Monday, July 28, 2008

Changing Woman: Cycles

The following is excerpted exactly from The Goddess Oracle, copyright 1997, by Amy Sophia Marashinsky and the illustrations are by Hrana Janto.


I am what comes round again and again

what can never die

I renew myself in the seasons

in the cycle of time

the great round

I bleed yet do not die

I keep my blood within and become wise

I dance the spiral

and keep changing


Changing Woman, or Estsanatlehi (self-renewing one) – as she is called by the Navajo and Apache – can change her age merely by walking into the horizon. White Shell Woman and Turquoise Woman are among her many names, which correspond to the changing colors of her dress as the seasons change. The Navajo say that she was found by Coyote, after being born of Darkness and Dawn on Spruce Mountain, with a blanket of clouds and rainbows, secured in her cradleboard by lightning and sunbeams. Her gifts to the people are the Blessingway ceremonies, the seasons and food.

Meaning of the Card:

Changing Woman comes spinning into your life to tell you the way to wholeness for you lies in learning to honor your cycles. Menstrual cycles are an important aspect of being female. We bleed but do not die, and therefore can bring forth life. As we continue to dance our cycles, we reach the time of menopause when we leave our childbearing years behind and hold our wise blood within. We can then be a resource for our loved ones and community by becoming hags, which means “women of wisdom.”

Do you celebrate your menstruation and view it as a time for you to go within? As a time to let go, let die, so the new can come? Or have you bought into the patriarchal view that it is a curse, something unclean, something to be hidden away? Does menopause automatically fill you with fear of becoming old and ugly, no longer valuable and worthy in a culture that adores youth? Do you feel invalidated in a society that urges women to hide their bleeding times, regulate their hormones by taking pills and postpone menopause through ERT (estrogen replacement therapy)?

Honoring your cycles also means honoring your own unique process, your own unique path in life. You may be in the midst of a particular life cycle that you need to surrender to and honor. Changing Woman says that wholeness is nurtured when we reclaim the power of our cycles by paying attention to them and celebrating them. By celebrating our cycles, we celebrate ourselves as women.

Ritual Suggestion: Celebrating Your Cycles

Find a time and a place where and when you will not be disturbed. Sit, stand, or lie comfortably and identify the cycle you are in. You may choose to find or make a symbol of your present cycle. Cast a circle by calling in (speaking to the elements and asking them to be present) or by becoming the elements (see Vila, Shape Shifting) If you are using a symbol, place that symbol in the center of your circle. Walk around the outside of your circle and fill the inside of the circle with respect and honoring. You could fill it by putting on your favorite dance music and dancing around the circle, thinking or chanting, “I love my cycles, I love being a woman”. You could drum or play a musical instrument. You can do anything that celebrates you and your cycles. Be sure to notice if any feelings come up and allow yourself to express them.

Continue until you feel the energy in the circle is strong, then step in and breathe it deep into your cells. Lie, sit or stand in the circle, whatever is comfortable for you. Let the celebratory energy you have built up nourish you to the very core of your body/mind/spirit. Feel its healing power reweave the torn wounded places inside. F eel yourself as a woman, proud to be a woman, proud to bleed, proud to hold your wise blood within, proud to be in the midst of whatever cycle you are in. When you feel full, give thanks to Changing Woman, to yourself, to your womanhood. Step out of the circle. Release what you have called in. Welcome Back!

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