her legal rights as a parent are protected. Some of the best states for surrogacy law include Illinois, Florida, California, Nevada, Arkansas and Connecticut and some of the less-friendly states include New York, Michigan, Washington and Nebraska.
About Family Source Consultants
Family Source Consultants is one of North America’s leading surrogacy agencies, with offices in Illinois (Hinsdale and River North in Chicago) and Florida (Cape Coral).
When matching and facilitating Gestational Surrogacy and Egg Donation arrangements, Family Source Consultants work with traditional, gay or lesbian couples and individuals of all races, religious and ethnic backgrounds. They provide personalized support throughout the entire process and work with the very best reproductive law attorneys and doctors.
What’s unique, is that 75% of its employees have been a surrogate/egg donor/intended parent, including Founders, Staci Swiderski who completed her family through surrogacy and has been an egg donor twice; and Zara Griswold, who built her family via surrogacy using the assistance of an Egg Donor.
Packing a bag of labor and birth supplies to bring to the hospital or birth center has become a modern-day ritual of birth preparation. Plan to have your bag packed and stored close to the front door of your home (or in the trunk of your car) several weeks prior to your due date.
Here are some ideas of what to pack in preparation for birthing day:
- Your birth plan! Pack several copies.
- A sign for your door indicating your desire to labor without medication (if this is part of your birth preferences).
- Hard candy or little lollipops for a quick boost of energy.
- Honey sticks: These sealed, clear plastic straws hold about a tablespoon of honey and are another excellent source of quick energy. You can often find them at farmer’s markets or health food stores.
- Clear liquids to drink: Herbal tea, sports drinks, apple juice, or white grape juice.
- Water bottles for you and your partner.
- Light snacks such as crackers (Curious about eating during labor? See past posts: Can I Eat During Labor? and Can I Eat During Labor?)
- Lip gloss or lip balm (many women find their lips getting dry during labor).
- Your own nightgown or large, long t-shirt to wear instead of a hospital gown. (Why wear your own gown in the hospital? Many women find this comforting, comfortable, and an excellent reminder of personal autonomy and individuality).
- Warm socks: Many women’s feet get cold during labor.
- Toiletry bag with toothpaste, deodorant, etc.
- Hair ties or elastic bands to hold long hair away from your face
- Back massager (or, simply, a tennis ball for someone to roll over your back).
- Your own favorite pillow.
- Rice sock or corn sock to heat in microwave for moist heat on your back or belly. (Interested in how to make a corn or rice sock?)
- Flexible straws and a cup to make getting a drink easier.
- Special picture or artwork to look at during labor (if you’ve created a birth plan poster bring it to hang on the wall of your room)
- If you are planning to use aromatherapy during labor, pack your special essential oils.
- Supplies for a birth altar for inspiration, encouragement, and support during labor. (I make birth art sculptures as well as birth blessing pouches that can be wonderful for this purpose.)
- A “touchstone” object to hold during labor—this could be a special smooth rock, a little stuffed animal, a piece of jewelry, or other meaningful small object that feels good in your hand.
- Special birth music on a birth playlist on your phone or MP3 player.
Birth Partner Supplies
- Snacks: Things like granola bars, fruit leathers, or other quick snacks that do not have a strong smell are ideal.
- List of people to call with the happy news.
- Toiletry bag with toothpaste, deodorant, etc.
- Change of clothes.
After the Birth Supplies
- Nursing nightgown (any gown that opens in the front for breastfeeding).
- Breast pads (disposable or washable cotton).
- Pads for post-birth bleeding (lochia).
- Books or other reading materials (either about breastfeeding, baby, or postpartum care, or a favorite hobby or interest).
- Clothes for baby to wear home.
- Comfortable clothes for you to wear home (loose cotton pants—even maternity pants—work better than jeans)
Supplies That Won’t Fit Into a Bag
- Birth ball (some hospitals have them available to use).
- Car seat for your newborn properly installed in the backseat of your car.
Best wishes for a beautiful birth!
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Do you want to take a journey into a deeper understanding of yourself? Do you wish to unlock insight and understanding? Do you want to reach out to other women in sisterhood and co-create a powerful circle experience?
This new online program is both a powerful, personal experience AND a training in facilitating transformative women’s circles. You will listen to your deep self, access your inner wisdom and prepare to step into circle as guardian and guide for other women who are hungering for depth, connection, restoration, and renewal in today’s busy world.
This intensive course is limited to 15 women, to allow for deep connection and dedicated attention.
August 29-October 12, 2015
Your online experience includes…
- Asix week immersive journey over the course of the spiral path
- Knowing Self (Maiden Unit)
- Might of Creation (Mother Unit)
- Gathering the Women (Crone Unit)
- Each unit includes a ceremony, meditations, discussion questions, journaling exercises, projects, and prompts designed to take you deep into the Red Tent process.
