Last month I was sent a DVD to review, "Bloodtime Moontime Dreamtime: Women Bringing Forth Change" by Roberta Cantow, and it is probably one of the best things I have been sent to review in quite some time. While this isn't a post about the review itself, the documentary gave me such a vast appreciation for womyn who embraced their blood mysteries and were willing to share it with others. I was inspired and wishing I had seen this last week when my own blood was here.
One of the systers from ADC is actually in the documentary which was a treat to watch her share her wisdom among the other brilliant contributors to this powerful piece. What really captivated me in the beginning piece was the imagery and contradiction of violent blood and how often we see it, even encourage it, in modern film and yet a mere mention of a womyn's blood becomes something disgusting and shameful and not to be spoken of. While I think this is no true secret, to take a moment and step back and review, just in film for example, just how prolific blood really is... blood in war; blood in murder; blood in mythological storytelling (such as vampires); blood in murder; blood in rape... these are things we, sadly, see too much of, but a mention or a viewing of blood in menarche; blood in childbirth; blood in ritual; blood poured over fertile land in celebration and honor... that becomes taboo, and our society encourages the secrecy and shame of it.
In the second portion there was a womyn who shared a passage from her journal of her menarche, and it was just incredibly moving to watch her read this passage and speak of taking time for a "bleeding day", how it connects her to her grandmother, to her mother, to her young girl self and the powerful message of "I don't have to be sick to go there" was such an enlightening moment.
I think of days spent in bed when sick, when overly tired trying to get caught up on just a little bit of rest, for lovemaking, even those moments where I snuggle with my daughter, covering us up under the blanket and telling her stories or simply for "tickle torture" sessions that have become the norm. All valid reasons for hanging in the bed, but I don't remember taking a "bleeding day" since childhood, and even then it was more for cramps and pain that I believed was simply part of the process of our blood.
I take rest during my moontime now, to not really do any work, to just reflect and relax and be... the simply gift of being, but as womyn we convince ourselves that we don't have the time or simply can't, for one reason or another, and we continue to put ourselves on the back-burner of life. But a "bleeding day"? Brilliant. I can see myself laying in bed, journal nearby, book to read, perhaps if I still had a television in my room I could spend time laughing with my daughter watching "Ellen"... though the "bleeding day" isn't indicative of laying in bed all day, simply to honor ourselves for the blood we release...
I loved the messages of connection that was expressed, how our blood connects us not only to our ancestors, but to our future as well. It is a constant cycle of beauty, but if you look at other womyn who have hurt, trauma, anger, or sadness associated with their blood, it's anything but beautiful.
One womyn on the film said something to the effect of how you sort of program your experience of your blood based on your mother's expression when you had your first blood... how true. It's not to say that later we can't reprogram it, but imagine how much pain and trauma we could save ourselves if the expression we received was in joy?
I was quite fortunate, my mother's expression of my menarche was of utter joy and celebration. She made it a day completely about me, and I looked at blood beautifully, though slightly strangely as an 8-9 year first bleeding.
Yes, I was quite young, younger than all of my friends, even my sister, or my mother who first bled at the late age of 19. It was a strange place to be, as someone who hadn't even developed breasts yet bleeding so early. So early... I did attach some embarrassment there, needing to wear pads at an age where girls could hop into a pool without concern, their "innocent" and naive nature still in tact, while my father's horror stories of needing to "be careful" around boys added a slight sheer of terror. Then again, he hadn't expected to have "the talk" with his 8-9 year old daughter who had gotten her first period the day before their vacation away...
I remember days making my 6 year old sister go to the store to buy pads. I figured the male clerk would know, would look at me in that way my father had told me boys would, and I was terrified. I can still remember, in mock horror now, my father talking about the "scent" that attracts boys. It's true in all animals, but at that age one clearly does not want to hear this from their father, though in retrospect it does give me something to laugh about now, as an adult womyn. He meant well, but that horror stuck with me for a while.
One of the things I found most interesting was this one author speaking about how she came to an acceptance and love for her moontime and how that ceased her cramping. It's quite true. I really don't have cramps anymore, and if I do, it's my body's way of reconnecting me to what's going on inside that I may not be paying attention to. While I admit I'm not one of those diva-cup wearing, pouring the stored blood into the earth womyn, I do have great reverence for my blood, and I honor the connection it brings me spiritually within this world and beyond at that beautiful time. I can't imagine those that take special pills to get it only 4 times a year... it's release of toxins, it's spiritual connectivity, it's a beautiful mystery of wombynhood... we've become a society poisoned by patriarchy that we don't speak about our moontime, that our blood is ugly and shameful instead of beautiful and powerful...
I'm grateful to not have had the experience of being shamed from the beginning for my menarche, but instead celebrated for entering into wombynhood, even at the tender age of 8-9. It brings fond memories and ones that I hope to cherish and share with my own daughter in ritual when the time comes.
I was incredibly inspired by this documentary, and I felt my own matrix shifting and shaping once more within my universe, especially with the final piece of "Creating Art and Ritual". It's been a while since I have taken paint to canvas. A system of release, I had abandoned writing for a while in favor of expression through visual art. It was incredibly healing. My art itself has shifted with more focus on the written word, but watching that aspect of the documentary reminded me of just how much I miss that expressive art, in that manner. It's still there, still utilized, but not nearly as much as I would like.
I'm encouraged that a documentary like this is out, for others to experience and nurture, to honor and celebrate, and to heal within themselves, and collectively as womyn. It pieced together so delicately the truth of each womyn being One womyn, and their brave stories open the pathway to healing themselves as well as healing each other. That is what sisterhood and community is all about. It's facilitation in a beautiful dance that connects one to the other to the other... I long to see that dance emerge more fluidly in our world, though we have some great dancers weaving that web now...