If you’ve been here a while or are like us (spent years with uncomfortable symptoms only to go down a rabbit-hole of self-led menstruation education) then you will know that there is A LOT more to the menstrual cycle than the period.
The four phases of our cycle is a lot like a rollercoaster. But it is largely up to you whether you step on and ride it out, or get thrown on and jostled about.
On a physical level, each menstrual phase represents our reproductive system at different stages of preparing for a possible pregnancy.
On a psychological level (when we stop to look and listen) different aspects of our personality and psyche take center stage at the different phases.
We are - of course - unique and these are not rules, this is simply an invitation to explore the archetypes that peek out at each phase.
So let’s get started;
The menstrual phase (a.k.a the period)
The first day of our menstrual cycle starts on the first day of our bleed. Our hormones were just at their peak (tears may have fallen, there might have been red hot rage) and suddenly...they fall. We lower our weapons and time feels frozen.
Energetically we might feel quiet, slower.
It is a time of darkness, not in a derogatory sense - without darkness after all there would be no light. Our menstrual phases beckon us inside, just like the shorter days of winter; it is a time for deep rest.
Like when the Moon is new, it is a time to retreat in the shadows.
If you can work from home, do so. If you can work from bed, why not!
Think of what life would have been like during the Winter before electricity. Would you have fumbled about and started new projects in the dark? No. You’d have done very little. Ate nourishing, warm meals and rested.
In modern life, we can do the same. Support your period by switching to the Follicular blend if you’re seed cycling for a boost of zinc and nutrient that help flush out excess hormones.
What does this mean? My personal take is that we can feel less attached to the material world as we know it. The “to-do’s” may suddenly feel a lot less important.
I personally find my inner world becomes so vivid and alive. At night I don’t just sleep, I step into a deep watery dreamscape that I would swear is an alternative universe.
When I haven’t slowed down to take care of myself during my period, this looks like;
Rundown (aka Period flu)
This detachment from the real world might even manifest as “what is the point”. A depression.
When I do take care of myself it's a pleasure to feel all the feels and drop in on a deeper level. It’s like having a secret that no one else knows about and I’ll think “how lucky are we as menstruating people to experience our senses so deeply.”
Menstruation is a sign to switch to the Follicular blend if you’re seed cycling.
To enjoy this phase - Do less.
“I have children/a job/ responsibilities.” I hear you cry. I said less, not nothing! That would be a luxury afforded to the few. Just do less - and the key is in preparation (we look at this during the luteal phase) and trust me when you set yourself up for this phase ahead of time, you might dread your period a little less. You might even fall in love with it!
The follicular phase
You’ve powered up, you’re stepping out, and have a literal “Spring” in your step.
The period is over and your energy climbs up and up. Just like the waxing moon, you're peaking out from the darkness ready to shine once again.
It’s a great time to play, make plans and strategize for the month ahead. It is also a good time for inquiry, ask yourself;
What did you learn from your last cycle?
What did you "receive" in the dreams or quieter moments of your menstrual phase?
It’s time to act on it and bring those lessons into the material world.
Maybe not all of it though! It can be easy to over-commit at this time. So look ahead and plan. What is realistic, what will serve you the most? Penciling in a strenuous hike 22 days from now? Are your energy levels likely to be the same then? Probably not.
You might feel reborn but remember to stay balanced. When you do, you can stretch out this zest for life far longer into your cycle.
To enjoy this phase - Plan ahead
Write it down. Make a list or mind maps... whatever works! A planner like this can really help make sense of things. Then (and this is the important part) segment it in a realistic way across your month. When your energy starts to wane and distractions pop up, you’ll thank Follicular-Phase-You for strategizing in advance.
The ovulation phase
Feeling social? Of course, you are! Mother nature has built-in you a need to be with others for the sake of keeping our species alive.
Now you are the Full Moon. Luminous, proud, and fertile. Your look-at-me energy might manifest in saying yes more, feeling chattier, or a surge in sexual energy.
Things are heating up
Quite literally, as our body temperature changes at ovulation. It is the Summertime of our cycle after all! Pay attention to this and other signs of ovulation. Fertility during our menstruating years is a marker of overall health.
Support your fertility with seed cycling and switching to the Luteal blend for a boost of vitamin E.
To enjoy this phase - Lean into the feminine
Not interested in pregnancy, sex or dating? That’s fine. You can still channel this flirty energy into networking, deepening friendships, and loving on yourself.
The Luteal phase
It’s time to draw a line in the sand and take stock.
While we might not be able to necessarily slow down completely, this is a time of waning and completion.
Our inner Autumn compels us to look around and ask;
What is working? What do we need? What can we finish?
Winter is coming and it’s time to prepare for the cold.
We prioritize, run final errands and gather what we need for the weeks ahead. This can look like meal-prepping, getting back to messages, and meeting deadlines.
PMS symptoms appear at this time for many people and irritability can be heightened if we are continuing to give too much of ourselves in this phase.
What can you say “no” to? What can be put off, or canceled completely? It’s not selfish but realistic to not want to pour if your cup is depleting. So by all means get it done but only what needs to be done.
To enjoy this phase - Complete and prepare to retreat
You might feel like you have a lot of energy to spend. This assertive spirit can be channeled to speak your mind and cut through the BS.
It can be powerful.
That doesn’t mean you have to walk around as if you have a loaded gun in your pocket though. Find moments of calm in your day so you can come from a place of authenticity and not wrath.
So that’s all four phases of the menstrual cycle. And then... we do it all again!
Why is all of this important? You might be thinking “my period gives me hell” or “I’m not even planning to have children, why should I care about every phase?”
Your menstrual cycle is so much more than a biological system. Its rhythms reflect the changes we see in nature, in seasons, and in the moon. Our menstrual cycle connects us to all the menstruating people in the world alive and in history.
It connects us to the elements and reminds us that nothing is permanent.
Celebrating the menstrual cycle is a remembering of our wildness; a time of ritual, reverence, and connection to the Earth. Best of all - it connects us to ourselves and offers us the chance to explore all aspects of our personalities.
I love the menstrual cycle - It is a rebellion against a patriarchal culture that refused to teach us that our bodies are wise and strong.
What do you think of this analysis of the phases of the menstrual cycle? Do you see different elements or seasons pop up in your other phases?
Share your experience in the comments!