Moonblood Rituals/Keeping Track

Moonblood Rituals/Keeping Track
Moonspell Study Circle, Cycle 1
By Shekhinah Mountainwater
3/2/05

"In the ancient world, if you wanted to know what time it was, you asked a
menstruating woman…"

"....'Cause the one who drinks my magical Brew
Will know the past and the future and the present too."

"Well, they'll know how to get along with the trees
Confabulatin' with the birds and the bees
They'll know a lot of things that the women knew
'Cause the women always had Cerridwen's Brew!"
-From "Cerridwen's Brew" by Shekhinah

The first calendars and clocks were women's menstrual cycles. Back in the
days before electricity, moonblood was the most periodic and reliable rhythm in
our lives. We measured time, by its flow and planned according to the cycles
of birth, life and death that we knew were coursing through us. In
paleolithic digs, archaeologists have found bones carved with series of
crescents;
these were the eariliest women's calendars! Because moonlight was our primary
source of light at night, we were all in synch with Her and waxed fertile
together at the full moon and bled together at the dark. Our wise and awesome
wombs
produced the magical blood each cycle, providing a time of cleansing, psychic
attunement, and even fertilizer for our gardens. We openly celebrated this in
our communities, and the woman whole-unto-herself was a common everyday
person.

As Judy Grahn explains in her article "From Sacred Blood to the Curse and
Beyond" (published in "The Politics of Women's Spirituality", Charlene Spretnak,
ed.), such measurements were the birth of all measurement, and gave us our
first sciences and many other civilized arts. (Now Judy has a whole book out on
this subject called "Blood, Bread and Roses.") Later men coopted blood
rituals in violent immitation, slicing their own genitals, which is still done
to
this very day to tiny baby boys, sans anaesthetic, sans loving care. They
declared the bloodflow of women to be an unclean curse. Menstruating women,
once
the shamans who presided at the mysteries they invented, were banned from
their own holy offices.

It takes a stretch of the imagination to visualize what it must have been
like to live in a time when what is now seen as hidden and shameful was then
most
revered and sacred. The powers of life given by our wombs was adored, in
fact worshipped.
"Worship" comes from "worth-ship." "Veneration" comes from "venal" or Venus,
Goddess of Love and Sensuality…. a word of erotic content. When men began to
cut their genitals in ritual immitation of the bleeding yoni, they were
saying in effect that they wanted the powers of life and death and didn't want
the
women to have them. With that one agonizing cut in that tender and most
sensitive place - in the place of sexual and therefore life-and-death powers -
they
archetypally cut the entire universe in half. They divided the male from the
female, the body from spirit, the mind from the heart, the sun from the moon,
the intuition from reason. And with this cut came the downfall of the
Goddess and women. Men were jealous, plain and simple, which means they could
not
see the Goddess in themselves as She made them, and that, in my opinion, is
their great tragedy. Eventually ritual circumcision carried over to women as
well, and now millions of little girls are routinely given clitorodectomies
and/or infibulations (stitched up labia).

When sacred significances and rituals are lost, cultures die and people die.
It is therefore of the utmost revolutionary importance that women reclaim the
powers of the second chakra; our menstrual value, integral to our sense of
worth as women. Our wombs are power centers, and some women yogis consider them
to be the most prominent power center; as opposed to the stomach chakra,
touted by male eastern mystics as the main one. Both have power, of course, but
of different kinds. I believe the womb powers are about creativity, while the
stomach chakra powers are about influence and decisions. Interestingly,
healing often accompanies the process of awakening and reclaiming; I have met
and
worked with a number of women whose pre and post menstrual illnesses were
actually cured after accessing this information.

Keeping track of our flow can help us to tune in, as well as to allign
ourselves within and without with the forces of the universe. Bloodflow is a
life-force flowing through us each moon. To one extent or another we all have
lost
touch with this force and what it can mean for us, and what we can do with it.
Creating a moonblood book or calendar is a way to begin…

The Five Blood Mysteries

As a babe in blood I am born
As a maid with blood I flow
As woman in blood I birth
And from blood the milk doth go
With age comes the ending of blood
And the shadow of death I know…

(This chant has an exquisite melody. Feel free to call me
if you'd like to hear or learn it! (831) 423-7639
Anytime after 1PM CA time)

There are deeper levels to understanding womb energies, but they cannot be
fully explained intellectually. They have to do with enchantment and magic, and
our ability to channel the shifting energies of creation. Witches cast
spells in harmony with such shifts, and learning this skill has much to do with
becoming adept in magic. The Maiden, Mother and Crone archetypes are very
useful
here as a guide to doing moon magic. The New or Maiden Moon is planting
time, time for preparations and plans, beginnings and births. The Full or
Mother
Moon is fullness, celebration, sensuality, harvest, passsion, affirmation,
manifestation, wishes being granted. The Dark or Crone Moon is endings,
banishment, binding, withdrawal, rest, introspection. All of these can be guides
for
the types of spells we wish to cast, and can be alligned with our inner cycles
as well.

