Consider the Cycle: How to Understand the Four Phases of the Cycle in the Context of an Uncertain Year

Yesterday, we kicked off The Well virtual series with “Consider the Cycle: Understanding the Four Phases of the Menstrual Cycle in the Context of an Uncertain Year” with Cora’s Founder, Molly Hayward. Each day over the next two weeks, the Blood & Milk team will be recapping the previous day’s event here. We’re working on getting recordings up on the site, and remember that you’ll receive the recording ASAP if you register for an event, even if you can’t make it to the live presentation. 

Molly kicked things off with some movement, encouraging attendees to get into our bodies and become present in our own energies. When talking about the body so intimately, it always helps to feel like you’re connected to your own—which can feel especially difficult at the end of a work day! Next, we talked about each of the four phases of the cycle and how they may feel or present themselves, based on your hormone levels. 

The follicular, or pre-ovulatory, phase can be a period of renewal, excitement, positivity, and rebirth. It is the “spring” of the four phases and is characterized by the Maiden archetype. Inside of our bodies, this energy may feel very subtle, compared to some of the more pronounced phases. Though it’s different in every body, this phase is typically around days 6-10 of your cycle.

The ovulatory phase is one of expansion, growth, creativity, and nurturing. Characterized by the summer season, you may experience a peak in creative and/or sexual energy—just like the exciting, charged months of summer. This energy may feel more pronounced, and its associated archetype is the Mother. 

Thirdly, Molly discussed a phase many of us are familiar with: the premenstrual phase. During this phase, you may experience a desire to go inward in preparation of the final release—your period. PMS has been villainized in our culture and characterized as a crazy moment in time when women can’t control themselves, and Molly argued that it’s really anything but. The more we can sink in and understand ourselves and our bodies, the more we can utilize this phase for our own healing and reflection.

Finally, Molly discussed the menstrual phase, which is characterized by dying, release, acceptance, and letting go. Menstruation is the winter season of the cycle, and its associated archetype is the Wise Woman. Like ovulation, this energy is more obvious and may be experienced more strongly than some of the other phases. Molly shared her three R’s for managing menstruation, especially in times of uncertainty like the year we’re all experiencing now: Reverence, ritual, and relaxation. 

Through learning to honor and revere our period, creating a ritual for reflection or comfort, and allowing our bodies and minds to relax into the desire for withdrawal and shedding old energy, we can begin to experience our periods as a positive moment each month for reflection and appreciation of our miraculous bodies. 

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