How might it have been different for you, if on your first menstrual day, yourr motherhad given you a bouquet of flowers and taken you to lunch, and then the two of you had gone to meet your father at the jeweller where your ears were pierced and your father bought you your first pair of earrings, and then you went with a few friends with a few of your mother’s friends to get your first lip coloring, and then you went for the very first time to the Women’s lodge to learn the wisdom of women. How might your life have been different?
Judith Durek, Circle of Stone
In Celtic cultures, a woman’s life was divided into three stages- the maiden (flower) the mother (fruit) and the elder woman (the seed).
The ebb and flow of energy and creativity during the menstrual cycle of the maiden years offers a woman an opportunity to connect with her inner knowing and can be likened to an alternating electrical current. During menopause, or the stage of elder woman, the flow of energy becomes intensified and steady and more like a direct current. We are charged with the energy to the degree we have opened to the energy of the seed. And a wise woman “reseeds” her community with her wisdom.
In some cultures a woman could not be a Shaman until she was menopausal. These older women had great power and scrutinized all tribal decisions. They were not afraid to speak their mind and say a strong no to anything that did not serve life.
The natural expression of wisdom and personal power is thwarted in our culture. In our modern world, we have forgotten the wisdom of the wise woman as medical system would have us believe that this is a time for everything to shut down, atrophy and whither. Many midlife women spend more energy trying to hang on their youth and beauty than they do acknowledging and expressing their passion and the energy of their experience and knowing. Instead, this energy is often turned inward and can result in a number of symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, feeling lost and the inability to peel back the layers to a new identity.
After many years, the cultural negativity of menopause is being challenged. With our life span increasing from 48 years in 1900 to an average of 84 years today, menopause is the “springtime’ of the second half of our life. And though the years of perimenopause, where the hormonal shift from "mother" to seed is in full swing can leave a woman feeling like she is just trying to survive life and its demands, the hormonal balance that occurs in menopause will leave her free to pursue creative interests and social actions. That is, if she understands that this is what is going on.
Menopause signals a passage into the “wisdom years”. The physical, biochemical and emotional changes that occur during this transition, which can begin as early as a woman’s late thirties, are only now being understood. This period in a woman’s life has the potential for creating one of the most rewarding and creative times of her life. However, if not understood, it can also contribute to health concerns such as depression and chronic illness.
Yoga is a an ancient science of health and well being for the body, mind and emotions. According to yogic philosophy, the human being is made of several layers or "koshas" from the physical to the subtle. There are five koshas representing the physical systems, energy systems pyscho-emotional patterns, wisdom and intuition and our true inner self .
The changes that occur during menopause are reflected in these "koshas". While there are well known physical symptoms, it is the changes in the more subtle layers that may take some women by surprise and can have a negative affect on her health. This is a time when the wounded egos of childhood offer an invitation for healing- an invitation that may not seem like much of a party to start with, but can finally allow a woman to let go of the past in order to reinvent herself and have the healthy mind and body that will serve her for the remainder of her years. And there is no pill that can do this for her.
Dr. Christiane Northrup
Women's Health Expert, Visionary Health Pioneer, Wellness Speaker, and New York Times Best-Selling Author
Dr. Jerilynn C. Prior
Dr. Jerilynn C. Prior is a Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism (the study of hormones and glands) at the University of British Columbia and is the Scientific Director of the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research, (CeMCOR).
Marianne Williamson is a spiritual teacher, author and lecturer. She has published ten books, including four New York Times #1 bestsellers.
Heal Your Life
Heal Your Life is a website that offers a multitude of article, blogs, book reviews and on line live events with topics ranging from affirmations to self-esteem to healing and health- and everything in between.
Joyous Woman! With Sukhvincer Sircar