- Live interaction, support, feedback, and conversation via a private Facebook group
With your registration, you will also receive an incredible resource package valued at more than $100 including:
- 58 page manual: Restoring Women to Ceremony, The Red Tent Resource Kit, written exclusively for our Red Tent Kit and Initiation Program. In this collection of essays and ritual resources, you will find a complete Red Tent “recipe,” circle leadership basics, moontime musings, and readings, quotes, and poems to help you facilitate a rich, inviting, welcoming, creative space for the women of your community.
- Womanrunes Book and Card set: used throughout the program for personal guidance and self-development. And, perfect for ongoing use in an inspiration and renewal corner at your Red Tent Circle.
- Red Tent Goddess Sculpture: symbolic of self-care and of both receiving and giving.
- Carnelian Pendulum
- Moontime pendant with silver-tone, solid crescent moon charm
- Red altar cloth
- Red organza bag to store your resources
- Altar Candle
- Head wreath kit and tutorial
- Special Red Tent Circle Leader initiation gift (to be opened only upon program completion!)
- Red silken cord
- Moon or spiral goddess pendant
After your process is complete you will also receive:
- Certificate of Completion
- Ritual Recipe Kit e-book
- Circle-ready digital files of the rich meditations and insightful readings used in the program
- Ongoing support and guidance through continued participation in our private Facebook group
For inspiration on your own path, feel free to listen our local Red Tent Circle singing the beautiful chant Dance in a Circle of Women during our May Circle.
In 2008, a small postcard at the local Unitarian Universalist church caught my eye. It was for a Cakes for the Queen of Heaven facilitator training at Eliot Chapel in St. Louis. I registered for the training and went, driving alone into an unknown neighborhood. There, I circled in ceremony and sisterhood with women I’d never met, exploring an area that was new for me, and yet that felt so right and so familiar. I’d left my two young sons home for the day with my husband and it was the first time in what felt like a long time that I’d been on my own, as a woman and not someone’s mother. At the end of the day, each of us draped in beautiful fabric and sitting in a circle around a lovely altar covered with goddess art and symbols of personal empowerment, I looked around at the circle of women and I knew: THIS is what else there is for me.
My work following the birth of my first son came to center heavily around pregnancy, birthing, and breastfeeding, the stage of life in which I was currently immersed. I’d wondered several times what I would do when those issues no longer formed the core of my interest and personal experience. How could I ever stop working with pregnant and birthing women? How could I stop experiencing the vibrance and power of pregnancy and birth? Would I become irrelevant in this field as my own childbearing years passed me by? Looking around the room at Eliot at this circle of women, only two of whom were also of childbearing age, I knew: my future purpose would be to hold circles like this one. I found something in Cakes that I needed, the recognition that I wanted to celebrate and honor the totality of the female life cycle, not just pregnancy. As a girl, I loved the mother blessing ceremonies my mom and her friends held to honor each other during pregnancy. They hosted a coming of age blessingway for all of their early-teen daughters as well and I helped to plan a subsequent maiden ceremony for my younger sister several years later. Locally, we carried that tradition forward into the current generation of young mothers, holding mother blessings for each other and enjoying the time to celebrate and share authentically and deeply. After my training, I facilitated a series of Cakes classes locally, attended a women’s retreat at Eliot Chapel, and began to facilitate quarterly women’s retreats for my friends. One of my stated purposes was to honor and celebrate one another without anyone needing to be pregnant. Somehow, even though our own local mother blessing traditions were beautiful, we had accepted that the only time we had ceremonies with one another was when someone was pregnant. I wanted to change that!
This year, my offerings has expanded from the women’s spirituality retreats and classes I held in my own home, to a Red Tent Circle held at WomanSpace in my nearby town. Our local Red Tent Circle definitely doesn’t focus exclusively on menstruation or on currently menstruating women (all phases of a woman’s life cycle and her many diverse experiences and feelings are “held” in that circle)–in fact menstruation sometimes barely comes up as a topic—however, one of the core purposes of our circling together is in celebration. We gather together each month to celebrate being women in this time and in this place, together. As I noted, I started out my work with women focused on birth, breastfeeding, and postpartum. While those are formative and central and important life experiences for many women, it became very important to me to broaden my scope to include the totality of women’s lives, not just pregnant women. I want to honor and celebrate our whole lives, not just pregnancy and birth. Having a mother blessing ceremony during pregnancy is beautiful and important and special, but I feel like that care, attention, value, and ceremony can be brought into the rest of our non-pregnant lives through gathering together in a Red Tent Circle. This is one reason why I developed an online Red Tent Initiation Program. This program is designed to be both a powerful, personal experience AND a training in facilitating transformative women’s circles. These circles bring the sense of celebration and power we may have experienced during our pregnancies and from our Mother Blessing ceremonies more fully into our lives as the honor the fullness and completeness of women-in-themselves, not just of value while pregnant.
“I long to speak out the intense inspiration that comes to me from the lives of strong women.” –Ruth Benedict
“I believe that these circles of women around us weave invisible nets of love that carry us when we’re weak and sing with us when we’re strong.” –SARK, Succulent Wild Woman
I am inspired by the everyday women surrounding me in this world. Brave, strong, vibrant, wild, intelligent, complicated women. Women who are also sometimes frightened, depressed, discouraged, hurt, angry, petty, or jealous. Real, multifaceted, dynamic women. Women who keep putting one foot in the front of the other and continue picking themselves back up again when the need arises.
