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Friday, October 20, 2006

women's power and menstruation

extract on women's power from The Sacred Hoop, Paula Gunn Allen

menstrual taboos are about power: "The truth of the matter as many Indians see it is that women who are at the peak of their fecundity are believed to possess power that throws male power totally out of kilter. They emit such force that, in their presence, any male-owned or -dominated ritual or sacred object cannot do its usual task. For instance, the Lakota say that a menstruating woman anywhere near a yuwipi man, who is a special sort of psychic, spirit-empowered healer, for a day or so before he is to do his ceremony will effectively disempower him. Conversely, among many if not most tribes, important ceremonies cannot be held without the presence of women. Sometimes the ritual woman who empowers the ceremony must be unmarried and virginal so that the power she channels is unalloyed, unweakened by sexual arousal and penetration by a male. Other ceremonies require tumescent women, others the presence of mature women who have borne children, and still others depend for empowerment on postmenopausal women. Women may be segregated from the company of the whole band or village on certain occasions, but on certain occasions men are also segregated. In short, each ritual depends on a certain balance of power and the positions of women within the phases of womanhood are used by tribal people to empower certain rites. This does not derive from a male-dominant view; it is not a ritual observance imposed on women by men. It derives from a tribal view of reality that distinguishes tribal people from feudal and industrial people.

Among the tribes, the occult power of women, inextricably bound to our hormonal life, is thought to be very great; many hold that we possess innately the blood-given power to kill--with a glance, with a step, or with a judicious mixing of menstrual blood into somebody's soup. Medicine women among the Pomo of California cannot practice until they are sufficiently mature; ....So women of the tribes are not inclined to see themselves as poor helpless victims of male domination. Even in those tribes where something akin to male domination was present, women are perceived as powerful, socially, physically, and metaphysically. In times past, as in times present, women carried enormous burdens with aplomb. We were far indeed from the "weaker sex", the designation that white aristocratic sisters unhappily earned for us all."

Origins of PMS: (due to hormonal imbalance.) From Dictionnaire des malaises et maladies

"It is the rejection process, and guilt that have started to come to the surface. For a woman, the menstrual period is a reminder that she lives in a universe dominated by men. PMS indicates that situations are making me question my perception as a woman in relation to my femininity, especially if I wish to succeed in a professional career. I could be troubled, confused or influenced by stereotypes imposed by society.

affirmation: I love myself, and accept myself as I am, and I let myself evolve."

Some food for thought, for women who bleed,

with love,
jenn



musemother

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