The menstrual cycle is often thought of as a once a month event — distinguished as the week within the month in which you are bleeding and/or experiencing premenstrual symptoms. But the menstrual cycle is a month-long event that leads our bodies through incredible energies for growth and renewal. Some of these energies are subtle and others can feel more obvious and intense. Anyone with a body that moves through a full menstrual cycle has the opportunity to use this process as a spiritual guide. Every month your body leads you through a natural ritual for experiencing spiritual growth, full creative power, and inner harmony. By understanding the natural rhythms and changes your energy undergoes, you will learn how to work with these energies, rather than against them.
The Four Seasons of the Menstrual Cycle
Understanding the energetic pattern of your menstrual cycle is a process of unlearning the need to be the exact same person everyday— always functioning at the highest level of energy. Instead, you can practice respecting your body’s call for lower energy tasks as well as how to be aware of when higher energy actions are needed. One of the best ways to understand how energy is led by your menstrual cycle is through the map of the seasons. When you bleed, it is your darkest, slowest time— a time when the body has entered Winter. Following Winter is Spring, the beginning of your energy sources thawing out. Your energy then moves up to the Summer, which is traditionally marked by ovulation and your highest energy levels. As Summer slows down, you begin the descent to Autumn, where your body begins the process of conserving energy leading to your bleed.
The awareness of your body’s needs and energy levels at any given moment is invaluable knowledge every womb-owner should have. Just this simple awareness of your body’s monthly seasonality will greatly improve your relationship to your cycle and energy.
The Archetypes of the Menstrual Cycle
In addition to the map of the seasons, another helpful framework for understanding your menstrual cycle’s impact on your energy and psyche is through archetypes. Each season has an accompanying archetype that can assist with understanding more intimately the energy and needs of your cycle at that point in time. Connecting to an archetype can help us to see the positive qualities in an energetic expression we have difficulty sitting in or embodying. For example, the Autumn phase of the menstrual cycle is connected to the Wild Woman archetype. This can help us see our rawness, irritation, and rage at that time in the cycle as a beautiful and empowering expression— rather than a burden.
Phase 1: Winter and The Crone
The first day of your cycle is marked by your first release of blood. This is blood leaving your womb space (an internal world and spiritual dimension) and entering the external, physical world. When you are bleeding, and even just hours before blood, you are in Winter. Think of the actual season of Winter— it’s a time of hibernation. Instinctively we are slower and crave optimum rest and warmth. These same instincts can be mapped to our own inner experience of Winter that occurs when we bleed.
Some of the best practices for supporting your inner Winter and bleeding time are:
Make this your special time of the month where you prioritize rest as much as possible. Try to remove yourself from any strenuous or extroverted commitments.
Spend time in solitude. While bleeding, you may experience heightened intuition and psychic abilities. Make yourself available to these subtle energies by seeking quiet and privacy.
Nourish yourself with warmth. Warm water bottle for cramps, hot tea for sipping, and warm nutritionally dense foods (think soups and stews).
It’s common for many visions and revelations to come through during this time. Support the energetic transmissions by keeping a journal close and jot down your thoughts as they arise.
Embodying The Crone archetype
The Crone, also known as the Wise Woman, is an archetype that is often misunderstood. The Crone, which we meet again in the time of menopause, is a vital teacher to our psyche and deepening maturity. The Crone knows that wise women move slowly, put themselves first, and aren’t afraid of the dark. She knows our deepest wisdom and growth happens in the heavy, shadowy sides of our psyche. But she will hold us through this darkness, even if it doesn’t feel like the hands of the sweet Mother archetype. When you bleed, feel the veil to the psychic world grow thinner and allow yourself to step into the wiser, darker parts of you. You hold the ancient wisdom of this process in your cells. You are not afraid to face the shadows in the dark.
Phase 2: Spring and The Maiden
Spring emerges as the heaviness of your bleed dissipates. Spring can reliably be marked as the first rising of energy you feel on the tail-end of your bleed. There can still be blood trickling into Spring but it isn’t your full flow. Your inner Spring is much like the season itself— it’s a slow but sweet warming up to life around you. Your body and psyche begin to thaw as you feel renewed with optimism for all that lies ahead of you. It can be easy to want to seize this rising energy and catapult fully into the energy of renewal and “doing”, but Spring is not about this. It’s a learning process of listening to the exact energy given at each day of it’s reemergence. You are working with rising energy.
Some of the best practices for supporting your inner Spring and rising energy are:
In the first few days of Spring, you may find your intuition clearly speaks to you on what the action items for this cycle are. Capture these and simplify them into doable steps.
On the day you feel the crossover into Spring, take time to journal your intentions and visions for this new cycle. This is a helpful way to channel the exciting energy you are feeling rise in your system.
Get back to basics. Clean house, set up your simple but necessary daily rituals, and honor routine.
Lighten your choice of foods a bit. You are now moving out of a nutritious need for density and more into lighter and energizing foods. Still prioritize nutrition density however!
Embodying The Maiden archetype
The Maiden is a beloved and sought after archetype. This is a version of ourselves many of us wish we could embody all the time. The Maiden is sweet, innocent, and full of optimism. She sees the world as a beautiful landscape of possibility. There is a childlike wonder to her marked with sparkling eyes and energetic openness. She is a symbol of freedom— serving herself while being a force of love and adoration in the world. Her energy gives us the push and confidence we need to emerge into the world again and trust the visions that came to us through The Crone.
