8 REASONS WHY YOUR PERIOD IS A FEMINIST ISSUE

In the face of enormous political and social challenges to our bodies and souls, the time for period pride is right now, says Cora founder Molly Hayward. Here’s why your period is a feminist issue and how to harness the power of this change-making cycle … Main Image: Zoe Buckman 

Now, more than ever, the claim to our bodies in all their messy, beautiful, real complexity is imperative.

From debates over period product ads in the subway system, to parts of the world where girls are exiled from school due to lack of sanitary supplies, our monthly life-giving cycles are in the news. Which means the time for period pride is now.

And as we reclaim the Numinous parts of the menstrual experience (consider the sky-high rise of Moon circles and Moon magic), our generation is reigniting the conversation about what our periods mean, how they can bring us together, and why we must harness their full power.

To understand the potency and potential of this change-making cycle, we sat down with founder of organic tampon subscription service Cora, Molly Hayward. Her mission? To charge the experience of womanhood with respect and reverence for our periods. “We see a world where women can live fully-embodied,” says Molly. “Your period is an essential part of human life.”

Want to reclaim your period as a feminist issue? Read on for 8 reasons why bleeding is beautifully badass …

It’s in our blood.

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1// Because moon power burns as brightly as solar power.
In a relentlessly solar-powered world with an emphasis on egocentric, “yang” action and force, the yin cycles of the Moon provide a subtle counterpoint that teaches us to value our internal processes, and our alignment with the natural world that surround us. “Our cycles are a practice in the wisdom of life/death/life,” says Hayward. “Women experience this truth every month in their bodies.”

This kind of wisdom allows us to understand how endings fuel unexpected beginnings, and how we are powerful participants in something much greater than ourselves. “[Through my cycle], I began to see myself, and all women, as the bearers of the wisdom that everything in life has a cycle,” notes Hayward. “Ideas, institutions, plants, animals, and humans, all have to die to allow for the birth of new ones. This is powerful wisdom for our society today.”

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2// Because badass boss ladies bleed.
As we tune in to these rhythms that often fly in the face of the ceaseless cult of cutthroat corporatism, we can change the way work gets done from the inside out.

When we repress our cycles and “skip” periods (using birth control pills, for example) because we believe must “keep up” with the pace of masculine career achievement or avoid discomfort in some situation (during sex, on vacation), we are voting yes to a work environment and world which thrives on gender inequality and denies our internally-facing wisdom. Periods of retreat from “go” mode can actually inform and fuel our creative process in the world.

When we bring our full bodies to the boardroom table, we can change the way that work gets done.  

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3// Because period exile is an education issue.
The statistics are startling. 300 million girls and women worldwide use rags, plastic, sand, and ash to manage their menstrual cycles. 1 in 4 girls in India drops out of school once she reaches puberty. “While I was traveling in Africa,” says Hayward, “I met girls who would stay home from school during their periods because they couldn’t afford period products and then learned that millions of girls around the world stay home from school during their periods because they don’t have a way to manage them.”

With a 90% decrease in dropout rates worldwide when girls have access to sanitary products, it’s imperative that we support girls and women worldwide to bleed with dignity, safety, and adequate supplies.

Art: Lina Scheynius via Cora’s Instagram

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4// Because healthy bodies bleed.
Whether it’s deliberately augmenting or suppressing our cycles so we don’t have to deal with the “mess,” or obliterating our cycles entirely as the result of compromised eating habits or over-exercise, our bleeding bodies are barometers for our overall health.

“In addition to the way periods of have been negatively perceived, there are so many other aspects of women’s bodies that are shamed and stigmatized,” says Hayward. “Our mission is to bring women and society to a place of understanding, acceptance, and respect for the awesome power of our bodies.”

And as we commit to celebrating our healthy bodies, we also begin to question the harmful synthetics and chemicals that enter them through conventional sanitary products. “I hated the idea that so many women were unknowingly exposing themselves to these potentially harmful substances for several days every single month for decades of their lives,” Hayward comments.

