A woman’s womb journey through her life is a journey into power.
There is a spiritual power that is in service to the thriving and harmonising of life itself along with a guide map for women. This power is rooted in the womb-consciousness of their bodies. The womb has been misunderstood and denied for millennia in attempts of the old states to keep women down. Knowing that the womb is what connects her to herself this had to be shamed and made to be ‘just for reproduction’. In actual fact the womb is a complete and powerful guide map for a woman to navigate every aspect of her life from how to feel safe, to creativity, sexuality and wellbeing.
There are four rites of passage in a woman’s life and birth is the first: our initiation into being into this world.
The second rite of passage is menarche, which marks the time of our first bleed. This is an initiation into the spiritual power which a woman will need to learn to embrace and deepen throughout her life. But she cannot do this alone, she needs the guidance of elders. This cyclical nature of our menstrual cycle plugs us into the cosmology of the universe; as what happens within the womb mirrors the cycles of life. It’s what I term Wombology. Menarche is an initiation into spiritual power through a deep, profound connection with the spiritual nature of life. We step into our role as creatrixes ; tending to life in its different forms.
The third rite of passage, the one I want to talk about today, is menopause. In menopause there is a hormonal change at a physical level and with it a portal opens within us to deepen and alchemise our spiritual power. Every rite of passage is a cycle of death and rebirth, and the menopause is one of the most potent ones; when we are invited to put on the compost heap all that no longer serves us in order to crown our high priestess.
The ways we give ourselves away
On the surface, menopause is “just” the end of our menstrual cycle, but there’s so much more going on underneath. It’s one of the most misunderstood areas of medicine : 41% of medical schools in the UK don’t have a mandatory menopause module, meaning many GPs qualify with no idea how to support women through this time. Of course, our ancestors understood innately how to navigate the menopause as their spirituality was earth-based – following the cyclical nature of life through the year. Of course they saw this cycle clearly mirrored in their bodies, and worked with it instead of against it. As a woman reaches the autumn of her life she is guided to go further inside to mine for the gold of her wisdom and her potency, so that she can bring this in service to a better world.
However, this is a challenge for many women in our modern system because they have spent a lifetime in ‘override mode’. Predominantly driven by the ebb and flow of oestrogen, which is commonly referred to as the ‘accommodating hormone’, women are programmed to nurture life. How many of us have sacrificed our own desires and needs for the sake of our partners or our children? How many compromises have we made over the courses of our lives?
In the healthy community of our deep-time ancestors living within nature and the cycles of life, nurturing would have looked like caring for the children, listening to the land and tending to the wellbeing of the hearts and souls of the village : guiding them where healing needed to happen.
As menopause arrives, women experience (among many things) a sudden drop in our oestrogen levels. Hormonally, it’s like being in the pre-menstrual part of our cycle but multiplied by 100 and lasting several years! This is coupled with most likely a lifetime of trying to ignore our menstrual cycle and not realising it has been our most sacred guide map. No wonder peri-menopausal and menopausal women have the highest rate of suicide among women ; they are experiencing enormous change, with little to no support or understanding of what is going on for them.
With the loss of our accommodating hormone, the veil drops away and we suddenly feel all the times we gave ourselves away. It’s like taking a truth pill, a tsunami of truth arrives at our door and it can feel emotionally overwhelming. Every moment we overrode ourselves comes back to us, and many of us find ourselves wanting to burn every aspect of our lives on a big bonfire. We question everything we thought we knew:
Why am I in this job?
Why am I married to this partner?
What do I want sexually?
This process can feel terrifying, but there is a profound opportunity here to change history and lay the path for the future. We must allow all the parts of our lives that no longer serve us to fall away, to die, so that we may be reborn. More powerful than ever.
How we can embrace this rite of passage
At this time in a woman’s life, she is invited to look at the entirety of it and place herself, unapologetically, at the centre. She must step out of the sacrificial loop, and into service to the mystery, service to life in a way that means she is sustained. Menopausal women come to understand that it is possible to be in service to life, but it cannot be at the cost of themselves. Our third rite of passage offers us the precious reminder that the service we offered throughout our creatrix years should never have been at the cost of ourselves. We have a chance to step back into our power and live life from there. We no longer have the energy resources, or time to do anything else.
Anything less than deep connection to the sacred falls away.
The key piece, for me, is having the necessary support to navigate the transition of menopause, and reclaim it as a stepping into deeper connection to life. This is exactly what I offer at Autumn Queen, my weekend workshop for menopausal and peri-menopausal women.
Let’s step into the mystery together, in circle, as our grandmothers would have.