Today, I’d like to talk about an amazing book that I believe should be required reading for women, and that should be a mandatory gift for all girls upon the arrival of their first menstrual cycle!
This Dec 21st , we welcome the Winter Solstice. More commonly known as the first day of Winter, this is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. This is the time of year that heralds the reign of the feminine or yin time of the year. It’s a time full of mystery, secrets, challenges, magic, introspection, and intuition, and that more than any other season cultivates deep inner strength and fortitude.
The Winter Solstice is a powerful time to appreciate, focus upon and strengthen your feminine power in all its divine and messy glory. This includes the most marked aspect of the feminine body – the menstrual cycle. In fact, the season of Winter and the “season” of Menstruation are almost like divine reflections of each other. Like the Winter, menstruation is a time of rest, recovery, conservation of energy, destruction and clearing the way for rebirth. Like the Winter, menstruation can be very challenging and uncomfortable, which results in increased fortitude, but like Winter, it also has its strengths and gifts.
There is an absolutely amazing book that I read, that would make a great read at this time of year, but also at any time of year, and DEFINITELY during your menstruation. This book will forever change the way you look at your period.
The book is called “Wild Power” by Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer. Its subtitle is “Discover the Magic of Your Menstrual Cycle and Awaken the Feminine Path to Power.” And yes, this book definitely awoke something in me and changed my life and my self-worth for the better.
So let’s be honest…when it comes to the female menstrual cycle, most of us are taught how to just deal with it. We’re taught how to stop it up, shut it up and shut it OFF with shots, pills, rings and other hormonal supplements. The menstrual cycle in mainstream society is often referred to as “The Curse,” as the traditional Christian reason for its existence is to forever punish women for the sins of Eve. My own mom told me this, being raised in a Christian home.
Is it any wonder that we as women have so many emotional problems culturally? This hatred, loathing and fear of the female body and the menstrual cycle in particular is a direct attack by a male-dominated society that doesn’t understand and fears the feminine. It’s not truth. It’s a smear campaign.
And many of us women have been adding fuel to that fire and helping them in their attempt to get us to hate ourselves. You cannot hold such loathing for a part of you and NOT loathe yourself and your life. In order to excel and live your highest potential, you need to embrace ALL of you, and know that ALL of you holds power. Your menstrual cycle holds incredible wisdom and power, and this book, “Wild Power,” helps you to grasp it and wield it.
The book is written by Alexandra Pope and Sjanie (pronounced [shar-nee] Hugo Wurlitzer, who are two residents of the UK who are the founders of The Red School, a learning institute that helps women to educate themselves, connect and heal themselves with the power in their own feminine bodies. I highly encourage you to poke around on their website www.redschool.net. It’s very informative and insightful. In fact, I wish I didn’t live an ocean away so that I could actually participate in events!
So first of all, the book cover is STUNNING! As a woman, I can’t help it, I tend to be attracted to the senses and love things that are visually appealing as well as appealing to touch, and this book is both. I absolutely am riveted by an image that I often see during this time, blood dissolving into water, and for the first time out of all the years I’ve seen it…I’m like, My God, that image, the very concept of menstruation and what it is…Wow, it does look wild, powerful and kind of damn crazy! It never occurred to me until I picked up this book that blood dissolving into water looks a hell of lot like fire dissolving into air (smoke). The shapes are identical. The paperback book cover also has a very nice feel to it. I think this style of cover is called “soft-touch”, but mmm…I absolutely can’t stop touching it! It has a soft, velvety finish to it. It makes the reading experience that much more enjoyable! So cheers to that!
So firstly, “Wild Power” explains that women – through their menstrual cycles – are just that: cyclical. We are very tied to nature in the truth that all of nature is cyclical. Moon phases – which often VERY closely mirror the length of a menstrual cycle, ocean tide cycles, seasons, turning of leaves, migratory patterns…most of nature does not have the constant state of unchanged energy that is celebrated and mandated by our daily lives in Western society. The norm of Western society is what is abnormal and unnatural.
Women are constantly derided and looked down upon for having days (usually premenstruation and menstruation) where their energy is low, where they are dealing with physical pain, emotional pain and are prone to coolness or downright anger or cruelty. This is seen by our society as being a defect, when in fact it is quite normal for a cyclical, female body.
“Wild Power” teaches women how to embrace, accept and work with the challenges and strengths (hey, did I mention there are strengths?!) that the menstrual cycle brings. “Wild Power” teaches us that the menstrual cycle is designed for creation. This huge, complex system with its intricate cycle that affects everything else is all about creation. Because of this cyclical nature, the female body is constantly in flux and change.