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5// Because period sex should not be taboo.
As we move through our monthly rhythm, we have the delicious chance to connect with all aspects of our desire and nature. Each of us responds to the distinctive phases of our cycles with different moods, cravings, and sexual needs.

We deserve to feel sexual pleasure when, where, and with whom (consensually of course) we damn well please. Each month, our periods are gateways to a shifting, sensual landscape. Get curious about exactly when you’re most turned on and claim this pleasure, no matter the time of the month. Partners who love you, should love your body in its entirety.

Art: Romily Alice Walden via Cora’s Instagram

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6// Because periods are a rite of passage.
Periods connect us to a magical, matrilineal line. They are part of both our ancestral histories, and the history of our own lives. Remember when you had your first period? Maybe you felt shame or confusion. Maybe no one was around to help you make sense of this powerful rite of passage.

Puberty, maturity, aging, the mystery and magic of both fertility and menopause … as we pass through the seasons of our lives as women, we have every right to bow down at the altar of our beautiful bodies during their complex cycles of change.

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7// Because there’s no shame in getting messy.
Ever been told that you’re “too much?” That your emotions take up too much space. That you’re unruly. That you’ve gone overboard. Our periods are part of our carnal bigness, and shame around their messiness keeps us from inhabiting our fullest range of emotions and potential.

“Periods are a natural biological fact of womanhood,” affirms Hayward. “Access to safe and healthy menstrual products is a matter of human dignity, in addition to being critical to girls’ and women’s ability to stay well, attend school, and participate in the formal economy. These things are in turn tied to our equal standing in society- not to mention being basic human rights.”

Quite simply, periods connect us to our humanness. And we deserve to be fully human.

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8// Because there’s strength in synchronicity.
More than just a college co-ed curiosity, there’s scientific proof that when we assemble in close community, we often sync up our cycles. And while each one of us can tap into the particularities of our own rhythm and our wisdom, there is powerful medicine in communal cycling. As we share the experience of being in our bodies, we share the stories of how these bodies move through the world– our overlapping wants, needs, fears, and aspirations.

Women who bleed together can change the world together.

Cora founder Molly Hayward

We produced this post in partnership with Cora, a monthly subscription service for premium organic cotton tampons with BPA-free applicators that honor our bodies, while providing performance and convenience. For every subscription purchased, Cora also provides a month’s supply of sustainable pads to a girl in need in a developing country so she can stay in school during her period.

RISE SISTER RISE: Q&A WITH REBECCA CAMPBELL

Whatever Donald Trump—the Divine Feminine is RISING! Ruby Warrington talks to Rebecca Campbell about her new book Rise Sister Rise, and hears why it’s time for the Wild Woman to be heard…

RUBY WARRINGTON: Your background is in advertising—what are the secret cues in advertising messages that have blocked the rise of the Divine Feminine?
REBECCA CAMPBELL: Wow, this is a BIG question. Generally speaking though, patriarchal society (which is exaggerated in advertising and the media) has tried to contain women to fit into a limited number of socially acceptable archetypes: the Maiden and the Mother.

There has been very little representation of the Wise Woman—the woman who is not afraid to share her voice, who cannot be contained, or restrained of the Crone, who becomes wiser and more potent with her years.

Advertising is also based on making the product a hero—which means exaggerating a problem it is designed to “solve” (often perpetuating fears). For example, when talking about periods, it’s about being discreet. When talking about aging, it’s about halting this natural process. So you can see how we’ve been taught that embracing the cyclic nature of being a woman is “a problem.”

RW: Was there an “aha” moment for you in terms of focusing on this work with your new book?
RC: I was very much in my feminine when writing my first book, but I soon realized I had no idea how to run my business from the this place. A career girl who learned to make it in man’s world, I reverted to the old patriarchal ways of being the hard worker, the warrior, the good girl. Of using pressure not pleasure as my driving force. Of putting my service to others above service to myself.

