In March, the world as we know it turned upside down. And my reaction was to drop the ‘extras’ and focus my energy and attention on the core. This boiled down to a few things – family, home and garden, physical health, and the women I work with in circle. Social media and blogging took a side seat as time became treacle like, each day we waded through information about the virus and sifted through personal emotions in an attempt to find some solid ground to stand on. Growing food felt good and a lot of energy was put into expanding our home food production. It was easy and simple work that did not create any internal moral debate.
Then I noticed that my period cycle was disrupted, could it be caused by corona-virus stress? Was I alone? In our private Facebook group, I talked with my circle sisters, and discovered that it was not just me. Periods were coming late, or early, or not at all. PMT and emotional fallout was more intense than usual. We were locked down in our homes with our hormones expressing emotions we perhaps repressed as we cared for our families, our young children, our elderly relatives. We wanted to stay calm, yet our menstrual cycles showed us that deep down we were not. We were in turmoil.
Tentatively we began to meet weekly via zoom, adjusting to the strangeness of being vulnerable in front of our computer and phone screens. These we called MOONTIME circles and were not on a specific day, but instead linked to the phases of the moon. The 28-day lunar cycle mirrors the average menstrual cycle and offers an anchor for the soul. It is said that before the invention of electrical light the moon had more influence on our lives. Periods were linked to the moon and ovulation commonly occurred on the full moon, bleeding at the new moon. And it is also known that when women shared space together, they begin to menstruate together each month as well. It seems we are hardwired to relate. The moon also held strong teachings for us in relation to shifting energies through our monthly menstrual cycle, which were also grounding for women who no longer bled because they were breastfeeding, or post-menopausal or for whatever reason. A monthly cycle gave us something to hold onto when the whole world was upside down. And not only that but the different energies of each of the four stages of the moon – from new moon, to waxing first quarter, to full moon, to waning last quarter – could be linked into the different energies of the menstrual cycle. And this theme gave us the basis of our circle each week.
- New moon relates to the time of menstruation. It is a time to rest and retreat, to dream about what you would like to focus on in the coming cycle while you let go of the last one.
- The growing moon of the First Quarter is a time of action. Many women feel most energy during this stage of their cycle, a great time to start new projects and put energy into manifesting our dreams.
- The Full moon is about openness, fulfilment, fertility, and manifestation. Some women find this period very invigorating and exciting. Some women find it very intense as energy is at its highest.
- The waning moon of the Last Quarter is a time of harvest and reflection. The seeds of intention sown in the new moon might be harvested now, or if things did not work out as planned this is the time to learn from the experience. PMT can be seen as an opportunity to hear from your sense body about anything that might not be right in your life and take them into consideration while you go through the next period of the cycle. bleed on it and see if any insights come.
Still the irony of holding moontime women’s circles via the internet was not lost on me. The first couple of times were a bit awkward and disjointed. I missed the presence or the circle, all those small moments of intimacy shared in an evening together: the side jokes, the hugs, the congeniality of being with like-minded people. The turning point was rediscovering the power of imagination; I began to imagine I was with the women as we met online, beginning each session with a grounding mediation. This helped. Then in April I got a better laptop battery and upgraded my mobile phone Wi-Fi and was able to hold each session out in the Full Circle Sacred Yurt space – this changed everything. Suddenly the circle was full of birdsong and the space filled with the energy of the women. It shifted. We began to make magic happen with our intentions.
Then someone in my household tested positive for covid, and I also started to feel ill. I needed to step back from hosting. How was our circle going to continue?
March had also been the month that my social enterprise company The Nest received its first grant to support vulnerable women, and we used this to start hosting weekly ‘Pregnancy Well-being Sessions’ for local women who were pregnant and isolated in the middle of this pandemic. These weekly groups also meet on zoom and after a similar awkward beginning as we adjusted to delivering online what would normally be done in person a group formed. We were featured in the local press and the women kept coming back week after week. But then in May I got ill and had to step back. Luckily, this circle was co-hosted by my fellow directors of The Nest and I felt so comfortable stepping back to let them host alone.
I decided to do the same for the Moontime circles and it worked – the circle sisters stepped up. It has been a month now, a lunar cycle of four sessions. The women’s circle weekly moontime circle has been led in turn by a different woman each week. It has been wonderful to witness their feminine leadership as they took turns to step up into the role of host, to hold space for the group. I have learned a lot about myself in this journey of stepping back as well, and it has been a relief to see the group take on the energy of the circle. I love holding space for others, and my work as doula and celebrant is all about this. Yet the experience of being ill brought me to a new level of humility and gratitude. Life slowed down to a spider’s pace and time dissolved into each passing moment. This aim of this blog is to share some of my journey of the last 3 months, with all my workshops, ceremonies and courses cancelled a lot of people got dropped and I am sorry if that was you.
This week has seen a change, in my personal energy levels and in the social distance guidelines that mean we can now start to meet in person again. Interesting coincidence. A lot of my work has been happening behind the closed doors of my private Facebook group but soon to be coming out again.
Thanks for all your support and love. I wish you receive the same in return – threefold.
love and blessings
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Annelie Solis – young woman