Article about Red Moon
In this article I will be using Miranda Gray's book "Red Moon" (ISBN 1-85230-496-0). You may be interested in purchasing it as it has far more to offer than I can tell you in this brief discussion. For example she has a way to create a moon dial to follow your own personal menstrual cycle and how each stage affects you. If you are interested in looking deeply into this aspect of yourself I would recommend your getting the book.
Many of us are used to thinking of the triple Goddess (maiden, mother, crone). Miranda has added a fourth aspect, a hidden one representing the dark mother, the one to whom all souls return waiting for rebirth. We find these aspects in many of the old folk tales.
Looking at these aspects in terms of a woman's life we first see the Maiden portrayed as energizing and dynamic, reflecting the increasing light of the waxing moon. Next comes the Bright Mother, nurturing and fertile, reflecting the radiating light of the full moon. Finally we see the Crone or Enchantress, holder of wisdom and the powers of the inner world. She reflects the increasing darkness of the waning moon. The waning moon leads us into the hidden aspect of the dark moon. Here is where will find the dark mother or Hag, portrayed as death and the soul of the divine. In this phase of a women's lifetime her soul is released to be reborn.
Likewise these aspects from folk tales can be seen in the wheel of the year and our lunar month. The young beautiful virgin or innocent maiden represents the pre-ovulatory phase of the waxing crescent moon, the dynamic energies of Spring, and the energies of renewal and inspiration. The good mother or Queen represents the time of ovulation, the full moon and the fullness of the energies of Summer including sustenance and empowerment. The pre-menstrual Enchantress or Crone represents the withdrawing energies of Autumn and the increasing darkness of the waning moon. She holds her wise blood within which gives her the power of deep magic. The Enchantress has the ability to enchant and challenge men. In the old stories she is often portrayed as the initiator of death or disaster necessary for growth. Finally we have the ugly old woman or Hag who represents the menstrual phase of withdrawn energy and the lost beauty of the land in Winter. If you look carefully into the incredibly wrinkled face of the Hag you will see her love and understanding of eternity. She is the dark moon and the bringer of transformation, gestation and inner darkness.
It is thought by many that all women used to menstruate around the new moon and ovulate around the full moon. Whether this is true or not it is interesting to look at the energies of our cycles according to these moon phases. For those of us who are moon pause women (menopausal) we can follow the moon and her energies completely. Some of you may find your periods are in phase with the moon cycles at least part of the time. Others will not. In that case you will be following two energy cycles throughout the month.
Some women are concerned because their cycles do not match those of the moon. In our modern society few women's do. Also some women will find that their 'moontime' comes on the full moon instead of the new. There are some things you can try that may help you periods come into tune with the moon. Try them if you wish but don't be that concerned if it doesn't work.
The most obvious way is to simply spend more time gazing at Grandmother Moon. In order to do this you need to have a sense of when she will be visible for you. If you can remember that at the new moon the sun and moon rise and set together you have a good base to work from. Each day the moon rises about an hour later (she completes the cycle of 24 hours in about 29 days). So the new moon rises about 6 am, the 1st quarter moon rises about noon, the full moon rises about 6 pm and the last quarter moon rises about midnight. If you can keep that in mind you will have some idea of when to look for the moon and where in the sky. These times are very approximate as many factors go into this, but they can be an easy guide.
Gazing at a moonless sky is wonderful as well. Some women have also tried duplicating the moon phases in their bedroom by having a night light of some sort on at full moon and having the room very dark at the time of the new moon.
Also women have found it helps if they set an intention to adapt their cycles to the moon as a group. I have no idea how well this would work but I have noticed that women who spend a lot of time together tend to cycle close together.
Whether these measures change your cycles or not time spending outdoors in moon light is a beautiful gift we can give ourselves. And don't forget to look for her during the day as well. You will be surprised how much of the time she is looking down at you from that daylit sky.
Like the moon woman's body waxes as the womb fills in readiness for the seed. Fluid increases in her body. Her energy usually increases as well. At this time she is free from the procreative cycle and belongs only to herself. She is more likely to feel self confidant and sociable. Mundane aggravations are less a problem at this time. She feels more ambitious and can concentrate better and achieve more. Her outlook on life is more joyous. At his time in her cycle she is prone to feel her emotions and sexuality at a deep level. She may find that she requires less sleep.
It is a good time to stimulate you body with exercise and outdoor activities. It is also a good time to do activities that activate your mind. Enjoy this phase and use the energy it brings to catch up on things undone through the more inward parts of your cycle.
Think about what you could use this renewed dynamic energy for. What project have you been longing to start? How could you organize your life better? Its a good time to tackle your finances.
