A Menopause Monologue

“A cyclical shape/structure ( as opposed to linear Aristotelian male orgasm shape/structure) is a female shape/structure, like the Wheel of The Year, like the cyclical menstrual cycle.

What else?

This circular repetitive structure is ubiquitous in paganism – Wicca etc. Like the Maiden Mother Crone cycle, like the Wheel of The year. Paganism perceives life as cyclic, circular, repetitive, coming around again. Connecting with menstruation, and  menopause is the ending of that cyclic life structure.

Do you remember your last period?

Menopause is something that you only become aware of after it has happened.

Do you remember your last period?

Panos by Carina Úbeda

Panos by Carina Úbeda

Our culture makes menstruating women invisible – tampons conceal the blood, sanitize and…what is the word? …Sanitize and deny the existence of menstruation. So that when it ends nobody’s any the wiser.

During the last 3 or 4 years of my periods I consciously chose to use reusable sanitary towels which had to be washed and dried and folded between uses. There was a kind of flappy thing with press studs that popped into my knickers and the clean towel was tucked into this sling. I had to change the towels every time I bled – like every little flow or drop stained the towel. In order to cut down the mess and to stay hygienic  each towel  had to be soaked in water immediately after removing it – or they became permanently stained. They were made in a fluffy kind of brushed cotton, and off-white – they stained easily.

Because the towels had to be changed and soaked at every drop and drip it was difficult to leave the house, a job of work was impossible. I managed a bookshop at the time – a front-facing customer service role – and I couldn’t have just left the floor, gone to the loo, put the soiled towel into a bucket of salt water and left it in the staff toilet, so I arranged to stay home during my periods, I used my holiday allowance visiting ‘auntie’. This made it important, it made my periods  important, it made me aware of them , to respect the blood flow. I felt I got to know my body more in those few years, how my cycles and needs shifted, than at any other time. It was very empowering, very empowering. I made my cycle visible, acknowledged, not denied, not hidden.

Do you remember your last period?

What else?

Invisibility. Invisible if you’re pregnant, invisible if you’re a mother, invisible if you’re childless.

This is all fitting together. Invisibility, invisibility of periods, cyclic periods, cyclic structure, cyclic time, cyclic pagan-time, cyclic pagan-year.

Do you remember your last period?

Is Paganism feminist? It can be goddess-oriented, but I’m not sure it’s Feminist. Is goddess-worship the same as Feminist? Pagan feminists? Feminist pagans? I don’t know. Just because my Paganism is green, feminist, goddess, earth, animal welfare oriented, I don’t think most Pagans are. In fact, the vast majority of Pagans are…I don’t like this train of thought. Think something else.

What else?

Maiden Mother Crone

(chants) We all come from the Goddess and to her we shall return, like a drop of rain falling to the ocean. Hoof and horn, hoof and horn, all that dies shall be reborn. Corn and grain, corn and grain, all that falls shall rise again.

Cyclic.

We are a circle within a circle, with no beginning and never-ending.

Starhawk, obviously, Spiral Dance. Feminist Pagan Eco-Warrior, par for the course.

What else?

What else?

I remember my last period.

It was Lammas sunset seven years ago. I hadn’t had a period for over six months.

I was at a Pagan Ritual Camp with 200 or 300 other Pagans. It was the last night  of the camp and we had built the Wickerman , processed him through the fields and were taking him to the fire-pit to be burned and I remember passing the Priestess, Carol, skyclad under an Oak, welcoming the procession into the field and I felt SO happy, So fucking happy, so completely at one  with it all, In that place, in that ritual, in that time.

We were casting the circle, and they lit the Wickerman, and suddenly  I burst into tears, I couldn’t stop crying, couldn’t stop. I had to leave the ritual circle and go cry in my tent. I cried hard night long.  I cried a cosmic grief in the pain of the childless mother.

Next morning I woke up and there was blood in my knickers and I thought “Oh wow! That’s what that was all about”.

Lammas is the harvest  ritual, is about reaping what you sow, is about reward.

My reward that year was infertility, barrenness, I don’t like those words – I wish there were more positive words for childlessness.

What else?

Is it over yet?

Has time run out for this monologue?

Or is it just my time that has run.”

This piece was originally written during a week of theatre workshops with RashDash physical theatre group, and was subsequently performed with Scramble Ensemble -women’s theatre collective, on 6th September 2017 at J2 The Cambridge Junction.
The image is of Panos by Carina Úbeda, a chilean artist who created an installation with used cloth sanitary towels mounted in embroidery hoops, embroidered with solgans.

