Menstrual cycle

Nothing has blew my mind in the past 2 years as much as learning in depth about menstrual cycles. It’s been an obsession of mine and life-changing stuff too, and even though there’s been huge improvements in the periods arena, this knowledge should be common and we just aren’t there yet. I’m working on a period literacy project and I’d love to know if it’s something you’d like to learn more about? Whether you are aware of it or not, our periods rule our lives. Our biochemistry, our reproductive system, our menstrual cycle - is so fundamental to those of us with periods, yet we've been conditioned to ignore our hormonal cycle until there’s something wrong to be “dealt with” rather than something to celebrate and use. (And we usually supress it with hormonal contraception anyways, uninformed of the negative side effects of it). In reality our menstrual cycle is so critical to our overall health and well-being that it was decleared as the fifth vital sign in people with periods (like temperature, breathing rate, and blood pressure) and reproductive system issues as very common even though they are useful pointers to underlying issues. Apart from purely medical perspective, our cycles offer us a whole bunch of different energies to work with in the span of (usually) 28 days, rather than trying to cram everything in the 24 hour clock the society is built around. Each of the phases, from menstruation (aka winter) to preovulation (spring) to the fertile window around ovulation (summer) and premenstruum (autumn), has distinct strenght and vulnerabilities (this is what I mean when I say to celebrate and use the cycle…). Tracking my cycle and understanding the hormonal changes behind it, has been the key in improving not just my health and wellbeing, but every aspect of my life. Not to mention the shattering realisation that the world *really* was build by men for men, with complete disregard for people with uterus with ebbs and flows to their hormonal cycles; but that's a ramble for another time... „It’s pregnancy and the absence of blood that’s prized in our society, and as long as we are viewed as reproductive vessels our periods will remain disgusting and hidden, a sign of our failure to reproduce and live out our capacity as breeders. The stigma that dominates the language and behaviour surrounding periods is all about cleaning up the shame of a failed cycle.“ @Maisie Hill, Period Power

As a wannabe biologist (as I was teased by some friends back when I studied landscape architecture), I always loved when a natural process is duplicated on different scales. One of my favourites is solar and lunar cycles and the comparison with male and female hormonal cycles. The circadian clock is the 24-hour biological rhytm that is inherent to all of us, and resembles the solar rhythm. It influences a lot of body's processes like our alertness, coordination, body temperature, metabolism, as well as male's testosteron production. But menstruating people also have an infradian rhytm, linked to menstrual cycle. It was historically connected with the moon because it resembles the lunar cycle. Over roughly a month, menstruation corresponds with the time of the new moon, pre-ovulation with waxing moon, ovulation is the time of the full moon and premenstruum is during the waning moon. There's no research to prove the connection, but one of the theories goes that people in prehistoric times had their menstrual cycles regulated by the light of the moon (as there was no artificial light to mess this up) so they used to bleed and ovulate at the same time. It's a romantic idea but I find it so powerful that society would move with the ebb and flow, the creation and destruction, the inhale and exhale, of such circular rhytms, as oposed to "same same every day". I heard there's an increased interest in all things lunar at the moment and I hope it's not a passing trend but a reflection of the need for more sustainable ways of living. Do you have any moon related rituals and interests? Our cultural values prioritize masculine energy of individuality and linear progression at the expense of all else, which is reflected in the breakdown of our communities and the disregard for the health of our planet. @In the Flo, Alissa Vitti

menstrual cycle2

Cyclical living

I was reminded] of something I saw early one morning a few years ago, as I was walking up to the church.  There was a young couple strolling along half a block a head of me.  The sun had come up brilliantly after a heavy rain and the trees were glistening and very wet.  On some impulse, plain exuberance, I suppose, the fellow jumped up and caught hold of a branch, and a storm of luminous water came pouring down on the two of them and they laughed and took off running, the girl sweeping water off her hair and her dress as if she were a little bit disgusted but she wasn’t.  It was a beautiful thing to see, like something from a myth.  I don’t know why I thought of that now, except perhaps because it is easy to believe in such moments that water was made primarily for blessing, and only secondarily for growing vegetables and doing the wash.  I wish I had paid more attention to it.  My list of regrets may seem unusual, but who can know that they are, really.  This is an interesting planet.  It deserves all the attention you can give it.”

-M. Robinson, Gilead

ARTIST BIO

Sara Muznik is a Slovene illustrator & landscape planner, currently based in Berlin.

studio@muzisara.com

Website & Artwork by Sara Muznik
Photos by Paul Seelmann

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