My client sessions were booking out six months in advance, and I kept promising myself that I would tend to filling my well when things quieted down. But days turned into weeks, and weeks into months. I became increasingly aware that it was not possible to bloom all year round and that there had to be a different way.

Then I had a dream that was just so real, I woke myself up mid sob. In the dream I had a baby—and everyone was in awe of her because she never ever cried. But because she didn’t cry, a whole week passed without her being fed. Guilt-stricken, I scooped her up and brought her to my breast. As I looked down at her face I saw myself, my mother, and all the women in my family.

I then checked my phone and discovered a text from my dad to call home because mum had breast cancer. Later, I looked up the metaphysical meaning of her illness, and discovered that it can be to do with a refusal to allow ourselves to receive and be nourished.

I saw how even though I had left the corporate world, I was still operating this way too. So I cleared my diary for a week and went to the Chalice Well Gardens in Glastonbury—to fill up my inner well at the mother of all wells. It was here that I heard the first whispers of Rise Sister Rise.

RW: Who and what have been key figures and teachings for you in terms of awakening the Divine Feminine in you?
RC: There are so many! Maya Angelou, The Magdalenes, Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Christiane Northrup, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Marion Woodman, Sally Kempton, Starhawk, Gurumayi Chidvilasnanda, Alexandra Pope, Monica Sjöö and Barbara Mor.

RW: You talk about the importance of healing our relationships with our mothers—why is this? And what has been your own experience of this?
RC: We receive a blueprint of what it means to be a woman from our mothers, and often the relationship we have with her will be mirrored in how we see the world. How held we believe we are by Life. How to give and receive love, nourishment and support.

When we heal our relationship with our mother, we have the opportunity to heal and connect ourselves to Mother Earth in the process. To let our own inner rhythm sync back into harmony with the rhythm of the planet and of all life. We are also able to give ourselves the mothering that we need, and are able to show up to life full rather than looking at the world and other people to fill us up.

RW: In what other ways do you bring your inner Wild Woman forth in your day-to-day life?
RC: First, by acknowledging my fears and feelings when they surface—no matter how inconvenient, uncomfortable, crazy or embarrassing (I’ve got an amazing whatsapp group of ladies where we hold the space for us to do so without judgment—there are A LOT of emoticons).

I then work on transmuting these feelings through creative expression (rather than pushing them down). This could be through dance (Sia is great for this) or some form of creation such as writing.

And finally, by really honoring the wild woman phase of my monthly cycle (PMS time). I have learned that if I push down what’s rising in me and what is falling away during this time, I will probably find a destructive way of keeping myself contained and restrained such as overeating or having a few too many glasses of wine.

RW: In what ways do you think the rise of the Divine Feminine is already creating a shift in society?
RC: I believe it is becoming safer than ever for her to be seen and heard. We can see her in Michelle Obama, and in shows such as Girls. We can see her at work as women rise together in collaboration rather than in competition. With every new woman who rises, by following her intuition, claiming her power, and sharing her voice, she makes it easier for another woman to follow her lead.

This era of history has been prophesized by the mystics and sages of all the ages, and I believe that social media and the rise of the female entrepreneur has had a lot to do with this coming to pass. It’s becoming easier for women to come together in circle, to collaborate, and to unite.

RW: And what do you think differentiates this movement from, say, the 1970s feminist movement?
RC: To me, the rising feminine is feminism of the soul. And as we recover from the past few thousand years (!) of patriarchy, I believe it is important not to seek its polar opposite—to move from patriarchy to matriarchy. Rather, it is time to bring the sacred masculine and sacred feminine energies back into balance. As the sacred feminine rises, may the sacred masculine rise along with Her.

RW: Looking 20 years into the future, what do you think the bigger impact of a feminine uprising could be?
RC: I believe if we all honor the cyclic nature of our bodies and of life, the planet will go back to a state of harmony. We see ourselves as separate from nature but that is just not true. We are part of nature but so many of us have disconnected ourselves from it—and in doing so, we have disconnected from both The Great Mother (Earth) and from ourselves.