In her book "Red Moon" Miranda Gray pictures the phase after a woman's bleeding stops as the Maiden phase and compares it to the Virgin Goddess. If you have a long flow this phase may even start a bit sooner.
The Maiden/Virgin is mentally and physically dynamic. It is easy for her to see structure, to itemize and prioritize, to begin new projects and retain enthusiasm to get them started in spite of any obstacles into the way.
She is independent and requires less support, comfort and encouragement from others. She has an inner drive to push things through what she believes in against any opposition. She is the protector of the weak and fights injustice.
The Virgin is the active side of women's inner nature. Deep feeling and intuitions become the focus for determined action. Creative energies appear in inspirations. She is ready to take on the world <G>.
This phase needs to be balanced with the other phases. If the virgin phase dominates a woman may find herself totally involved in her career and trying to be like a man with out honoring the other aspects of herself. On the other hand she may shy away from expressing these energies at all because she fears the men in her life or society in general would not approve.
Like the full moon woman's womb is full and ready as it nears the time of ovulation. A woman's body swells to fullness. She offers the potential of creating new life. Not only in terms of having child but also in terms of beginning new creations of all sorts. Perhaps a piece of art, or a project at work, or a woman's group. The possibilities are infinite.
Miranda Gray pointed out to that many women unaware of this phase because this is how they expect to be all the time. An interesting thought to me. This is when we are how our society thinks we should be.
At this time women are naturally more loving, selfless, and able to care for and sustain and support others. Relationships and contact with others is important at this time. It is a good time for getting out to see friends and for spending time with your family. You will need to be careful to avoid spreading your self too thin as you may find you have become a magnet drawing people to you who need your help and support.
Ask yourself how you want to use this ability to be full of openness, love, caring and strength. How are you going to use this ability to support others? What will you plan to do with these outgoing , creative energies.
It is a good time to build relationships, communicate with other and build ties that will sustain you through the rest of your cycle. Sexuality you may find yourself to be strong and open, but not aggressive. You have the energy and concern to help those who need you. You tend to be confidant in your abilities now so it is a good time to get stuck projects moving as well as starting new ones.
In the book "Red Moon" the phase around ovulation is described as the mother phase. The Mother phase is a time of strength and energy but expressed in a more selfless way than it was in the Virgin phase. The energy is more radiating than dynamic. This phase balances the outward expression of energy with the with the inner expression of love and caring. It is a phase that can bring contentment and wholeness with a deep feeling of love and harmony.
The focus of the Mother phase is outward, toward others and not toward yourself as it was in the Virgin phase. Because of this you have the ability to take on more responsibility for others, to care for and love them offering then guidance, counseling and compassion.
Again we need to look at the balance of the phases here. A woman who represses her Mother energy may miss the joy of deep bonding with other people. On the other hand a woman who lets this phase dominate can become passive, without ambition for her own life and without self-confidence beyond the home.
Most likely if you cycle follows the moon you will be in your moontime (menses) around the new moon. This is called the White Moon cycle. Yet we find that many women have the opposite cycle in which they are in their moon at the time of the full moon. This Red Moon cycle reminds us of the full moon rising through a thick atmosphere resulting in a blood red moon.
Miranda Gray writes this in her book "Red Moon". "The Red Moon cycle shows an orientation away from the expression of the energies in procreation and the material world and towards inner development and its expression." So with the Red Moon you may find when you ovulate at the dark of the moon a seed will be planted for deep inner knowledge and awareness. You will then be able to bring what you have learned to the light of the manifest world.
In her book "Red Moon" Miranda Gray describes the time between ovulation and menses as the Enchantress phase.
When the egg is released and not fertilized a woman experiences a deepening of the inner side of her nature. Physical strength and stamina gradually wane just as the moon wanes. Many women feel agitated and restless with an increasing need for activity but without real direction for this need. Instead is displays itself a restlessness and feeling of dissatisfaction with things. Though there is an increasing need for sleep the mind is often to hyperactive to allow for this need. Women often find themselves less able to cope with the problems and pressures of life, especially as they near the end of the phase.
With these feeling of irritability comes the inspiration to let go of some of the things that are not working in our life. A woman may find she is sharp, quick to say what she thinks and intolerant of what is unnecessary.
With the Enchantress phase comes a need to interact with and learn more about your inner world. You may find you are more interested in esoteric, spiritual or psychological subjects. Learning skills such as herbalism, aromatherapy, healing and astrology may interest you at this time. You my find you are more psychic and may experience vivid visionary dreams. It is important that you find an outlet for this increasingly inward and intuitive energy. It is a wonderful time to get out your tarot cards and work with them.
Toward the end of this phase awareness of the material world increases, senses sharpen, creative ideas increase. You may find yourself becoming increasingly restless, emotional and empathic at this time. Your concentration and thought processes may become increasingly more illogical and emotional.
