Menopause – A Fart at a Dinner Party

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The Beautiful Crone of Cordoba*

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.

 

Dreaming with the Bee Goddess

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In Brigid’s Garden by Judith Shaw

It was a bright spring day with a sharp wind, as I stood in the garden, about to go for a walk. My hand brushed over something on my dress. Too late I realised it was a bee, which stung me on my palm, just below the middle finger of my right hand. It felt such a specific spot, like an acupuncture point. I felt sorry for the bee as I pulled its sting out, knowing it would die. I tuned in to ask, ‘Why did that just happen?’ The guidance I got was, ‘Don’t worry. It was a blessing from the Goddess.’

I set off on my walk, delighting at the spring flowers that flanked my path and the noisy twitterings of bird song.  There were violets, primroses, a host of celandines, and more bluebells than I have ever seen on this route before.

Soon the destination of my walk made its presence known, even before I could see it. The delicious scent of apple blossom came to me on the breeze, enticing me towards it. I arrived at my dear friend the crab apple tree to see her robed in delicate pink blossoms and absolutely humming with bees. She is a magnificent old lady, huge and gnarled, part of her blackened from a lightning strike, but still incredibly beautiful in her gown of flowers.

The Healer by Holly Sierra

The Healer by Holly Sierra

I greeted her and sat on a natural seat formed by her roots. It felt so comfortable, like sitting in a mother’s lap. The spring sunshine filtered through her leaves, the aroma of the blossom and the hum of a thousand bees surrounded me. The hypnotic effect of this soon sent me off to sleep. I dreamed of falling through an opening in her roots into a cave where I met the Bee Goddess. She wore an amber coloured velvet dress and a coronet with a golden bee at her brow. To her right was a beehive, with bees busily going in and out. A river of honey flowed from the hive along an earthy floor and out of the cave. I greeted her and asked what wisdom she had for me.

‘Child, life can flow as sweetly as honey, or be as painful as a bee sting. It is your choice whether you wish to go with the flow, or to stay in a place that gives you painful stings. When you are stung by life, it is a sign to change direction.’

She told me that local honey included in my diet is very beneficial for me, and described its healing and fertility boosting properties. She advised me to keep one hive of bees and to make sure I talk to the bees regularly. I awoke from my nap with her words ringing in my mind, ‘Tell it to the bees, Dear,’ she said.

The Bee Goddess Calls by Judith Shaw