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Living in Flow with your Cycle

First edition Copyright © 2012 Lucy H. Pearce
Second edition Copyright © 2015 Lucy H. Pearce
Third edition Copyright © 2022 Lucy H. Pearce

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or

transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or
other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of
the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews
and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law.

Published by Womancraft Publishing, 2022

ISBN 978-1-910559-78-9
This edition is also available in ebook format: ISBN 978-1-910559-77-2

Extended quotations used with the express permission of their authors.

The advice contained in this book is provided as information only, not formal
medical or contraceptive advice. It is recommended that you seek further
professional advice.

Cover design, diagrams and typesetting by Lucent Word,

Cover art by Lucy H. Pearce

Womancraft Publishing is committed to sharing powerful new women’s

voices, through a collaborative publishing process. We are proud to midwife
this work, however the story, the experiences and the words are the author’s
alone. A percentage of Womancraft Publishing profits are invested back into
the environment reforesting the tropics (via TreeSisters) and forward into the
community: providing books for girls in developing countries, and affordable
libraries for red tents and women’s groups around the world.


This book is a wonderful journey of discovery. Lucy not only

guides us through the wisdom inherent in our wombs, our
cycles and our hearts, but also encourages us to share, ex-
press, celebrate and enjoy what it means to be female!
A beautiful and inspiring book full of practical information and ideas.
Miranda Gray, author Red Moon and The Optimized Woman

Lucy, your book, Moon Time, is monumental. I cannot tell

you how long I have thought of the very things you are put-
ting forward, and to see this in print is thrilling.
Moon Time is a well needed resource book covering a wide range of im-
portant ways to respect our blood cycles wisely. Holding our cycles, bodies,
and stages in life with the highest regard breaks the spell of centuries of
oppression where our blood has been considered a dirty curse. The wisdom
in Moon Time sets a new course where we glimpse a future culture
reshaped by honoring our womanhood journeys one woman at a time.
Cozy up, get yourself a cup of tea and come home
as a daughter of the Red River flowing.
ALisa Starkweather, founder of Red Tent Temple Movement.
Co-author of The Red Tent Movement: A Historical Perspective and
Women, Spirituality and Transformative Leadership

Praise for MOON TIME

Lucy Pearce weaves a moon-web that draws in the many other women
who have written on the subject of menstrual cycles and places herself as
one, amongst others. Her open and accessible book offers practical, often
humorous ideas and encouragement about how we can tune into our
own cycles and ’dance’ with them in the most creative and healthy way.
She is one of the special whisperers, who helps us to remember our own
power and sacredness as played out in our cycles. Through her writing
she initiates a dialogue with her readers. Her writing empowers her
readers to have a voice to respond. This is a remarkable gift to us.
Tracy Breathnach, PhD

Moon Time is a beautifully written resource for deepening your

connection with your cycle. Full of personal heartfelt suggestions,
simple rituals and practical ways to support women in understand-
ing the influence their hormones have on them each month.
This book could change your life!
Rachael Hertogs, author Thirteen Moons and
Menarche: A Journey to Womanhood

Other Books by Lucy H. Pearce

She of the Sea

Creatrix: she who makes
Medicine Woman: reclaiming the soul of healing
Burning Woman
Full Circle Health: integrated health charting for women.
Full Circle Health (3 month charting journal)
Moods of Motherhood: the inner journey of mothering
Reaching for the Moon: a girl’s guide to her cycles
The Rainbow Way: cultivating creativity in the midst of motherhood




Acknowledgements 4
A journey of self-acceptance 8
My journey 9
Being a woman 11
Breaking silence 17
The womb 20
Menstruation – physical and spiritual 21


Your inner symphony
The main phases of the menstrual cycle
Dancing in the dark
A cycle
Connecting to flow
Creating your archetypes
Cycle charting
Dream charting
Integrated menstrual chart
Living and working by our cycles
Living in synch
Working by the menstrual cycle

A fertility journey
Fertility and the four phases of womanhood
Medicated moon time
Positively choosing the Pill
Fertility Awareness
Blood and milk – menstruation and motherhood
Lunar influence
Phases of the moon
Our personal moon cycles
Living moon wise
A moon time myth
Celebrating with the moon
Creating your own moon celebrations
New moon celebrations
Navigating perimenopause
Hormone replacement therapy
Moon time yoga
Water rituals
The Crazy Woman
Instant PMS relief
Partners and the menstrual cycle
Nutritional healing
Healing hands
Belly love

