TAMPON ads still make me squirm, because as a young woman menstruation was something to be ashamed of.
Euphemisms such as “the curse” and other less savoury terms slung around the school yard used to force the message home that menstruation was an unwelcome thing in life.
Reading Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent was an eye-opener to a different way of thinking.
Set in biblical times it tells of Dinah, daughter of Jacob and sister of Joseph (of the many coloured coat) where the tent is a place of refuge during menstruation, supported by mothers, sisters and aunts, where work is excused, songs sung and massages given.
“[An] inward time for rest, receptivity and retreat as body rhythms slow to a silky groove,” Cockburn local Breeda McKibbin (pictured) says.
The Red Tent was partly the impetus for The Sacred and the Sexy of a Women’s Cycle, a course designed to empower women and get them listening to the natural rhythm of their bodies.
“When something is taboo, it becomes shameful…[This ]balances and honours the power of a women’s cycle, which is a powerful thing in all cultures.”
Covering two menstruation cycles the five fortnightly sessions allow participants to map their period and the differences in themselves and other women during their cycle: “[Connecting] to their rhythmic feminine flow and understand the biochemistry.”
Co-operating with the body’s rhythm is key to an effective, easy flow to life, Ms McKibbin says. A pharmacologist, naturopath and yoga teacher, she spent years believing she could do everything, every day, and like many women ended up exhausted, “driven by productivity and efficiency…which serves mens’ lives, not women’s”.
Fitting her schedule around high and low energy days of a monthly cycle has been transforming: “During ovulation you are more energetic…and the sexual cycle is amazing, it’s when it’s wild and exciting.”
And it helps avoid arguments: “I realised in my relationship on day 21 we would fight. I still want to fight, but I know it’s about me,” she smiles.
The Sacred and the Sexy is on at the Sowilo Soul Centre, 18 Holdsworth Street Fremantle from Tuesday February 23.
For more info or to book call Breeda on 0431 079 356.
by JENNY D’ANGER