Perhaps you find that you bleed at the dark moon and are fertile at the full.
In this case your magic and the mooncycles are in direct allignment. Your
time of fertility and hers are in synch, which means spells of manifestation
and affirmation will be especially potent. Perhaps you bleed at the full moon
and are fertile at the dark. You can modify your spells and rituals
accordingly.

On a personal level, keeping track helps us to tune into ourselves in a
number of ways. Not only in terms of moon and blood, but other cycles such as
energy ups and downs; psychic, emotional, and intellectual shifts. As we become
familiar with the way these shifts allign with the moon's changes, we can come
to know and prepare for them. And of course, for the woman planning or
preventing a pregnancy, it is essential to know these cycles of fertility.

As Louise Lacey explains in her book "Lunaception," our bloodflow and
fertility cycles are catalyzed by the cycles of light and darkness that flow
with the
moon. At one time the moon was the biggest light in the night sky, and we
all bled at the dark moon and ovulated at the full. Women living in close
proximity today can still experience such pulls, and have discovered that their
rhythms will change so that they are bleeding together. Now with all the
different lights of civilization and our more separate styles of living, this
cycle
is no longer clear, and we bleed at all different times. Some women say that
they always bleed at the full moon, others at the waxing crescent. Some women
say that they have no regularity at all. I thought myself to be one of the
latter group, until I began coloring my bloodtimes in red in my moonwheels. I
discovered that I did have a pattern, but it runs over a longer period of
time…
many moons. Self-clocking can be more complex because of this, but it is
still useful.

Perhaps the most essential reason for keeping awareness of these cycles is
that most magic has to do with either "making" or "unmaking." The moon has her
most fertile or creative times, and her dark, unfertile times; her times of
waxing, swelling and fading, and we can allign our times with hers. We can know
the best time to plant or harvest our magical herbs, our visions and ideas,
our doings and undoings. We can learn to feel again our connections with our
bleeding, the moon's circling, the circle of the earth around the sun and the
seasons, the circles of our moods, ideas, and feelings; the circles of our
living, loving and dying; and rebirthing again. Cycling with these and more
than
these is the ancient witches' way.

In Cycle 1 of Ariadne's Thread you can find a "Mooncode" I created, which has
simple moon symbols that you can use in your moonwheels for keeping track.
You're invited to create your own symbols as well. If you like, draw them into
your dayspokes in red. Here are some of their descriptions:

Dark Moon: Bleeding (actually if you are doing this one in red it becomes a
red moon; appropriate! :0) )
Full Moon: Fertile (even if your cycles differ from the moon's, you can
still use these symbols)
Waning Crescent (curves to the left): Pre-menstrual
Waxing Crescent (curves to the right): Post-menstrual
Egg Moon (usually called Gibbous- icky name!): Feeling sexual, passionate
Dark Moon with Waning Crescent (crescent drawn into the lefthand curve) :
Heavy Bleeding
Dark Moon with Waxing Crescent (crescent drawn into the righthand curve) :
Light Bleeding
Waning Quarter (visually looks like a halfmoon: curves to the left) : Late
Flow
Waxing Quarter: (curves to the right) Early flow
Crossed Moon: Cramps
Spotted Moon: Spotting
Moondrop (looks like a drop of water) Discharge
Moonface: Feeling psychic
Sleeping Moonface (shown sideways with eyes closed: Strong dreams
Dark Moonboat (A crescent on its belly filled in with color) Emotional ups
Overturned Dark Moonboat: Emotional downs
Moonboat (Crescent on its belly, not filled in; just outlined) Energy ups
Overturned Moonboat (outlined) : Energy downs
Full Moon with Moonboat (Crescent drawn into base curve of full moon)
Intuitive
Full Moon with Overturned Moonboat (Crescent drawn into upper curve):
Intellectual
Full Moon with Waxing Crescent inside: Pregnant
Full Moon with Waxing Crescent emerging: Birthing, Labor
Full Moon with Waning Dark Crescent emerging: Pre-Menopause
Full Moon with Waning Dark Crescent inside: Menopause and Post Menopause
Full Moon with heart inside: Lactating, Nursing
Flaming Overturned Dark Moonboat: Anger, irritability
Full Moon with an eye inside: "Night vision," or imagination awakened


