The Moon Cup - Celebrating Our Sacred Ritual

November 1, 2019

The Moon Cup - Celebrating Our Sacred Ritual Illustrations by Audrey Helen Weber

Hello Ladies! I am so excited to present this offering of moon wisdom and menstrual cups. Our fertility cycle is so magnificent, so sacred. It has the power to usher in new life and simultaneously allows us to shed and renew. As the divine feminine comes back into balance across the Earth, we have such a wonderful opportunity to embrace all the parts of our womanhood. With that, we've collected the writings of three wise women who share the ways they celebrate and honor their moon. We're also offering menstrual cups at no cost whatsoever - we want to give access to anyone who is interested! Whether or not you choose to use a moon cup, my hope is that you will spend some time with the writings, taking with you the parts that resonate and leaving the rest behind. Just the act of coming into inquiry around the beauty of our cycles is so powerful!

May we all heal together and be whole. May we find our way back to love, over and over again.
With love,
Christy

We are so grateful to be surrounded by a community of women who are knowledgeable about the rhythms of the moon, and how those rhythms relate to our own bodies. Hear their stories, and learn how to start on your own journey of self-love, self-care, and ceremony.
1.

Marysia Miernowska

Menstruating In Harmony With The Cycles Of Nature

Us humans are animal beings and part of the living Earth. Our biology is interwoven with ecosystems that we cultivate and keep wild, that give us food, shelter, air, water and everything we need to survive. Our na- ture is cyclical, like all of nature -- we are born, we grow, we transform, we die. We know inspiration, motivation and creation like the season of spring and we know phases of rest and dormancy are also natural, like the Earth that lays fallow in the fall and winter months.

Us women bodied humans have a particular connection to the cycles of Nature through our menstrual cycle. Our wombs are like our inner ocean -- a body of water full of mystery and potential for life -- and like the ocean, our blood ebbs and flows like the tides influenced by the waning and waxing moon. The men- strual cycle is as long as the moon cycle and many women bleed with the moon, rather than with the solar calendar keeping a fixed number of days. Some women bleed on the full or new moon, others bleed some- where in between. Our cycles change and respond to our emotions, stressors, herbs and foods, and the larg- er phases of our lives. Learning how to care for ourselves and our cyclical nature is a powerful rite and great blessing that promotes greater connection to self, to the Earth, to the great mysteries of life and renewal.

This feature is a passion project and an offering. Three women share their journeys of reclaiming their menstrual cycle, rituals for connection, their ancestral traditions as well as their own learning and personal experience. Christy Dawn offers a gift of a menstrual cup -- an opportunity to have a lighter footprint on the Earth by eliminating the waste of disposable tampons and pads that pollute our planet and landfills, and maybe even giving your blood back to the Earth.

As an educator, herbalist, women’s health advocate, nature activist and author, I offer you a framework to understand the cycles you journey through as a bleeding wombyn, and what choices are available to you. Some say the womb is like a woman’s second heart -- both can respond to emotion, intuition, and even hold memory outside of the brain. As you read the diverse information and traditions from various voices, I invite you to listen from your womb and feel what she resonates with as you deepen your relationship with your cycle.

“Our wombs are like our inner ocean -- a body of water full of mystery and potential for life -- and like the ocean, our blood ebbs and flows like the tides influenced by the waning and waxing moon.”

How and why I use my moon cup:

I love that I can hygienically use my moon cup until I stop bleeding and that by doing so, I prevent thousands of tampons or pads to pollute landfills.

I love that my moon cup does not contain any bleach or harsh chemicals, as do many tampons and pads. It feels important to honor my body by being intentional with what I put into myself.

When I bleed, I bleed into my moon cup and empty it out when I go to the bathroom. When I am at home, I will pour my blood into a jar with water and feed this diluted moon blood to my house plants.

House plants, the garden, and soil thrive and love the minerals and nourishment that is contained in our blood.

