The truth of the Goddess is so powerful, that only by usurping and subverting it, can it be made to echo the patriarchal theocracy – Feminine Creative Power must be taboo! Through the “Curse of Eve”, females have been made to fear and suffer the pain of birth. The Curse has been placed on us, by a reactive and jealous patriarchy, a Curse that attacks the very essence of a woman’s power, her fertility. In the Wise Wound (pg. 22) authors Penelope Shuttle and Peter Redgrove propose that the pain and distress of menstruation might be a learned response. This learned behavior has been compounded by the ancient taboo of fear and ignorance and contemporary lack of education about the natural relationship between universal and hormone cycles.
The obvious first question is why it is that until very recently, only the negative aspects of the menstrual cycle have been duly recorded and propagated through generations of women? Furthermore a woman’s menstrual cycle is depicted as negatively impacting man’s ability to access the feminine aspect: sex, heirs, technical and domestic support services. The great taboo, female autonomy, not being available to the masculine when wanted or needed, is really the ultimate sin. Without a doubt, the sin of inconvenience is a punishable offense. Masculine rough righteousness for the sin of unavailability has been justified without mercy or conscience for millennia.
Up until the mid-20th century there had been a shocking lack of real scientific study on the actual “mechanics of propagating the human race”. It wasn’t until the landmark sex studies of Masters and Johnson that personal physiology during the sex act was studied, recorded and new conclusions drawn. The M&J studies published verifiable physiological fact rather than phallic fallacy. The study exposed centuries of misinformation, patriarchal propaganda and inculturalization as myth. The M&J study independently verified the superbly responsive mind body links to the feminine monthly cycle.
When questioned directly, the average gynecologist cannot tell an otherwise completely healthy woman why her normal monthly cycle is causing her pain or discomfort. Many doctors, unable to deal with the natural cycle of fertility decide to treat it as an illness, further stigmatizing a natural function. Is it any wonder that feminist researchers started to ask, “Is menstruation pain a learned response?” Could pain be the physical result of millennia of patriarchal cultural conditioning? Have we as a gender internalized the old Biblical message, “ …the sins of Eve visited upon her daughters… “
The modern message young women hear today from the media and healthcare professionals isn’t much better. “When you start your periods you can expect cramps and may experience some discomfort. Oh yes, you can also expect a few days of bloating and maybe some mood swings”. After being told what to expect with such authority, is it any wonder that many women unconsciously override their own superbly responsive mind-body communication links and experience exactly what they have been programmed to expect…painful periods and mood swings.
In their book the Wise Wound, (Marion Boyars Publishers, 1999) Shuttle and Redgrove suggest that there is a pattern to every woman’s cycle that she can perceive if she wishes. They propose that a woman’s internal structure is unique to each individual. If a woman is introspectively self-aware, she’ll be able to sense her own body’s natural rhythmic changes. Unfortunately most modern women are cut off from the rhythms of the natural world, and therefore are most likely to be unaware and unresponsive to their personal feedback systems. This conscious denial of cycle is the source of many “feminine complaints.”
Understandably this lack of acknowledgment is re-enforced by a lack of education about women’s history, our validity, our sacred connection to the universe and the divine. All of which leads to a lack of balance. The chronic stress that our bodies endure due to living out of synch with our natural rhythms – ultimately leads to dis-ease; an imbalance, not only of our entire reproductive system, but our entire mind body connection. Which is why, when we are told we are crazy lunatics, and to“take two Valium and go home, honey;” we believe it, hang our heads in shame, convinced that we are the only women to suffer this humiliating cycle. Most women have yet to realize that this slip-shod medical treatment is yet another facet of the ongoing subjugation of womankind.
Excerpted with permission:
Goddess of Wonder, Goddess of Light, by Leslie C. Botha and H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik, 2004 Pleiades Publishing, ISBN 0-9716968-1-0