Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Incy Wincy Spider

Incy Wincy spider climbed up the water spout
Down came the rain and washed the spider out
Out came the sunshine and dried up all the rain
and Incy Wincy spider went up the spout again!

No... I havent lost it completely.  It just dawned on me that this little nursery rhyme sums up our menstrual cycle!

We are Incy Wincy Spider, climbing up the spout.  That is life, that's part of our cycle.  Incy Wincy starts out at the bottom of the pipe... slowly slowly... starting the journey to the top.  The Spider reaches the top and see's storm clouds brewing.  Incy grips on for dear life, she knows she may not make it through the storm.  It start's to rain, and despite Incy Wincy's attempts to hold on to the top of the pipe.. the rain washes her out.  So now she is wet, dumped on the ground below.  She looks to the top of the spout again, and it seems so far away, but the Sun comes up, dries up the rain and dries off Incy Wincy, and she feels full of life and energy to start the journey again.  Remind you of our monthly battle against our hormones?

The water element represented in the spout and the rain is another feminine symbol.  Water is fluid and changeable, just like out emotions.  Hormones are like a drop of ink into a glass of water, they spread through the body, permeating everything.  Water and the feminine, would then connect us to the Moon...  the shadow, the storms.  Then the Sun comes out and everything is good again!  This little rhyme is packed with symbolism!

I have always been interested in the symbols behind our stories, myths and legends, so why not interpret this little rhyme!?

The spider is an interesting symbol.  The spider represents creativity, fertility, harmony and balance.  It is also symbolic of the past and the future.
There are many tales of Spider women in different cultures.  Many traditions consider the spider as the weaver of the fabric of life where they introduce both writing and the making in clothes.
In America storytellers composed myths of a spider woman who was present at the dawn of creation before humans were created. The spider woman taught people how top weave.....
The Spider symbol is associated to creativity and cunning always seen when the spider is dangling at the end of its thread. The symbol here will therefore be a sign of good luck because different communities think that it is bringing down joy from heaven. Amongst weavers it is a symbol of their craft. Spider is associated negatively in Europe because it is associated to hangover from the days of the Plague where it was thought to have spread the disease. Sourced from http://www.animal-symbols.com/spider-symbol.html
In Greek Mythology, the Goddess Arachne, was turned into the first spider.  Her father was a shepherd, who dyed wool the most beautiful of shades of purple.  Arachne was a skilled weaver, and was famous for her tapestries.  It was thought that Athena was the best weaver in the land, and she had taught Arachne to weave.  Arachne had challenged her to see who had the greater talent.
Athena's tapestry was holy, depicting the Gods and Goddesses in all their beauty.  Arachne's tapestry, although just as brilliant in execution, showed the ungodly side of the world, including Athena's father Zeus in compromising situations with the women he seduced and cheated with.

Illustration by Giovanni Caselli
In disgust, and fury, Athena ripped Arachne's tapestry to shreds.  Arachne had insulted the deities.  She realised that the truth being told in that way was too bold, that others were not happy to have such reality laid out before them.  She became so depressed and ashamed that she hung herself.

Athena, took pity on Arachne, and decided to let her live.  But as punishment she would forever hang, spin and weave.  She turned Arachne into a spider for being so vain as to believe she had a right to comment on the behavior of the Gods.

The message in this story is more of a warning.  The risk a woman takes (especially if she is talented) when she speaks out against the grain, when she questions authority, or an established order is high.  We are reminded that to speak the truth is to come from a place of love and compassion.

Anything said out of hatred, ego or pride will always hurt the person involved and more than likely you yourself.

I love it when my brain takes me off on a tangent, and then all the things I research connects in some way.

Just like Arachne, we can develop this brash kind of truth telling.  Some call it The Critic, or the Bitch.  It's when we feel we are being challenged, and we panic.  The hormones are rushing and we lose all sense of what is right and wrong.  Our tongue becomes spiteful, we spew fury from a place of hate, believing we all of a sudden have the right to criticise others and 'tell them a thing or too'.  When we are in this place, we have to try and find calm.  Try and remember that the force we are feeling is hormonal and that the people around us are not 'out to get us' or purposely annoy us.  The only path this will lead us to is depression, feeling terrible and regretful and in some cases, (such as ladies with PMDD) suicidal.

