A woman is a spiral. A woman is a never-ending ritual.
Note: for the purpose of this article, we’ve used the terms ‘woman’ and ‘women’ to refer to those whose biological gender is female. However, community is vitally important to Channel Void, and we recognise that there is a desperate need for more inclusive language to represent people who may menstruate, without identifying as female.
Every time I bleed, I fall into myself. To bleed is to know the seasons of my flesh, to know my fertile lands and unseeded soil. To bleed is to embody life and death at the same time, and to realise that the veil between the two is very thin and fleeting indeed. As a doula, I’ve come to understand how treading this veil is the dance of the divine feminine; always in-between the seen and the unseen worlds, our bodies show us the path of birthing spirit into flesh.
The fact that most modern girls do not grow up with sacred knowledge of their periods connects to all the various ways in which our oppression expresses itself in daily life. Perhaps the greatest form of oppression is the idea that we have turned the most magical bodily ritual into a mundane act—a nuisance, really. So many of us are taught to hide our blood, to feel shame for our blood, to cover it up in a discreet disappearance act. To plug her up, to cover her smell, to avoid all traces of her existence.
When we hide from our blood, we hide from ourselves.
My first period was a mundane thing. There was no ritual or celebration, it was treated as c’est la vie— or worse, a curse— something that I now had to put up with. I remember being thirteen, feeling awkward in my own bones, and feeling embarrassed at the thought that anyone should know I was on my period. I would constantly check my pants to see if I had bled through— I never did— but that didn’t keep me from making way too many visits to the bathroom in between classes.
It wasn’t until my early twenties that I began to feel comfortable with the idea of touching my own blood. At first, it was a thing of necessity— after suffering from chronic yeast and BV infections, I intuitively started to heal myself with holistic methods. Naturally, this led me to question my second-nature use of tampons— filled with mysterious chemicals that companies are not even required to list on the packaging. So I started to use a menstrual cup, and there I was, digging my fingers into my bleeding pussy… only to find that I wasn’t disgusted, I wasn’t embarrassed. I was actually turned on. Using the cup was the beginning of a deeply spiritual exploration with myself, a journey that has taken years to unravel within the spiral.
Releasing shame was the first step. Releasing the pressure by the clock of contemporary time to overexert my body was the second step— to do less, to be quiet, to move slowly during my period without asking for permission. Remembering the ancient rituals of my afro-indigenous roots and listening to the guidance of my ancestors was the third, and most important step.
My period has now become a time of deep spiritual work, a time for travelling the unseen worlds that live within this one. Every month, my body bleeds by keeping her own time with the moon, bringing me back to a vulnerable and potent place beyond the veils of veils.
Everything begins with this blood. It is the blood of possibility, the primal waters that nourish the soils of the womb to welcome new life. Bleeding is therefore an invitation to remember with the cyclical, spiral memory of our body. It is divine intelligence taking over us and calling us back to the rituals of old. In this way, a bleeding woman becomes a messenger, a translator for the soul-work that must be done if we are to heal as lovers, as daughters, and as leaders.
This is the liminal place from which I draw the most potent inspiration. When I let myself flow with the current of blood. I feel myself as an ongoing river, a continuation of my mother’s blood, and my grandmother’s, and the many mothers that have come before me.
When I see and feel my menses as ritual—the first ritual to birth all others— I return to the truth of my power as a woman.
Ritual is as important as ever, to come into ancient and wild remembrance within ourselves, even as the world becomes faster, more demanding, and more disconnected from nature. There are many ritualistic practices that have been passed down to me from my ancestors and from my fellow afro-indigenous sisters. I will share some of my simple, favourite ones here. If you seek other rituals, trust that they will find you. Most importantly, the best ones are not found in books or articles or social media videos— they are pulled from a place deep within you, brought up from the well of your womb, your most ancient space.
The Blood Facial:
One of the oldest indigenous practices. Collecting blood in your menstrual cup during your full bleed, bring loving intention to this practice. See what emotions come up— shame? disgust? pleasure? One of the main things to notice, as we work towards dynamic health, is the smell of our blood. Stagnation or a poor diet may lead to strong odours, but strong blood has an almost neutral smell. So as you check in with your blood, you’re also doing a self-healing assessment and establishing monthly check-ups. The facial itself is beneficial in many ways— because menstrual blood is rich in stem cells, it can help to rejuvenate a youthful glow and heal acne/pigmentation. As you apply the blood, speak power into this process, connect to your wild feminine through your reflection in the mirror, and watch yourself embody a new sensation of fearlessness. You may leave the facial on for 20 minutes, refreshing yourself with rosewater sprays throughout for hydration. The glow is next-level.
The Earth Offering:
A common ancient land practice was to fertilise the lands with our blood by free-bleeding into the earth. There is a Hopi prophecy that states, “When the women give their blood back to the earth, men will come home from war and earth shall find peace.” When the connection between our menstrual blood and the earth is severed, it creates disharmony in the natural world. Women and earth are the same, we give birth to the many diverse iterations of life on this planet— and so it is vital that we feed the earth, so that she may regenerate and heal. Blood is also rich in macronutrients like phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium, which are vital for abundant plant growth. You may dilute your collected blood from your menstrual cup at a ratio of about 1:10 to feed your houseplants with fresh nutrients. Please note that free-bleeding onto the earth is one of the most powerful sacred rituals, and should not be done on occupied or stolen indigenous land unless you are granted permission from the local ancestors and elders. It is recommended that you bleed onto your ancestral land when possible.
The Love Offering:
To make love or offer your blood to a divine partner is to create the deepest love bond. This practice must be done only with the most unconditional loving intention. As you offer your blood in sacred communion, you may give life
to birthing new worlds, deep generational healing, and infinite spiritual potency. Channelled visions and messages from the unseen worlds may reveal themselves during this ritual, and as such must be done with the highest spiritual vibration.
Most importantly, we must embody the knowledge that our blood is rich, that it is potent fluid filled with life-giving potential. What we choose to nourish our blood with will sprout new life. So when we bleed, may we be filled with intention, softness, and listening for the whispers of our ancestors.
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