Many gardeners purchase bone meal or other additives to increase the vitality of their soil. Many of even the organic soil amendments are not environmentally or sustainably sourced. Your moon blood is free, sustain- able, sacred, and maybe even needed.

I have heard legends that say that men will not stop spilling their blood in wars until the women begin giving their moon blood back to the Earth. Old myths say the Earth needs blood. I do not know if this is true, but perhaps it is worth a try.

Pouring my beautiful red blood water into the soil is an act of beauty, revolution and radical love. It gives me immense joy and is a spiritual experience.

I have roses in my garden that bloom when I am sad and sing to me and their blossoms are fed by my blood and prayers and I give gratitude for the relationships I have with non human living beings that love me and that I love.

When I am done bleeding, I boil the moon cup in water and sterilize it, tucking it away for the next month.

I try to rest, slow down and spend more time with myself when I am bleeding. I remember that this week in the month is like the season of winter. I do not push myself to be productive, extroverted or brilliant - this would be not only exhausting but unnatural. I allow myself to soften and unwind, knowing that by resting, I will be renewed and will effortlessly blossom when my spring returns.

Marysia Miernowska is a medicine woman, teacher, author, gardener, green witch and herbalist root- ed in the Wise Woman Tradition of Healing. She teaches at the California branch of The Gaia School of Healing and Earth Education, where she holds ceremony and teaches herbal medicine, plant shamanism, regenerative farming practices, and Earth magick. A multilingual and multicultural devotee of Mother Earth, Marysia has grown up internationally and traveled extensively, learning different ways of tending to the Earth and sharing regenerative, grass roots Earth medicine. She draws on her background as a com- munity organizer and activist; she keeps her feet rooted by designing and tending to medicinal and sacred gardens using permaculture and biodynamic practices. Marysia creates herbal medicine for her Wild Love Apothecary in Topanga, CA, runs a yearly apprenticeship program, consults, formulates for natural healing companies, curates educational events, writes, speaks and teaches internationally. You can follow Marysia on instagram @Marysia_Miernowska, learn about the Sacred Plant Medicine Apprenticeship and sign up for her newsletter by visiting The Gaia School of Healing & Earth Education website: www.thegaiaschoolofhealingcalifornia.com

Author Marysia Miernowska is the Director of one of California’s most renowned herbal schools and named one of the “top 15 witches on Instagram” (@marysia_miernowska) by Huffington Post.

2.

Lydia Jarjoura

How Moon Rituals Can Bring You Home

Each night, I look outside my window to see the Moon’s light, reflecting off the glass. I feel comforted. The Moon has become my anchor; helping me find my way back home.

It wasn’t always this way.

Growing up, I went to church like a good girl. I got good grades and always had a steady job. Through the motions I went, day after day. But I felt lost...

As lost as I’d felt when my first blood came, at age 14. I felt confused and like something was on the tip of my tongue; it felt like something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I didn’t know how to voice the way that I felt about seeing that blood.

My mother, like her mother, didn’t celebrate the first blood. There was no initiation. Barely any conversation. It simply just… was. But it didn’t FEEL simple to me, at the time.

Seeing the red stain for the first time felt complex- it felt really deep. But because there was no language in my house for that complexity, the feeling stayed silenced.

Until I was 25.

One evening, I noticed the Moon overhead, full and bright. I’d been digging crystals in the muddied ground of Arkansas, since I was a little girl. This night, the Full Moon beckoned me to bathe them in her light. So I did. And just like what happened when I was 14- I felt a shift inside of me.

It felt like coming home.

I had found the anchor that had been trailing behind me all this time. No one else could see it; because it was below the surface. I’d been waiting for someone outside of me to place the anchor line in my hands but I had been my own savior the whole time.

The anchor and the tether?

Ritual. Moon rituals.

“When I found structure in the Moon, I began to feel safe. Each time I would look up at that big bodied sphere, I felt comforted knowing that somewhere else in the world, another woman had done the same.”

