It was probably a year ago that I read The Red Tent, and if you haven’t read this book, just go do it already. In fact, I kind of want to reread it.
If you go searching for information about menstrual huts you often find stories about oppressive cultures and their traditions, but I like to look towards Native American moon lodges for inspiration.
There is this incredible respect for menstruating women in most Native American cultures, and amazing respect for women in general.
Some believe that women are purifying themselves during this time, not dirty and impure as many believe, and that women are the embodiment of a holy person during their period.
Women are believed to be more spiritually powerful and in tune during their period, and often consulted by others for advice.
Moon time is a time for women to come together in these special lodges, a time to be able to let go of their responsibilities, to come together with other bleeding women, share stories, gossip and give advice, to support one another, and to rest.
There is a legend I have seen a few times about why women menstruate.
A long time ago, women were considered powerful in that they held in a lot of their family emotions, their joy and happiness but also their sadness and sorrow. They were the life-force of the family. However, sometimes that would become exhausting.
So one day, the woman went to nature to try to find help and yelled out because the burden was too much. A Raven heard her and went to see her, asking her why she was crying. The woman stated she was overwhelmed with the burdens of her family. She loved her family but no longer could take everything in anymore. Raven said that he understood her pain and went to ask Grandmother Ocean for help. Grandmother Ocean offered to wash away the pain of the women who would come to her but that she could not help those farther away. So she went to ask for help from her sister, Grandmother Moon.
So Grandmother Moon said that she represented the feminine power and would send the waters of Grandmother Ocean into the women so her power would reach them. Once every moon cycle, Grandmother Ocean shall come into the women and purify them. And she did just that. Every month, there is thus a time when the women embody the power of Grandmother Moon and are cleansed by the waters of Grandmother Ocean.
Imagine being able to step away from life’s responsibilities for even a day to give your body, mind and soul what it needs?
There’s nothing I like more than getting together with other women and talking about menstrual related things, so a red tent is basically my dream scenario.
Would you ever go to a red tent? Or have you ever?