My dear friend Giuliana Serena put on a bloody big party for Salt Lake City Saturday night. The topic of the night: periods. And, no, we aren’t talking about punctuation. Giuliana shared with us her philosophy and thought, and the development of her Moon Cycle Timepieces, which help you track your flow, and what is going on with your body every day of the month in relation to the moon.
Giuliana believes that, like the trajectory of a planet, or a strand of DNA, time is built on a spiral. I love conversations about the nature of time. I love learning about different ways of tracking time and calendars. As an artist, I use time as a component of my work – specifically with dance and music. It is amazing how a three minute performance on stage can impact your life so much more than three minutes spent waiting in line at the bank. I also see individual use and structuring of time as an extremely important aspect of the journey toward self-actualization, as well as conveying respect both to yourself and to the people you share your life with. So managing my calendar is something I take very seriously, almost as if it isn’t a means to an end, but is a discrete skill and task to enjoy and develop.
The movie “The Moon Inside You,” is a foreign film about cultural attitudes toward menstruation. For me, by far the best part of the movie was the drawings about menstruation it shared by little boys. One boy drew a series of cant’s: “can’t swim,” can’t do laundry,” “can’t smoke,” and “can’t schedule your Pap smear.” (Ok, I forgot some of his cant’s, so I made up my own.) Another little boy did a pencil drawing of a stick figure with a bob haircut and no secondary sexual features. Her legs were apart and red marker blood was angrily flowing and pooling. HA HA, yep, that’s it exactly, son.
The point of the movie and discussion was to build a more positive view of menstruation in our society. After all, without it we wouldn’t be able to have children. Cultures were discussed that view menstruation as a reminder for women to take time for themselves and to be served by others. One culture sees it as a time of great feminine power. Another culture viewed the period as a time of rebirth. My favorite perspective, however, was that during the days before a period (AKA PMS), the veil between a woman’s conscious and subconscious mind thins, allowing her to speak the truth. Take that! I don’t have PMS, I’m speaking the truth, bitches!
One thing that bothered me about the movie, however, was the attitude toward the pill, IUD and other forms of birth control. The women in the film and in the room seemed to look at these forms of birth control as oppressive to women. I strongly disagree. The invention of the pill completely changed the trajectory of the female life and made the sexual revolution of the 1960s possible. No longer was your future entirely determined by the flow of blood, and the little egg that when fertilized changes your position economically, socially, educationally and in all of your relationships. Birth control technology allows a woman more choices and opportunity. So, while, yeah we all agree that the doctor who invented the uterine implant, who sees menstruation as pathological, is a dick. I still believe that most of the doctors who have advanced birth control options are heroes and heroines to my gender. Giuliana emphasizes that birth control is a personal choice for every woman, and that she must educate herself to choose the best option. I agree, but I can’t help wanting to celebrate the fact that I DO have those options, unlike my grandmother, great grandmother, great great grandmother and great great great grandmother.
But wait, there’s more. Giuliana is accepting registrations for a Red Tent retreat in November. Visit http://www.moontimerising.com/event-schedule/ to sign up. She is also at the Dowtown Farmers Market on October 8, 15 and 22, selling her Moon Cycle Timepieces. You may also visit her website to join her Moon Letter List or “like” Moontime Rising on FaceBook to be informed of upcoming film screenings.
In addition, I’m looking at scheduling a girl power belly dance class to begin in November. Drop me a note or comment if you are interested in participating.