mary yett wrote:An interesting side note:
My Anishinabek (AKA Ojibwe, Chippewa or Nish) teachers talk a lot about a woman's moon time. This is when a woman's spiritual powers are at their peak. Much of Nish spirituality is centered around the miracle of a woman giving birth and how this connects us to the great cosmic oneness. The most powerful and honoured ceremony in Nish culture is childbirth, followed by menstruation.
Traditionally, women spent their moon time in a moon lodge, away from the regular home and family.They were considered to be "in ceremony" for the entire time of menstruation. Here they spent their time in prayer, singing/drumming and of course talking with the other women there. Food was brought to them and served on special plates that were not used for other purposes.
In fact, a woman on her moon was ( and in traditional settings still is) not allowed to cook for others or even touch their food, as it is potentially dangerous (especially for men) to eat food imbued with such power. In a similar vein, women on their moon do not go into a mixed male and female sweat lodge because their power is so great it could burn and harm the men.
The sweat lodge hut is itself a symbolic uterus which is crawled into through a vagina/doorway. When one exits after the ceremony, one is reborn.
Traditional women wear skirts as opposed to pants for several reasons. One important reason is so that their vaginas are enclosed in a circle of protection ( a cone of power). Ladies in Nish culture must be very careful where they point the stream of energy constantly coming from their vaginas.
This can be used for the community's benefit, as when the "grandmothers " (post menopausal women) ceremonially sit in a circle and "charge up" sacred items or people preparing for an important event, etc. It can also harm men, especially young men, if it is accidentally aimed at them, so great care must be taken to prevent this.
I hope this is not too purple a topic for this thread. I offer this information as a reminder of alternative attitudes toward menstruation. I am in favour of bringing back the moon lodge - it sounds like a wonderful retreat time. Short of that, at least making the pooper a bit more bleeding woman friendly with clearly written signage about what should be placed in which hole and a jug of water for rinsing would be great.