These are the ties that bind us to the seasonal system that all of our ancestors used, in some form or another.

When I found structure in the Moon, I began to feel safe. Each time I would look up at that big bodied sphere, I felt comforted knowing that somewhere else in the world, another woman had done the same. Perhaps my 5th great-grandmother on my Mother’s side, a Chocktaw woman, had sat in a Moon lodge each month when only a sliver of light was visible.

Or perhaps my great-great-grandmother from my father’s country of Lebanon sat in a Red Tent with her sisters while they bled.

I used to think that I had to know everything about my ancestors in order to know everything about myself. It was why I hesitated starting a ritual practice- I thought there was a “right or wrong” way to do it. I see now that our souls and our ancestors just simply want us to start somewhere.

When I connect to the moon each month, it feels like I’m finding more pieces of the puzzle.

When I found my purpose, in 2014, of connecting women to these rites of passage, I saw how timid they were to begin practicing ritual, because they didn’t know all of the struggles of their grandmother or her mother.

You don’t have to know your entire womb-story to begin to change your own story. You just have to start somewhere.

For me, it started with the Moon.

I don’t always know which ritual my body will ask of me, each time that I bleed. Sometimes the ritual is as simple as honoring my blood by taking a few breaths, acknowledging that she has arrived. Other months, it’s more involved- like finding a private place in nature to release my blood to the earth. Sometimes it is a day of rest and simple pleasures.

“The womb space is actually an energetic portal, meaning even ifyou don’t have a physical womb, you still have this nonphysical vessel within your own being.”

No matter what- it is an honor to witness my monthly Moon in all her glory. No matter what, I will always remember the magic and the power that comes with pain and the pleasure that comes with the release.

If you’ve never honored your moon-time in this way, you are invited into this initiation. You are invited to honor your body as quietly or as loudly as you need. And if you are afraid- do not be. You are not alone.

Those who are afraid, are the ones who are ready to take the leap.

You are the ones who are ready to grab the rope and lower your anchor down.

You are the ones who are ready to rest in the waters of Moon magic and womb wisdom.

We are right beside you, our anchors down, solid and stable.

And so it is.

Lydia Jarjoura is an empowerment coach for women who are tired of staying small. Through her online group programs and the Lunar Nourishment Mystery School, she guides women to reconnecting to the most primal and ancient parts of themselves. Lydia's work focuses on health, self, and wealth for women who want a life that feels energized, empowered, and abundant! She's been facilitating women's New Moon Ceremonies since 2014 and loves seeing the growth that comes from rituals + connection. You can take her free cycle mini-course by visiting her website lunarnourishment.com and follow her on IG to see her daily adventures @lydiajarjoura

3.

Mariah Gannessa

The Power of Menstruation: Returning to the Sacred

As women, we carry within us a portal of infinite cosmic wisdom encoded in the genetic blueprint of our own wombs. The womb space is actually an energetic portal, meaning even if you don’t have a physical womb, you still have this nonphysical vessel within your own being. Our wombs offer us a direct channel to Source, and can act like a radio to Creator, sending our prayers and receiving guidance, power, strength, and blessings. Our womb spaces represent the power to create life, and it is the place from which all of our dreams, ideas, and visions are birthed. Each month when we bleed, this portal opens and we are invited into the Mother Womb of Cosmic Consciousness.

The idea that our “time of the month” could be turned into a ceremony of deep communion with Spirit may sound foreign to you. Our menstruation is a beacon of tremendous power, sacredness and mystery. In traditional cultures where living was more communal and close-knit, women’s cycles would sync and each month the women would gather to bleed together and to celebrate, heal, and pray for themselves and their community. However, in our culture today, menstruation has become a taboo subject, and many of these ancient truths have been forgotten. For most western women, their menstruation is something to suffer through or endure and is seen as a burden. Menstruation is often misunderstood in our culture because we are very masculine based, driven by the principles of work and success. So the slowing down, the getting quiet, the rest that takes place during our menstruation is a time that doesn’t receive true validation in our society. The need for rest is often seen as weakness in our culture. But as women, we are made in the image of the moon, the Great Mother, in all her beauty and all her strength. And just like the moon, we have our cycles, our ebbs and flows, our own waxing and waning. We naturally have times of greater output and times where we need to be more receptive and internal. The more we attune and align with these natural frequencies, the more we are able to live in greater balance and harmony. If we learn to love our cycles and honor that we have certain times for peak activity and certain times designed for introspective reflection, healing, and repair, then we are able to capitalize on our energy as well as show up more fully for ourselves and for our loved ones.

