Here we are sister,
Continuing our journey into the magic of the womb, the cyclical nature of ourselves as womb carriers, and all that comes with it.
So far we’ve had a deeper look into what happens during our Inner Spring and Inner Summer… and if you’ve missed those articles, you can access them directly by clicking them here:
In this blog, we continue our inner seasonal exploration and I will share about the physical manifestation of our Inner Autumn, the Luteal Phase, as well as the emotional and energetic qualities of this deeply misunderstood time of the month.
I say deeply misunderstood because this phase of the menstrual cycle is what has caused women to be shamed, mistreated, and marginalized by a society that does not accept nor integrate the shift of energy that organically happens in every woman when we go through this transition… I will touch more on this through the article as well, so let’s get started.
Right after ovulation, the follicle that released the egg into the uterus goes through a metamorphosis and transforms into a gland called Corpus Luteum.
The Corpus Luteum is a hormone-producing gland responsible for the production of Progesterone.
Progesterone comes from the word “pro” and “gestation” and it’s the hormone that helps the uterus to thicken its lining in order for a potential fertile egg to be implanted and nourished.
Now, if in the height of Inner Summer conception has occurred, progesterone would continue to be released by the Corpus Luteum for about three months until the placenta takes over.
As progesterone is starting to be released into the body, it stimulates a different gland in the cervix to produce a thick mucus which will reform the mucus plug at the entry of the cervix. This process takes about three days, which is why after ovulation we are still potentially fertile, until the mucus plug is completely formed making it impossible to conceive, therefore no more fertile for the rest of the cycle.
Simultaneously, right after ovulation, estrogen levels begin to drop and continue a decline throughout this phase, until reaching base levels at menstruation.
If pregnancy hasn’t occurred, the Corpus Luteum will begin to disintegrate after 11 to 16 days. As it starts shrinking, progesterone levels will also begin to decline, informing the uterus that it will soon be able to shed its lining again, when menstruation happens - Inner Winter.
As you can see, a LOT is happening in our womb through this phase.
We go through a major hormonal shift, the body gets ready for a potential pregnancy, and when it realizes that pregnancy hasn’t happened, it goes through a decaying process until the “death” of the Corpus Luteum.
Yup… and we go through this each month! No wonder the premenstrual phase has been coined as the time in which we go coo-coo. So… let’s see what happens energetically and how can we harness the power of this powerful phase.
As we step into Inner Autumn, we go through a portal that brings us from the ripe, heights of summer, to the shadowy decay of Autumn.
In Chinese medicine, this phase of our cycle is considered Yin (restful, inactive energy), and as we come from the Yang energy of summer (active, expressive), the transition might be quite harsh.
Entering Autumn can feel like a gradual shift or when little attention is placed on our cycle and we squeeze our energy to its maximum capacity, Inner Autumn can feel like hitting a wall.
While in summer we have expressed ourselves and placed ourselves in the world, this inner season marks the beginning of a more internal time, as it bridges us from Summer to Winter, where we go completely inwards and take the time to rest before the next cycle.
As our energy starts to decline, so does our willingness to be outgoing, and even receptive to the external world.
Just like in nature when the leaves start drying to eventually fall, we experience a time of crystallization and decay, which can be hard to navigate when we don’t know how to work with this season, yet it can be extremely powerful when we understand how to best work with it.
As the veils between the material world and the “worlds beyond” start thinning our ability to connect to our inner world heightens.
This can be a difficult transition if we try to keep ourselves in the bubbly, brightness of summer, while the depths of our subconscious are trying to get our attention to go inside and start listening.
This also means looking at our shadows… This is the time of Halloween, the day of the dead, in which the veil is thin and the darker side of ourselves wants to be seen and heard.
Feelings of sadness, anger, grief and worry are more prominent in this season, as when we start going inward we shine the light of what is usually unseen, unheard, and less present than the outside world.