Uterine fibroids
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Cervical cancer
Finding the right practitioner
Rites of passage to celebrate
Creating ceremony
Planning a ceremony
Menarche: the first blood
Celebrating menarche
Red thread ceremony
Moon blood magic
A return to bleeding
Mourning moon
Mother blessing
Closing the bones
Perimenopause circle
A ceremony for ending menstruation
Croning ceremony
Red tents today
Creating a red tent
Creating a moon lodge





Welcome to the third edition of Moon Time, which has been fully
revised, updated and expanded to celebrate its tenth anniversary.
I am honoured and delighted that this little book, my first, which
was initially written as a small personal project, has been received
with so much love and gratitude by people around the world.
It was this book that made me an author…and publisher. That
women who did not know me trusted me enough to buy it was so
special to me. That it has become the consistently #1 bestselling book
on menstruation on is beyond my wildest dreams.
It has brought me into contact with many of the leading lights in
the world of women’s wisdom and menstruation and for that I am
profoundly grateful.
Each week I am moved to receive emails from readers around the
world expressing gratitude for this Moon Time. ‘Life changing’ is an
expression I hear quite regularly, and one I am always humbled by. I
have also received messages from folks bringing to my awareness to
various places where I could do better. I am taking this third edition
as an opportunity to do that.
So much has changed since 2011 when I sat surrounded by books
in a little Japanese style tea house on the edge of an Irish bog, to
combine my research on the topic and my own experience of cycle

Preface to the Third Edition

charting and menstrual awareness. Since then I have a further decade

of lived experience behind me. I have moved from young mother to
perimenopausal. What was then a very niche subject has now gone
mainstream, with more books and articles on the subject appearing
each month. More and more women are speaking openly about their
menstrual experiences. Every day on Instagram I see cyclical living
memes shared. Things have most definitely changed.
Red tents were still a new phenomenon when I wrote the first
edition of this book. I learned about them on the internet, no one I
knew had ever heard of them. Ten years later most I know have been
to one. My book was the first print book to refer to the movement
and how to create your own red tent. Writing this book brought me
into contact with most of the women involved in birthing this move-
ment and bringing it into global awareness, including the founder of
the Red Tent Temple Movement, ALisa Starkweather, who I am now
honoured to call friend and sister, and whose words you will find in
these pages. I was the co-founder of a red tent here where I live, the
first I know of in Ireland, and our publishing company has pub-
lished the most detailed guide to the theory and practical creation
of red tents: Red Tents: Unravelling Our Past and Weaving a Shared
Future by Mary Ann Clements and Aisha Hannibal, founders of the
Red Tent Directory.
Women’s health clinics have become widespread, with menopause
specialists in every city now and employers and governments starting
to take the impacts of menopause on working women seriously. The
amount of articles, podcasts and Facebook groups on peri-menopause
and menopause in the last couple of years has been breathtaking. Si-
lence is being broken. Awareness is building in the mainstream.
When I launched the second edition of the book, I gathered
around me a circle of women who work in menstrual health and
who had been supporters of my work to help launch the book out
into the world. One woman’s response touched me deeply: she really
liked the book except for two things.

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One – I hadn’t included the trans experience. The trans experi-

ence, of menstruation…that had never even occurred to me! And
the second was my reference to wanting to wash the smell and feel
of menstruation off me.
We live and learn. Often what triggers us most, (as I so wisely share
in this book!) is where our learning edge is. It’s just less fun when
it’s our own learning edge! Trans issues have come front and centre
in recent years. As has neurodiversity. I have learned a lot. What I
didn’t know when I was writing my first books is that I myself am on
the autistic spectrum. The reason I struggled with the feel and smell
of menstruation so acutely was not that I was not fully spiritually
accepting of my menstrual blood…it was that it is a major sensory
issue for me. Research has shown time and again that the menstrual
cycle has a major impact on those of us on the spectrum: physically,
sensorily and emotionally. I find change hard at the best of times.
Living in a constant cycle of change is deeply challenging for me.
I have learned that writing helps me to structure my research and
understanding of lived experiences that I otherwise find tricky to
navigate. I have also found that many people are very grateful for the
research I do and my openness in articulating my own challenges.
I am not a doctor or trained health practitioner – though several
of the contributors to this edition are – and I don’t believe that one
needs to be in order to write about menstruation. I believe that lived
experience is a powerful teacher. However, mine is only one experi-
ence – and so all of my later books include the lived experience of
many others, to add further voices and perspectives. But Moon Time
was still missing this. This edition of Moon Time contains the lived
experience of many folk, to reflect the diversity of menstruation:
young women who have recently started menstruating and wom-
en who have passed through menopause; cis women; non-binary,
trans and intersex folk; neurodivergent and neurotypical menstru-
ators; women who have charted for most of their lives and wom-
en who discovered it at the end of their menstrual lives; women