“In reflection, we are shown the moments when we didn’t practice self love, through our actions or decisions. This could also include gossip, meanness, or bad thoughts about others, as this is a reflection of our relationship with ourself.”

There is a ritual that comes from the Muisca Indigenous tribe of Colombia that offers an incredible starting point of how a woman can begin to tap into her own power through her menstruation. This practice has radically transformed my life and the lives of countless sisters who walk this path with me, and it is an honor to share it with you here.

The moon practice is a five day ritual that you can incorporate during your menstruation every month. It includes giving our blood to the Earth each day and offering specific prayers. For menopausal women, you can do this ritual around the new moon and instead of blood, give offerings of sacred herbs (tobacco, cedar, or sage) or use a cup of red wine to symbolize the sacred fluids. What we’ve seen is that no matter what stage of life we’re in, women need this monthly rest and time to go inwards and reflect.

Choose a plant in your garden and make it your moon plant. It can be a flower, a tree, or a bush. It will become a pillar for you as you activate your womb wisdom. Feel free to make it a moon altar, and add to it crystals, photos, or candles. It is good to have just one plant we give our blood to regularly because the moon blood is full of so much potency, the more concentrated we keep our energy, the better. When choosing your plant, make sure it is not a medicine plant (tobacco or cactus, for example) and does not have thorns.

While ideally, we are able to give ourselves these five days of complete rest and rejuvenation, often our responsibilities prevent us from taking a complete break. So we take whatever we can, ten minutes, an hour, either in the morning or at night, each day of our moon, to practice our ritual and tap into the portal. This can be done sitting next to your moon plant, right before you give your blood to her. *Please note in order to practice this ritual with your blood, you will either need to use a moon cup or cotton reusable pads that can be soaked.

The first day is dedicated to ourselves. We cleanse, purify, and ask for healing for any ways in which we have gone against ourselves in the last month. In reflection, we are shown the moments when we didn’t practice self love, through our actions or decisions. This could also include gossip, meanness, or bad thoughts about others, as this is a reflection of our relationship with ourselves. All of this can be cleansed on the first day, offering an opportunity for forgiveness and reconciliation.

On the second day, we bleed for the masculine. We devote this day to our partners, brothers, fathers; for our men do not have this sacred ceremony. We cleanse and purify on their behalf on this day, by putting this intention into our awareness and making our offering with all of our love and prayers for sweetness and good relations with our men.

The third day is devoted to our Life Work, Service, and Purpose. This is a day where prayers can be made for clarity and guidance for our career and work. Through our prayers, we can remove blockages or problems we are having with our work and pray forth into manifesting our visions and goals.

“This ritual can serve as a starting point, a guideline for you to begin this remembering process of coming home to your own true power as a woman. Take it and make it your own.”

The fourth day is devoted to Our Ancestors, Lineage Holders, Teachers & Guides. Those who walked before us who paved the way for us to be here today. We offer our blood for our lineage and ancestry and ask for guidance and counsel from our ancestors and nonliving wisdom keepers.

Most women typically do not bleed on the fifth day. This is a day for intention setting for the upcoming cycle. Take time to journal, vision, and offer prayers in gratitude for the last month’s cycle and for what you want to bring forth in the upcoming one.