If we can learn to look after ourselves during our Autumn and Winter phases and not expect everyone around us to figure out whats going on in our minds (especially when we don't know half the time either) we can have an easier time.  Truth, given kindly and from a place of love, will have better response from our loved ones.  If we can feel a storm, we don't have to drag everyone down with us.  It's batten down the hatches time.  It's tell your partner you need extra sleep that afternoon, or you have to go for a walk, or get away from the house.  You don't need to scream and tell them that everything they are doing is annoying, or wail and exclaim how unloved you feel.  If you have people around you who love you, they are there because they love you...  Just take yourself off somewhere to calm those irritable thoughts.  Stop the spring getting wound till it pings.

Incy Wincy could give up, she could throw a tantrum about the fact it rained again, but whats the point?  Why waste all that energy?  She has a spout to climb!

If you are interested in reading more about stories and their symbolism, I would recommend the book, Women who run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

Obviously, this is just my interpretation, and others may look at it differently!

Many Blessings!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Mooncup and more...

A few posts back on my Moods and Musings Blog, I mentioned I used a Mooncup.  I had never blogged about it before as I just assumed that ladies would know about it.. however, with the help of my support group, it soon came to my attention that some didn't.  I wrote this for the readers over there, but thought I would share it on this blog too...

Did you know?
  • A woman will dispose 16,800 pads or tampons in her lifetime.
  • Approximately 20 billion pads, tampons and applicators are sent to North American landfills annually.
  • In the UK alone, 4.3 billion disposable sanitary products are used every year.
  • Disposable pads and tampons are made primarily of bleached kraft pulp or viscose rayon, the origin of which is wood cellulose from trees. What makes these products perform so effectively is the use of high tech chemicals such as super-absorbent acrylic polymers (SAPs) surfactant-laced gels and leak-proof plastic backings. The long-term health and environmental impact of these ingredients is contentious and largely unknown.
  • More than 170,000 tampon applicators were collected along U.S. coastal areas between 1998 and 1999. 
(Stats and Facts from Lunapad, Mooncup and Diva Cup)

I found out about menstrual alternatives about 13 years ago.  I had a new born baby and was already a cloth nappy convert.  I heard of the Keeper Cup.  Some friends used them and would talk about how great they were.

I decided to buy one, and at that time, the company were offering a money back guarantee!  I used it for a couple of cycles, but it was pretty alien to me.  Tampons were easy, clean and pretty much always reliable, but when I first tried the Keeper Cup, I leaked everywhere.  I was worried about leaving the house in case I leaked, and I just felt it wasn't right for me.  So, I sent it back and went back to tampons and pads.

Since then, other cups have come onto the market.  The Mooncup, Diva cup, Femmecup, Lunette Cup, and LadyCup, to name a few.

The original Keeper Cup is made from natural gum rubber (latex) and has been available since 1987.  For ladies who like everything they use to be from a natural source, these are ideal, unless you have a latex allergy!  The other cups are made of medical grade silicon, and eliminate any worries of latex allergies.  Some even come in a range of funky colours!

They are all essentially the same in shape, and perform the same function.  Most come in two sizes, pre birth and post birth (or over 30 years old).  The size of birth canal changes after you have had a child, and as you get older, so you will need a bigger cup than before!  Priced at around £16.99, they aren't going to break the bank either!

Last summer, I decided I would try the Mooncup.  I hated tampons and towels, and I am much older and wiser (and patient!) then I was in my early 20's.  I was really quite excited about it, and going in with a much more positive attitude helped!  Before I had been afraid to try again as I had failed with it the first time round.

It took a couple of cycles to really get used to inserting it.  Wearing it is simple, just like a tampon, you put it in and forget about it.  I had to cut the tail off completely as it hurt.  I cut it shorter and shorter until I couldn't feel it when it was in. It's still easy to remove and I have found the tail isn't essential to removal!