Preface to the Third Edition

with endometriosis, polycystic ovaries, chronic health issues, who

have journeyed through cancer or have chosen tubal ligation; wom-
en who have gladly come off the Pill…and others who have just as
gladly gone onto it. I dearly hope you find your own experiences at
least partially reflected in ours.
Our bodies are always evolving and changing, as is our under-
standing of them. I hope that this book will meet you where you are
now, and be a trusted companion at many points in your ongoing
journey of self-discovery.
This edition is my most ambitious yet. It is how the book was
probably always meant to be…but it required a decade of book writ-
ing and lived experience to get there! I am constantly learning and
changing, and if it were not for this book, I would not have had
the privilege to have built my understanding of menstruation, red
tents and emergent women’s culture so profoundly. These are excit-
ing times we are living in, and I am so honoured to have become a
part of this movement.


I wish to thank all those who have supported my writing and my life
as they have unfolded:
My mother, Francesca, for giving me life, and making me who I am.
My father, Stephen, for providing the template for making a living
from honouring your creativity. And for creating and sharing the tea
house where this book was first written.
My grandmothers, Lucy and Suzanne, who shaped me more than
they could possibly know, and whose physical presence I miss deep-
ly, but whose spirits are always by my side.
My step-mother, Lauren: part mother, part sister, part friend, but

Moon Time

as far from wicked as it’s possible to get!

My sister Mirin, only sister in the world.
My best school friend, Emma, with whom I shared the news of
my first bleeding and the joy of my first birth, as well as many other
secrets along the way.
My women’s group for holding the container within which we
have all grown.
My soul sisters for seeing me as I am – and celebrating that with me.
The many, many open-hearted, shining souled folks I have met on
this journey of writing and teaching – whose insights, appreciation,
and experiences have helped me to grow.
My courageous new contributors:
Amy, Ariele, Becky, Clare, Kazzy, KRW, Lisa, Lucienne, Mary, Mil-
ly, Mirin, Paula, Tracy, Sarah, Seibhe, Stella, and my dearest WSN.
My original contributors, ALisa, Miranda, Lorraine, Rachael,
Nicholas, Isadora, Shawn, Zoë and Dawn for thank you for beau-
tiful work and generous, open-hearted permission to reproduce it.
Your blessings for my work have touched my soul.
My husband, Patrick, the most patient person I know. For sup-
porting my women’s work and creativity, for being open to sharing
working and childcare, for keeping me sane and helping me to laugh
over the years, I am incredibly grateful. You truly are my soft place
to fall. We make a good team!
And finally, to our three children, for your patience with me when
the Crazy Woman roams, my distractedness when a creative project
is gestating, as well as for your love and the fun that we share. I am
so glad to be your mother. I hope that what I have tried to pass on to
you has led to a deeper understanding and appreciation of yourselves
and those your lives touch.


Despite having inhabited them our whole lives, our bodies often
don’t feel like home to us. We can feel out of control, at the mercy
of our own hormones, never knowing whether we’ll be full of energy
and social, or curling up in a ball, exhausted and aching, wishing
everyone would disappear. Over the course of our cycles our energy
levels, moods and physical health are constantly changing. It can feel
disorientating and frustrating.
But what’s worse is there seems to be little acknowledgement or
support of this reality. We’re supposed to just ignore it all and carry
on regardless.
It is my guess that no one ever initiated you into the spiritual and
physical realities of your precious body, mind and soul. Instead, just
like me, you were left to find out by yourself. Little by little you
pieced a working understanding of yourself together.
Perhaps you have searched long and hard, seeking advice from
your mother, sister, aunts and friends, tired of suffering and strug-
gling alone. You may have visited doctors, healers or therapists, but
still you feel at sea and your body is a mystery to you. You yearn for
a greater knowledge of your body, a comprehensive understanding
of who you are and why you are that way.
You may be seeking ...

