Shamanic Understanding of :
Embracing Menopause And Peri Menopause

(please remember this is an excerpt from a larger work in progress)

Beyond the time of the menses is menopause. Menopause is called the time when the wise blood is held within. Indeed this is correct. The blood of the menses was the blood that held all the wise (divine) energy concentrated by the womb chakra. At menopause that blood no longer flows out of the body in the menses. Instead that blood and energy is retained in the woman's body. Thus the womb chakra's ability to concentrate soul energy in the woman can be used completely for the woman's spiritual development. This is the wise blood held within that makes women into Crones.

But what is a Crone? Too often this term conjures up some shriveled, bent over and cranky old woman. However, "Crone" comes from the word "Crown." Menopause is the crowning of a woman's experience. It is a time when the soul energy of the womb (and of all creation) can be brought through the womb and heart to the crown for personal enlightenment. The Crone is a wise woman, sage, and healer. Peri-menopause is the time of transition to crowning. Menopause is ideally the time of embracing internal divine energies held for sacred use.

Kidney, Spleen and Heart-- Clearing Family Line. However, what most women know about menopause and peri-menopause is that it has a lot of debilitating symptoms associated with declining vitality and health. Some Chinese medicine experts say that menopause begins because of weakening and evacuating of kidney energy (water, kidney fire, and sexual energy) leading to declining heart (divine fire) and spleen (earth) energy and imbalances in blood (Blum, 1955).

From the shamanic point of view this is strangely accurate. Menopause is a time when the womb chakra energy, that has been dedicated to procreation, is reassigned to spiritual development. Recall that the kidney fire of the mother, sperm of the father, and the womb chakra are the means of investing family line and karmic/ soul influences into the developing fetus in the womb. In peri-menopause the body attempts to release family line energy of kidney fire which is no longer necessary for procreation and is inhibiting divine enlightenment of the woman herself. At the same time the body is rededicating the function of the womb chakra, from investing womb and menstrual blood with soul energy for a potential child, to investing the woman herself with divine soul energy.

What Chinese medicine notes is that the kidney can become depleted. What shamans understand is that this depletion is the body's attempt to exit old family line issues. Chinese medicine notes a subsequent depletion in heart energy. Shamans understand that divine fire (heart) must replace kidney fire in the body. Thus the heart needs to be filled with divine energy in order for it to not become depleted in the process. Thus shamanically we can understand that it is important to guide this process of exiting family line issues while nourishing the kidney itself. It is also important to increase divine fire of the heart in that process.

It is also possible that extreme kidney depletion can arise from the body over working at releasing family line issues during peri menopause. By aiding the process in consciously releasing family line issues with help of divine fire the kidney may not need to get to the point of bring drained.

Further, Chinese medicine also notices that spleen energy and blood are depleted in peri-menopause. The shaman sees this as a need for increased earth energy to support the divine change being incorporated into the physical nature (blood). Thus, women must nourish spleen and connect to earth for the body to be able to endure (with well being and health) this shift of divine and family line energy. Daily earth connection can be as simple as walking on the earth daily and really noticing the earth changes around you.

Nutritional support combined with spiritual exercise is very important at the time of peri-menopause. Excellent herbal self treatment advise can be found in "Menopausal years: The wise woman way" by Susan Weed (1992). As well Blum (1955) offers acupuncture points to press during the full moon to support the kidney, spleen and heart. Offered here are exercises of family line clearing for full moon engagement.

Exercise For Earth Connection
Sit or Squat on the Earth. Please note that squatting will require holding the pelvic girdle strongly so as to not exit energy but to hold the earth energy. Therefore if you are having problems of incontinence, uterine prolapse, or back pain (or other symptoms which would indicate weak pelvic girdle) -- sit in this exercise.

{Additional exercises have been deleted here because they require prior explanations of the luminous structure of the body}

Investing and Moving Blood. Blood stagnation and blood deficiently are the other primary issues to address in peri-menopause and menopause. Though these are Chinese medicine terms they make sense in shamanic understanding. During menstruating years the womb chakra concentrates divine energy into the blood of the womb. The positioning of the womb chakra makes it ideal for this task (behind the navel near the spine, pointing at the uterus). However, when peri-menopause starts and the energy of the womb chakra is rededicated to the whole woman, the chakra is still pointed at the womb space. The energy that formerly collected in the blood of the uterus no longer has a ready receptor site to enter the blood. Blood thus becomes deficient due to its lessened investment of divine energy. As well from a shamanic standpoint, blood becomes stagnant due to lack of vibrancy of divine energy.

Thus, a woman who is entering menopause must find a way to invest the blood with the divine energy concentrated by the womb chakra and then move the invested blood throughout the body. Heart, breath and the natural process of sexual excitement become the allies in this process. The heart is an obvious blood mover in the body. When heart and womb chakra energy are combined, then blood invested with divine energy can be circulated throughout the body. To accomplish this do the following exercise of divine breath paired with a modified version of microcosmic orbit using the luminous structure.

{Exercises have been deleted here since they requires knowledge of the luminous structure}

Emotionally Embracing Menopause. Peri menopause is a time of change. It is a time of massive transition of energies of the body and soul. Too often in modern life these changes are associated with negativity and illness. Thus, what should be a divine transition becomes a draining and debilitating transition for some women. This is partly due to negative emotional interpretations of the changes and partly to depletion of bodily energies. For example, in peri- menopause uncontrolled bone density changes can indicate difficult release of genetic and family line energy. Depression can be a negative emotional reaction to immersion into the divine darkness of the void of creation energy. Rages, negative memories and disturbing or obsessive thoughts can indicate difficult clearing of old wounding and family line issues.

In ancient times peri-menopause was embraced. It was a time that women took to become divine wise women of their communities. Much like the monk who must seek solitude for inner reflection and connection, the peri menopausal woman took this time apart from family and community to rededicate her energies to herself and to the divine.

She took time to engage the numinous dreams and frequent waking to incorporate those dreams into waking life. She embraced hot flashes as energy moving and encouraged and loved the process with divine breath and sensuality. She had sacred space and time to discover and release negative emotions and old family patterns. She nourished her body with herbs and her soul with divine energy.

Instead of falling into depression she embraced the darkness as a time of quite, stillness and death to her old self. She grieved her maidenhood now dying and embraced the wise one emerging from the womb.
She gave birth for the last time-- to herself. She treasured her visions as divine awakening. She embodied divine feminine personages (goddesses) and learned directly from them who she was becoming.

In modern times women must revive this ancient approach to peri-menopause. If full time away to embrace the change can not be created, the attitude of what is occurring still must be understood and held. Further, the woman must take some time for divine refection, cleansing and rededication. Otherwise she will miss this grand opportunity for a quantum leap toward enlightenment.

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