All women are cyclical beings, ever changing and dancing to a rhythm that connects our heartbeats, to the magnetic pull of the moon and the pulse of the Earth itself.
Whether our bodies follow a menstrual or luna cycle, we each follow a roughly four-week path which takes us through the energies of four feminine archetype… maiden/spring, mother/summer, enchantress/autumn and crone/winter. Understanding these archetypes, these four aspects of ourselves, offers us the opportunity to reconnect with our intuitive nature, and draw the map to our internal landscape. It enables us to listen to the messages our cycle is trying give us, allowing us to heal and empower ourselves.
In this series of articles, I am acting as your guide to the four archetypes which correspond to the four moon phases… maiden/first quarter, mother/full moon, enchantress/third quarter and the crone/dark moon. Our individual experience will always be unique and determined by our own past and present, with each phase lasting approximately 7 days.
As the shadows lengthen across the Earth and the sun’s rays lose their heat, the wheel continues to turn and we find ourselves standing together in the doorway to the darker half of the year. Just as Persephone journeyed to shadowlands of the underworld for half of each year, so too are we invited to travel away from the bright hustle and bustle of life.
Summer has come to an end, we’ve seen friends and family, we’ve had adventures and celebrated, and now the beginnings of tiredness creep in. We start wishing for a ‘day off’ from needing to be social. We crave a little time to ourselves to focus on our needs, and the to do lists we’ve been putting off so we can help others. The softness we’ve been exuding starts to thin as the hint of frustration begins to build.
If you think of autumn as the twilight of a day, it becomes easy to view it as the time to get ready to rest… you tidy up the house, prepare for tomorrow as best you can before you put it to one side and put your feet up a little. Maybe you offer yourself an hour with a book, or you watch something to lose yourself in for a while. The early evening is usually the time we offer to ourselves, before night claims us. Our enchantress phase is the twilight of our cycle. The working day is done, it’s time to shut the door on the outside world, let it go until tomorrow and turn inward to be with yourself.
If you ask most women about their cycle, this is the phase they talk about and it is also the negative stereotype represented most in the media… the pre-menstrual woman!
The ranting, short tempered, moody woman who often feels tired and low, and suffers from physical discomfort and pain. Yet all too often these experiences are symptoms of the neglected Enchantress and are created when we are unable to listen to the messages our body is trying to communicate with us. Asking for balance, and to be shown as much love and nurturing as we offer everyone else around us.
Just as the trees draw in their energies during autumn, we need to follow their lead and let go of all the little outward things that we want but do not ‘need’ to do, and return to ourselves, and with a deep exhale recover a little from the first half of the year.
In a paper by David Noton PhD entitled PMS, EEG & Photic Stimulation printed in the Journal for Neurotherapy in 1977), it was shown that women have a natural ability to slip into a deep restorative meditative state during this phase. This delta wave state, also occurs during deep sleep and meditation, meaning that during the enchantress phase we are not only able to, but designed to easily reach levels of restorative relaxation providing us the opportunity to widen our perception, awareness and connection to all that is.
So, if this is the natural state the body and soul crave, it is easy to understand why, in a society that values busyness for busyness sake, women feel frustrated and unable to honour themselves. Feeling instead that they are in some way lazy, not productive enough… not enough in general. But the enchantress knows this for the lie that it is.
The enchantress is the messenger for our internal truth. All the things we suppress and push aside all month stop with her. She is clear about what is important to her and things that may have been acceptable during the rest of the month will no longer be tolerated.
There is an element of righteousness to the Enchantresses anger that can feel empowering and intoxicating. For women who spend the majority of their cycle trying to pour themselves into supporting and pleasing the people around them, there can be a great deal of resentment lying under the surface. While these feelings are true and need to be expressed and worked through, the enchantress doesn’t always speak in a productive or effective way. The Red School coined the phrase ‘bleed on it first’… meaning that while the enchantress may be loud and clear about what the problem is, she needs the wisdom of the crone to think it over, the maiden to create an unemotional plan and then the mother to communicate it. Each phase has its role and they work in harmony.
While her unflinching gaze is able to see to the heart of problems with ease, now is not the time to have a truth-telling session with anyone in our lives but ourselves. Be truthful with yourself about your motivations and intentions and you have the chance to make real changes in patterns of fear, desire and limiting beliefs that effect every aspect of your life. What are the things you are most angry about, most upset about and what does that tell you? What is missing from your life? Now is the time to ask these questions and really listen to the response.
