The five stages or chambers of menstruation outlined below are an original concept from Alexandra Pope and her work at Red School. In this blog post I explore how I met these same states of consciousness at the birth of my sons. I had learned that by deeply letting go at menstruation it was possible to observe five distinct phases, and that each phase worked together with the former in an integrated way.
Stage 1 SEPARATION
This can begin a day or two before bleeding, where naturally our energies are detaching from normal life and travelling to the inner realms of self.
Stage 2 SURRENDER
This is day one of bleeding where when we profoundly rest our bodies and can experience the homecoming of soothing, healing and repair.
Stage 3 RENEWAL
This can happen soon after surrender, where if we have sufficiently separated and surrendered we can experience joyful, even ecstatic states due to surges of oxytocin.
Stage 4 AWAKENING
At this stage we can be flooded with insight and guidance about ourselves.
Stage 5 CLARITY
Clear steps become available to us enabling us to move towards them with confidence in the month ahead.
I recognised that these same five stages, albeit over a longer period of time, are what I had already met in order to allow normal birth to happen. During each of my three pregnancies there came a time when I needed to let go of being actively engaged in the world and to separate myself (as much as I could to allow myself) to come closer to home. As the birth drew nearer I found myself wanting more and more time alone. This I now understand was entering the first stage of separation. Then when each birth began allowing myself to deeply surrender to the intense experience was my deepest ally. Physically unable to now ‘do’ the only possibility at each birth was to truly allow, this was the second stage. Then as each of my sons came into my arms the flood of oxytocin and post birth elation was the third stage of renewal. In the weeks that followed insight and guidance came by resting as a new family, this was the fourth stage of awakening. When I realized that I had transformed once again from my former self. Finally the clarity and direction that arose as the birth experience was integrated and normal life resumed again.
I am told that it is the same stages or states of consciousness that we experience throughout our menopausal years. Again over a longer period of time as we separate from our former self and surrender to the process of menopause and all that it brings up for healing, awareness and integration. Following these stages we meet again with renewal, awakening and clarity as we become the summation of our lives so far and integrate this transformation to begin a new life again.