Did you catch the title of this post, that it’s intended really for ladies only? Okay, maybe also for guys who care about their women so much that they can handle some decidedly feminine-centered material. But anyway. You have been warned…xoxo
Ladies, friends and loved ones, I have discovered a school of thought that I wish I had discovered in my twenties, all about feminine health and well being, centered around our moon cycle. It’s not new exactly, in fact it’s quite ancient and completely natural; but as with so many things in life, our modern constructs have pulled us away from ancient and natural truths. How nice to take that step back and reconsider things a bit.
Almost exactly two months ago I stumbled on a new-to me-author, on a day that I had woken up surprised to feel less than great. The synchronicity of how I discovered her and the fact that it happened on that exact morning feeling the way I did, after having a certain dream about a lion, while the moon was crossing Leo, well, obviously there’s a very long version of this story. Today we will cut to the chase.
Introducing Lisa Lister, author of Code Red and much more.
Long story short, someone I respect and admire posted on Instagram about charting her own menstrual cycle and referred to Lisa Lister. I explored the author’s online posts and became more and more enthralled. She writes enthusiastically (irreverently too, haha, check her IG) about the multitude of precise and far-reaching fluctuations women experience from day to day during our cycles. And by cycle I do not just mean “The Curse.” She illustrates beautifully how those few days are just a part of the natural, full-spectrum, month-long healthy cycle, and how (this is my favorite part) a woman’s moon cycle can be viewed in four distinct seasons. Four unique ways to live, month after month. That’s a lot more interesting than just “PMS” hell followed closely by “Shark Week,” implying that the rest of the time is the only time you’re normal. Agree?
Your menstrual cycle is way more than just a biological process; it’s a cycle of ever-changing spiritual, emotional, creative energy, a road map that leads right back to the very essence of you.
Oh man. Ok you might have been reading here when I was studying the moon and its effects on farming and gardening? How ancient wisdom holds various chores and tasks as more profitable on certain days of the month, or at certain times of the year? I have been long fascinated by the powers of the waning moon compared to waxing, traditional energy grabs at the new moon, letting go of regrets at the full moon, etcetera. I already believe in this stuff. So then you see how I was so easily hooked by this train of thought about our own health.
Who is still here? Haha
So. Intrigued by her alignment with the phases of the moon and inspired by her very detailed suggestions to chart lots more than just the worst days of each month, I immediately downloaded the electronic version of her book, Code Red. I consumed it greedily and printed the circular chart she provides to begin my own experiment.
Some context: I am 43 years old and plenty healthy. I had two wonderfully pleasant pregnancies in my twenties and have had little to no disruption of life since then, physically. I feel pretty in touch with my own thoughts and feelings, and I had always assumed I was knowledgeable enough about feminine health. I mean I took sex-ed in middle school, right? And later read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting?” LOL.
But this book revealed nuances I had just not considered. Lots of subtle but powerful truths that I have been struggling with since my twenties, stuff that as I read fired up light bulb moments and washed me with relief over and over again. Which is why I wish I had discovered this school of thought earlier. It’s more than just mildly comforting to know certain things are normal; it’s vital to realize you have untapped potential and actual insight available to you about your own life. It’s liberating and exciting to think of using your energy from day to day in more profitable ways, resting when needed, and behaving in sync with nature.
That right there might be my favorite theme or take away from this book: The notion that a woman’s cycle is far more (so much more) than just 4-8 days of pain and inconvenience, at best. That a woman’s cycle is, actually, a powerful and beautifully orchestrated mirror to Nature herself. Women hold unique sources of life, love, creativity and regeneration that we often neglect in favor of competing to be more masculine and independent.
Do not get me started on that.
Feminine energy is fluid, it’s not consistent.
This book offers a vivid, seductive invitation to walk away from modern (masculine) ideas about what it means to be “on your period” and instead reconnect with nature.