The sooner we surrender to our own cyclic nature (for example: for women, our monthly cycles are connected to the waxing and waning of the moon), the sooner this planet will move back into balance. I do believe it is possible and I do believe that we are all being called to surrender to this calling before it is too late.

Rise Sister Rise: A Guide to Unleashing the Wise, Wild Woman Within is out now on Hay House. Rebecca Campbell will also be joining Numinous Founder Ruby Warrington and Madeline Giles of Angelic Breath Healing for a special event in NYC on 11/11 2016. Full details to be announced!

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: EARTH MAGICK WITH MY MOON SISTERS

Earth magic, moon magick, astro magick and the magick of sisterhood…so so so so much magick to report this week!

With my retreat co-creators, Alexandra Roxo and Elyssa Jakim

:: MONDAY ::
Still high / nursing a slight vulnerability hang-over following our Re-Write Your Love Story retreat upstate with Maha Rose North. If you saw my IG post Monday morning you’ll have got an idea of just how transformative the experience was for all involved. And I’m not gonna share too many details here (what happens on retreat stays on retreat, y’all!), EXCEPT to tell you about the moment we made actual freaking Earth magick.

Cut to Saturday night, and we’re ready to purge some of our old love stories around a crackling bonfire out in the forest, and we gather beneath the trees to a rumble of thunder and distant flash of lightening in the rapidly darkening sky. One by one, we begin to throw our old stories, our out-dated patterns, and our most deep-seated fears into the fire. Once we’ve all gone, we hold hands and a peaceful silence descends on our circle. The fire gently smolders, and another clap of thunder tells us the storm is getting closer.

Then, a lone voice opens the releasing up again, sparking a new wave of purging into the fire—purging of societal shit, of global shit, of deep, deep, deep ancestral shit. And as our words becomes more raw, more vulnerable, and more elemental, the first drops of rain begin to fall. Soft at first, and steadily building until the trees above can no longer shelter us. “I release not feeling lovable enough to be a powerful woman in the world.” “I release…the Rules.” “I release all hatred towards my body.”

It’s the last one that sets it off, and the heavens open, sending a deluge of water cascading down on us, washing the ashes of our words back into the Earth. I can’t contain a whoop of joyous laughter, and I look up to the sky, shouting: “THANK YOU FOR HEARING US!” Goddess responds with another huge smack of thunder, and we all lose it—laughing and sobbing and whooping, before finally running for shelter, fully electrified by the experience of what felt like communing live and direct with Mama Earth!

Like I said, real deal Earth magick in action. And, I now believe with every cell in my being, available to each and every one of us when we show up and give it up as our purest, most vulnerable, unadulterated animal selves.

The posing before the storm…

:: TUESDAY ::
Speaking of feeling connected to the Cosmos, today’s Capricorn Full Moon (marking a culmination point in finance and career for me—due to my Sagittarius Rising and Aries Sun signs) saw me banking the second and final payment for the advance on my book. This, after last month’s Sagittarius Full Moon (lighting my houses of self-image and publishing) was the day I submitted the edited draft of my manuscript/memoir. Confirming my belief that the more closely you align yourself with your soul path as written in your stars (i.e. your birth chart), the more closely the stars align themselves with YOU.

:: WEDNESDAY ::
Did I mention that my retreat sisters (Alexandra Roxo and Elyssa Jakim) and I were also all bleeding together over our weekend upstate? “We’re in the Red Tent,” Elyssa nodded wisely Sunday morning—the night after our bonfire. And today when I met with Alexandra Derby, who facilitated the actual Red Tent ceremony I attended last summer, and who’s Cosmic Cycle tincture system I am crediting with finally (like, for the first time in my life) regulating my menstrual flow, we were wearing almost identical red dresses AND she was on her moon time too! Seems like the Numi tribe is synching up. OBVIOUSLY.

