Menstruation, or the periodical shedding of the lining of the uterus, still remains very much a mystery to most. As menstrual periods typically occur at intervals of one lunar month from puberty until menopause, they are often referred to as “moon cycles.” Like the moon – magnetic, sovereign, and wavering – vaginal bleeding has been mythicized, perhaps most particularly by those who have never experienced the cycle themselves. The stories and superstitions vary from culture to culture: if you touch a plant while menstruating it will die, having sex during menstruation will kill your partner, do not wash your hair or bathe while bleeding, do not hold a baby while bleeding (it will get ill), and make sure to wash your pads/tampons/other before disposing of them or ghosts will haunt you. Even today, we hear that hormonal mood swings are capable of starting wars, that bleeding magically stops once submerged in water, and that pregnancy is impossible during that time of the month. Whether demonizing or eulogizing, these bloody folklores want us to know one thing: periods are powerful.
The most discussed experiences of vaginal bleeding are usually negative, and that’s no coincidence. Patriarchal society has groomed us vagina-havers to pay outlandish fees for our (necessary) sanitary products, and to live in belief that menstruation is an inconvenient nuisance that inhibits us from human-ing properly. That’s probably the biggest menstrual myth of them all. Many negative pre-menstrual or menstrual period symptoms are actual implications of some sort of depletion or hormonal imbalance. But alas, we, the womb keepers, are taught to accept our fatigue, depression, headaches, nausea, cramping, anxiety, and more as the consequences of our earth-given bodies. For physical complaints regarding menstruation, consider speaking with an herbalist or medical provider for further evaluation of your hormone levels and for an educated protocol for symptom relief. Physical symptoms aren’t the only thing we’ve been taught to dread, but also the emotional and spiritual. With each moon cycle, we lose some of our eggs, deeming us closer to becoming infertile as time goes on. In a culture that has violently confined vagina-havers to the role of baby vessel, it’s not surprising that we, consciously or not, practice spiritual shame with each new flow; we are one step closer to purposelessness. As more commonly understood now, this binary patriarchal philosophy is completely exclusionary against people who cannot reproduce or do not want to reproduce, non-heterosexuals, and transgender folks. In simpler terms, it’s absolute abuse towards bodies with vaginas.
To revolutionize the vagina-world relationship, we must begin by repairing our own self-womb perceptions. Some of us love our vaginas, some of us hate our vaginas, and some of us are completely detached from our wombs. That’s okay; I’m not here to preach to you that you have to “love” your vagina to feel more comfortable in your body and menses. I find this especially dangerous when taking into account gender identity and/or sexual trauma. Rather, I’d like to encourage you to acknowledge your menstrual period for what it really is: cool as hell. Once a month (generally), our bodies literally release what is no longer serving us in the form of mineral-rich blood. This blood moves us – it can disgust, attract, and repel others and, at times, even ourselves. Now imagine what we could manifest if we were to take this naturally occurring, personally intimate bodily fluid and charge it with intention. Plants would grow, souls would transform, and men would fall in love. And they do.
Menstrual magick has been used throughout the ages and the world, most commonly as an ingredient for love and lust spells. A witch would secretly add their own period blood to an intended lovers’ food or drink and let their body’s disposition work its magic. Menstrual magick was and still is believed to keep lovers faithful, increase feelings of love, obsession, and lust, increase fertility, and enhance sex quality. If you’re not compelled to trick someone into drinking your period blood, try incorporating it into candle magick. Carve your partner’s or desired partner’s name into a red or pink candle and dress the candle with your menstrual blood as if it were an anointing oil. Envision the desired subject as absorbing your essence and pheromones. Allow the candle to burn to completion. Like apples, because of period blood’s affinity for attracting the desired, it can be used for all manifestation magick, specifically when manifesting for the self and family members. Because of blood’s magnetism (here come the sharks and bears!), I use my menses for prosperity and success spells in addition to love work.
Because menstrual blood is sourced from a sexual organ, it’s obvious as to why it’s associated with love, lust, fertility, and general attraction magick. But let’s not forget the energetics of this vital fluid. Menses is downward moving and dispelling. Its main function is to eliminate tissue that the body no longer needs like a snake shedding an outgrown layer of scales or a tree allowing its crinkled leaves to fall. For this, menses is perfect for spells invoking change or transformation. It is also extremely nourishing – high in potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorous –, and like decayed leaves, can be used as compost or plant fertilizer. A simple spell for self-transformation is to bless your plant’s soil with your period blood and, overtime, grow as the plant grows. Observe the plant’s growth patterns as a divination tool for insight on what to expect during your own evolution. Journal your findings. If you’re aiming to get rid of or banish something that is unwanted in your life, practice your entire moon cycle as a ritual. As your blood crawls from your uterus, passes through the cervix, and seeps out from the vagina, visualize what is undesirable as following a similar cycle of elimination. Withdrawal is a process, not an instant gratification. Blood also makes awesome ink for sigils or spells; I, myself, love to finger paint with my period blood.
When we handle our vaginal blood as a tool, we give it power – the power it deserves. With our deep-rooted illusions of menstruation as being dirty, inconvenient, and impure, this can be difficult. Take your time. Start small. At the beginning of your menstrual period – perhaps even right before (premenstrual) – be mindful of the shifts that are taking place. What changes are happening in your body? In your spirit? Can you physically feel them? In that very moment, you are growing. You are becoming wiser, riper, and more you. What a fascinating thing! Acknowledge this natural transaction and let it ground you. Your blood does not define you. Your cycle does not define you. Your vagina does not define you. There is nothing to be ashamed or afraid of; this body (and all its fluids) is your apparatus to use as you so choose.