Moon Time

o a way to balance your hectic life and your body’s needs

o greater self-knowledge and self-acceptance
o to better understand your fertility and make the right contra-
ceptive choices for you
o to improve your experience of ‘that time of the month’
o to harness your ever-changing energy to improve your creativ-
ity, work life or relationships
o deeper harmony with yourself and your cycle
o positive language to describe your body and its functions
o a practical guide to creating a safe community space
o natural ways of dealing with PMS
o ideas for celebrating the next part of your life that you, or your
child, are entering
o a greater physical connection to nature’s cycles, seasons and
the moon.

This book will help you with all these and more.

Through knowledge we gain power over our lives.

With options we have possibility.
With acceptance we find a new freedom.


A journey of self-acceptance

This book walks on tender ground. Each reader comes to it with

their own sensitivities and unique experiences, their own pains and
pre-conceptions. You may be just beginning the journey of self-ac-
ceptance and starting to learn about your body’s cycles. Or you may
have been studying them for years and are wanting resources to help
you deepen your self-understanding, to empower you to share your
journey and wisdom with others in your community. Perhaps you
are wanting mainstream medical support…or avoid Western medi-
cine like the plague.
Whatever your starting point, whatever your background, I want
this book to be of service to you. It covers many approaches…not all
of which will be for you. There are many different voices included…
some which may reflect your own experience, others will not. Not
everything here will be resonant with you.
If I suggest something that you hate, then rather than just react-
ing against it, ask yourself: what about it feels wrong for me? What
would be a more acceptable, exciting alternative for me?
When we come across new ideas that challenge the way we have
learned to see the world and ourselves we can be triggered. We can
feel judgement, shame, anger…The new information is like a red
flag: either it must be wrong…or we must be wrong. Most of us
don’t like to be wrong. It makes us feel threatened and unsafe.
I want you to feel safe, my love. And I want you to learn and grow
too. That’s why you picked up this book: to gain new wisdom and
So if I suggest something that doesn’t sit well with you, I invite you
to examine it:

o Is it uncomfortable to you simply because it is a new idea?

o Is it something you have been taught to reject or disapprove of?

Moon Time

o Is it something which you feel others might judge you on or

o Is it something you have tried and know you don’t like?

Or are we coming from different assumptions or understandings?

As you work through this book, be true to yourself. Let this book
sow seeds – and then explore the ideas further – Google them, ask
friends and practitioners, question them – try them out in your own
life. Do they work for you? Do they help you feel more connected
to yourself, and to the people in your life? If so, then they are good
and right for you.

My journey

I always find it helps on a journey to know a little about my com-

panion and where they have come from, so that we can travel in trust
and ease together.
I have been working in women’s work for the past fifteen years. I
started out running women’s circles, creative writing classes, mother
blessing ceremonies and holistic birth preparation classes. I helped
to set up a women’s group and red tent here in my area. I have writ-
ten on women’s issues (pregnancy, birth, motherhood, moon time,
cyclical living, creativity, spirituality and health) in my career as a
freelance writer, author of many books, blogger and founding editor
of Womancraft Publishing.
Many chalk me down as ‘New Age’ at first glance, but I am not,
if truth be told, that comfortable with anything too ‘out there’. For
me everything must be firmly researched, grounded and integrated.
I love science...and the sacred. The thrust of my work is, and always
has been, to bring what works from alternative circles back into the


