Inside every woman is an amazing tool for empowerment. It is personally tailored to both your body and soul, you can use it without anyone knowing and it is free. It is easy to access although it can take time to understand. It can keep you on track with your monthly goals; increase your inner knowledge and can even enhance your attractiveness and magnetism! Using it can deepen your spirituality and create room for the sacred. It can also unlock your sexuality and teach you intimately about your body and its powers. This gift is your menstrual bleeding.

Our first calendars were linked to our menstrual cycle and across the ancient world menstruation was revered and used as potent medicine and in sacred fertility rights.

1. The trouble is that we have had at least two thousand years of misinformation and bad education about our bleeding and our wombs. We have been told over countless generations that our menstruation is the ?Curse of Eve? and the ?function of the devil?. Once upon a time women who worked with our wombs were herbalists, midwives, wise women and elders2. But those who sought to teach or use it were branded as witches and killed3, so the womb knowledge taught to daughters became silent and the sacred rites of our womb time were lost.

So we now live in a culture where menstrual blood is taboo4 and for many women the idea that their monthly period could be a tool for empowerment seems laughable. We have been taught not to pay any particular attention to our bleeding and when we do bleed we go about our business as if nothing out of the ordinary is happening5. We call it our ?curse? and mean it. We are living in a time where our wombs are never our own. We are the a generation of women raised with the availability of the contraceptive pill and en masse we have been altering our natural menstrual cycle for years, even decades. We seek drugs to stop our pain, pills to control its flow, drugs to enhance our fertility and experts to show us how to birth.

However, each time the uterus sheds its lining, as a snake sheds its skin, we are literally released from the past ? from what might have been and set free into the future6. Your natural menstrual cycle can be a powerful organisational planner and when used as such can gift you with phenomenal self knowledge and awareness. Our bodies have their own rhythm and our wombs set their tone. Each month our wombs cyclically rest, renew, rebuild and replenish. We create the power for life. Then release, rest and replenish all over again. Our bleeding time is our opportunity to evaluate the month before. What did we experience and achieve? What do we need to heal, nurture, and move on from? What is it that we intend for the next month?

If you want to start working with your womb, start by writing down key aspects of your monthly cycle. Over a period of at least three months consciously tune in to your womb space every day. Note down in your diary or on a calendar: the day of the month and the day of your cycle and then note if your are experiencing any bodily discomfort (bloating, pain, breast tenderness); what your energy levels are like; your mood, your sexual drive; any stress or illnesses and if you are craving any particular foods. Then when your bleeding comes, write down the colour, clotting and consistency of your blood. Over time patterns will reveal themselves and give you insights that are enlightening and rewarding.

?The most revealing thing for me?, said Adrianna a mother of two girls who started using her menstrual wisdom three years ago. ?Was that I began to see how I unconsciously planned large demanding projects on the first or second days of my bleeding. This is when I have the greatest need for down time. I began to see how I was sabotaging myself; the extra exertion would have been demanding at anytime but on those particular days it left me drained both physically and emotionally. I am better at saying no now?.

Imagine that you used your own cycle to create your rhythm of life. Not clocks, calendars, school terms or work schedules. You claimed your own rhythm first and then organised your commitments around you. Imagine if you used your bleeding every month for down time. Not necessarily the whole bleeding time, just your heaviest day, and the day you feel most tired. Imagine if you gave yourself one well loved and respected day off a month. Imagine if once a month you intentionally planned to have a work day of no appointments or interviews, a day you left on time and went straight home to a hot bath, a meal someone else cooked and an early night in bed. Could you do it? Have you ever tried? How would your life be different?

?I was twenty when I first started really paying attention to my monthly bleeding?, says Rebecca a 34 year old mother working from home. ?I used to get severe cramps and spent at least the first three days with painkillers and a hot water bottle. What I noticed was that the months that my womb hurt were the times that I had not listened to my own judgement or had not respected either my power or sensitivity as a woman. Or that I was in desperate need of self nurturing and my afternoons curled up in an armchair were the only time I ever claimed it. I rarely get pain these days, but when I do I recognise that it?s my body demanding that I take notice!?

Your womb can teach you unique signs of when you are fertile and when you aren?t. Every woman?s cycle is unique and every month can inform her through its pre and post ovulatory length, the type of blood, its flow and consistency on her state of illness and wellness. When outside of the control of the contraceptive pill, a women?s cycle can inform her of the precise time she can create life and also when it is safe to have unprotected sex. When tracking her cycle over time a woman can start to predict the rhythm of her monthly cycle and if it is not cyclic it can be the key hole of diagnosis.

By tracking the patterns and nature of your cycle you will be able to tune into a deeper power – your own sexuality. You can track the times that you are most wanting sex and also least likely. You will be able to learn natural methods of contraception that are equally as successful as the contraceptive pill and without adverse side affects7. Over time you will also begin to notice the emotional and spiritual nuances of your natural rhythms, like when you are your most creative, when you have your shortest fuse or when are predictably your most vulnerable. You will begin to know a deeper part of your self and claim it as real. Listening to your womb can give you the most precious gift – knowledge of your self.

Mixed in your menstrual blood is the power to create life. Mixed also in your blood is a conduit that through DNA, cellular memory and spirit, links you to all of the women who came before you. Imagine that you could use your premenstruum to draw on their wisdom. Imagine that the reason why we feel crabby, raw and wild is because we are holding a dam full of power waiting to burst. Imagine that we feel dreamy, bloated and sensitive because we are in that time a body of liquid sensitive to all the emotional ripples around us. Imagine that every month on the advent of our bleeding time that our wombs are an altar to the Divine, that our bodies are sacred space and that we are in a state that can transform our lives.

An attractive woman is a woman who can clearly set boundaries and ask for help with her limitations. A woman who has cleared away the shame and pain that has blocked her unique femininity is a magnetic woman. She is magnetic because she radiates her loveliness. Inside all women is a powerful tool of empowerment. It is as essential to us as women as breathing is to being human. It can gift us with clarity and insight, but most importantly it can teach us self knowledge and mastery of our self. Your cycle of menstruation can be a gift of empowerment. It can be a space between worlds for and your call home to the sacred.

1 Nobel V (1991) ?Shakti Woman: Feeling our fire healing our world? p15

2 Crecraft H (2005) ?Women?s Rites of Passage: Reconnecting to the source of feminine Power? p39

3 Crecraft H (2005) ) ?Women?s Rites of Passage: Reconnecting to the source of feminine Power? p39

4 Noble V (1991) ?Shakti Woman: Feeling our fire healing our world? p14

5 Noble V (1991) ) ?Shakti Woman: Feeling our fire healing our world? p14

6 Noble V (1991) ?Shakti Woman: Feeling our fire healing our world? p8

7 Naisch F (1991) ?Natural Fertility? p 4