Mythology, Menstruation and the Land of Milk and Honey

By André Zsigmond

The Promised Land?

A prisoner of conscience at the age of 18 - escaping from communist Hungary in 1981 - searching for the “truth”, I immersed myself in religious studies in England. During communism the study of religion and the Scriptures  was actively discouraged - it seemed ‘obvious’ therefore that they would have all the answers. Needless to say, the Bible only raised even more questions.

I first became aware of the personal, cultural and religious significance of menstruation during my post-graduate research of the origins of male circumcision. Among other theories, the term “menstruation envy” – men’s desire to equal and imitate menstruation, creating parallel menstrual rituals - were suggested in studies of different cultures all over the world. (But this is a theme for another article.)

This revelation was the opening to me to search for, and discover the Goddess.

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Ride the Storm and Dance with the Crone – the messages of menopause

by Rachel Mayatt

Goddess as the Challenger of Illusion - artwork by Rachel MayattI’ve come to that age now when my body begins to change again as I make ready to initiate into the time of the crone and it’s a strange sensation sometimes. Thinking about it recently took me back to when I began to change as a young girl, developing hair in odd places, filling out on the hips and developing breasts. I don’t remember it being particularly obvious at the time, apart from the weird sensation that I had two bumps appearing on my chest when at one time it had been smooth.

I hadn’t had any teaching or support from family regarding periods as I came from a fairly repressed kind of family environment. My mother is a strict evangelical Christian and kept things fairly secret about bodily stuff, and when I did finally begin to bleed monthly, it felt more like a dirty secret than a life affirming thing. (But that’s another story I have gone into in a previous article.)

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Mythology, Menstruation and the “Woman with the Issue of Blood”

By André Zsigmond

The Good News

Fresh figsConcern from the Vatican about environmental issues has been in the news lately. The ‘seven deadly sins’ have been updated to include environmental pollution and during his American visit the Pope repeatedly spoke of his concerns about damage to the environment. In July, on his Australian tour, “his holiness” recycled his speech on this topic once more.

I am a little reluctant to welcome these comments from the Catholic Church, particularly as in the Bible the best publicised environmental vandalism - the deliberate and senseless destruction of a wild fig tree - was in fact perpetrated by Jesus himself. This is how authors of the Good Book report it in the Gospel of Mark (11;12-21):

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Bloody Women! A Magical Experience of the Menstrual Cycle

By Rachel Mayatt

 Blood Mother, by Rachel MayattFor many years I have been interested in the connection between women’s menstrual cycles and the phases of the Moon.

Being a Priestess of the Goddess I have found myself working with both - and exploring the mysteries and magic of this time in a woman’s yearly cycle. I have researched ideas and activities and looked at the attitude towards menstruation generally.

Our society tends to prefer that discussions about this kind of subject are kept out of ‘polite conversation’ and I can remember as a child being told it was not a subject to discuss in mixed company! Supplies for coping with periods were kept hidden away and quietly discussed. In fact I remember my own first experience of bleeding occurred after I had been exploring my own body at about 10 years old. The next day I had my first period and was absolutely terrified I had caused myself to bleed with my clumsy childish fumbling. No one had ever talked to me with regard to learning about my own body or masturbation. When I went to talk to my mother about what was happening to me she showed me some awful elastic belts and large sanitary towels to fasten to them. Between the legs of a little girl it felt alien and uncomfortable. I was told ‘not to mention it to my brothers, and keep my supplies hidden away’. My feelings of being ‘unclean’ had begun.

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