Ever feel like you’re a totally different person depending on the day of the month?
Dig in a little deeper into the experience of woman, and you’ll find that the female menstrual cycle has four distinct phases. And as these phases express through you, they DO change who you are.
Or at least, they change the feminine archetype that comes out to play…
**A quick note on Archetypes: Some time ago I gleaned this piece of information about the psychoanalyst Carl Jung (this man is the KING of archetypal studies). Where or who told me this I can’t remember (but WISH I could!)
When Jung was very close to dying, said that if he could change just one thing about his life’s work, it would be this: that he’d used the word ‘Spirit’ instead of ‘archetype’ to describe the essential character of an energy type.
Let that settle for a moment before we move on…
These four phases of the feminine also correspond to the phases of the Moon: waxing, full, waning and dark.
The two cycles – of menstruation and of lunar phases – don’t always align with each other. Every woman is different and she has a myriad of personal energies acting inside and outside of her body.
Some do see alignment as a kind of holy-menstrual-grail, but I don’t think it should be assumed that it is “right” for the two cycles to correlate. Women are complicated! (And so are our relationships to our bodies).
An intimate, shifting, overlapping dance crafted by these two cycles (amongst so much else) is way more suited to feminine nature, than an unflinching, super-coordinated and consistent rhythm!
So whatever your body’s pattern – trust that it is right for you.
Now, these four phases of the lunar cycle have long been associated with four female archetypes (and these, in turn, have expanded associations).
These archetypes are fluid, personal and open to expansion and interpretation. But their energy, characteristics, strengths, weaknesses, stories, and myths will often strongly correlate with how you’re feeling, during a particular phase of your moon/menstrual cycle. They’ll inform the direction you feel the urge to push your life in, and the sensitivities you’ll be feeling.
It pays to gain an understanding of these archetypes.
There are more female archetypes – many more – yet these 4 are core when it comes to forming a relationship with sacred female cycles.
The four female archetypes are:
Maiden / Virgin Archetype
The Maiden / Virgin archetype is the female energy type that we embody during the pre-ovulation, or follicular phase of our own, personal moon cycles (when our bleeding has just finished).
We can also feel this femnine energy rise with the waxing crescent, first quarter and waxing gibbous lunar phases of the lunar cycle.
The Maiden/Virgin embodies purity and independence, strength and uncorrupted nature. (This has less to do with sexual status and much more to do with a state of mind in this context. And to elaborate a little, the meaning of the word ‘virgin’ has been misappropriated in modern times, it’s ancient meaning refers to an independent, autonomous woman, a woman not required to answer to anybody).
The Mother breathes into life after the Maiden, at the Full Moon. And she rises within, during the ovulatory phase of a woman’s blood cycle.
The Mother Archetype is glowing. She is sensual, abundant and bursting with fertility. She is creative, generous and compassionate. And in many mythologies, this potent female archetype is one with the Earth Goddess herself.
Enchantress / Wild Woman Archetype
The Wild Woman emerges just after the Full Moon, after ovulation and so coincides with the pre-menstrual part of the menstrual cycle. Of course, many women dread this part of their cycle – it can be physically painful, emotional, and often bring out the darker, destructive sides of our psyches.
At around the last waning crescent, dark, or dark Moon phases, and when you are bleeding, the last of the four feminine energy types reveals herself , asking for embodiment: meet the Crone, or the Wise Inner Woman.
This archetype is probably the least valued of all by people in our modern culture. She represents aging, and the loss of fertility, external beauty, and activity.
Your personality and your emotional body is in a state of cyclic flux
You are not the same person today, as you were yesterday. None of us are. Yet how many of the demands placed upon you by this modern world require consistency?
Moving into understanding and meeting the shifting faces of your inner archetypes is an act of rebellion against this linear march in only one direction.
By embracing each archetype, you’ll begin to see how her particular energy is currently manifesting within you. Or how its emergence is being stifled, especially during the phase (menstrual or lunar) when it’s desperate to be released, embodies and expressed.
Unfortunately, the frustration and imbalance that this suppression creates often results in physical or mental illness.
Here’s an example: I know women (yep, me included!) whose archetypal ‘Mother’ energies are expressed so strongly when they enter actual motherhood, having a child of their own. What happens, is that very little time or space is left in their lives for the other archetypes to emerge.
Their inner ‘Maiden/Virgin’ is all but abandoned. The girl with freedom to connect and create gets lost, causing a whole heap of frustration, plus painful feelings of disempowerment (shadows of the Maiden). ALl the while, their ‘Enchantress’ has been so crowded out, that these strong, capable women become impatient and quick to anger.
The easy, unconscious and collective desertion of these vital aspects of self can end up creating such huge gaps between who we are, and who we need to be.
And then we don’t know how to fix them.
But by tuning into these archetypal energies when they emerge (and especially when they don’t), we tune more deeply into our own cyclic nature as women. We get to take a plain look at who we are, and the parts of us we are missing.
Women can cycle through the archetypes every single day, through each menstrual and/or lunar month, and also through the wider context of a whole life.
It’s easy not to embrace this, and to completely miss the vital, changing faces of femininity that we wear on our journeys. But if you can learn to recognise and encourage the emergence of each archetype each day, each month, and throughout your life, you’ll get to celebrate these aspects of yourself, instead of fearing, ignoring or denying them.
Being a cycle, this constant, rolling rhythm doesn’t officially ‘begin’ anywhere.
Traditionally, and for tracking purposes, the first day of bleeding is recognised as day 1 of your cycle, which lies in the ‘crone/wise woman’ archetype. But to me, this intuitively feels closer to the ‘end’ of the cycle, symbolizing the culmination and release of knowledge. It doesn’t really matter – we are cyclical beings, so the path curves on…
Want to dive deeper into archetypes and the Moon?
… And figure out HOW to actually align with the sacred cycles of woman? Click on the image below to learn more…