A woman’s energy is often moving outwardly or moving inwardly, much like the tides of an ocean. “Wild Power” refers to these two energies as the Two Vias, which I think is a Latin word for “way.” It refers to them as the via positiva and the via negativa. Both of these energies have great strengths and great challenges. There are wonderful tips on how to harness and make sense of these internal tides. They’re amazing and have helped me to really get a grasp on what is happening in my body and to make it work for me.
Going even further into this, “Wild Power” talks about the Inner Seasons. This was just so incredible for me. The Two Vias, and the Four Inner Seasons, have changed my life. The menstrual cycle can be broken down into four quadrants: preovulation, ovulation, premenstruation and menstruation. Each of these areas bring their own energies that can be very similar to what is experienced during the four seasons.
In fact, they refer to these quadrants as “Inner Seasons.” For example, menstruation is referred to as “Inner Winter,” and that metaphor and explanation is spot on. During my own menstruation, I literally want nothing more than to be under a heating pad and a blanket with a hot tea and a lit scented candle with my favorite books and a movie, even in August! I mean, the feeling is very much about me craving comfort, isolation, warmth and recovery. Just as in the real Winter, when I go through menstruation, at least the first day or two, I don’t want to leave my house! I don’t want to be around other people. I just want to go within, both physically and emotionally, and hibernate for a day or two.
“Wild Power” also talks about the Five Chambers of Menstruation, breaking down the week or so that make up this phase into five smaller phases that each have their own gifts and challenges. Now, this part is super interesting, but I must admit I personally found it a bit harder to feel into the differences between these Chambers. To me, there is Day 1 and 2 of my Inner Winter which are the most challenging and heavy energetically, there is Day 3 which still can feel a little withdrawn and low energy for me, and then there is the rest which more or less feels like I am pulling out and feeling normal again. I can’t really feel into any big differences, so though I don’t discount them, I didn’t take as much from this part personally.
More than anything, however, “Wild Power” has taught me the forever practice of charting my period. It tells you why you should do it, and it tells you how. I think there’s a free chart you can use on their website as well, but I literally just write down Day 1, Day 2, etc., in my planner. I started out doing this back in the day when I first GOT my period, because I was so afraid it would sneak up on me and cause an embarrassing or bad situation if I wasn’t prepared. After a couple years though, I actually found out I could feel it during what I now know as my premenstruation and would know it was coming without counting. I also never wanted kids so I never wanted to try to get pregnant. So I stopped counting years and years ago.
Then I found this book. And again, it reminded me that there are huge energies and currents and challenges and hormones going on in your body not just during menstruation, but at all times during your cycle, and you need to be on top of that! It’s called self-respect and awareness. It’s called doing what you can to live up to your full potential. I kind of felt foolish for not having any idea on what phase my own body was in. I thought, “I’m a woman! This is something I should know damnit!” As the age-old adage goes, “Know thyself.”
So I read this book about a year ago, and I have been tracking my menstrual cycle ever since. And I will never stop as long as I have one. Tracking my menstrual cycle has shed light on certain behaviors and struggles I’ve had, and it has helped me to use previously dormant energies to manifest more in my life. “Wild Power” has helped me to realize that the Universe has equipped me with a natural balance GPS, reminding when it’s time to go hard and go Masculine and when it’s time to recover, go still and go within. It’s reminded me there is great power in both directions.
“Wild Power” has also caused me to switch to organic and natural feminine care products, which believe it or not have made a noticeable long-term difference in my comfort during my cycle. It never occurred to me that so many intimate products were heavy with chemicals and how that could actually be affecting things.
And the hugest difference of all? I love and respect my menstrual cycle. Which means I love and respect myself more. It gave me permission to be warm and outgoing sometimes and withdrawn and emotional at other times, because that is Nature’s Way. It’s a woman’s way. It taught me there are ways to manage and harness the wildness and changeability, but it shouldn’t be cured because there is nothing wrong to cure. It taught me that a feminine body is a gift and a power, and that all things of power have challenges and shadow.
But when I’m in a restroom and I hear my fellow sisters start the familiar griping about “The Curse,” I’m the first one to say, “Actually, I love my period. No pill for me, thanks!” and let the other women know their bodies are actually damn amazing, and there is no shame to be had in their miraculous cycles!
As you can tell, I highly recommend “Wild Power.” I think all women should give it a read. There is some incredible wisdom and advice in this book, and it is a message that is very, very important to be heard in our society.
Kesha Delacroix Dent