The Maiden will be felt as a full body rising of energy. For many of us, her energy reconnects us to our sexual energy and sensuality. She reminds us of the power that sexual energy lends us to be creative and bring our visions to life.
Phase 3: Summer and The Mother
Summer is typically marked by the days surrounding ovulation. The transition from Spring to Summer can feel subtle, but the experience of peak Summer is easy to recognize. Many of us wish we could be in our inner Summer all the time— this is the time in our cycles where we feel most invincible. We can do it all and love being able to hold all the action and energy. Summer means it’s time to show off your skin, or be in your skin rather. It feels amazing to be a human living in your body and taking risks while being fully immersed in the world. Most notably, inner Summer represents peak action and creativity.
Some of the best practices for supporting your inner Summer and peak energy are:
Summer is delicious and exciting but can also be overwhelming with how much energy you are holding. Remain loyal to your vision and action items formed over the Winter and Spring.
Embrace your desire to “do it all” and “see all the things”. Don’t be afraid of burn out during this time. This is the time in your cycle where your energetic system can hold the most.
Eat light and stay active. Keep the energy moving in order to prevent system overload or repressed stagnation.
Enjoy the feeling of being deeply in your body. Follow the things that make you feel sexy, sensual and whole. This is wonderful time for indulging in sex or solo pleasure.
Embodying The Mother archetype
The Mother is radiant and strong. Also seen as the Superwoman archetype, she is the one that can simply do it all. There is a nurturing, warm side to the Mother but she is also well loved and respected due to her ability to hold so much— all while seeming to do so with ease. The Mother trusts herself wholly and feels the incredibleness of what it means to be her. She loves showing up for others as a source of loving support and creative power. She knows how to bring magic to each area of her life and feel on top of the world. She is the lover, the doer, the conqueror, the best friend, the life of the party, and the Mother all in one.
The Mother is the highest form of energy you will embody in your entire cycle. She derives her power from the more she does and the more space she takes up. Coinciding with ovulation, magnetism and high energy are the main symbols of this archetype’s energy in the cycle.
Phase 4: Autumn and The Wild Woman
The transition from inner Summer to Autumn can feel like a sharp and uncomfortable energetic change. Coming off of the high of Summer is felt as a frustrating and bittersweet ending for many. Every peak must come down however, and that is the role of Inner Autumn as it symbolizes the process of lowering our energy. We begin the decline in preparation for what lies ahead in the Winter. Autumn is a necessary force for conserving our energy, deepening our intuition, and grounding us back into an earthy reality. Similar to the reality of actual Autumn, we use this time to prepare for the season ahead, wrap up any loose ends, and store away all we will need for the Winter.
Some of the best practices for supporting your inner Autumn and lowering energy are:
Overtime, embrace the process of learning to love your inner Autumn. It can be a beautiful space of rawness and reconnecting to what really needs your attention below the surface.
Use this time to wrap up, polish off, clean up, tidy away any loose ends or details that you do not wish to carry into Winter or your next cycle. Make preparations for what you need going into Winter.
Begin to deepen your nourishment at this time. Embrace the deep hunger and treat your body as something to be cared for and nourished. Channel the last bits of your inner Mother into feeding her.
Give yourself permission to lean into a slower pace. You will often feel this in your body before you’re ready to let go. It’s important you go at your body’s speed in order to avoid burnout.
Embodying The Wild Woman archetype
The Wild Woman is the most misunderstood of the cycle’s archetypes. Many of us do not have an open and trusting relationship with our inner Wild Woman. The Wild Woman is brash, edgy, and has little patience. There is a ferocity that moves her from her center all while her head is taken over by instinct rather than logic. This energy feels raw, irritated, and very animal-like. The Wild Woman brings us back to a primal place where emotions are expressed through the body without second thought and survival instincts are at an all-time high.
The Wild Woman is working with lower energy and is just trying to get herself what she needs. She feels her inner death coming and she needs to know that those around her can hold her while she bleeds. She will operate from body and instinct over mind and heart at this time.
How to incorporate this knowledge into your daily life
Your menstrual cycle can be an incredible and intuitive guide for growth, pleasure, and healing. While the idea of using seasons and archetypes to work with your energy can feel overwhelming, with time this process will become very intuitive and easy to follow.
One of the easiest ways to begin this process of relating to your menstrual cycle more intimately is with a concept called Menstrual Cycle Awareness— a process coined by The Red School in their book Wild Power. Menstrual Cycle Awareness is the simple process of tracking your feelings and thoughts each day of your cycle. By taking just 5 minutes a day to jot down some notes on how you’re feeling and how you relate to the current season of your cycle, you will learn so much about your own needs and energetic patterns. Imagine how much you will learn about yourself in as soon as two or three cycles.
Your menstrual cycle is an innate and direct connection to Earth, Life, and Spirit. By learning to wield its energy, you strengthen your involvement and connection to your place in the Universe.
Author: Julianna Carbonare
About: Julianna is the Assistant Director of Marketing for Chakrubs and Lead Copywriter for Freque Magazine.