Honouring the bleeding time of the menstrual cycle.
Moonlodge is the Native American name for the special place that women gathered together or went to alone, for peace and tranquillity during the bleeding time of their cycle. Another name for a similar sacred women only space is the Red Tent.
In the old times before electricity and when we lived together as a community, the women all bled at the same time, the dark of the moon. They would retreat together to the Moonlodge, the Red Tent, and enjoy their bleeding time free of the concerns of their daily lives. They usually spent three days away from their families, just with other women. They would talk together, rest, dream, care for themselves and each other. It was a nurturing environment that they all loved and appreciated. During this retreat time they would often together discuss and figure out any problems that were occurring in their lives or in the community. Many of the women would have prophetic dreams during this time. The women would be blessed with a vision on their third day of bleeding and this would be shared with the whole community on their return. The community hugely valued and relied on these visions the women would return with and used them as instruction for direction and focus for the community.
A woman has a cyclical nature, her energy levels and emotional state, like the tides of the oceans, ebb and flow. When she can take time to retreat at her bleeding time, to honour her need for rest and inward reflection then she can be more available during the rest of her cycle. If she honours the energy and needs of her cycle she will be less likely to experience such symptoms as PMS, which happens to get her to retreat anyway! Moonlodge can be just as much a state of mind as a literal place. To take time during her bleeding time to feel how she feels, to care for and nurture herself, will have a huge effect on how she feels the rest of her cycle. Moonlodge as a way of being could be simply a special bath, a massage, quiet time to read and write in her journal, maybe even an early night to bed.
Our cycles are us and we must honour and care for ourselves to be well, healthy and happy.