Cycles, Rituals, and Women’s Spirituality

Today I noticed two things as I woke up.  The first was that it was roughly 65 degrees, sunny, and bright.  Later as I walked about campus, several of the trees have bloomed and the community has taken to the lawns and decks.  As I write this post I am sitting at my sunny bedroom window, which is thrown wide open.

The second is that my period came a day early.

It’s been ten years since I first woke up with it.  I do not really remember it in the same way I do graduating high school, my first legal drink, or my initiation into Paganism.  It blends with the roughly 120 other times my courses have come and gone.  I didn’t have a coming of age ritual, but rather my mom bought me a box of pads, made me a cup of tea, and told me to ignore it.

That casual, flippant attitude always bothered me, the way this life cycle is treated.  Even the word period makes me uncomfortable, as if the biological process of being a woman isn’t something a part of me all of the time.  It’s not just a week of every month.  I am always an aspect of femininity.

When I embraced Paganism, the connection with the female divine was by far the strongest pull.  It’s not that I wanted a deity as an epitome of perfect womanhood.  In fact, I wanted a goddess who understands that the balance of anger, peace, joy, sorrow, power, weakness, life, death, newness, and tradition.  The illusion of ‘perfect’ in deity is ridiculous because the universe is not perfect.

However, the universe is steeped in cycles.  Life to death, school year to school year, etc.  Part of what the divine teaches us is how they relate and transform every day life.  There is no ideal to be taught, but rather how to live within the ever-present rhythm of life and self.

The way I have connected with personal cycles is to create a series of rituals.  They are driven by the need to connect to deity throughout the month, year, and stage of life.  While I missed out on my coming of age, I celebrate every birthday, end of semester, and yes even ‘that time of the month’ with prayer, offering, and respect to the Goddess and God.  By connecting with the divine in the seemingly routine parts of life, I draw them closer into my world and in turn am drawn into theirs.

So today I am relaxing and enjoying being a woman with a large mug of tea.

© Ariadne Woods

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