|Eyan Myers Moon Mysteries: Reclaiming Women’s Menstrual Wisdom |
by Nao Sims and Nikiah Seeds.
Friday the 13th, like the topic of women's spirituality, elicit strong feelings of attraction or aversion in people. In my conversations with women about how they have become spiritual leaders, I have learned to pay attention to those symbols that mainstream culture has demarcated as dangerous – and to follow them to their roots.
The number 13 in particular, is feared and maligned by folk cultures throughout the world, but particularly in the Judeo-Christian 'West'. 13 is seen as one unit more than the 'perfect' dozen. 13 is a dangerous, dangling number: one too many guests at dinner, one too many apostles, one too many lunar months for the Gregorian Calendar; 13 seems to be what happens when 12 is transgressed. Friday fares little better, it is rumored to be the day that Eve fed Adam the apple in the Garden of Eden and Good Friday is the day when Christ was crucified.
Yet Friday the 13th, like many other symbols that have been earmarked as dangerous by common belief, conceals within itself the roots of another time and place. It grows over another relationship with the world in which people felt and drew meanings very differently than we do today. Friday is a day dedicated to Venus and Freya, goddesses of love. Most significantly, 13 is a special number relating to the cycles of the moon and thus to women and their menstrual cycles (called moontime in many First Nations traditions). 13 is suspected to be a number relating to the feminine aspect of the Divine and her thousands of years-old worship. It is also related to death, both as a Tarot card, and in numerous other mythological and esoteric traditions where it represents transformation and the promise of resurrection.
Friday the 13th, and the number 13 have a connection to women and their mysteries that is worth excavating, and I encourage you to perform your own research on the topic. When we dig deeper, questions and wisdom emerge. These surround the rich, shadowy aspects of our natures and our pasts found tangled among the roots of women, death/resurrection, the moon, and the number 13.
So, this leads me to another question, what are my other Friday the 13th 's? What aspects or symbols in my life do I experience fear or aversion around, which could be excavated and rebirthed into sources of deep wisdom? What tools, like monthly moontime (menstruation) am I already walking with that, once liberated from cultural bias, are sources of inspiration and insight? Here are just a few to get you thinking: menopause, trans-gendered qualities, fat, death, aging, “disabilities”, sexuality, and anything else that might feel dangerous or inauspicious about yourself or your world.
Once something calls to you, honor it, then grab it close to its base and keep pulling until you find the roots. Maybe you'll find them through research and reading, maybe you'll find them through prayer, journeying, or chopping wood, but when you do I encourage you to experience those roots as completely as you can. Sit with them and ask questions of them. Are the roots in you or in history? Whose history? What truly belongs to you? What can help you to grow deeply and in beauty?
Finally, what is the extra loaf in your 'Baker's Dozen'? Because that's what happens when you excavate and transform what frightens you; it becomes a gift.
About Jessamine Dana, PhD
Jessamine Dana, PhD is an anthropologist, teacher, and the director of the Woman and the Owl Project: Cultivating and Connecting Women Spiritual Leaders. Her work explores the development of contemporary women spiritual leaders in 'new and native' traditions, and makes that research available to people at all stages of spiritual self-development. Jessamine welcomes opportunities to discuss her work and your journeys. Find out more at www.womanandtheowl.com or www.facebook.com/WomanandtheOwlProject