The moonlog practice; a call for loving menstrual curiosity

[As published in Aeva magazine Winter 2018]

As women living in a patriarchal culture, we’re likely to find ourselves in environments where consistent, linear ways of being are valued most. We may see adverts for menstrual products that show us how easily we might conceal our bleed and ‘carry on like an equal’. Sadly, the dominant cultural message is to keep the subtle, yet powerful shifts we experience throughout our menstrual cycle well hidden.

I’ve been a bleeding woman uncomfortably sat at a desk, in a male dominated profession, mad with self-deprecating inner dialogues about how I wasn’t good enough or doing enough. My inner rhythms were at odds with my external environment and even after 15 years of moontime, I struggled to welcome my bleed in a way that felt authentic. I’d convinced myself I was too emotional and too sensitive to show up as I truly was; a beautiful, fertile young woman, unable to hear or respond to her own needs.

It took years of watchfulness within to befriend the voices of my internalised patriarch and follow a pathway back to myself. Slowly though, I found the strength and support to prioritise the wellness of my body and my inner world over external demands. For me, a big part of this work was becoming curious and loving toward the natural shifts and flows of my menstrual cycle. To support my journey, I created my first moonlog to track my moods, the physical changes in my body, my creativity and the intensity of my dreams in a playful way.

After a few cycles, I discovered incredible patterns emerging between the phases of the moon and how I was feeling. Over the years, I gathered enough repeating information that I started re-structuring my diary and work schedule to suit the rhythm of my cycle. On cycle days 6/7, when I feel most clear-headed and full of ideas, I plan my most creative tasks. It proves incredibly valuable for my partner to know that my pre-menstrum kicks in on day 23! And the days around the full moon are marked red in my diary in advance, to protect the time of my bleed, so my feelings have space to move and my body has time to rest. If I need to work around full moon, I go gently and with openness about my bleed. I tell people how I’m feeling and what I need so that I can be there in the most loving way for myself.

It took me many moons to become this strong and discerning with my needs throughout my cycle, and to soften into truly honouring and celebrating its phases. The moonlog hanging on my wall is still the place I return daily to honour the deepening awareness of my sensual, fertile, female body. For me, the real power of the practice has been to consciously make space for the cyclical nature of my inner feminine in daily life so she can stand in healthy balance with my inner masculine.

Different women find unique ways of using the moonlog to suit their life. One woman told me she uses hers as a pregnancy log to record sensations, appointments and her baby’s growth with the moons. The moonlog supported another woman to track cramps, fatigue and trends in her irregular cycles. Her findings empowered her to propose to her GP that her medication was disrupting her cycle. Putting her moonlog in her kitchen allows another woman to engage her family in awareness of her cycle needs. As I have an interest in fertility, I start each log by writing my cycle days inside the moon phases and record my cervical mucus observations to get a visual map of my fertile and infertile phases. Generally, I hear that women using the moonlog notice their perception of time becoming more cyclical as their awareness of the lunar fluctuations of their body grows.

The moonlog practice supports a new cultural message for women to gently invite us to turn back to ourselves: to encourage loving attention back to our beautiful bodies, so that we can understand what we need to create menstrual wellness each day of our unique cycle.