Menstrual Hygiene Day

Menstrual Rites Of The Native Americans

menstrual-ritual-native-americanOf all of the different approaches and attitudes towards menstruation, the Native Americans had it right in so many ways – well, in my opinion. Unlike the European American Christians who ultimately drove Native Americans off of their lands, and largely away from their rituals, menstruation was by no means a biblical curse to the Indians. (In those early American Christian fundamentalist sects, if a woman wasn’t pregnant in, she wasn’t in her natural state.)

In fact, in many North American native tribes, menstruation involved a strong oral tradition, rituals, ceremonies and more. While women might have been restricted from cooking or sleeping with men during her period, this had nothing to do with shame. In fact, many Native American women were treated with an amazing amount of reverence when they were menstruating.

As I mentioned in my other post about ancient menstrual rites, a lot of the belief in a woman’s capacity for other worldly powers stemmed from her ability to bleed, oftentimes profusely, without dropping dead. Some tribes actually believed that women were the embodiment of a holy person during their periods. Others believed that women’s bodies were purifying themselves during this time.

Perhaps most fascinating of all, is that many tribes believed women were more powerful, spiritually, during their periods – and that they even had special intuitive powers. Some Native American tribe members would call upon menstruating women for their advice, insight, guidance, or to connect them to higher powers.

Menstrual huts were also big amongst the Native American tribes. During the heaviest four days of their period, wives would leave their homes and go to this separate menstrual lodge to commune with other women. Since women tend to mense together, these lodges were often quite full and the women inside we encouraged to engage in some serious “girl time” by discussing female issues and indulging in creative pursuits like storytelling and arts and crafts.

Plus, when a girl would hit puberty in a Native American tribe, it was nothing like the shame and secrecy we experience today. Native American puberty rituals were big celebratory events for a village. Early European settlers noted that the Cheyenne and Apache tribes were particularly open about menstruation – often announcing a girl’s first period to the entire village with pride. Imagine if your dad broadcast your first period all over Facebook. How different we are!

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Jing Jin, Chief Harmony Officer
At CycleHarmony.com, our mission is to empower women to honor their menstrual cycles, improve their reproductive and overall health, and become the very best version of themselves.

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Comments  

 
Jing
#23 Jing 2013-11-24 10:01
Dear Renee, Welcome to our tribe! We look forward to sharing this wonderful journey with you. If you haven't joined, please sign up for a free membership account and share your thoughts and feelings with us inside our member-only forum. "See you" inside :)
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Renee
#22 Renee 2013-11-24 06:44
Muchas Gracias Jingtastic! I am incredibly appreciative to have found your post, as well as become further enlightened in embracing a deeper understanding of my body during this very special occurance, I wish to embrace more positive energy and a stronger intuitiveness, indeed!~
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FernGully
#21 FernGully 2013-11-10 23:02
My uterus tried to kill me, when I was young. No joke. I never used tampons, and didn't have regular periods until I was about 22, but until then - when I did have them I would literally be sick. Toxic Shock Syndrome. Fever. Chills. Vomiting. Diarrhea. This stuck once at school; I was gripping my desk, trying not to pass out, and sweating. My teacher said she looked at me and I looked green. A sickly, pale green.

It's not perception - women's bodies are not all the same. They function differently. I was very active during my high school years, playing sports year round and running. I was a vegetarian. I was very healthy and fit - but my uterus never-the-less wanted to do me in.

I don't know what happened, but I hit 22 and they stopped trying to kill me, and were every 27 days! Go figure.
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Jingtastic
#20 Jingtastic 2013-02-14 18:14
Thank you Isabelle. This is exactly what inspired me to create the Cycle Harmony website. I hope you'll join us in this initiative. All you need to do is to sign up for a free account - and share your thoughts, feelings, experiences, challenges and triumphs. We're here to support one another!
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Isabelle
#19 Isabelle 2013-02-10 07:35
It's crazy that half the population menstruates and yet we don't talk about it... And we feel inadequate for things so natural and common as pain and pms. This website is a great initiative!
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My name is Jing. I founded CycleHarmony.com to inspire and empower my sisters around the world to honor our menstrual cycles and embrace the vibrant, radiant women we were born to be.

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