In the beginning, according to the Wise Woman tradition, everything began, as everything does, at birth.
The Great Mother of All gave birth and the earth appeared out of the void. Then the Great Mother of All gave birth again, and again, and again, and people, and animals, and plants appeared on the earth. They were all very hungry. "What shall we eat?" they asked the Great Mother. "Now you eat me," she said, smiling. Soon there were a very great many lives, but the Great Mother of All was enjoying creating and giving birth so much that she didn't want to stop. "Ah," she said smiling, "now I eat you." And so she still does.
We all come from the same mother. She is the wise woman. We all return to her embrace, her bloody-rich womb place, when we die. Every woman is a whole/holy form of her, able to be whole/holy mother of all life, able to be whole/holy destroyer of life. Her power is her blood that flows and flows, her blood which is life and gives life. Every woman's menstrual blood and birth-time blood is a holy mystery.
What are the blood mysteries? Why are they central to the understanding of the Wise Woman tradition?
Blood mysteries teach that menstrual blood and birthing blood are holy blood, power blood, healing blood. The blood mysteries teach us to remember that life and healing come from and return to woman, to the wise woman, to the woman who bleeds and bleeds. And does not die.
Blood mysteries reveal that menstrual (moontime) blood and birth blood are so holy, so full of potential, so full of the void that they are to be used only to heal, to heal by nourishing. Holy woman-blood is nourishing blood, blood of love, blood of abundance, blood that heals the earth.
Blood mysteries recall the immense power of the bleeding woman. Power enough to share in great nourishing give-away from mother to matrix, give-away of nourisher to nourisher. When we bleed into the ground (in reality or fantasy) our power re-grounds as our blood flows through the personal root chakra and into the earth.
Bleeding into the ground, bleeding freely, we know ourselves as women, as nourishers of life, as givers of nourishment to the plants, givers of holy nourishment: our moontime blood.
I am woman giving away nourishment to ensure this planet's life. With my moontime power, my blood, with my birthing power, my blood, I feed the earth who feeds us all. Every month I remember: I am woman. I am earth. I am life. I am nourishment. I am change.
I am woman, blatantly and repeatedly confronted with my changes: hormonal harmonics stirring moon time visions, ovulatory oracles, pre-menstrual crazies, orgasmic knowings, birth ecstasies, breast-feeding bliss, menopausal moods.
I am wholeness. I am woman. I know life, death, pain, and health in my marrow, in my womb. I know the bloody places: the narrow space between life and death, the bloody place of birth, the bloody mess of nourishing life, the bloody flow of letting life go. I am woman. My blood is power. Peaceful power. Peaceful blood.
My blood is holy nourishment. My blood nourishes the growing fetus. My blood becomes milk to nourish the young child. My blood flows into the ground as holy nourishment for the Great Mother, Gaia, Mother Earth.
Gaia, whose ways are bloody. Woman, whose ways are bloody. Blood of nourishment. But bloody. Bloody menstrual blood, bloody birth blood. Blood of peace, nourishing blood. Blood of health/wholeness/holiness, not of sacrifice. The Wise Woman tradition is a bloody-handed woman, a bloody-thighed woman, a woman who gives birth, a woman who sees to the other side of things.
Health/wholeness/holiness is always changing. Life is mysterious, moving in spirals of change. Spirals moving to, through, from the void. Change making the hole so we can see the holy healthy gift of our wholeness.
"Sit, sister, here on the soft green moss, and give your sacred moon blood to the earth, back again to the spiral of life. Let flow your womb's blood red to the green and brown of earth. Sit here. Relax and close your eyes and let the visions come. Rest now and give your moon blood to nourish the mother who nourishes us. Relax and let the visions come."
The time of menstrual bleeding, according to the Wise Woman tradition, is a time of visions. Any woman who pays attention to these visions will find the power of shamans, witch doctors, medicine wo/men.
"Add a bit of red leaf to your herbal mixtures, any red leaf except poison ivy. That will make the medicine strong," says a friend, apprentice to a Native American shaman. And the wise woman inside me whispers: "They do this to evoke the power of menstrual blood."
These are the natural powers of menstruating, menopausal, and post-menopausal women:
- Oneness with the earth as a responsive nurturing presence
- Communication with plants, animals, rocks
- Weather making
- Shape shifting
- Communication with fairies, devas, elves, dragons, unicorns
- Acutely sensitive senses of smell, taste, hearing, sight, touch
The Wise Woman tradition understands healing/wholing as blood mysteries. The blood of birth and death, and the blood of nourishment, these are the natural knowledge of women; these are the things that make us wise.