I live on a boat, which got washed away from its mooring in Yorkshire, along with about 8 other boats, during the Boxing Day floods, when the River Aire breeched into the canal navigation, just downstream from Leeds. And so we have been temporarily re-located until sufficient safety and maintenance works have been done on the canal length, so that we can return to our mooring.
You may be wondering what this has to do with disposable sanitary products .... Well read on and you will find out ....
So yesterday, we went to go and clean up our mooring, in preparation for returning after the Boxing Day flooding dramas.
While my Other Half shovelled sludge and mud, I did a litter pick up and down the mooring.
It is a sad looking state of affairs, as the whole length of the canal and river has litter caught in all of the trees and bushes at the level the flood waters reached.
And I would estimate that between 50 and 75%of this rubbish is made up of disposable sanitary towels.
So I'd just like to let you know, that much of this disposable necessity ends up in our country's rivers and becks.
And so now I would like to make an appeal to those of you who care about how your waste is disposed of, what happens to it, and where it ends up .....
Please, please consider changing your menstrual habits to using re-usable, washable Cloth Sanitary Protection (CSP).
There are a number of reasons to do this .....
- Firstly, as already mentioned, the Earth would be a much cleaner and tidier place for this change in habit.
- Secondly, cloth pads feel so much nicer in your most intimate parts. Your Lady Garden will thank you for the change. Imagine cotton velour (which feels like velvet), rather than that dry paper towel feel, getting creased up in your creases, and sticky strips getting caught in your pubic hair or rumpling up in your knickers. Cloth pads are luxurious to wear when you may be feeling sensitive and delicate.
- And that's not to mention the very toxic chemicals that are used to bleach the cotton used in most menstrual products, or that are actually contained within mainstream menstrual pads and tampons.
Your menstrual health is seriously compromised by these toxins being absorbed into your body, through your vagina, leading to all sorts of gynaecological problems.
Many women have reported a big reduction in menstrual cramping, pain and other difficult menstual symptoms when changing over to cloth.
- There is a long term economic argument for switching to cloth too. Although your initial outlay to buy cloth pads will be more expensive than buying disposable, over your life time, you will definitely save money, as you do not need to lay out every month for the duration of your bleeding years.
Or you can make your own pads out of whatever materials you have lying around. There are lots of good patterns on the Internet. A quick search will bring up lots to choose from, if you're feeling crafty !
- And finally, possibly the most important reason to change over to cloth - I think there is a revolutionary head shift that many women are making right now, of changing this pattern of believing and accepting that our blood is rubbish, that it is waste to be ashamed of, and secretively disposed of down the toilet or in the bin. This idea that we have been given by our culture that our blood is dirty or tainted, that it needs sanitising and hiding. That to be a bleeding woman is a shameful or taboo thing.
When we treat ourselves to Cloth Pads, we start to re-programme these very negative ideas about womanhood and our bodies. We start to celebrate and honour our blood and our wombs. And let me tell you, when you start to honour your blood and your womb, amazing changes start to take place. We start to tune in to our menstrual cycles more. We start to understand that this is a monthly rhythm of energy highs and energy lows. The powerful creative energy at ovulation, the deeply transformative and healing power of bleeding time; a time to rest and release.
When we start tuning in to this aspect of our female body rhythms, we stop trying to live up to the masculine expectations of our culture to just take a painkiller and carry on as normal through our period, to work, work, work, or roller skate down the beachfront promenade.
Our bodies respond by reducing mood swings, discomforts, aches and pains. Menstrual health improves by shifting our attitude towards our own bodies and blood.
We start tuning in to the intuitive, instinctive parts of our feminine nature, because when we bleed, we are actually in our time of greatest power, wisdom and insight, if we can re-programme our way of thinking about menstruation, and start honouring our bodies, rhythms, and acknowledge our needs to rest and be gentle with ourselves.
We can then harness powerfully creative and transformative energy.
And this is why our patriarchal culture has shamed menstruation for so long, has encouraged us to hide it and repress it with synthetic hormones, with what is nothing more than a medical attack on women and their bodies. To disempower us, control and modify us, and divorce us from our true power as women.
So I encourage you to make friends with your blood. For many women, the though of re-usable washable pads and tampons gets them all squeamish and grossed out by the thought of their own blood. This is a powerful patriarchal programme to make women hate themselves, their bodies and their bleeding.
Isn't it time to start re-claiming our power ? Time to start loving ourselves, our bodies, our wombs, our blood, and our Mother Earth ?
There are many ways to honour yourself and your bleeding time, and I will put some links at the bottom for you to peruse, if any of what I have said resonates with you.
Many thanks for reading this, and I wish you and your wombs well in this Man's World. I invite you to carve out your own niche within it, and if enough women can shift this very old mysoginy in ourselves, then we will be making big changes in our outer world too.
XXX ONE LOVE XXX
Waterwitch, 25 Feb 2016.
P.S. My favourite CSP maker is Honour Your Flow, but there are many other women out there making re-usable cloth pads, often work-at-home-mums, trying to make a living doing something that they believe in. Please support these women with your business instead of giving your money to big multi-national corporations who are quite happy to poison you to make a profit.