:: THURSDAY ::
A trip to Connecticut to experience forest bathing—a.k.a. a guided meditative walk through the woods, a.k.a. the Japanese art of Shinrin-yoku. New to the spa menu at the fancy Mayflower Grace hotel, research in Japan has shown that regular walks among deciduous trees shows increased scores for vigor, attentiveness, relaxation, friendliness, self confidence and clearing one’s mind—as well as decreased the scores for hostility, boredom, depression, anger, fatigue and confusion.

Oh, and it fights cancer and stuff too. The major reason for these findings is the presence of phytoncides in deciduous forests—particles produced to help plants & trees protect themselves from harmful insects and germs, which also decrease stress hormone levels and improve immunity. The forest “bath”? A slow, meandering stroll among our friends the trees, taking extra time to stop and smell the…phytoncides. Bliss. Book at www.gracehotels.com/mayflower

:: FRIDAY ::
OMG and there’s yet more Earth magic to come, as today I’m getting excited for OBONJAN! Read all about it here, but Obonjan is a summer-long music and wellbeing festival taking over a private island in Croatia, where I’ll be giving a talk on how to Get High On Your Own Supply next Saturday. They’ve also invite some of my favorite Numi friends + fam to be part of the experience, and so I’m also looking forward to some hang time with Alexandra Roxo (again, yay!), the New Age Hipster, Jayne Goldheart, Morgan Yakus and Shauna Cummins, and the guys from She’s Lost Control. Come join us! I’m only staying a week, but the island is open from July 28—September 6. You can find all the booking details here.

PERIOD PRIDE: IT’S TIME TO LOVE YOUR LADY LANDSCAPE

Lisa Lister is the British witch and all around goddess at the forefront of the period pride movement. Ruby Warrington hears all about her new book, Love Your Lady LandscapeArtwork: Merakilabbe

The Numinous: Love Your Lady Landscape is a call to action for Now Age women. Tell us about it…
Lisa Lister: Well there was a time, roughly 5000 years ago, when the space between a woman’s thighs was considered a power portal with a direct hook up to Source. But for over 2,000 years now, the potent powers of our wombs, our cyclic nature and our menstrual cycles have been disregarded, and we’ve lost our daily connection to mumma earth, to the Moon, to the seasons and their cycles.

As a result, we often ignore our deepest needs as women because we no longer trust ourselves and our own body wisdom. We apologize for our tears, suppress our anger, and self-medicate with whatever will numb the pain of not being heard or telling our truth.

Worst of all, we have an epidemic of ‘down there’ pain and dis-ease—PMT, polycystic ovaries, endometriosis, fibroids. Overwhelm, anxiety and infertility are at an all-time high and we manage our menstrual bleed with synthetic hormones, denying ourselves the experience of living fully in our power.

So, Love Your Lady Landscape is about exploring, navigating and loving your lady parts. It’s about how to care for them, how to trust them and how to reclaim them.

TN: What is the number one thing a woman needs to understand about her period?
LL: That we are cyclic, not linear. Each month we try to maintain the same level of energy and productivity as our male counterparts throughout our whole cycle, so we can ‘compete’ and ‘keep up.’ But our energy, hormone levels and sex drive ebb and flow each month as we cycle through the four phases of the menstrual cycle—pre-ovulation, ovulation, pre-menstruation and menstruation.

Each of these phases hold super powers and hot spots and when we understand that we show up differently in each phase of our cycle, we are then able to use our menstrual cycle as a map to understanding ourselves better each and every month.

TN: Your previous book, Code Red was all about periods too. Why is this your pet subject?
LL: My entire 20’s were ruled by my menstrual cycle. I bled more days than I didn’t every cycle, I had to cancel social engagements ALL the time because I was too scared to bleed through my clothes, the pain was debilitating at times.