mainstream, to integrate wisdom with science and to make it acces-

sible to all. You will find that the information and experiences here
traverse alternative and mainstream approaches…there is wisdom to
be found in many places.
I have been on a personal journey of menstrual exploration for over
twenty years now. My initiation was at twenty, struggling with being
on the Pill and hating it. I came across the book Women’s Bodies,
Women’s Wisdom, which set me on a path of curiosity and discovery
about my body. That book has changed my life many times over.
That was the beginning. But my embodied transition to awareness
really happened as a result of gestating, birthing and breastfeeding
three children. There is nothing like being intensely involved in the
cycle of procreation for seven years to put you in touch with your
body and how it works!
Coming back to my periods after prolonged breaks each time gave me
a chance to be more reflective and aware of them, rather than simply
reacting to them. I began to see how my body and its fertility impacted
my creative energy and sexual energy, through pregnancy, post-partum
and my cycles. I began to connect the dots in my personal experience,
dots that my culture had never even told me were there.
I became aware from first-hand experience of the power of my
womb to create, hold and give birth to life. I understood its func-
tion. The point of periods was no longer abstract, and my sexuality
was not just for fun, or limited by fear of pregnancy. As I witnessed
this first in myself, and then in the women I worked alongside, I de-
veloped an ever-greater sense of gratitude and compassion for myself
and all women. As well as a sadness that this wisdom is not acknowl-
edged or supported in our culture.
During my mid-thirties I struggled with various health issues and
experienced some major burnouts and a breakdown. At age thirty-sev-
en I was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum. These experienc-
es, as well as now being a mid-life woman, have impacted my expe-
rience of my body and mind, and the impact of my menstrual cycle.

Moon Time

I am so glad to have had the spiritual, energetic and physical in-

sights of cycle awareness to help me navigate my own life. I have
learned to co-create with my cycles, rather than resist them. This
truly has been a wonderful journey, which has impacted my work,
life and relationships in so many positive ways.
And I am still learning, still uncovering new depth and insight
through my lived experience and research. I am an apprentice to my
body and the cycles of nature. Some days I apply what I have learned
more successfully than others. Often I get impatient, fall into old
habits and cultural norms, and push myself too hard. I ignore what I
know, and everyone suffers. I feel like a slow learner. But then I look
around me and almost all the women I know of my age, and older,
are in this place of learning. And I remind myself to be gentle and
compassionate with myself. Because this is the point of our cycles,
this is what they are for: embodying wisdom.

Being a woman

In other cultures and other times, girls who were

entering womanhood would be welcomed by their
tribe. They would be told the secrets of womanhood,
they would be tested for their strength and
courage. They would be blessed and celebrated.

From my book Reaching for the Moon

What is a woman? What should she be like? Growing up I was sensi-

tive to a lot of messages to do with being a woman that went unspo-
ken and unchallenged at home, at school and in the world at large.
These were the things I learned (often sub-consciously) from our


Western patriarchal culture about being a woman.

o Women have wombs.

o Wombs are generally not to be trusted. They’re faulty objects
to be tolerated, ignored or removed.
o Wombs make women hysterical.
o Women are not to be trusted. Deep down all women are crazy,
over-sensitive and too emotional.
o Women gossip…their talking together is trivial.
o Women’s bodies are unreliable…and women’s ideas or opin-
ions about them are not to be trusted.
o Women must look perfect. This takes effort. You must make
a constant effort to be attractive to the other sex. But you
mustn’t show that you’re making an effort – your beauty, grace
and happiness should at all times look natural.
o Women’s bodies are gross in their natural state. Women have
a lot to be ashamed about, hide, change or remove: body hair,
fat, wrinkles, cellulite, aging skin, body odour, periods...
o If you’re less than perfect in any way hide this, don’t talk
about it, be discrete. Do not make a fuss.
o If you experience serious pain (and are not just imagining it or
attention-seeking) then go to a doctor to help you silence your
o But the doctor will most likely not believe you because wom-
en’s lived experience has little value, women’s bodies and their
understanding of them is not to be trusted. (Are you seeing the
pattern here yet?)
o The menstrual cycle is an inconvenience: disgusting, shameful,
embarrassing and certainly not of any relevance or
importance to us or our world.

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o Women are weak, unreliable and over-emotional especially

when they are ‘on the rag’.
o Menstruation is a valid topic for smutty jokes and a good way
to put a woman in her place.
o It is preferable to avoid menstruation. It is a problem which
most women would like to be rid of.
o Periods prevent us from being fully functional or rational, and
so unable to play roles of importance in a man’s world.
o Don’t get pregnant! (Until you’re 30).
o Or why can’t you get pregnant? (If you’re over 30).
o Have enough children…don’t have too many children.
o Mothering is not an important or valued role. But you should
be a mother to be a real woman.
o To be a woman is to be naturally inferior. To be a woman is
to suffer. So do so with good grace. This is divinely ordained,
see Eve.
o God is male. Men are best. Men are therefore default spiritual
leaders. Women’s spiritual experiences are the same as men’s.
o Women have achieved very little of importance because of
their inferiority. That’s why women aren’t represented in any-
where near equal numbers anywhere – from history books, to
sacred texts, to the halls of government, to TV comedy shows.
As you can see, that is a LOT of unlearning I have had to do over
the years. A lot of reflection and inquiry, talking to other women,
reading, paying attention to and valuing my own lived experience
over the fallacies of womanhood that our culture taught me. And
I’m still unlearning. Still discovering new pockets of poison to heal
and internal monologues to rework.



