The last quarter of the lunar cycle is traditionally a time when we begin to retreat from the busier demands of daily life and social engagements.
For many women whose menstrual cycles are attuned to lunar rhythms, this approaching dark-Moon time coincides with the pre-menstrual part of their cycle, which is a time that can cause many women and their partners to really struggle, due to the painful physical and emotional effects that come with it.
It’s so common to experience heightened emotional sensitivities, leading to irritability, limited patience and anxiety, amongst many other difficult states.
(I don’t wish to exclude any men reading this – they too can be affected emotionally by lunar phases, though perhaps not to the same degree as most women, and obviously their hormonal make up is different. But even if this knowledge is not experiential for men, I think the information that follows is vital for both sexes to be aware of!)
The kinds of raw emotions that can flare up during these dark times, and the destructive power that they bring are so often mocked, judged, feared and seen as weak and disempowering in our society, not to mention being the butt of so many sexist jokes. So we have become really, really good at denying them, whilst feeling guilty, confused or even angrier when they do surface and make us lash out.
But they are us! They are a real, legitimate, truthful part of our expression, so much so that in many cultures in the world, other than ours in the West, women who are in the throes of strong, powerful, often uncomfortably fierce emotion are seen as the embodiment of deep, sacred, wild, feminine energetic forces and the deities that represent them. These primal aspects and their significant outbursts are honoured and celebrated as powerful forces of necessary destruction, like forest fires that clear the ground ready for new growth.
I remember the first time I came across this information, I think I burst into tears because I recognized a deep power in me, that I could finally embrace, and allow to surface without shame.
A wonderful example of one of these ancient deities is Kali, possibly the most terrifying Goddess in the Hindu pantheon. She is the destructive aspect of Parvati (the caring wife of Shiva), who turned into her, in order to fight a demon that no other God could touch! She has sharp teeth, a long red tongue that hangs out, and she became so drunk from drinking the blood of the demon that she’d slain, that she rampaged across the battlefield killing everything in sight! Her clothes are made from the limbs of her victims and she carries around their severed heads. Now there is a wild woman!
The ancient Greeks saw this same ruinous power embodied in Medea (wife to Jason), who after being spurned by her man, destroyed all that was once dear to her, including killing her children.
Interestingly, the stories containing these characters, of which there aren’t a lot of surviving details, were actually interpreted from even more ancient, ‘pre-Greek’ times, populated more by shamanic, elemental beings, rather than the relatively newer Greek Gods.
The Hawaiian religion (with its early origins all over Polynesia) celebrate Pele, the fiery and hot tempered Goddess of the Volcano, also known as “the Earth-eating Goddess” (just imagine her rage!) Her home is Mauna Loa, the highest mountain in the world, if you measure from the depths of the sea floor, so this Goddess is not without some significance.
My favourite of these wild-feminine examples is one of the oldest known Egyptian Gods: Sekhmet, the mighty lioness Goddess, represented by the searing midday sun. She embodied the lion – the fiercest hunter known to the Egyptians, and led the Pharos into war. She was ferocious enough to to burn through and ravage any blocks to truth and higher knowing, using the transformational power of her fire.
What I love so much about Sekhmet is that at the root of her ferocity is compassion. Whoever her subject, she loves them too much to let them remain in ignorance so however painful it is, she will strip away the negative attitudes and outmoded beliefs and patterns that keep them from growing into their purpose.
This may all sound a little abstract, but these kinds of archetypes have been depicted and used for so many thousands of years with good reason. They validate and give purpose and meaning to the emotions and actions that can seem to move through us subconsciously sometimes (if you do shamanic work, then you can bring this subconscious realm into you conscious awareness). So whether or not we realize it, these wild-feminine aspects, represented by so many deities throughout our ancient histories are present within all of us, all of the time.
I don’t think many of us do realize, or allow these parts of ourselves to surface very often because if we do, we can be met with such negativity because their traits are so culturally un-feminine! But they are all the more likely to rise up and surface, manifesting the destructive parts of their power during the darker lunar times, and/or our pre-menstrual phases, especially because we don’t allow them freedom during the rest of our cycles.
But what does this freedom look like? It is not as extreme as the Goddess examples show us in their stories, but is still an embodiment of strength and power. Some examples could be:
- Having real confidence in your natural appearance, or alternatively, going a little wild with your hair, make up and clothes, in order to express yourself, rather than hide yourself.
- Feeling confident in your true nature – in your desires and opinions, and actually verbalising what they are. It takes strength to do this, as it carries with it the belief that you worth hearing and heeding, by others.
- Acting spontaneously!
- Acting unconventionally, if that is what you feel like doing!
- Expressing yourself creatively.
- Valuing and expressing your emotions, both the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’: cry if you need to, scream if you need to and howl with delight if you need to! The depth of the suppression (by both ourselves and others) of much of our primal nature is often shown in reluctance, or inability to use our voices. Not only in speaking our truths, but also in making weird and wonderful sounds, due to fears that other people will think we are out of control. But sound is the most fundamental of vibrational expressions so when we stifle it, we are preventing the flow of our most basic form of creation. And who says ‘out of control’ is so bad, once in a while?!
- Challenging inequality.
- Challenging the unconscious habits and patterns of behaviour imposed upon you, either by you, or by society, without question.
- Embracing your erotic, sensual and sexual self.
- Recognising and embracing your primal nature, through your connectedness to nature.
It really isn’t easy to embrace these aspects, in ordinary life, with families and work and children, but neglecting to express them doesn’t mean they will cease to exist. Instead, we become their extremes.
So the next time you find yourself unexpectedly and uncontrollably channeling your inner wild feminine Goddess energy, realise that she is giving you a message. She is rising because she cares about you too much to let you continue the way you are. She is here to let you know that you need to put her power into action in other parts of your life. Use the boldness, the ability to challenge and question, and the expressive, creative force that she holds, to shake up your life. Do it with positive intent, or the shake up will continue to happen without your say-so.