I leaked maybe once or twice during the first cycle, then, as I got used to inserting it, it became second nature.  Just like when I first started using tampons, it takes a while to get it right, but once you have, you don't even have to think about it.  I still wear a panty liner on the heavier days at the start of my period, just in case.  When the cup gets full, you may have a little bit of breakthrough bleeding... that's my indication that I need to empty the cup.  The cup can be left in for up to 8 hours without any worries of toxic shock syndrome, and because it's medical grade silicon, and not a bleached, chemical filled paper based tampon, it does not upset the pH balance of the vagina, nor strip the area of it's natural fluids.

To insert, you fold the cup up into half, then quarters.  I find it's easier to squat to get it in right, and if the cup is wet.  Then as you push the cup in, you let go of the folded cup and it springs open (a bit like a pop up tent!).  The cup sits much lower than a tampon, so it's quite strange at first as you don't need to push it in that far.  If it's not in right, I can feel it when I stand up, so I will take it out and re insert.  To remove the cup, you simply get hold of the base of the cup and squeeze.  This releases the suction and you can pull it out, being careful not to spill it!  Pour the blood down the toilet and give it a rinse under the tap, then use again!

Pads from Wemoon
My next step is to get some washable liners.  These are pads made from fabric that soak up any leaks.  They can then be put through the washing machine to be re-used.  There are some lovely ones available, or you can make your own!  If you are interested, visit Honour your flow, New Moon Pads, Wemoon, or Lunapads for more information.  Fuzbaby is a great site if you want to attempt to make your own!

Another alternative is to use menstrual sponges.  These are made from natural sea sponge and work like a tampon.  A pack of two will last around 6 months, and are a good choice if the menstrual cups are a no go for you.  Sea Pearls have a handy info guide for more information.

After using a menstrual cup for 8 months/cycles, I am converted!  I don't spend any money on tampons anymore, and a box of panty liners last around 3 cycles, so I've already saved the money I spent on buying a menstrual cup.  It''s better for the environment, and is really convenient!  I will never go back to tampons, and will soon be free of using paper pads too... It's a no brainer really.  I can limit the waste I produce by changing ONE thing.  If all women did that we would reduce the amount going to landfill by a huge amount.

Follow any of the links in this article for more information, and if that's not enough, check out some of these websites!

Plush Pants
Moon Times
Earthwise Girls

Monday, 16 April 2012

Bees and The Goddess

Melissa – Goddess of the Bees by Cat 2012
Prismacolor, fine liners, acrylic paint.

Bees are sacred to Venus, they are the symbol of the Goddess and the Sacred Feminine. Venus is the ultimate feminine energy. Venus rules Fridays, beauty, harmony and nectar of life. She is the Goddess of Love. She represents joy, rapture, art, music, food, indulgence, attraction, desire. In Greek mythology Venus is Aphrodite from whose name comes the word "aphrodisiac," that which induces desire.

For the rest of this blog, please go to http://chaoticat.com/news/2013/1/27/melissa

© Cat Hawkins 2012

Blessed Bee xx

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

I will never forget you...

4 years ago today, I lost a very special lady. Beryl Adelaide Mathers.
My Nan.

Her choices brought my Anglo Indian family from Secunderabad in India to the UK in search of a better, and safer life. She married Ken, a Yorkshire man and engineer in the Merchant Navy. 
She was a nurse during the war and drove an ambulance for the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service for India. She had 4 children and loved brightly coloured flowers and clothes, sparkles, cooking, birds singing, sunshine, gardening and possessed a wicked sense of humor. 
No one's curry was as good as hers and every ones plants, no matter where they were, were ripe for pinching a cutting from.... 
Alzheimer's took her mind long before her body, but she was still Nan... Mum.. 

I thank the Goddess that she managed to hold my babies in her arms before she left. Fae was born on her birthday and is a joyous reminder of a wonderful woman. 

I love you Nan... Miss you ♥