Chloe Isidora is a self-care advocate and author of Sacred Self-care: Everyday Rituals for a More Joyful and Meaningful Life. Here, she shares all there is to know about the menstrual cycle.

When the blueprint of the menstrual cycle came into my awareness, I couldn’t believe I had been existing my whole life without this ancient sacred knowledge. There’s so much power that every woman can access through her monthly cycle, yet there are preconceived beliefs and stigmas attached to periods.

Menstruation is often thought of as dirty, disgusting and an inconvenience, and women have learned to push through when they are bleeding, suppressing period pains with painkillers or taking hormones so there is no bleed at all, just so that ‘life is not interrupted’. It’s been called ‘the curse’ for God knows how long. But, if we all knew that the menstrual cycle was our direct link to our personal power, intuition and gifts that we bring to the world, how differently would we care for ourselves?

There are four main phases of the Menstrual Cycle, the phases can be likened to the seasons of the year:  Each one has its own beauty and depth necessary for our sacred rhythm. 

The four phases are: 
Menstruation – Inner Winter 
Pre-Ovulation – Inner Spring 
Ovulation – Inner Summer 
Pre-Menstruation – Inner Autumn 

For women who are not menstruating, the four phases can be connected to the movement of the moon
New Moon – Inner Winter 
Waxing Moon – Inner Spring 
Full Moon – Inner Summer 
Waning Moon – Inner Autumn 

Menstruation – Inner Winter
In Winter, when the leaves have all fallen from the trees and the nights are at their darkest, there is a natural feeling of retreating inwards. This is similar to when we bleed – we are going through a process of shedding, letting go and releasing the month that has passed. Retreating inwards to rest and renew is natural. This is the most sacred time of the month, meaning that it’s the time when we are most connected to spirit. If we choose to, we can leave the everyday mundane world behind and receive great inner wisdom, insights and visions from spirit. To be open to this opportunity, we must create time and space to slow down, rest, relax and sleep. 

You can honour this part of your cycle by having some nourishing alone time and focus your energy on yourself. Make space for creativity, draw, paint, play an instrument or write a poem – mainly rest and be open to receive inner insights. 

Inner Spring: Pre-Ovulation
Just like the delicate buds of fresh flowers that grow out of the ground and toward the light in springtime, we too can be tender and fresh in the days after we finish bleeding – it’s as if we’re leaving the safety of our cocoon. I find that there’s a sense of newness, playfulness and innocence in the air. From wanting to be internal, all of a sudden I feel that I would like to connect with others again as my energy begins to expand back into the outer world. This is a great time to create space to play, sing or dance. What brings out your playful side? 

Inner Summer: Ovulation
Now it’s Summer, we are in full bloom. Imagine a rose at her fullest and most fragrant – this is the time when our womb is fertile. It’s also when we have the most energy and when we feel as if everything is possible. There is a sense of superwoman powers, magnetism and productivity, and our sensual and sexual energy can be at its most potent. I often have an overwhelming feeling of love for my friends and family at this time – I can give a lot and be there for others. It is the phase of our cycle when we are most connected to the outer world. This can be a great time to schedule meetings, to have a party and celebrate being you! 

Inner Autumn: Pre-Menstruation
Now the harvest has begun and the leaves are falling from the trees. The feeling of being on top of the world and feeling like “I can do anything,'' often shifts to “What am I doing with my life? Who am I?”. This phase can be challenging for some of us – PMS can surface and we become highly self-critical. However, with the knowledge that you are going through the pre-menstruation phase, you can take extra care and know that at this time you have to amp up your self-love and self-care practices. The cycle is actually supporting us, asking us to take a look inside and assisting us to slow down and bring our focus back inward. 

It’s a time to ask yourself what your needs are and what changes need to be made. This is a great opportunity to be honest about what you need to address in your life and to take time to be extra loving and tender to yourself. 

Knowing the phases and recording how you personally feel during them is a huge support. I used to find my moods quite unmanageable, I would never know how I would feel and I couldn’t understand why I felt so on top of the world one day and a few days later feel that my world was falling apart. When I learned about the inner autumn phase it was a light bulb moment, I could see that I wasn’t crazy and that there wasn’t anything wrong with me – it's a totally natural process! The relief was huge and I then made sure that I had the self-care tools to support myself during this phase.

Another thing to bear in mind is contraceptive pills that release hormones (including the coil) – with this, we develop a different relationship with our menstrual cycle. The issue is, when you take hormones you become out of tune with your own natural rhythm. You may think that you can work at the same pace – think that you can do the same things – but what is actually happening is that you’re out of touch with how your body really wants to be. There are options other than contraceptive pills. You just have to get to know and understand your own cycle. You’ll be able to recognise when you’re ovulating and know that it’s not a time for having unprotected sex (you can recognise this from a change in discharge and also from your cervix, which moves during the different times of menstruation and ovulation). If you are considering coming off the pill, it's important to have support with this. I would suggest Homeopathy and acupuncture to assist in balancing your hormones (which will take time to adjust) and learning about your own cycle – this is so empowering for women.

Menstrual blood holds power and wisdom, and when we consciously offer our blood to the Earth and work in ceremony, deep healing and remembrance can take place.  I do this through using a mooncup to collect my blood, store it in a jar, then I go to a place in nature maybe by a tree (somewhere where I feel connected) and create a sacred space. I will call on the elements and my guides, offer my blood to the Earth, release all that is ready to be let go of and call in all that I’m ready to embrace into my life. At this time, I’m building a relationship with the Earth. The Earth is a conscious living being and she also has a womb, so when I’m offering my blood back to her, I am nourishing my womb and connecting and honouring the Earth’s womb. Imagine that the Earth’s womb is connected to all women’s wombs – we are honouring all wombs as sacred and weaving the tapestry of how we are all connected together as one.

This knowledge is not just for women, I believe it is important for men to know too. If both men and women understood the phases of the cycle and the emotions and energetics, it would incredibly support relationships and create a deeper connect, acceptance and love within partnerships. By celebrating the menstrual cycle, we are acknowledging the Divine Feminine within all and honouring that all life is sacred. 

Slow down, relax and honour yourself. The book Sacred Self-care: Everyday Rituals for a More Joyful and Meaningful Life, is available now via and Amazon.

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