This can be a challenging time, and oftentimes we feel the weight of the world upon us, as when we expand our consciousness from the inside out, we also feel the sadness and anger of the greater consciousness, the consciousness of the planet.
Through Inner Autumn we feel emotionally sensitive and it can be hard to match our needs of going inwards to look at our shadows while the contrasting needs of society that wants us bright and shiny no matter what.
NAVIGATING INNER AUTUMN
As we can see, and mostly, as we know through our own experience, this time of our cycle can be challenging, sticky, hard to be in, hard to accept, and let alone accepted by the outer world.
Tackling our inner shadows and the depths of our inner world with vigor and intensity is not the right way to do this work. Although there is a time and space to be in cathartic processing (and I’m all about it!), entering this time gently and softly is what we are asked to do.
The darkness of our inner cave system wants to be approached gently, with the right amount of respect and caution. We want to use a dimmer, and slowly bring light to the darker places of ourselves.
Through this approach, we are able to do our work more grounded and effectively, rather than dive into our depths head first and be completely overwhelmed by it.
In our conventional society, unfortunately this phase of our cycle is when a lot of antidepressants and antianxiety medicine is prescribed, in order to cope with the wild rollercoaster that is the premenstrual time.
Even if sometimes that might be what one really needs, the invitation here is to start understanding this potent energy and go into it with love and compassion rather than suppressing it.
INNER AUTUMN AND OUR SOCIETY
Because our superficially jolly society values what is bright and shiny and shuns what is dark and murky, this phase of a woman’s cycle has been greatly misunderstood and overpowered.
“Premenstrual” has been associated with words like “crazy” and “hysterical”. Interestingly enough, the word “hysterical” comes from the Latin “hystericus” meaning “of the womb” - a condition thought to bring a woman to uncontrollable and insane behaviors caused by a dysfunction of the uterus. (!!)
Our society urges us to be pretty, to smile, and to conform to its way of conduct.
If something isn’t right, usually a pill will fix the problem.
The depths, complexity, and irrationality of the premenstrual phase do not fit the “perfect design” that we are supposed to embody at all times.
Unfortunately, this has caused great trauma, disconnection, and rejection of the menstrual cycle in most women today.
For many years the wisdom of the Menstrual cycle has been lost and we are now just scratching the surface to healing our relationship with it, and remembering its great powers.
Remember, each of us is different and has different needs and ways to move in the world… but here are some tips on how to embody and harness the energy of Inner Autumn:
Take time to go inside - whether it is by a short meditation each day, journaling, dancing, energy work, tarot readings… This is the time in which you want to make sure you show up to your inner world and listen with no judgment nor a need to fix it. Great revelation can come through in this time.
Softly and gently - I get it, easier said than done. But whenever possible, remembering to be compassionate towards ourselves in this phase is key. It is not the time to set high standards, but to accept ourselves and the waves as they come, and go.
Honor and speak your truth - yes, to the people around you it might be hard to understand you in this time, to connect with you, or even accept you. But through the thinning of the veil, we become more in tune with our inner truth which, a lot of the time, can be harsh to hear and also hard to speak. Honor what comes through and see it as a deep insight; Something needs to move from deep inside your womb.
We hold a whole universe inside ourselves, and it is in constant creation and destruction. Honoring both polarities of the process allows us to fully embrace ourselves as a whole as well as understanding the innate way of Nature itself.
Our Menstrual cycle is literally a reflection of the cycles of the Earth, the waxing and waning of the Moon, the rise and fall of the Ocean’s waters…
Each phase of our monthly rhythm is sacred and holds its own potent medicine.
The Premenstrual phase can truly be a powerful, magical, transformational time - and may each woman come to love and embrace her Inner Autumn as a source of empowerment.
If you haven’t got the Lunar Chart to start tracking your Inner Season and deepen your relationship with your cycle, I invite you to do so…
Share the love and thank you for being here…
With love and devotion,