When I was in my twenties, a friend of a friend lived with other women and the moon synchronized their menstrual cycles. They claimed their cooperative rhythm of life restored all harmony in each woman’s bodies and life. They claimed bleeding in sync served to help them manage their collective and communal energy. Something was working for them because they were not very hairy and naturally quite sexy in their flowing skirts and bare feet. And flowers in their hair.
There was a mural painted on the side of their SE Portland house which read, “Musical Maidens of the Moon” and they spent a lot of time sitting cross legged in a circle on braided rugs making mind blowing, hippie sand art jewelry. Organically colored sand crystals would funnel through gelatin tubes and fill ornate glass to make earrings, pendants and ankle bracelets. The sand art was sold from booths at cool festivals. They wore them to their yoga classes and hung around the house in sync with their collective, artistic expressive energy.
I was so into these women and their life, even though I saw no plausible mechanism to explain how they all synced up every month. It could happen, but, I thought the evidence to prove it would be problematic and complicated. But there was something special about them. They all went to bed with the sunset and arose with the sun. They slept in complete darkness and would only eat local food in season, and they always took moonlight walks.
Before that time I had only heard women talk about their periods with full disdain and in all these lame terms: I am on the rag; Aunt Flow came to visit; I am riding the crimson pony. These Pacific Northwest goddesses were a coven of bloody wonder. They lived a romantic astrology. I wanted to learn their secret. I seized my moment and asked Tabitha what the deal was with their “moon flows” as they so openly referred to that time of the month.
Tabitha looked at me with a knowing smile and said that after spending nearly every day and most weekends together, the maidens started to sync cycles. Then one of them decided it was time they swallow the moon energy in full force. They would face the moon when it was just rising and gently breathe in the lunar energy, swallowing it. That followed with a barefoot chant to be repeated 29 times — the exact amount of days in a lunar cycle. She shared that moon flows have been tied to the moon and the lunar cycle for literally thousands of years. Before modern science explained that a woman menstruates because of her changing hormones, it was generally accepted that a woman’s periods followed the lunar cycle. After all, the moon controls the ocean, why not women’s bodies?
Her statement dismayed and challenged me. I was determined to prove to them that I, too, could establish a bleeding rhythm that matched the energy of their environment. I would show them that I was powerful and mystical enough to drink the moon energy and become a Musical Maiden of the Moon. I wanted to drink the Kool-Aid!
They would be hitting the sack shortly because it was about an hour until twilight so I saw myself out through the side gate and rode my bike to the closest bookstore on Hawthorne Blvd. to get an action plan together. I sat in the aisle with my ankle bells and a half-eaten spinach feta pocket I grabbed from next door. Organic tofu and soy lecithin spilled onto page 63 of the book I focused to memorize the chapter called, “Attuning to the Natural Forces: Harmonize our Body with Nature’s Cycles”.
That night when the sun set and moon was bright, I stated my intention out loud that I want to bleed during the new moon and ovulate at the full moon. I walked barefoot in my backyard for about an hour and focused my energies on that statement. I said it loudly and clearly, but not too loudly because my duplex-mates in the other kitchen kept looking out at me, thinking I was trying to raid their garden.
I proclaimed my plans to the moon. For many a moonlit night, I met the moon at that very spot and resumed my intention setting. I promised to create a Moon Lodge with women friends by gathering and creating sacred space together on the new moon, possibly right in my backyard. And I swore I would avoid food packaged in plastic or BPA cans. Even my beloved Super Big Gulp refills were in danger of disappearing if I was granted the supreme gift of becoming a Musical Maiden of the Moon.
In three months’ time my power cycle kicked into the flow gear. I talked to the moon, letting the light into my womb. I slept in a completely dark room and got up daily at 6 am. I sat under the sun and let the warm and gentle morning sunlight caress me while I had my spirulina breakfast smoothie.
When I was sure I had synced, I slipped on my Birkenstocks and walked the holy path to the house of the Moon Maidens to share my news. The first tip that something was amiss was the smear of white paint over the “Musical Maidens of the Moon” sign. No one answered when I knocked, and through the porch window I saw an empty room devoid of grain sack upholstered chairs, beeswax candles and wild tapestries. Where had all the flowers gone?