So what does it mean to be a woman?

Let’s start there.
Being a woman is not a monolithic experience. There are shared
threads and differences between us all. Not all women have wombs
(a hysterectomy or being born without a womb doesn’t disquali-
fy you from womanhood.) Not all women menstruate (for many
different reasons). And not everyone who menstruates identifies as
a woman. Menstruation is not the only defining feature of woman-
hood. For those of us who do menstruate, however, it shapes our
physical, emotional and spiritual terrain for decades of our lives.
I use the word woman here a lot because most people with a men-
strual cycle identify as women. If you do not identify as a woman,
please know that you are welcome here.


Bleeding has been used as proof of a woman’s worth for far too long
in patriarchy...marking her as fertile and ready to be married off.
Periods also marked failed pregnancy, which put wives at threat of
violence or divorce. In many cultures menstruation still marks wom-
en out as unclean, unable to attend places or worship, eat with their
families or even sleep in the family home until they are physically
and spiritually ‘purified’. In most cultures menstruation is taboo,
something to be physically hidden and not discussed in public.
A lot of pain – physical and emotional – cultural rejection and
shame have been clustered around this natural bodily function. A lot
of women have suffered because of their blood cycles.
May that stop here. With you and me. May we learn, educate and
support ourselves, our communities and beyond, so that menstrua-
tion is no longer synonymous with suffering.

Moon Time

I distinctly remember being thirteen, sitting in a silent classroom

taking a maths test – and feeling for the first time something very
unsettling in an area of my body that I tried to ignore.
I knew it was happening; I could feel everything, and I hurried
to excuse myself and rush to the bathroom. I remember staring
numbly in shock at my underwear. Was it supposed to look
like that? Was this really happening? Tears welled up and my
face flushed. I technically knew what it was but, in some way, I
suppose I never really understood or believed fully that it would
happen to me. Somehow, despite being educated on the processes
of puberty and menses, I had excluded myself from the equation.
In hindsight, I understand that this was partly due to my inner
self not identifying with the female sex I was assigned at birth or
with the associated organs. I also now recognise that part of my
difficulty coping with the menstrual cycle lies with overloading
and hypersensitivity, being on the autism spectrum.
At the time I had no idea about any of that. My reaction was
pure panic and disbelief, followed by dissociation. I felt like I was
watching myself, blankly shoving wadded-up toilet roll between
my legs, testing that it would stay put long enough for me to get
to the school sanatorium. I felt hollow, blank and void; that my
body had betrayed me – that this was a mistake, it shouldn’t be
happening to me – over and over my thoughts tumbled.
Teachers and family had tried to prepare me, but I suppose I felt
like it was all scientific, theoretical, something that happens to
women... That really should have been an indicator of my gender
identity not matching the body I inhabit – but back then, in
1993, I had no language for what I was feeling and no idea that
I was not alone.
As I got older, I started to suffer badly with the pain of
menstruation (endometriosis runs in the family), and with
terrible mood changes that were unpredictable and frightening.
I didn’t understand that I was being overwhelmed with sensory
overload; I didn’t know I was on the autism spectrum; all I knew