This is the way of the feminine and when we work with her and not against her, we actually become more productive while nourishing ourselves in the process.
Friends, even if you you choose not to read this book, here are some things I hope you will consider:
- Begin charting you month with greater precision and insight. Use the circular pie chart and observe how your cycle intersects with the moon’s cycle. I have now deleted the phone app I had been using for years. It does not hold a candle to the insight available through circular charting.
- Know that while you will have lots of wonderful things in common with all women throughout history, your cycle is unique. Small differences do not necessarily mean you have something wrong. (Mine, for example, is only 24 days long, which used to bother me for some reason.)
- On your chart, divide your cycle into four seasons and seek to understand the swells of energies between them. Know that your mind, body, and spirit are all designed to wax and wane just like the moon, and every day has a beautiful purpose. What society calls “mood swings” is too generalized. Get in touch for real. (And by the way men have this to a degree, too, so chill baby-babies, chill.)
- Allow yourself to embrace all kinds of cravings, way beyond chocolate but yes including chocolate, haha. You may notice days every month that you crave meat, raw nuts, chocolate, or later fruit, extra water, or very little at all. Some days you may crave lots of activity, other days introspection and reading. Do you have days when you can’t wait to throw a huge party, but other days, inexplicably, you can barely hold a conversation? Very natural. Resisting nature is futile, and over time it can cause some serious health problems. Learn to reconnect with yourself and to live more fluidly, even if it means rejecting modern constructs and ignoring some cultural nonsense.
- Take a deep breath and be really happy that you’re a woman. (I could talk for hours about this and know many women who hate being women, which I do not understand, except that our culture has made it so weird to embrace true femininity.) If you are healthy, be especially grateful for that. If you have some health obstacles, know that you have lots of power to heal yourself.
I have been secretly pushing this book and its charting advice onto some girlfriends, anyone who will listen, who I think might be receptive to these ideas. Why secretly? Why do they seem so radical? Mostly because the author’s vernacular has kind of a pagan flavor. She writes freely about tarot cards (definitely not my thing, ask my husband how I cope with New Orleans) and refers heavily to the divine feminine (I know this contradicts traditional Christian thinking). But it’s all just semantics around a worthwhile topic.
I strongly urge all of my beloved women, at any age, to explore this. Try this approach on for size and see if it fits for you. She offers an ocean of nourishing thought and lots of research into ancient cultures to demonstrate how practices have changed over time. So interesting! In the book, each of the four “seasons” is celebrated for its super powers and unique opportunities. And each of those chapters comes stocked with special encouragements on how to make the most of that time. Ideas of how to work with nature, not against Her. I just love that!
We ignore our deepest needs as women because we no longer trust that we know ourselves better than anyone else.
I read the book cover to cover in those first couple of days, and I began my own charting experiment immediately. Since then I have been re-reading each little section as my own cycles ebb and flow, and it’s been so helpful. I’m already a pretty heavy journal keeper, but you might not believe how much understanding this has provided me. Moods and energy, tolerance for dishonesty or falseness, overall friendships and deeper relationships, sex and domestic stuff, ambitions, even my running! It’s been eye opening to say the least, and having the visual circular representation of each month is just plain fascinating.
One more thought to share: Not everything in this book is bent toward the mystical. She includes plenty of science and talk about hormones, too, but in really precise explanations. She zeroes in, for example, on what is happening on day 3 or day 22, on the relationship between testosterone and estrogen, all of it. So amazing. I love understanding the body better!
Please share your thoughts! Have you read this book yet, or have you ever seen her online posts? What do you think of viewing your own cycle like phases of the moon, does it make sense to you? Does it alleviate some of the pressure or does it reveal some things that had been mysterious?
I hope that some of you do explore this school of thought and get back with me. I hope it is helpful to you, because it certainly has been to me. As always, the more closely we can live with nature, the better. And the healthier and happier we are as women, the better off our families and communities will be.
Ok. Gotta go now, thank you so much for checking in!