The enchantress is a wild and wise woman. She is the untameable part of ourselves who bows to no one. If you can give her the space and rest she needs, she will open the door to your inspiration, spiritual connection and give direct access to your untapped creative and sexual energies. She is passionate and exciting, and with your goals in her sights she is a formidable ally and catalyst for positive and lasting change in your life.
The enchantress loves to release and let go, so deliberately give her this opportunity each month and take time during this phase to look at one element you are carrying around that doesn’t serve you anymore. By giving her the space she needs to do her inner work, that aspect of you will feel valued and heard, rather than suppressed and silenced. She has never forgotten the importance of her own truth and desires, and she is trying to help you reconnect with it. There is an ember of a fire burning within you that she is determined to fuel.
If we try to stifle that spark, it can turn against us, creating exaggerated narratives making us feel anxious and fearful, needy and judgemental and critical of ourselves and well as others.
So, what does she want…
Above all else the enchantress is looking to be heard and acknowledged, she needs space for creativity in whatever form feels right for you, and time to release some of the pressure that has been quietly building by simply having a little wild fun!
What are her superpowers…
She is a dynamic force, full of excitement, passion and motivation. She beliefs in herself and her ideas and wants to communicate them with enthusiasm.
As the darkness increases so does the access to our intuition and instinctive nature. The Enchantress uses these heightened senses to feel into the changes that are needing to be made and pushes for them to be made manifest. It is the ideal time to sit in silence and focus on what you want and start calling it into being.
She is also the Queen of cleaning and clearing, in every aspect of life. If there is a draw that she notices is overflowing, a corner of the attic you haven’t been into for a while, or a shed full of ‘I’ll get to it later’, now is the time to let her go to work. The Enchantress won’t just stop there though, she will turn her gaze to your relationships, your habits, anything you let her have access to, and she will be 100% fighting for what is best for you. A word of caution though, she is not the sentimental Mother so be careful what you throw away!
What are her challenges…
The Enchantress is known for being irritable and snappy to others, but because she’s reacting from the ‘put upon’ feeling of the tired Mother, she quickly turns from anger to guilt and tearful sensitivity. These wild swings of emotion can be supported by just checking in with ourselves daily to see how we are honestly feeling and what we need. Remember, outward expressions of criticism and judgement usually reflect internal harsh self-judgement, and anxiety can be born from deep rooted fears. If we can value ourselves enough to meet our needs, balance can be restored.
The impulsivity of the enchantress means that although she loves to clean and clear, she can easily discard things which at any other phase you would lovingly protect. This impulsive nature also means you should avoid big decisions, arguments and confrontations.
When we are frustrated and feeling overwhelmed, we tend to experience a lack of power and lack of worth, this can be the source for a lot of the ‘low’ feelings that creep in during this phase of the cycle. If you can build your awareness of this by tracking your cycle, you will begin to know when you need to pull back a little during the Mother phase, so your Enchantress isn’t left running on empty when she’s determined to do so much!
Self Care essentials…
While this is a dynamic phase, it doesn’t have the clarity of thought that the maiden phase does, so focus on one thing at a time and avoid multi-tasking where possible. It may feel like it takes you longer to achieve things, but you will be a lot more productive doing things one at a time and methodically at this stage. Accepting that we are cyclical and that we do not need to meet eternal expectations to be of worth is key to embracing all that each phase can offer us.
One of the greatest complaints of the pre-menstrual woman is a lack of appreciation and acknowledgement from the world around her. But if we can meet our own needs and be clear with our boundaries around them then we do not need others to meet them for us and feel hurt or disappointed if this doesn’t happen in the way that we would like.
A central need during this time is to slow down the pace, surrendering to that can be as simply as getting extra sleep, even 30 minutes a day can make a big difference to an already easily frustrated and irritated person.
Most of all for every phase in the feminine cycle, awareness of what to expect and when can help prepare us and offer us greater understanding, but even more important is the knowledge that each phase is part of a cycle. What we are experiencing right now is completely natural for this phase and it will pass in a matter of days. If now is not the day for introspection, simple accept today for what is it and flow on, knowing that as the wheel turns you will return to this opportunity next month.