Embracing Menstruation as a Time of Rest

Cycle

Menstruation is often seen as a nuisance, a setback from being productive, or even a weakness of the female body.  However, that wasn't always the case.

woman laying dark in dark hues

In a world that is on a masculine overdrive, we often get caught up in producing and performing as a way to demonstrate productivity and prove our worth.

As a result, we fight the need or desire to slow down, especially around our periods, when our bodies are doing so much and require rest. 

"There is a goodness in resting, not just in measurable productivity."

Menstruation is often seen as a nuisance, a setback from being productive, or even a weakness of the female body. 

However, that wasn't always the case.

Historically and across religions and cultures, the shedding of menstrual blood was highly honored as our sacred source of life.

It was revered, respected, and considered a special time for rest, purification, and rejuvenation. 

As the control of patriarchal societies over women's bodies grew, traditions around bleeding were replaced with exclusion, shame, and notions of uncleanliness.

We, at Mauj, want to remind you of the importance of resting during menstruation and of taking this time to slow down and give to yourself — both things that can sometimes be difficult or uncomfortable to do.

We’ve looked into periods in various religions and traditions. And one thing seemed clear – your menstruation is your sacred time of rest.

Illustration for Mauj by Pamela Mansour @lustrations

In Islam

Contrary to common belief, menstruation is not a time when women are forbidden from practicing their faith. It is, in fact, a time of great connection to God.

The ask to retreat from prayer and fasting is not a punishment for being "unclean", but rather it's honoring the physiological process of menstruation and the rest that women need.

Menstruation is regarded as a time of deep prayer for women – intense dhikr (remembrance of connection to The One), meditation, and contemplation — and an incredibly powerful time for internal spiritual openings and blessings from God.

In Ancient Traditions 

Red tents, moon lodges, and bleeding lodges were places where girls and women gathered when they bled for meditation and reflection. 

They served as a space to be still, to rest, and to deepen their connection with their bodies and themselves. 

Women would learn from each other the importance of time, rest, and self-care practices.

In Menstrual Cycle Awareness Practices (MCA)

In MCA practices, menstruation is seen as a monthly invitation to go inwards, come home to yourself, surrender, release the ego, and connect to a higher power.

The most important thing to do during this time is to rest, rest, and rest some more.

Sheikh, Soraya, “Red Tents and Their Link to Spirituality.” RedRevelations. November 2020. 

“Having Your Period is a Time of Deep Prayer.” SanadCollective

Craft, Christine, “Sacred Menstruation: How to Reclaim Your Period.” NylonMagazine. 

Piastrelli, Becca, “Exploring the Menstrual Rituals of Our Ancestors”

Pope, Alexandra and Hugo Wurlitzer, Sjanie “Wild Power: Discover the Magic of Your Menstrual Cycle and Awaken the Feminine Path to Power.” 2017. 

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