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Menstruation is not a dirty word

Menstruation has become a ‘dirty word’ as the societal, cultural and religious beliefs around it deliberately misconstrue and misrepresent the true sacredness and natural cyclical rhythms of a woman’s body. These subtly unconscious false beliefs are changed by our honouring and celebrating our cycles, reclaiming them as a powerful and significant part of our lives, part of a woman’s living way; her Livingness.

A truly powerful woman is one who knows herself

by the fullness of her cycles.

There is an authority in a woman who knows herself fully by her innate cycles. Yet the historical suppression of a woman’s realisation of herself in full in this way is at the age-old root of keeping a woman in ignorance of her own body, and thus of her power.

In the article ‘A Woman’s Pleasure’ Adrienne Hutchins questions the cultural and historical negative connotation that add to woman’s self retardation in the use of the word ‘hysteria’ (coming from Greek, hysteria meaning uterus) inferring that the very seat of her femaleness could be linked to emotional and mental instability. In fact, over the ages as far back as Hippocrates, there is reference to 'Hysteria' – the disease of the ‘wandering uterus’, which marked the days leading up to a woman’s period. Subsequently, through emerging Christianity, women ‘in hysteria’ were seen not only to be mad, but possessed and forming alliances with the devil. Deliberately demeaning portrayals of women such as these, have fostered negative associations around not only the days of the period, but the whole of a woman’s cycle. [1]

To bleed is the most tangible and visible aspect of a woman's natural rhythm and is therefore the most apparent thing to use as a means to keep her isolated or insinuate she is less than an equal member of humanity. With this legacy, even today women may carry a sense of embarrassment or shame around bleeding that stops her from understanding herself in full and claiming her true potential.

One of the most severe and damaging of these rituals is ‘chhaupadi’, which has come to mean ‘untouchable menstruating woman’ and is still practiced in certain countries across Asia and Africa. The following excerpt offers an example of this debilitating cultural practice, the story of Radha, a young Nepalese woman:

“In Jamu, Radha’s village in western Nepal, her status is lower than a dog’s, because she is menstruating. She is only 16, yet, for the length of her period, Radha can’t enter her house or eat anything but boiled rice. She can’t touch other women – not even her grandmother or sister – because her touch will pollute them. If she touches a man or a boy, he will start shivering and sicken. If she eats butter or buffalo milk, the buffalo will sicken too and stop milking. If she enters a temple or worships at all, her gods will be furious and take their revenge, by sending snakes or some other calamity. Here, menstruation is dirty, and a menstruating girl is a powerful, polluting thing. A thing to be feared and shunned.” [2]

IN TRUTH, a woman’s natural monthly cycle is a blessing and most definitely not

a ‘curse’, a dirty word, nor something to be ashamed about.

Menstruation is a key time for every woman, offering a time to deeply connect and appreciate the wonders of her body and her own natural rhythms. Through the nature of her cycles she can, in the bleeding phase cleanse through the body and start anew each month, and through the symptoms leading up to her period, reflect on and understand the impact of the choices she made throughout the month since her last period. With this deepening awareness of her living way she can modify any choice that did not support her, or support a harmonious way forward.

Menstruation is a time for a woman to deeply connect to herself and also honour the power and healing that is available to her each and every month.

A woman is an integral, equal part of humanity and when she connects to her cycles and to the depth and stillness within, she can feel her equality of worth in the world. She offers a fullness that once known, cannot be denigrated, shamed, or controlled by any taboo or religious belief about this sacred cycle. Menstruation is a deeply honouring time, part of the very nature of a woman. It is anything but a dirty word, it is part of a cycle that has a profoundly beneficial and nurturing impact on our entire society…..when we but allow it.

"Women carry the light that proves we are all from God.

Crush that light and we will never know it."

Written by Victoria Picone & Rosanna Bianchini



[1]. Hutchins Adrienne. “Female Hysteria and the Sacredness of Women.” (2016)

[2]. George Rose. “Blood Speaks” (2014)


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