Again we need to look at balance. The woman who is unable to express the enchantress energies may find that these energies emerge in negative ways such as eating disorders or in manic or compulsive behavior. The woman who let the Enchantress energies dominate her life may become aggressive and domineering with little thought or tolerance for other people.
Miranda Gray wrote to me that this premenstrual phase is a wonderful phase! "Everything comes to the surface and boils over in frustration, anger, restlessness, creative energy, impulse, intuition, primal instinct, power, magic, desire and mania." Nothing is left hidden. It is a perfect time to look at your life and see what changes need to be made. Use the intolerance you feel at this time to cut away the pressures and commitments and those aspects of relationships that are not longer necessary or which are the cause of the problems.
As our subconscious and deeper levels rise to the surface we often find it difficult to meet our needs resulting in frustration, anger intolerance. Our society expects us to continue as usual but we are not the same so we become frustrated and angry at ourselves. This can result in guilt, self- reproach and destructive self analysis. Often I hear women putting themselves down when they are premenstrual, a if it is a weakness in them that they should be able to control.
The restlessness and frustration during this time often develops out of the restriction of the creative energies that have built up. The challenge here is to find a way to let these energies flow in a creative sense. First look at how you can use the destructive energies to clear away the old and unwanted in you life. Also try using this energy for creative projects that you may or may not want to keep. Some ideas that came to me are the making of a shield, the writing of a poem or the drawing a picture of how you feel. These kinds of things are more for self understanding than for others to see.
This energy may also be released through physical activity. Let you body tell you what kind or how much it needs. This is not the time to make a goal in terms of exercise. The energy comes in bursts and often you have no long term stamina.
Physically your energies decline. You have less stamina and concentration. You need more sleep. Recognize you need for withdrawal and plan less social time and more time for yourself during this time. Try to find time to yourself or with a trusted when you can let your emotions flow instead of damming them up.
As you become more aware of your cycles and more understanding of yourself you will gradually find this premenstrual times less stressful.
Miranda Gray in her book "Red Moon" visualizes our moon time or menses as the phase of the Dark Mother or Hag. She is the dark moon and the bringer of transformation, gestation and inner darkness.
I want to start by mentioning what a difference it makes to simply call your period your moontime. It makes you fell totally different about yourself. As if you are special and blessed by the moon. Trailstalker added even more to this picture by posting this message.
"You might want to check the phrase "on my moon"...I used to call it that and was somewhat sternly(?) <G> corrected by a Native American woman who informed me that "we do not ride the moon like some huge kotex ... we are not ON the moon.... we are IN our moontimes... they fill us and we become them".... it's like existing in Springtime, Summer, Autumn, Winter.... Moontime.... etc. She was really kinda indignant about it "
Miranda Gray points out that his phase brings a need for quiet and a need to be still. "Most women's lives are so hectic that they do not allow themselves to menstruate naturally. The body loses the blood but the tampon reduces the woman's awareness of this and she carries on as 'normal'. Perhaps needing to push herself even harder both mentally and physically in order to achieve her usual working expectations. In many cases, a woman may wonder why she is so tired and unable to work, only to remember that she is menstruating"
Miranda points out that it is important to slow your pace down at this time. Be sure to plan some inner time for yourself and perhaps some quiet time with other women. "Once you start to allow yourself to slow down, you will find this process comes naturally and will alter the comparative urgency and priorities of things you have to do."
Miranda points out that at the time of bleeding the barriers between the conscious and sub conscious are lowered, enabling you to open up and interact body consciousness. " Although withdrawn, the phase is not negative; there is often a feeling of acceptance and of being a part of everything and this is an opportunity for you to allow you inner expression in your waking mind."
It is a time of stillness, trance like withdrawal. At this time you need to sleep and dream. You may feel a sense of interconnectedness, spiritual awareness and love. Out of this rest can come inspiration and insight. Trust your awareness at this time. It is a good time for meditation and prayer.
You may find that you cry easily. Do not try to stifle you tears. "Crying results in the flow of energies which can become part of the healing during menstruation. the emotions of grief are also a reflection of the awareness of death, and the end of the old cycle and of loss, which are all a part of the monthly link between the woman and the rhythms of life." Because you are very sensitive and empathic at this time you may need to protect yourself from the TV news and the newspaper. You cannot carry the grief and emotions of the whole world.
Again we need to look at balance. If a woman lets the nature of this phase dominate she may develop a tendency to live in her dreams and fantasies. On the other hand if she represses it she will also repress the inner strength and wisdom which she holds within herself and find that she is unable to deal with change.
It will take time to change you life style enough to really value this time. Start with something small. Like some time to yourself the evening that you moontime starts.