I have heard it said that talking about the menopause in polite company goes down about as well as a fart at a dinner party. Well I say that stinks and it is about time it changed. I grant that talking about the intimate physical details of the changes to a woman’s body may be too much for the squeamish, and perhaps should be held with more reverence and mystery. But the concept of menopause as a rite of passage for a woman is something that should be far more widely talked about. If approached in a conscious way, the menopause is a time when a woman can harvest all her skills and experience, and step into a phase of great power and wisdom. And perhaps this is what our patriarchally dominated culture is truly afraid of.
The conventional concept of menopause seems to be that it’s the beginning of the end. Soon you will become a wizened, bent backed old bag with brittle bones and a dry vagina, who smells of wee and mutters to herself, perhaps even cackling from time to time. Even spiritual circles who talk about the triple phases of woman – the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone seem to be missing something. Surely there is a phase between hard worked Mother and ancient Crone, where we step into a place of wisdom, freed from the ties of mothering young children, but still with enough energy and vigour to make a difference in the world? This is surely a time when we are free to follow our soul’s true purpose and to fulfill the secret wishes of our hearts. This is the time of the Maga, the wise elder woman, who is at the top of her game in terms of skills and experience. She is the majestic Autumn Queen who harvests the abundance of all she has created in her life. As the world teeters on the brink of man-made self-destruction, this is the time when we truly need these women to come into their true power to help rebalance human life on earth.
As I embark on my perimenopausal years, I am making it my mission to find out all there is to know about walking through menopause in the most empowered and conscious way that I can. I will be embracing my hot flashes as a transformational fire that burns away all the crap that is no longer needed in my life. I shall be seeking herbal allies to help me through the worst of my physical symptoms. I shall be seeking the spiritual meaning in all that happens to me. I intend to step out the other end of this experience wiser, stronger, with more vigour and a medicine bag full of tools to help others. I want to share this knowledge with any woman who is willing to listen. And if there are sisters out there who have gone through this rite of passage before me, I would love to hear of your experience and your wisdom.
*The image in this blog post is taken from Grandmother’s Stories by Barefoot Books.