Incorporating Ritual & Self-Care {Moon Cycle Series Part 3} - Becca Piastrelli

Incorporating Ritual & Self-Care {Moon Cycle Series Part 3}

Welcome back to The Moon Cycle Series, sweet ones.

In case you missed it, you can check out Part One, where I shared my story about how I went from hating to re-signifying my period and Part Two, where I shared how your cycle is connected to the moon as well as a breakdown of what’s happening in your body during the four phases of your cycle.

Today, we’re diving into creating ritual and self-care around your moon time.  

When I shifted my mindset around my period from being a nuisance to an opportunity to reflect and care for myself, I began to craft rituals that help me do that.

As I’ve mentioned before, when I was trying to call my period back to me after 7 years of no bleeding, I would place my hands on my womb and stare at the moon each night before going to bed. By performing that ritual, I was able to drop back into my body and create a positive intention throughout my entire being that I was welcoming my moon blood back into my body..

Once I got my period back, I wanted to get healthier. I had read studies about how conventional tampons are some of the most toxic things on the planet (the cotton grown for tampons are sprayed with a lot of chemicals and pesticides). Once I read that, I started wearing organic tampons. But, as my journey into loving and embracing my period deepened, I was curious about other forms of menstruation products out there.

That’s when I discovered the amazing Janeen {of Holy Sponge} at a workshop I attended at my local herbal apothecary. Janeen’s work in herbal care, menstrual activism and  working with sea sponges for women on their moon is truly a beautiful gift to this world.

I invited Janeen here to tell us more about how to honor your bleeding time of the month, how to make a beautiful relationship with your blood through ritual, and the magic of using sea sponges for menstruation instead of tampons.

Oh, and she's offering Dabblist readers a sweet discount on her products, so be sure to read until the end!

Incorporating Ritual & Self-Care {Moon Cycle Series Part 3}

From Janeen:

Every month, we are given the opportunity to let go in an incredibly tangible way.

Our bodies let go of lining of the womb. Part of that is that the body releasing the possibility of a baby growing there. But the body is also letting go of that whole cycle and what the body experienced during that time.

Letting go is surrender. It is passive. It is accepting our vulnerability, permeability, and the cycles of life and death.

We get this opportunity each month not have it all figured out, but to acknowledge and honor how our bodies have supported us through whatever life has brought our way.

It’s no wonder that our bleed is also a very creative time in the reproductive cycle. The veil between the conscious and unconscious becomes very thin. And the moon is there to remind us that she, too, sheds every month.

Knowing Your Signals

If we pay attention, our bodies can be incredible resources to us. Many of us have become so detached from our bodies that learning to listen to them can feel like learning a whole new language. But the language is there, and it is especially helpful for understanding our monthly cycles.

When I am about five days away from starting day one of my period, my breasts get really sore. This is the point where I think about what I am doing in five days and how I can allow myself some flexibility if I need to take time off to be in nature or at home, feeling however I feel.

Everyone has different ways their bodies communicate with them, and there are no right or wrong ways. Listening to and cooperating with the messages is the most important part.

Knowing Your Needs & Creating Self-Care Practices

It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I gave any thought or attention to my period, so I had to learn what my needs were around that time, which was a process.

What helped me to create some practices and ritual with my cycle was switching from using commercial tampons to sea sponges, primarily out of concern for the environment.

Incorporating Ritual & Self-Care {Moon Cycle Series Part 3}

I didn’t even know that my body didn’t need to have a rigid stick of cotton blocking my flow until I tried the soft, moldable and comfortable sponge. It was amazing, and I knew I wanted my yoni to feel comfortable and toxin-free during my cycle.

As I came into closer communication with my body, I made the connection between bleeding and letting go of the month’s events and feelings. I felt the need to clear the energy around me, so I began smoke cleansing my room and myself as I bled.

I allowed the smoke to consume the old energies and clear the air for the new cycle. This ancient practice is both symbolic and studies have shown that the smoke of herbs releases negative ions, which improves mood and well being.

It can help to write down or name what you are letting go of, watching the smoke clear that old stuff out, and then you can state what you want to welcome for the new cycle and gather elements from nature to represent that new energy.

Incorporating Ritual & Self-Care {Moon Cycle Series Part 3}

At the end of my cycle, my sponges needed to be cleansed, so part of my ritual was designating a bowl that I use only for sponges, giving the sponges a bath in hot water and tea tree oil, and finding a place for them to dry until my next bleed.

Unlike disposable tampons, I felt a connection to what held and collected my blood during my cycle.

The sponge is magical creature that also lives in sync with the moon and the tides of the ocean.

Clearly, I fell in love with sponges; they helped to heal my body of many moons worth of pain and messages of shame and disgust related to bleeding. I began to look forward to bleeding.

Incorporating Ritual & Self-Care {Moon Cycle Series Part 3}

Holistic Solutions for Period Cramps

A hot water bottle, heating pad, and herbal teas all can be helpful, but sometimes you need a bit more. I know this because my partner has epic cramps - the kind where Vicodin became the only thing that could begin to quell them.

I began learning about herbs and decided to craft up a recipe in hopes that it might bring her some topical relief. This is how Our Lady of Mercy Cramp Balm was born.

I said a prayer in the kitchen, steeped herbs in coconut oil, and blended in antispasmodic essential oils with some other plant-based ingredients, and voila…it actually worked!

I honestly didn’t expect that a topical balm would go deep enough to calm the spasms, but now this stuff is always by our bed, in the car and in our bags. It is part of the moontime care that happens at my house.

Incorporating Ritual & Self-Care {Moon Cycle Series Part 3}

These are just a few of the ways I have created practices to support my body as I bleed.

There are no equations in this. Each practice was born out of a need that was felt, and sometimes those needs change.

Sometimes (well…always) it is a chocolate month, and sometimes I need quiet and journaling, time with my pets, a bath of rose petals, music, or candles burning.

Women are the only people who can bleed without injury. It is indeed a sacred time, a time to appreciate what wonders your body holds.

Give your body what she needs as she bleeds.

What do you think, ladies? Could you add more ritual and self-care to your moon time? What do you think about sea sponges as an alternative to tampons? Leave a comment below and Janeen and I are looking forward to the conversation.

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Janeen started Holy Sponge! in 2011 shortly after arriving to the Bay Area from the east coast. She fell in love with sponges and began making personalized kits for her friends until they suggested she became a professional sponge dealer- which seemed like a lot more fun than using her MSW to get another job.  Janeen is owner and maker at Holy Sponge! while her partner, Daniela, is Web Design Badass and Workshop Madame (also with a therapeutic background, specializing in group-work).

Janeen and Daniela live in Point Arena, CA and they love to bring conversations on menstruation to new places and people, to please contact [email protected] if you would like to bring them to your city.

To learn more about sponges, check out our etsy shop until our new website is live, at which point we will offer several resources for further reading. Grab 10% off your first order with Holy Sponge's etsy site by using the checkout code: DABBLIST.

Photo Credit: Wendy Yalom Photography & Janeen Singer

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