P.P.S It is also worth noting that in America, the FDA have decided to classify cloth pads as medical devices, thus requiring exhorbitant licencing fees, and removing the homestead handmaking of women's menstrual pads from women, and placing it back into the hands of multi-national corporations, so that they don't lose out on any profit from women who are realising the poisonous nature of mainstream mentstrual products.
"In Ancient Times, Women would regularly and ritually Sit In Circle with one another. At important times of life such as the Rites of Passage of Menarche, Motherhood and Menopause, we would gather to Celebrate our Sisters’ transition from one stage of life into the next, passing on the Women’s Wisdoms and Teachings that would help them on this next part of their journey .
And each month, in Alignment with the Cycles of the Moon, the Women would Gather Together to Bleed. We would leave the tribe, going to the Moon Lodge, the Red Tent, or Kiva, to honour our MoonTime, and give the original Blood Sacrifice back to Mother Earth. Acknowledging this as a time to Rest and Dream, to Release and Heal, to be Creative and Release the Wild Woman from deep inside, the Primal Woman, whose Gift of Blood is the Gift of Life.
This is the time when a Woman is in her Greatest Power, and is at her most Magically Potent. During this time, the Women would Divine Great Wisdom for the benefit of the people, Immersing Ourselves Deeply into the Great Mystery, Connecting Intimately with the Divine Feminine within and without, Nurturing and Strengthening our Relationship with our Ancestors in the Spirit World as well as with Nature and Her Children, the Rocks and Plants, Animals and Elements.
In many parts of the world, these Traditions have been Forgotten, Wiped Out hundreds or even thousands of years ago by those who feared the Power of Women Gathered in Sisterhood, by those whose authority felt threatened by these Female Bodies and Souls who revered a Higher Authority than any mortal, by those who wished to silence the Goddess and Her Daughters.
And so the Women were Persecuted, Mutilated, Tortured and Murdered. Forced to give up the Old Ways of Wombyn. Gatherings Forbidden and Disbanded, Wisdom and Knowledge Obliterated and Forgotten. Sisters turned against one another in Fear and Betrayal. Womankind
Dis-empowered and Stripped of her Magical Beauty and Primal Power. Replaced with Shame and Guilt, Secretive and Scared of Humiliation and Disapproval we learned to Hide our Natural Rhythms, Twisting our Power into Poison.
However, these Ancient Ways and Wisdoms CANNOT be forever erased, because they are Contained Within the very Fabric of the Universe, Encoded Within the DNA of our Cells, Within the Karmic and Energetic Patterns of our Ancestral Matriarchal Bloodlines. It does not take much to begin to Re-activate this Innate Wisdom that Resides Deep within All Women, Within our Wombspaces and Within our Hearts. The Goddess is Re-Awakening, and she is Calling to Her Daughters to Gather Once More.
Firstly we need to Remember the simple Power of Gathering Together in Circle. Next we need to Remember and Honour the True Nature of the Gifts of our Wombspaces and Celebrate the Natural Rhythms of our Bodies. And then we need to Use These Gifts and Rhythms for Healing Ourselves, Our Ancestors and Our World, as well as to Create the World of Our Dreams. This is the True Power and Nature of Woman.
When Women Consciously Focus the Potent Magical Energy of our Wombspaces, we Harness the Creative Force of the Universe. The Creative Seeding Energy of Ovulation and the Releasing and Healing Energy of Bleeding are Profound Tools for Personal, Ancestral and Collective Healing, as well as Assisting in the Evolution of Human Spiritual Consciousness.
The Red Tent Movement is a Global Movement of Autonomous Women dedicated to Remembering and Re-establishing these Old Traditions of the Sacred Feminine, of Resurrecting our Rituals of Power and Beauty, of Re-claiming our Rites over our Own Bodies, and to once again Stand Strong in our Own Power, to Celebrate our Female Form and BloodTide Rhythms, United in Love, Honour and Respect for One Another and Most Importantly for Ourselves. "
"In Native American culture, if you wanted to destroy a village, you simply destroyed the Moon Lodge, the place of wisdom. So the fastest way of rebuilding our global village is to re-instate the tradition of the Moon Lodge" Tanishka (Operation: Red Tent)
XXX ONE LOVE TO YOU ALL SACRED SISTERS XXX
To find out more about honouring your Blood Tides on a personal level, or collectively with other women through the Red Tent Movement (also known as Red Tents and Temples, Red Moon Medicine Movement, Moon Lodges, and Sisterhood Circles), as well as how to re-connect to your true womb power, check out these internet links on You Tube....
Operation: Red Tent (7 part series)
Menstruation - Red Tent Revival Interview
RED MOON medicine movement
Ix Chel Wisdom: Introduction to Ix Chel (14 videos)
Womb Shaman - Part 1 (3 part series)
Honor Your Sacred Time
There are also many Red Tent Facebook groups that you can join to be a part of the online Sisterhood movement;
Red Tent Yorkshire
Red Tent Temple Movement UK
Women's Red Tents and Temples Worldwide
You can also join a local Red Tent group, or even better, set up your own with your own Special Circle of Sisters.
Books of Women's Wisdom to check out......
The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant.
Kissing the Hag-The Dark Goddess and the Unacceptable Nature of Women, by Emma Restal-Orr.
The Wise Wound, by Penelope Shyttle and Peter Redgrove.
The 13 Original Clan Mothers, by Jamie Sams.
When the Drummers were Women, by Layne Redmond.