I feel like my interest in social justice, women’s rights, and human services are intimately entwined with my spiritual life. Indeed, I almost cannot separate the two. I believe it is possible for us to have a truly loving world—a world in which the inherent dignity and worth of girls and women is not in question–and there is much good work that needs to be done in order for this world to be a reality.
This work I am now doing, both in person and online, represents an integration of something I feel with my mind, heart, and spirit. My whole being. At that Cakes training years ago, I glimpsed the multifaceted totality of women’s lives and I longed to reach out and serve the whole woman. My range of passion has extended from pregnancy and birth to include the full woman’s life cycle, rather than focusing exclusively on the maternal aspect of the wheel of life as I did for ten years. I create rituals that nourish, plan ceremonies that honor, facilitate workshops that uncover, write articles that inform, and teach classes that inspire the women in my personal life, my community, and the world. This is what else there was for me.
So, after you’ve experienced a sacred pregnancy filled with ceremony and ritual and celebration, what else is there for you? After you’ve worked for years with pregnant and birthing women to honor and celebrate them in their tenderness and strength, how might you branch out to hold space for all of women’s experiences and the many transitions of their life cycle? Like me, you might find your answer in holding a monthly women’s circle.
Learn more about our Red Tent Initiation Program, this in-depth online class is designed to be both a powerful, personal experience AND a training in facilitating transformative women’s circles.
My first reading of the book Moon Time in 2012 had a profound impact on my personal understanding of the natural ebb and flow of my energy in connection to my body’s cyclical nature. The author, Lucy Pearce, explains it so well…
Each month our bodies go through a series of changes, many of
which we may be unconscious of. These include: shifts in levels of
hormones, vitamins and minerals, vaginal temperature and secretions,
the structure of the womb lining and cervix, body weight, water
retention, heart rate, breast size and texture, attention span, pain
threshold . . .
The changes are biological. Measurable. They are most definitely
not ‘all in your head’ as many would have us believe. This is why it is
so crucial to honour these changes by adapting our lives to them as
much as possible.
We cannot just will these changes not to happen as they are an
integral part of our fertility.
Moon Time is written in a friendly, conversational tone and is a quick read with a lot of insight into the texture and tone of our relationships with menstruation.
The book contains information about charting cycles and about our relationship to our bodies and our fertility. I especially enjoyed the excellent section on minimizing PMS through self-care measures and how to plan time to nurture and nourish yourself during your monthly moon time. I also appreciate the section on motherhood and menstruation:
“What strikes me reading through a lot of the material on menstruation is that is seems oddly detached from the fruits of the menstrual cycle: children.”
Moon Time also includes planning information for Red Tents and Moon Lodges and for menarche rituals as well as for personal ceremonies and self-care rituals at home. It ends with an absolutely phenomenal list of resources—suggested reading and websites.
Towards the beginning of the book Lucy observes, “We live in a culture which demands that we are ‘turned on’ all the time. Always bright and happy. Always available for intercourse–both sexual and otherwise with people. Psychologist Peter Suedfeld observes that we are all ‘chronically stimulated, socially and physically and we are probably operating at a stimulation level higher than that for which our species evolved.’ It is up to us to value rest and fallow time. We must demand it for ourselves to ensure our health.” She also comments on something I’ve observed in my own life and have previously discussed with my friends, in that the frustration and anger and discontent we may feel pre-menstrually or during menstruation is actually our body’s way of expressing things we have been feeling for a long time, but trying to stifle (rather than hormonal “irrationality): “There is no shame in tears. There is a need for anger. Blood will flow. Speak your truth. Follow your intuition. Nurture your body. But above all … Let yourself rest.”
One of the things that Moon Time helped clarify for me is that my moontime is worthy of careful attention to my physical and emotional well-being, just as careful attention is important during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. I’ve been a devoted proponent for years of good care of yourself during these phases of life, but had not applied the same rationale or expectation for myself during moontime. This monthly experience of being female is an experience worth respecting and is a sacred opportunity to treat my body and my emotions with loving care and self-renewal. I changed the way I treat myself after reading this book! Sound like too much to expect from your life, schedule, and family? Moon Time includes a great reminder with regard to creating retreat space, taking time out for self-care, and creating ritual each month: “Do what you can with what you have, where you are.” You don’t have create something extensive or elaborate or wait for the “perfect time,” but you can still do something with what you have and where you are. (This is a good reminder for many things in life, actually.)
I highly recommend Moon Time as an empowering resource for cycling women! It would also be a great resource for girls who are approaching menarche or for mothers seeking ways to honor their daughters’ entrance into the cycles of a woman’s life. I always have a copy on the resource table at our local Red Tent Circle (related note: I’ve got an online Red Tent Initiation Program beginning next month!)
Disclosure: I received a complimentary e-copy of this book.
- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Womancraft Publishing; 2 edition (April 22, 2015)
- ISBN-13: 978-1910559062
Reviewed by Molly Remer, Talk Birth