I first want to give a huge virtual hug to all the ladies who attended the Sacred Cycle Bliss event!!! We were at capacity with 40 women in attendance. This was a DREAM come true!
Our lively discussion wandered through a number of topics, and I wanted to compile the knowledge shared in the session as a "companion guide" to reference while working with Suzanne's Book: 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks: Awakening the Power, Wisdom and Beauty in Every Woman's Nature.
This is not necessarily the "start" of the cycle per se, because by definition a cycle is ongoing, the beginning arbitrary. It is though, a very easy way to START tracking because it coincides with the first day of the menstrual cycle. The first day you bleed = day 1.
What if you aren't bleeding?
There are many reasons women don't bleed: being on long term birth control, hysterectomy, trans gender status, menopause, medical condition. If this is the case, simply use the MOON, and start on the NEW MOON.
FIRST NEW MOON of 2018: next Tuesday, January 16th.
From an Ayurvedic or natural rhythmic living perspective, this is a time to rest and reflection.
What can occur if you don't?
You may be more prone to illness, coming down with a cold or the flu, because your immune system is a bit compromised. Long-term, over many cycles, you may be more prone to adrenal burnout which can manifest as fatigue, pain, and eventually metabolic syndrome and thyroid issues.
The recommended herbs here, (for those of you at the Sacred Cycle Bliss live event, the quote I specifically used: "I worked 13 months as an urgent care physician and never got sick...") are: Lemon Balm & Elderberry
We had the pleasure of gifting the amazing Village Apothecary 2017 Elderberry Elixir blend
to one lucky lady as a door prize on Sunday. This blend includes both lemon balm and elderberry along with echinacea, astragalus, Greek mountain tea and olive leaf for an immune boosting powerhouse in a bottle, so to speak. She only made 12 this year, so if you want it, literally click now.
Otherwise, lemon balm is abundant around Oregon, and I wildcrafted my own tincture in the summer of 2016, which is the batch I am still using. You can also purchase lemon balm tincture or tea at the Herb Shoppe here in Portland, which is one of my go-to natural pharmacies, and the generous donors of the Feminine Divine Tea, which all attendees took home in their goodie bags, and is excellent for this 1st week.
In our 365 day year-long cycle, this is the season we are in NOW. Things that correspond with roughly the 2nd week in your cycle might be more prevalent or obvious to you over the next few months (from the winter solstice to the spring equinox).
This is a building phase. Great time to be eating nourishing foods: soups and stews with a bone broth base, kitchari with brown rice, roasted root vegetables with herbal chutney (like the meal served Sunday, thank you Carioca Bowls!) This is the time in your cycle when everything goes from dry to wet, so to facilitate that process, proper hydration is vital: coconut water, potassium broth, and herbal teas are all great. Every person is of course different, but you may find this is the time of the month you can handle "heavier foods" with less digestive trouble.
This is the time of the month that I tend to take the most supplements; specifically I am taking an adrenal supplement recommended for me by Dr. Joanna Fisher (the fabulous ND providing the naturopathic perspective at our Sunday event) and drinking "vata balancing tea" to manage the prominent Air and Ether elements.
One important point we discussed on Sunday, is that when using foods and herbs as medicine, TASTING the herbs while consuming them stimulates the pre-digestion process needed to promote the greatest assimilation.
That is why tea is an excellent way to experience medicinal herbs. Big shout out here to herbalist Mountain Mel for joining us on Sunday and letting us experience her "Diges-Teas" digestive blend, which is a great tea option for priming digestion in this phase of your cycle, again especially if eating richer foods. Another great way of taking herbs that some people are less familiar with, is by taking a "rasayana" or herbal jam that is prepared by mixing Ayurvedic and Western herbs and spices in with ghee (purified butter), honey, and brown rice syrup. My favorite one to take during this time of year, and specifically during this time of my cycle is #1 Joint Support. These are made by a wonderful company down in Ashland, OR, and are also available in vegan varieties.
If you happen to be a woman that is still ovulating, this is the event that marks the transition from the winter phase of your cycle (2nd week) to the spring phase (3rd week).
The release of the egg is also the female's fertile window. If you wanted my birth control guide but didn't get it, no worries, its available in digital format here.
If tracking by the moon, this whole thing corresponds to the FULL MOON.
The next FULL moon will occur on Wednesday, January 31st.
This is actually the second full moon of 2018 and therefore the second full moon to fall in the calendar month of January, which is commonly referred to as a "blue moon".
Appearing opposite the new moon, this is a time to turn outward and express. Having a creative outlet is key, and this is your week to shine.
When expressing yourself through clothing, I always suggest organic, and want to give a shout-out here to Adrienne, owner of Faerie's Dance, who was in attendance Sunday, outfitted me for the event, and donated the organic clothing that was gifted.
Ayurvedically speaking, this is the time of Kapha or increased Water and Earth elements. This time of year, or cycle, can bring increased mucous and allergies, or be a time when we accumulate excess weight if not careful. Traditionally the time of cleansing, shifting the diet to foods with vibrant colors, flavors, spice and kick, can help alleviate these issues by clearing mucous and revving up the metabolism. This is also the hallmark time for cleansing, (think "spring cleaning"), with the symbolic time of "release" happening as the moon wanes from full to new again.
Commonly known as the "pre-menstrual syndrome", this Summer phase of the cycle is what Suzanne refers to as "the fire walk" and symbolically is the time of transformation.
In Ayurveda, summer is also associated with fire, and imbalance here can lead to symptoms such as excessive cramping, acne, irritability, and heart burn. Following an anti-inflammatory diet can be helpful as would Mel's Hibiscus Heartsong Tea and Rasayana #13 Skin Beauty.
I find that ceremony with other women, healing stones, and essential oils especially help me capture this powerful energy of the summer week.
I would like to give a shout out here to April Hansen, RN, who gifted the "I Am Fabulous" blends
during Sunday's event. In addition to 20+ years of nursing experience, April is an Ayurvedic Health Consultant, essential oil expert and excellent teacher. She has a free event coming up:
Sunday, January 28th, 3-5pm.
Another big thank you to Susan Landa, owner of The Fossil Cartel, who donated the moonstones for each attendee of Sunday's event. Susan is also the founder of Moondays, which is a seasonal women's circle that meets in the Portland area.
Saturday, March 17th evening, (stay tuned for further details...)
Alright ladies, that is all for now!
Questions? Please post them in the comment section below.
All products mentioned above are available to sample during your visit
with Dr. Kayla
at Moon Cycle Medicine Inc.
You may also continue the discussion in the free private Facebook group
4s4w Cycle-Tracking Sisterhood hosted by Suzanne Mathis McQueen.