Bella Basura 2017

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New Post on Jean Dark’s blog

WTF Have They Done To The Moon?
SHARE if you like sky-clad witches in the moonlight.

The moon is our closest most visible heavenly body and has had influence on human culture for millennia. The moon is seen as a source of divination and knowledge.  There are dozens of known Moon Goddesses across the world and across time. There are goddesses of the full moon, the dark moon, waxing and waning moons, the blood moon and dragon moon…more…

 

Silver Wheel Journal 4


I was recently delighted receive a complimentary copy of Silver Wheel Journal 4 in the post. Silver Wheel Journal – a yearly “anthology of Craft, Druidry, Paganism and Magic”…(read more in Pentacle 39 – see below)…I am also delighted because three of my own pieces – “Alchemilla”, “Moon Shadows & Firelight” and “Walks with Mistletoe”- have been published here in issue 4, alongside Modern Witchcraft luminaries.

One piece of mine that wasn’t accepted for publication is this a house blessing/cursing channelled-poem I wrote about the specifically East-Anglian house-wights – the “Yarthkin”.

I am of Yarthkin, Hearth Sprite, House Wight. I live in your home, behind the fireplace, in the doorways, under the floorboards…more

This book review has been edited in anticipation of an extended version appearing in Issue 39 (yule 2013) of Pentacle Magazine.

This week in Earth Pathways…

Vision of a Sacred Garden

 Back in February 2011 at a Pagan conference in Chester I had the good fortune to take part in a guided pathworking lead by Glennie Kindred, the author of the pagan primer “The Earth’s Cycle of Celebration” and part of the Moonshares Collective who annually produce the Earth Pathway Diary – a pagan “network and resource for Earth lovers, environmentalists, artists, writers and activists”.

On that winter afternoon in the dimly-lit hall Glennie Kindred’s soft calming voice and her drumming drew us deep into ourselves, where she encouraged us to discover and visualise our deep wishes and hopes. Some way in, I found myself immersed in green light, flickering around me like sunlight through pale fresh leaves, I drifted amongst branches creaking in the breeze, I saw and ran in a meadow, danced by a fire, lay back in long grass, gazing at ripe red fruits growing overhead. When I surfaced, still gleaming from my reverie I was handed a bowl of green slips of paper cut into leaf-shapes. I chose a leaf that looked to me like an apple tree leaf and wrote that I had dreamed of a green and magical place, a Sacred Garden to steward.

At the time I lived in a ground floor flat in a 1960s council block. Although it was a comfortable and compact apartment, it was also very square, plain and functional, a blank white box. The strip of garden was a lawn visible from the bedroom window, municipalised by default into an unexciting communal greensward. A twisty shady garden hidden away amongst thickets, like I had envisioned, seemed like a world away…read more

Pele

The Wall of Girls
3.Pele

3.Amanda Hall

Image by Cambridge Book Illustrator – Amanda Hall

This image has delighted and fascinated me for many years since I first bought it printed up as a greetings card. I have come  to imagine the image is of the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes – Pele. Pele is also a goddess of love, and as the somewhat Freudian cigar and phallic cactus suggest the physical nature of that love. Perhaps I am wrong, there is nothing on the card to say who is the figure in the illustration, but I like to think it’s of hot old Pele, basking under a pure blue sky, her feet in a bowl of water to cool her down. I love this picture – I’d like to be this version of Pele, with her boldly painted face and cute kiss curled hair giving her a heady, alluring appeal that I can’t take my eyes from…read more…

Book Review of The Trials of Arthur

trials arthur cover

The Trials of Arthur – Revised Edition By Arthur Pendragon & CJ Stone
(Published by The Big Hand 2012 Kindle version ISBN 0956416365 )

When the mythical once & future King Arthur Pendragon retreated with 12 of his knights to a mountain cave, to lie asleep and awaiting the clarion call to arise and come forth to Britain’s aid, I very much doubt he suspected he’d be re-incarnated in the twentieth century as a “mad biker Druid Eco-warrior cider-belly King of all Britain, with knobs on it”.

This updated and revised biography of our modern-day King Arthur tells the story of the wild west-country biker, previously known as  ‘Mad Dog’, ‘Geronimo’, ‘Ace’, or ‘Wolfdog’, who changed his name by deed poll to King Arthur Pendragon and stepped up to the defence of Albion…read more…