This ritual can serve as a starting point, a guideline for you to begin this remembering process of coming home to your own true power as a woman. Take it and make it your own. Tailor it to your specific cycle. Let your intuition guide you. Ask to be shown how to activate your intuition and you will be as you create this practice in your life. This moon ceremony will become a saving grace for you, and once you begin it, you will wonder how you lived so many years without it. As you practice this ritual, please remember that just like any deep initiation, womb awakening is a process, and as we awaken to our own feminine potential, things arise. It’s important to practice self love, gentleness, and ease as you begin this journey.

Imagine the shift in your life that could happen if instead of viewing your menstruation as a burden, you chose to celebrate, hibernate, and savor this sweet time of rest and rejuvenation. Now imagine the shift in the world if all women did this. It would be radical and I believe it could be the very medicine that the world needs. There is an ancient Hopi prophecy that states that when all women return their blood back to the Earth, the world will know peace again. The truth is that the healing of our wombs and the reclaiming of our sacredness is not just a service to Ourselves, it is an offering to the Earth Mother and carries a deep prayer for the healing of our planet and all of humanity.

Mariah is a practitioner and student in one of the world’s oldest healing traditions, the Ingano plant medicine culture of Putumayo, Colombia. She is a medicine woman, musician, and a weaver. Every day, she gives thanks for the gift of womanhood. It is her deepest prayer that all women remember the sacred gift we have been given.

The Energy of Each Four Phases of
The Menstrual Cycle

The Energy of Each Four Phases of The Menstrual Cycle

Your cycle flows in rhythm with the moon. By watching the moon, sleeping in a dark room without artificial lights, and honoring the pace of each phase of your cycle, you are likely to begin bleeding on the new moon or full moon if you are not already.

The energy of the new moon corresponds to your moon time, or menstrual cycle. Regardless of what phase the moon is in, your bleeding time is “your new moon,” which echoes the greater seasonal cycle of Winter. If you are not bleeding, you may align with these rhythms by following the phase of the moon, thus tending to yourself in a regenerative way.

Dark Moon

Bleeding Time - Week 1 - Your winter

Lowest Energy Time to rest, take the day off or slow down, take alone time.

Self Care More sleep, epsom salt bath, staying warm and cozy.

Socially Inward, good time for reflection, meditation, journaling.

Foods & Herbs Broths, soups, nourishing, warming. Teas of ginger, cramp bark. No iced drinks

Waxing Moon

The Follicular Phase - Week 2 - Your spring

Renewal In Energy Improving mood, mental clarity and motivation.

Self Care More exercise, fun movement, outdoor fun, making goals and visioning, a good time to focus on self.

Socially More outgoing, wanting to connect with peers and friends.

Foods & Herbs Replenishing blood with nourishing herbs like nettles and red clover, greens, fresh healthy foods.

Full Moon

The Ovulatory Phase - Week 3 - Your summer

Energy Energy peaks as estrogen and testosterone climax, you feel your best, most vibrant, confident and attractive. Peak of sex drive -- be mindful as this is your window of fertility!

Self Care Have fun in your body, enjoy your sensuality and movement.

Socially A great time for networking, public speaking, dating, being outgoing and taking risks.

Foods & Herbs Greens, dark chocolate, protein. Lemon balm, holy basil, schizandra for teas.

Waning Moon

The Luteal Phase - Week 4 - Your fall

Energy Energy begins to deline, greater emotional sensitivity, and need for rest and withdrawl. PMS is a symptom when we are expected to stay in the “full moon phase,” while our biology and soul deeply crave an inward drawing back of energy.

Self Care Journal, tend to your emotions, mediate, rest more, massage, honor your needs and boundaries, take things off your to do list and plan for rest for your bleeding time.

Socially A good time to take things off your calendar and make sure you are not overextending yourself.

Foods & Herbs Warming, healthy, comforting foods, protein. Angelica root for tea to help prepare for menstruation.

Join us in celebrating this sacred cycle of our bodies. We are offering moon cups, free of charge, to anyone who is curious about this journey.
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