Blood mysteries are lunar, but they are also solar. The Five Blood Mysteries
chant above illustrates this in relation to the sun and the Wheel of the
Year. The eight solar holy days many of us now celebrate are intimately bound
up
with women's life passages, referred to by some priestesses as Blood
Mysteries. The themes of the holy days are multi-layered and can be
interpreted in
many ways. Not all sisters will necessarily celebrate them as the magics of
womb and blood alone. But in pondering the connections we can see how the Blood
Mysteries of the Goddess and women are pivotal to them all:

Spring Equinox: Physical Birth, Renewal, Resurrection, Reconnection, Emergence
Beltane (April 30th, May 1st): Menarch, Selfhood, Empowerment, Independence
Summer Solstice: Sexual Passion, Creativity
Lammas (August 1st and 2nd): Lactation, Nursing, Nurturing, Community,
Manifestation, Harvest, Work, Building, Support
Autumn Equinox: Menopause, Wisdom, Travelling to other worlds, Magic, Aging,
Separation, Introspection
Hallowe'en: Croning, Divination, Death, Change, Transformation
Winter Solstice: Immortality, Life after death, Spiritual Birth
Candlemas (Feb. 1st, 2nd): Quickening (babe kicks in womb), Inspiration,
Remembering, Learning, Knowing, Seed growth, Waxing light, Plans for the year,
Commitment, Preparation for birth, Spring cleaning


Questions
(Some of these may be answered as you go through the ongoing process of
tracking in your moonwheels.)
What other significances can you find in the meaning of each phase of the
moon?
What energies, feelings, and thoughts are you aware of having at different
phases of your blood cycle?
If past moonpaws (menopause) are you aware of a subtler cycle? (The ancients
said that after moonpaws a woman kept "the wise blood within." For myself
it is almost like being in moonflow all the time!)
What other significances can you find in the meanings of the solar holy days?
How are these and the meanings listed above connected to blood mysteries?
Please tell your First Blood story… how was it for you? Painful?
Pleasurable? Traumatic? Blah? How were you treated by others around its
arrival? How
did it affect your roles and relationships?
Please tell your ongoing blood story. How is it or was it for you over the
years? How does it affect your life, your energies, the way you are treated?
Lovemaking?
Do you save your moonblood and water plants with it? How is that for you?
How does it affect the plants? (If you are bleeding and haven't tried this
yet, please do so, and let us know how it goes.)
Do you know how to "run energy," as the psychics say, or go into trance?
Do you find you can do the above more easily at certain stages of the moon's
cycle or of your own blood cycle?
The moon stimulates "night vision" or the deep mind and the imagination. Are
you aware of this happening for you? If so, are you aware of it occurring in
synch with the moon's and/or your own cycles?


References:

Moon Moon by Ann Kent Rush (This is a classic and was a groundbreaker when it
came out; probably out of print and hard to find now, but worth looking for;
rich with illustrations, scientific as well as mythic lore… a 12 month
calendar with Goddesses for each month…and tons more!)
Themis by Jane Ellen Harrison Another classic, still widely available
The Natural Superiority of Woman Ashley Montague (his title, not mine!)
From Sacred Blood to the Curse and Beyond, article by Judy Grahn, published
in:
The Politics of Women's Spirituality, ed. Charlene Spretnak
The Lunar Calendar, Luna Press, Box 15511, KenmoreStation, Boston MA
02215-0009 (Hard to order this one off their website, hence the addy here; this
is my
favorite moon calendar next to mine! :0) )
We'Moon calendar http:..www.wemoon.ws
Lunaception, Louise Lacey
Red Flower ed. Dena Taylor (Women's moonblood stories)
Women of the 14th Moon (Women's moonpaws stories)
Shakti Woman Vicki Noble
Blood Bread and Roses, Judy Grahn
Dragontime, Luisah Francia
The Wise Wound, Penelope Shuttle