was I hated it and I hated myself. Being at boarding school, I

was left to deal with things alone – and by the time I left at 15,
I suppose no-one thought I would need to talk about it.
It has been a very complicated relationship that has taken my
entire life to even begin to understand. It has taken 30+ years,
hours of agony, the fear at falling pregnant at twenty and the
utterly devastating loss of that child at twenty-three weeks, that
have shaped who I am. It took developing anaemia from the sheer
volume of blood lost, waking up screaming and feeling the great
hollow in my soul.  It took years of depression, ever-increasing
pain and a deep-vein thrombosis. It took decades of howling at
the moon and the sea, begging for meaning, for mercy.  It took
realising that I am male, that this body never aligned with how
I see myself; it took accepting that I was right that first day in
1993 – this shouldn’t be happening to me, this was not right.
It took realising that I still desperately wanted to carry my own
child despite being well into my transition; and having to let go
of that dream due to chronic health problems.
It has taken so many years to realise and reconcile who I am with
the body I was given.
I am still transitioning. I no longer experience full bleeds because
of my hormone therapy (injected testosterone, every ten weeks for
life); but the power of the cycle is still very much there. I still feel
the push and pull of the tides of my body; I still experience some
pain and worsening of my other health conditions at the time I
would be due. I still feel the yearning for a child.
But that – all of that – makes me who I am. If I had not lived
my first thirty years the way I did, I would be a poorer man
for it. If every cisgender man could experience life as a person
who menstruates, who has the power to grow life or feels the
painful absence of that capability, their understanding of the
world would be greatly deepened.
The greatest dream of the first documented transgender woman
to undergo surgeries, Lili Elbe, was to be able to bear children of

Moon Time

her own. That she felt the powerful pull of those same tides I have
no doubt. For her, too, the body did not align with the soul, and
she died in trying to rectify that disconnect.
No matter the organs we are born with, I believe all of us can
connect to the lunar creative power in our own individual ways,
and should embrace both the light and dark faces of life’s cyclical
path. Trying to suppress or deny the feminine within ourselves is
only damaging. To be truly whole, we need balance.


Breaking silence

Your body. My body. Our bodies are incredible.

But sometimes we aren’t told this.

Throughout history, and even in the sacred books,

women have been told that there is something wrong
with them because they have women’s bodies. Many
of us have learned to be ashamed of our bodies
and their natural functions. We have struggled to
talk about them, we have not had the words.

From my book Reaching for the Moon

The reason that these falsehoods about what it means to be a wom-

an have continued so long is because we are encouraged not to talk
about our bodies and their natural functions. We are encouraged to
hide our true feelings, cover our female parts and silence our voices.


The truth of our bodies has been hidden under the lies of others.
Do you have words for your body that feel good to you, that you
are comfortable using, not just with doctors, but family and friends?
Do you have words for yourself that fit: intimate words for the inti-
mate parts of your body?
Many of us were brought up without appropriate or comfortable
words for our genitalia. Instead, our ‘privates’ were shrouded in si-
lence and mystery and shame.
Let’s break the silence on our bodies together. Let’s get creative
and re-claim the words we use to talk about them for ourselves. Let’s
create a shared language that we feel comfortable with.
Our language shapes our perception.
Many of us do not have a comfortable word for “down there”. Vagina
and vulva, pussy, fanny, front bum, cunt, quim, lady garden, bits… I
have tried all of these in different settings and with different audiences.
I was so excited in my late twenties to come across the term yoni.
Yoni means “sacred space” in Sanskrit – “origin, source” – it refers to
the entire genital system and its energetic field, and that feels good,
to have a complete term. In India there are altars dedicated to the
yoni, whole temples decorated with them! Imagine a world where
our bodies were not shameful but considered sacred and displayed
with reverence. Where the whole human variety of shapes and sizes
of bodies was celebrated.
Nowadays I feel less comfortable using a word from a culture that
is not mine. And so I use different words in different contexts. But
I make sure I use them. I speak of this part of me shamelessly, that
the world would prefer to shroud in silence. I speak of vulvas and
vaginas with my children as I would hearts or breasts or brains, with
gratitude and respect for what these parts of our bodies can do, and
how we must care for them.
You will notice that I use the terms moon time, menstruation, cy-
cles, bleeding and periods interchangeably. You may be used to other
words. I was lucky not to be brought up with “the curse” or “the rag”

Moon Time

though many were. Whereas others have their cycles named after
kindly women: Aunt Flo and Grandmother Moon...
The title of this book reflects a term I learned as an adult: moon
I envisage the egg, a perfect white globe, full and blooming at ovu-
lation, continuing out into the world, sailing down a red river. My
period is my moon time, a time when I feel moon-faced and blank.
It reminds me that my body is not just following its own rhythm, but
the moon’s time. It reminds me that my body is intimately connected
to the cycles of the natural world, and through those cycles to other
women past, present and future. It reminds me that I am not alone.
I believe that the first stage of acceptance, self-love and healing of
our bodies is to be able to talk about them, to speak for them, to
advocate for their needs, to not be ashamed of them as they are. Our
disgust at our physical selves taints our non-physical selves, and vice
versa. Our silence hurts us. We do not care for what we feel shame
about. This hurt, this silence, this shame seeps out into the world
through our actions. Shame hurts.
For most of us the only way we have been taught to engage with
our menstrual bodies is in terms of hygiene…or medical anoma-
ly. There is no other language or perspective, no other purpose or
insight within the mainstream. I hope this book helps you move
towards being able to find expression for this part of your life, and
the parts of your body involved in it. I hope it allows you to begin to
reclaim your body, your energy, your self from silence, shame or un-
warranted medicalisation, and appreciate your dynamic complexity.


