It may seem strange, after just having a hysterectomy to be writing a review for a book about menstruation, but I had wanted to review this book before I knew I was to have this surgery. Maureen Theresa Smith’s Your Moontime Magic: A Girl’s Guide to Getting Your Period and Loving Your Body is a great little book that I wish I had in my hands when I first began menstruating. Though I’d had all the facts, and had support from my family and doctor, still my periods were a difficult and painful time, every month, since the age of eleven (I’m now 45, going on 46). Perhaps this book could have helped me, at least in a spiritual sense, to come to terms with my monthly periods when I was younger, the pain and the release, the cycles within cycles.
Published by New World Library, this book was previously released as First Moon in 2005. However, the information and advice go far beyond the first moon, and can help you throughout your life in working with your cycle, or helping someone else understand and see the spiritual nature of this women’s journey.
My own journey began early, a couple of months before my twelfth birthday (I had not yet started high school). Very painful, each month they would put me out of commission for a few days until I got some high dosage painkillers from my doctor when I was fourteen, and then later put on the pill when I was fifteen (for medical reasons). But when I went off the pill when I was 21, everything came back just as before. Little did I know that I suffered from endometriosis, as well as fibroids and ovarian cysts later in life (which is why I had to have a hysterectomy this year). Getting my period each month was a lot of work, both mentally and physically, as I prepared myself for the pain and the hassle of trying to deal with this and also with life in general.
Had I set up a spiritual practice around this monthly cycle, perhaps things might have been different. Your Moontime Magic definitely could help with that – it is filled not only with biological facts and information, but also rituals, crafts and imaginative ways of working with your monthly cycle. It discusses the oft taboo subjects of PMS and body changes, as well as going deeper into self-image and how that creates the world that you inhabit in this body. What I especially enjoyed was the fact that Smith included things like how your dreams change when you menstruate, how to work with that and allow them to inspire your own creativity. She also talks about how your friendships will change and grow as you develop into your own power as a woman, connecting to your power as well as connecting to nature. She uses language that is easy to understand, and it’s like having a chat with your cool aunt at the dining table about all these things.
If you have a daughter who is coming to this time in her life, or know someone who is, I highly recommend this book. It is also helpful to have others in the family read it, to understand more about women’s cycles and what they go through in their lives. It teaches us to take care of ourselves, our physical and inner selves, and to shine – “like the moon, there are times when you can be hidden from the world, and times when you can shine full and bright”.
Blessings to all women out there, wherever you are in your life’s journey.