Rethinking And Breaking The Red Taboo
This article is intended as a celebration of feminine nature and is dedicated to all those men and women who have transcended patriarchal gender taboos and who can face the reality that women bleed. Face it! Once a month, women bleed!
Our Lady the Moon governs the darkness with Her luminous beauty, as well as an invisible world that is biologically perceived by Nature and Women. An inner existence of imagination and unconscious and subconscious realms where the ruling absence or presence of Her light and energy is diametrically opposite to that of constant solar daytime.
Her dark and seemingly fragile light may illumine or distort reality, casting long and enormous shadows that obfuscate one’s ability to see beyond the illusory reality society recommends and commends into our thinking and programs us with. Often in these shadows lurk the horrors of volatility, fragile nerves, neurosis, dysmenorrheal paranoia, amenorrhea and old church-wives’ tales. But stop. Stop and take a minute to notice that this is also a world of different awareness, a world of blood power, of cycles and intuitive dreams and introspective powers.
For those who like us dare to enter this world situated on the lunatic fringes, delicately balanced on the lip of the abyss of menopausal tales, feared and phantom pregnancies, belongs the ecstasy, the revelries, the revelations, the mania, the possession by Her Spirit. Far from what is whispered about us birthed by rebellion against the red taboo, we are not piteous bleeding creatures. We are empowered in the knowledge that we are not insane, neurotic, hysteric, and unstable. We are simply the periodically hormonally crazed, simply inspired, totally un-repressed, freed daughters of the Mother’s creative potency.
In our drive to obtain equality in this world of male dominion, we have rejected the natural processes of being female, accepting dis-empowering labels; labels of “being sick”, of having upon us “the curse” or being forced to entertain an unwanted relative in the proverbial “red vehicle”. Some of us have become pseudo-men, bearing this privilege as a painful punishment, experiencing it as a stumbling block, an inconvenience or a handicap of sorts, a shameful event to hide and keep secret for fear of the threat of society’s denigration of our natural functions and cycles.
Some of us have opted to live through the haze of chill pills and pain-killers, our very moods altered, safely cocooned by their comforting numbness, the inserted disguise of internal absorbents a powerful denial of our status, the ancient call of the Moon totally refuted in a world that draws its inspiration from suppression and silence of the feminine, accompanied by macabre disgust and lurid jokes about our very nature. Some of us have adopted the attitude that there is no difference between a bleeding woman and one who is not menstruating, but ask any woman who is in touch with the Goddess in her and she will tell you otherwise. There is a difference. We feel and embrace that difference, the difference in the tender turgidity of our breasts, our heightened sex drives, in the emotional powerhouse which wells up inside us.
Deep within our bones, within our genetic encoding whispers to us our fore-mothers, a legacy, a long history of millions of years of lived out yet forgotten menstruating cycles. Ours is the visceral reality, ours are the archetypes of the Moon, the Snake, the full-bellied Earth Mother, the rivers of blood and subliminally also that of men who share the rare connection, the precious association with most powerful expressions amongst men and beast, in a time where loss of respect for the Mother has led mankind to ecological disasters, misogyny, misanthropy, household violence, etc.
The time has come to discard the lie of illness and quasi injury and reclaim our heritage as daughters of the Goddess, to reclaim the ancient and precious Sacrament of Moon Blood and remember the time when we danced to the very same rhythms as Our Mother.
It is not a secret that the Moon’s waxing and waning rhythms governs the tides as well as the fluids in our bodies. These rhythms are a crucial part of our identity, part of our feminine essence, part of our being Sisters of the Oceans and cousins of the Seasons. Cycles of 28.5 days, gestation periods of 40 weeks, all numbers closely linked with the natural movements and sacred rounds of the Moon and Venus.
It is postulated that the word “ritual” has its roots in the Sanskrit word “Rtu” and that the first sacrificial rituals were connected to the cycles of the Moon and women. The womb blood that would have enveloped and nourished the unborn child was believed to have mana or magical power. Women’s periodic bleeding was a cosmic event, the miracle of not dying despite 7 days’ bleeding, the acceptance that women were the conduit for the Sacred, a gateway to Life and Living. Women’s monthly bleeding was the “wellspring of life” and a sign of the mystery that catapults Souls into this realm of existence. The power inherent in the female body was revered as a manifestation of the ineffable and All.
Intellectuals and scholars postulate that blood sacrifices might have had their origins in the use of menstrual blood to sprinkle in fields in order to render them fertile, in the anointing of corpses in the burial mounds and dolmens, as a healing agent (it was believed it could cure several ailments, amongst which leprosy), as a powerful aphrodisiac, a bonding agent that guaranteed the return of one’s kin to the clan as well as a general sacrament in daily religious routine.
As Patriarchy and the city states gained ground, male priests took over many of the mansions previously performed by priestesses. The perspective of the Moon Blood Sacrament waned and was replaced by a blood sacrifice of another sort. The one that demanded the life of something or someone in the need to placate an external divine, a Sky God, an Almighty force of anger, vengeance and ireful retribution. What a deadly twist to the act of making sacred (sacrifice = make sacred). In “Her Blood is Gold” Lara Owen states that: “offering menstrual blood was an affirmation of life, a recognition of its sanctity,” pg. 34. This sanctity was distorted into a creed that menstrual blood is a pollutant as opposed to the sacrament it had anciently been.
Our Divine Mother not only provides for our physical needs. In Her cycles, natural rhythms and ways She provides guidance and reassures us in Spirit that the repair and reacquisition of our lost status as sentient beings and instinctual relationships with Her is not beyond hope.
We are Women of the Earth, daughters of the Mother, gateways of Life, nurturers of mankind and its future generations. From the Thesmophoria in Greece where the Moon Blood was utilized to fertilize the seed corn, to the modern day Tantric elixirs, women still guarantee the return of warriors and kinsfolk to the clan.
I am of the opinion, like many before me, that the time has come for Serpent Women to shed their skins, in the cyclical reflection of the female mysteries. A first step made towards regaining our place of freedom and respect in society, as well as renewing our Being and enabling ourselves to grow and evolve to our true and full spiritual potential, through acceptance of our own nature and not through its suppression.
To all those who still dance with the Moon, Freedom!
Lara Owen – Her Blood is Golden (1999)
Barbara Walker – The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Rhythms and Secrets (1982)
Barbara Walker and Monica Sjoo – The Great Cosmic Mother (1983)
C.G. Jung – Man and His Symbols (1968)
J. G. Frazer – the Golden Bough (1957)