Today as we search for the Divine Femineity within ourselves, I think it is important to begin to explore other culture that in the not so distant pass still honored the path of Sisterhood. Today with the demands of our lives and the lack of information we have received over our lifetime and our mother, grandmother and beyond, we have relinquished much of our knowledge of the Sisterhood. Most of us as the system demands are always on the go from one place to another and yet what is probably intrinsically deep inside of our beings is the urge to connect with ourselves. Long ago many of us did this every month especially during our Moon time or during the 3 day of the Full Moon, we go away with other sister in a Moon Lodge or spend the time alone with ourselves to dream. What a concept, to dream to remove yourself from society during your moon when you are very receptive, to go inside of yourself and discover, heal, flourish and grow.
Here is a story written by Jamie Sams, she is a member of the Wolf Clan Teaching Lodge. I thought that this story embody our primal abilities as women. I hope you get the essence of the story and begin to apply it to your life.
The Moon Lodge is the place of woman, where women gather during their menstrual time to be at one with each other and the changes occurring in their bodies. Long ago, during this special time of moon cycles, women were removed from duties of family and allowed to retreat to the Moon Lodge to enjoy the company of their Sisters.
Traditionally, the Moon time is the sacred time of woman when she is honored as a Mother of the Creative Force. During this time she is allowed to release the old energy her body has carried and prepare for reconnection to the Earth Mother’s fertility that she will carry in the next Moon or month. Our Ancestors understood the importance of allowing each woman to have her Sacred Space during this time of reconnection because women were the carriers of abundance and fertility. Women were the mothers who would increase the Tribe by bearing children, bring fertility to the crops through their connection to Mother Earth, and hold the dreams of the Nation in their wombs until those dreams became a reality. During their Moon, they were barren and could not conceive, so it was their time of rest.
Nobody would stop women from the necessary retreat during the Moon time. To do so would be a dangerous move it was the highest honoring of woman. It was considered a women’s right to retreat for feeding and nurturing by the Earth Mother, as she had fulfilled her responsibility of nurturing others during the rest of the month.
The unique Moon Lodge teachings of womankind are geared to allow each female to relate to the Mother and Grandmother energies. That is to say the roles of woman are explored in depth. The Mother-Nurturer is one role that a woman will experience during her Earth Walk and will entail pregnancy and the delivery of offspring as well as the deep abiding love and care of the growing youngsters. Children are honored for their particular talents and are guided by their mother to accept honor, and develop those gifts with joy.
The Grandmother role was very important. When a male child was seven years of age his Grandmother would retreat to the Black Lodge and dream or smoke the young boy’s future mate. Discussion with the Grandfather would follow and then the grandmother would begin the making of the ceremonial buckskins that would be the wedding garb of the future. When the young man came of age and chose a girl he was interested in taking as a wife, he would go to the Grandparents and ask permission before approaching the girl’s father. If she was the girl who the Grandmother has dreamed, she was accepted; if not, he was to wait or look further. This function of the Grandmother was one of the most revered in Tribal Law. Each vision or Medicine Dream that came to a Grandmother was highly honored and sacred. Each Grandmother knew the size of her grandson and his mate and sewed the wedding clothes accordingly. This was a true test of the abilities of the Grandparents as Seers.
Women were expected to be chaste as maidens until the courting periods preceding an actual marriage and to be faithful as wives. In some Plains Tribes, however, when a young woman was being courted, she was allowed to pick whom she would share her Buffalo Robe with before she agreed to marry. In theses Tribes, this selection process was considered a women’s right. In understanding that her body was a sacred extension of the Earth Mother, she understood that all acts of pleasure, abundance and fertility were part of the female nature.
In experiencing coupling for the first time, each woman was respected and loved gently so that no harm would come to the Earth Mother or the Tribe through rough sexual treatment of the women. Sexuality was understood to be a natural and sacred pleasure. Each woman was prepared through the many lessons given by other women of the Moon Lodge. Sexuality was looked upon as a natural act of fertility. As Earth and Sun created food for the People’s survival, so did man and woman create offspring’s through their shared love. Originally, the woman nearly always had the final say as to which Warrior she chose to share her life or body with. The exception to the rule was if she had been taken prisoner by another Tribe or if her family was so poor they needed connections with strong hunters or wealthier relations who would then be responsible for the welfare of both families.
When the Boat People (Europeans) came to Turtle Island (the Americans), they came to the eastern shore and coined the word “squaw.” This word was adopted and used to name areas of land across the west. In truth, this word is a defamation of woman. It comes from the Algonquin word Nues-quaw or “No-squaw,” which means “no penis.” The Algonquin women screamed these words as they were being raped. To call a Native Woman a squaw is to call her a penis and destroy our honoring of women as well as opens old wounds. If the Moon Lodge teachings and Tribal honoring of women were violated by a Red Man, those violations were punishable by death.
For the old wounds to be healed in a successful, creative way, it is time for women to use the idea of the Moon Lodge and retreat to the sanctity of the Sisterhood. Women must learn to live, understand, and thus heal each other. Every person has male and female sides. Each enter the silence of the heart to discover the beauty of retreat and receiving. The Moon Lodge can be a symbol for men and women alike. Retreating and digesting the feelings that life’s experiences have created is very healing.
It is important to understand that our Moon time is a powerful time for us as women because we are powerful. But, it is not just enough to be powerful you must begin to use this power with intention. Many of us may not be able to separate ourselves from our families but we can go into the dreamtime (meditate) during our Moon time and retrieve information, knowledge and direction. This is our heritage, this is our way. Please incorporate this into your life on a monthly basis and see the magic within you grow. In Lake'sh, I am another yourself.