Exclusives — 21 September 2010

Ask Kytka Archives: July 29, 2000

Do you know of any Waldorf resources geared towards Menstruation?

“When I’m flowing (menstruating), I’m a b***h – particularly to my children? I am wondering if there are any Waldorf resources that address this, and if this is natural, and what is its purpose?”

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I think many women can relate to and understand that statement! There is a pretty interesting book out there called: Dragontime Magic and Mystery of Menstruation by Luisa Francia (a midwife) At this time, I am not aware of any Waldorf specific books, but I will look further into it and add to this if I do locate any. If you want to research yourself, I would begin with the Anthroposophical medicine books.

We menstruate more now than at any time in human history. Girls are starting to menstruate earlier due to protein-rich diets and hormones in food; women are less likely to die young; we have fewer children and therefore spend less time not menstruating. Increased work and family stresses, in addition to more periods, mean that women are more physically and psychologically vulnerable to negative attitudes to menstruation. So it is more important than ever that we investigate ways to make our periods physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy.

Personally, I think it is because our diets are rather unnatural, our time tables, schedules, etc. don’t lend themselves to our retreating off into the “menstrual huts” with other women, like we did thousands of years ago.

Menstruating women were at one time regarded as powerful and beautiful as well as highly esteemed and respected as the dispensers of life and death. Now we have been labeled with a whole new “image”. (Thanks to consumerism and massive advertising, we are cranky, smelly, PMS-ing hags who NEED midol -or stronger, who need douches, and rinses and sprays) When in reality, our bodies and deepest psyche and the connection to what was and the reality of the modern world we live in now is ever so stressful on us.

I think that PMS, bitchiness, etc… is a result of menstruating women of today and the issues, lifestyles, etc. which we have to deal with. None of these issues even existed in the past, that is why it was never a problem in the long ago past. Like the many other “issues” or myths, we have been “brainwashed” to accept it as “normal” behavior, and our families have been culturally shaped to accept it as “regular behavior” when we behave in ways not gentle, not loving, not caring, not nurturing as we normally can be (okay… we act like BITCHES!).

I think if you are in tune with your body and spirit, and read up on the historical facts of how menstruation was viewed and dealt with over the history of time, and then you take a good look at how very UN-natural and un-connected from everything our lives have become in modern times, you’ll agree that we have reason to bitch!

I find it much like the issues of attachment parenting, natural childbirth, home schooling and so on. We are the pioneering women, trying to bring back the natural and peaceful, and HUMAN way; and accepting the flow is a part of it as well… We need to educate ourselves and our families on the power and significance of this special time, and slow down, look within and use the energy in positive and affirming ways, instead of outcries of mood swings and, well… bitchiness… I believe that reading the book is a good start towards a deeper level of understanding.

In reference to teen girls getting their menstruation for the first time, I know that Rudolf Steiner believed that at the onset of puberty the child’s feeling life separates from the organs of the physical body so that the feeling life becomes individualized. What does this mean? It means that suddenly the adolescent has a feeling life which is held separate from others, a secret to be protected. Adolescents during this time feel pain and extraordinary vulnerability and their longing for the security of the spiritual home from which they have come is accompanied by a growing awareness of death. The flowing of blood adds to this symbolically. I would really suggest Dragontime Magic and Mystery of Menstruation by Luisa Francia as a good starting off point (if you can locate a copy).

Below are some other places to explore…

The Seven Sacred Rites of Menarche: The Spiritual Journey of the Adolescent Girl by Kristi Meisenbach Boylan

Introducing Anthroposophical Medicine Steiner’s enthusiasm and familiarity with his subject are everywhere in evidence here. The wealth of insights and the range of topics covered is staggering – from the meaning of sickness, polarities in the human organism, and the relation of therapy and pathology to the nature of plant, mineral, and animal in relation to the human being. Specific organs (heart, lungs, bladder, kidney, liver, nervous system, etc.) and specific diseases (cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes, meningitis, etc.) are brought into extraordinary new relations and connections. The whole question of diagnosis, health, and treatment is repeatedly viewed from different perspectives.

The Healing Process: Spirit, Nature & Our Bodies Rudolf Steiner emphasizes the need to understand the human being as composed of three superimposed and diverse systems: the sensory nervous system; the rhythmic (respiratory and circulatory) system; and the metabolic and limb system. He also describes the relationship between “natural” and “disease” processes as well as the dual nature of the human nervous system. We are shown that the heart is not a “pump” and that its motion is the consequence rather than the cause of human rhythms.

Recommended Reading

Dr. Kytka guided her mother through Uterine Cancer, is raising two young girls and has been enjoying all of her own cycles each season through pregnancy, birth, extended breastfeeding, 2 ovarian tumors and 15 years of cotton pads.. she is a Dr. of Naturopathy and would love to assist you with any menstrual issues you may be having. Please refer to www.DrKytka.com for more info.

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