I also got myself a reputation as a total flake, because I was too embarrassed to say: ‘I can’t come out/to work/to the meeting because I’m bleeding through industrial super-size pads and my bed looks like a scene from the movie Carrie.’

So, when at 25 I was diagnosed with Endometriosis, there was a moment of relief. I had a name for it. Except in the very next breath the doctor said: ‘Endometriosis means that babies are no longer an option, so it makes sense that we whip out your womb and ovaries so you can function normally again.’

What???

For a moment I considered it, but, and I didn’t know the incredible power that we hold in our womb space at the time, this woke a fierce rage in me that meant I simply wasn’t going to let this happen. Instead, I read about other women who have endometriosis – each case was different – and most importantly, discovered that it didn’t necessarily mean I couldn’t have children. I then got extra mad at modern medicine’s quick fix ‘whip it out’ mentality, and for the last ten years I’ve been on an adventure to explore, navigate and most importantly, love my lady landscape.

And that work starts with the most powerful game-changer of all—knowing ourselves through our cycle.

 

TN: Why are periods a feminine ‘super power’?
LL: Our blood is GOLD. The actual act of bleeding used to be considered sacred and it was honoured by both men and women, from the first day you bleed through to the day you stop bleeding, you are a witch, a sorceress, an all powerful woman. You are a lightening rod for the divine, your womb is an oracle.

And when we work WITH our cycle and not against it, we have access to a series of feminine super powers all month, all of which can be leveraged and used to create a bloody amazing business, relationship and life. A concept I go into in detail in Love Your Lady Landscape!

Book

TN: So many women have irregular cycles. Why do you think this is?
LL: Many reasons, but some of the top ones are:

– As I said previously, when we try to do life in a linear way, we work against our cyclic nature and we suffer for it. Sometimes that will manifest instantly in the form of PMS, irregular cycles, cramps, heavy bleeding (all of which are our body’s way of trying to slow us down and pay attention) or over time in the form of anxiety, stress, depression and ‘lady-parts’ dis-eases like Endometriosis, PCOS, fibroids.
– We’re not listening to the wisdom of our bodies and our monthly cycle because we’re medicating her with synthetic hormones—the pill, implants, coils.
– We’ve not been taught what a ‘regular’ flow looks and feels like because menstruation is still seen as taboo subject. It’s spoken about in hushed tones and advertising teaches us to ‘stuff up’ our bleed with tampons so we can ‘carry on as usual’ partying, riding on boats and rollerskating in white jeans – this is shown as ‘normal’ when it’s anything but for most women.

TN: I love your term ‘called girl’ for a woman who’s in touch with her cycle—can you give an example of how this looks from your life?
LL: The Called Girl experiences life moment-to-moment. She’s in tune with the feminine cycles, rhythms and seasons that allow her to fully own her divine power. She works in, not out. She trusts herself and thoroughly enjoys inhabiting a female body.

A Called Girl doesn’t hold on too tight to a defined and specific outcome. Instead she shows up, roots into mumma earth, listens to her pussy, trusts her gut, raises her heart and boobs to the sun and remains open to the infinite possibilities that occur when you collaborate with what I call SHE.

I trust my body’s wisdom and the way that SHE (divine/source/goddess) uses my cycle to work through me. Each and every month in each and every phase, I unravel and unfold more and more understanding about the woman that I am.

This means I can grow strong and powerful roots in the truth of why I’m here, what I need to learn, who I’m here to serve and how I’m meant to do it—meaning I can fully rise as a woman who trusts herself and is fiercely in her SHE power. Rarrrr!

Crowned ‘the defender of female awesomeness’ by Cooler magazine, Lisa Lister is the author of Love Your Lady Landscape and Code Red. She’s a menstrual, fertility and reproductive health practitioner and founder of the SHE Flow system; a personal invite to celebrate the fiercely feminine, sensual pleasure of being a woman through movement, massage, mysteries and magic. Discover more at www.thesassyshe.com