The womb

The womb or uterus lies at the physical and energetic heart of the
menstrual cycle. This organ that most women and some trans men
have – some women don’t, for a variety of reasons, and some have
two – has been a central battleground in feminist and conservative
politics throughout recent history. We have fought hard over who
gets to say what happens to it in terms of contraception, abortion
and birthing rights.
The most common surgeries for women under 50 are both on the
womb: C-sections and hysterectomies. Yet the healthy functioning
of the womb is rarely considered. It is only when things have reached
crisis point that women seek medical help. Before that the womb is
terra incognita.
In the Western medical model the womb has only one function
– to physically carry babies to term. It has traditionally been consid-
ered a trouble-maker in medicine and expendable if its purpose has
been served.
In many other traditions, however, the womb is understood as a
key energetic centre in the body, deeply sensitive, the seat of creative
power and life force. Womb issues are seen as reflections of greater
imbalance in the energy field.

Moon Time

Menstruation –
physical and spiritual

My lived experience of menstruation, pregnancy and childbirth

has shown me that my womb, its cycles and processes, has a direct
impact on my libido, energy levels, creativity and spirituality. Its
healthy functioning is central to my life.
I consider moon time to be a two-fold process – physical and
spiritual, reflecting both aspects of the womb:

o physical menstruation – the release of the womb’s lining, and

o spiritual menstruation, the energetic body’s need to withdraw,
surrender and renew.

This book will focus on both. Some parts will only be relevant for
those who currently menstruate physically, others will be of benefit
to all. Even those who menstruate physically now will not do so for
the whole of their lives. Developing practices of rest and renewal
for body and soul can be guided by our menstrual cycles but also
by the moon and her cycles. Once we know about and understand
this cyclical process, we can live into its wisdom always. Whether we
menstruate or not, we are cyclical beings, and learning to embrace
this in how we live is one of the best choices we can make for our
physical, mental and spiritual health.
Some readers may have experienced physical menstruation for
years, but never have paid it any attention, and so have not enjoyed
the benefits of spiritual menstruation. Others may no longer expe-
rience physical menstruation, or may have never had it, and yet still
want to deepen their experience of spiritual menstruation and moon
time. Wherever you are, I hope you find this book supportive and


You are not alone

It is my deepest wish to help you to celebrate you, your body and

help you to reconnect with your inner rhythms and live in greater
connection to yourself. This book offers you hundreds of different
ways in. All it takes is one to start you on your own path, or unblock
the way.

Take your time.

Be gentle with yourself.
And all those that you meet on the path.

Remember that you are not alone. All around the world, billions
of us are travelling this path, apart but together. Through this book
you will learn how to kindle your own wisdom flame, and share it
together with your daughters and sisters, friends and communities.
You will find ways to celebrate and support each other, break your si-
lence about what it means to fully inhabit your unique human body
in this world. You will make space for yourself as you are.

There is little understanding and allowance for the realities

of our cycles, let alone celebration.
But that changes here!
Take my hand…Let us begin!


Lucy H. Pearce is the author of many life-

changing non-fiction books, including
Nautilus Award winners Medicine Woman,
Burning Woman, and Creatrix: she who
makes. Her writing focuses on women’s
healing through archetypal psychology,
embodiment, historical awareness and
Her words have been featured interna-
tionally in online and print media as well as in Earth Pathways Dia-
ry, WeMoon, Divergent Mind and If Women Rose Rooted.
An award-winning graduate in History of Ideas with English
Literature from Kingston University and PGCE from Cambridge
University, Lucy founded Womancraft Publishing, publishing para-
digm-shifting books by women for women, in 2014.
The mother of three children, she lives in a small village by the
Celtic Sea in East Cork, Ireland. /

Womancraft Publishing was founded on the revolutionary vision

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