Traditionally Native American women went to a moon-lodge while they were bleeding and bled onto moss, sitting on the earth. They consider the relationship between women and the earth to be very important, and this relationship is nurtured by bleeding onto the earth. When women do this they have a direct cellular connection with the earth, which grounds and centers them.
When I was first introduced to the idea of bleeding onto the earth by a friend of mine I thought it sounded a little silly, a little pretentious. But I started doing it tentatively, and began to feel a flicker of connection to something very old. One of the problems I had was figuring out how to do it. Native American women used to sit on moss in the moon house. Where was I supposed to sit and bleed? Even if I went and found a nice piece of earth to sit on, I didn’t want to stay there for the whole time. Then I started using cloth pads to absorb my blood and soaking them in water before I washed them. I realized that I could pour the soaking water onto the earth. So now that’s what I do. The water is a beautiful red, and I pour it onto the ground around plants, and the act of doing this fills me with a feeling of connection, of rightness, of being at peace with something that is often neglected in modern life. Simple acts of value, simple knowledge.
It’s like chopping wood, rocking a baby, baking bread, drinking from a fast flowing mountain stream. It’s one of those acts of being a human being that is timeless, of eternal value, part of the steady round of life and death. The cells that die in my body, that are carried in the menstrual blood, are food for the earth. What dies gives birth. What dies feeds those who live and will live.
If I ignore my blood I get distanced from this knowledge. I fear and dislike my blood–for without the knowledge that it too is food, that it too is a gift I bear, then I see it as purely loss. A waste of blood, a waste of time, a baby that wasn’t conceived. Whether I desire pregnancy or not, my blood is always a gift. And it is a gift in a literal sense, as well as a psychic gift to myself. It is a gift from my body back to the earth: the mother that has fed and nurtured me every day of my life.