Four Ways to Dismantle the Patriarchy and Reclaim your Inner Goddess
Overthrowing the patriarchal society that we have inherited is a loaded topic. The nature of patriarchal conditioning is so insidious that ridding ourselves of it just can’t happen overnight. Instead, we must evolve through it. That evolution happens first at the personal level, through us, and then it extends out into our communities and the culture at large. With the massive impact that the #MeToo movement has had towards speaking out against sexual harassment; we are beginning to feel the tide change. Yet there is so much more we can do right now to restore the sanctity of our bodies, recover our natural rhythms, and reclaim our Goddess nature.
Here are four keys to reclaiming your Goddesshood, including practices that women can do within the context of our own lives, to support this shift towards both gender equality and, more universally, towards greater harmony between the Masculine and the Feminine at large.
1. Reclaiming our Bodies
Two years ago, shortly after separating from my now ex-husband, I set off on a journey of liberation and radical self-acceptance. The journey was a cross-country road trip done entirely in the nude (Yes, you read it right. Butt naked.) and was aptly named the #Bodyssey. As you can imagine, some people thought I was nuts, especially my father, who was beside himself. A slew of others were avidly following the journey on social media and cheering me on. A handful more decided to embark on their own naked adventures and shared their experiences with me.
I am not suggesting that road tripping around in our birthday suits is the only means to reclaim our bodies, in fact nudity is not required at all. What IS important is to understand that loving our bodies is a revolutionary act. It takes courage to go against cultural beauty standards, and love ourselves fiercely for all the ways we don’t conform. This process takes time.
In college, it took me months to get comfortable with my own reflection without makeup. I used to think I looked heinous without foundation on. It also took me a long time to be able to post photos of my leg and armpit hair on social media, even years after I quit shaving. Even last month I reached a new level of body acceptance after frolicking around a gathering in my underwear without having shaved my inner thighs! But I did it! A huge win for the beauty of women’s bodies just as they are!
You really don’t have to do anything radical, just taking a step towards loving your body, just as she is, is an act of rebellion and a big “F U” to the man!
2. Menstrual Empowerment
It’s time to stop blaming our periods and start blaming the system. Our monthly moon-time is a blessing, maybe not the most convenient of blessings, but it is certainly not a curse. It is because of this miraculous human menstrual cycle that we all got here in the first place!
The patriarchal world has sought to instill shame in us about our periods, making our natural female rhythms a taboo. No longer! Our cycles are sacred and so is our blood. If you haven’t joined the reusable menstrual cup revolution yet, then my sisters, time to get on board. Our moon blood is not trash, and does not need to be wasted on a piece of non-biodegradable plastic such as most conventional pads are made from. Even organic tampons and panty liners get thrown into the garbage with the rest of the filth, but our blood is not filth. It is one of the most sacred substances on earth, originating from the holy grail that is our womb!
Our blood is full of living stem cells that researchers are studying right now for their healing potential. The high nitrogen and protein composition in menstrual blood also makes ideal plant food. So give it back to the earth. Make a monthly sacrament in gratitude for the gift of procreation.
Ok, so you might not be ready to free bleed or finger-paint with your menstrual blood just yet, and that’s ok. Just commit to yourself that you will no longer perpetuate the self-deprecating myth that you and your cycles are dirty. The patriarchy just hates that sort of defiance!
Instead, take a moment to listen to your menstrual symptoms and what they might be trying to tell you before you go blaming it on your PMS. Join a red tent circle where you can honor your moon-time together. Remember, menstruation is empowering! It’s a power only we have! It is not to make us feel ashamed.
3. Lunar Cycle-Hacking
“Everybody I love knows how to bleed with me.”
That line is from “The Period Poem” by Dominique Christina, which if you haven’t heard yet, do yourself a favor and watch it on YouTube asap. Her point here is that as women, our vaginas can speak to each other and get in sync. Do you ever notice how your cycles synchronize with the women in your life? There is a divine intelligence at work in your body.
It doesn’t just stop there. We can sync our day-to-day lives to our moonstrual cycles. Why should we do that? Great question!
Our menstrual cycles wondrously correspond to the 28 day lunar cycle that goes from new moon to full moon to new again. While the solar year goes from winter to summer to winter again and relates to a predominantly masculine orientation to time, the monthly lunar cycle is an inherently feminine calendar that should also be recognized as an equally important measure of time. The patriarchal influence has even extended to how we understand time, often as linear while ignoring its obvious cyclic dimensions.
Lunar Cycle-hacking, as I like to call it, is about being acquainted with the moon cycle enough to know how it corresponds to your personal monthly rhythm, and utilizing this information to plan your time accordingly. As an Astrologer, this is what I am tracking all the time. In the coaching work I do with clients, we begin by following the moon through its phases and through the zodiac signs, taking note of how we feel each day; physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, in relation to where we are in our menstrual cycle. Once you have successfully completed this practice for a few short months, you will be amazed at what patterns begin to emerge! Imagine being able to hack this code and build your life around your own inherent bio-rhythm instead of on somebody else’s clock. I know several successful female “mompreneurs” who plan their work schedules in accord with their monthly rhythm and it is so inspiring to see them thriving instead of just surviving.
Lunar Cycle-hacking is how we take our power back through reclaiming our innate faculty of timing. The timing of our womb. The timing of the moon. Syncing with our natural cycles is another simple yet revolutionary act against the patriarchy.
4. Natural and Alternative Healing
Lastly, but definitely not least, is reclaiming yourself as a Goddess of Healing by becoming the primary advocate of your own health and wellness. For too long, the allopathic medical model has over-diagnosed and failed to attain the root causes of our health issues. The medicalization of women's bodies and moods is a real thing. Just think about childbirth. The most natural thing in the world right? Then why are births mostly taking place in hospitals, with mothers being treated like sick patients? “We aren’t sick Patriarchy! We are just birthing a new life through the inter-dimensional portal between our legs!”
Western medicine so often treats natural hormone fluctuations and emotional changes in women as diagnosable illnesses that require medication when, in many cases, the illness is really just the sick state of our society; highly toxic and so disconnected from the natural rhythms that nourish us and help us to flourish. Seven years ago I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and nobody asked me about what I was eating or what changes were happening in my life, both of which would have yielded many answers as to what was causing this. Instead, I was advised to go back on birth control and begin taking a drug for diabetes (which I didn’t even have!). Needless to say, this wasn’t a good solution for me and I decided to go study Nutrition and Herbal Medicine in order to heal myself naturally which I did. Taking responsibility for supported self-healing in this way was a radical act of evolving greater harmony between my inner Masculine and the Feminine energies.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not saying there are no benefits to seeing traditional western doctors, because there clearly are. What I am saying though, is maybe what you call your PMS isn’t real. Maybe your cramps and bloating are just your body’s way of telling you something needs to shift in your diet or lifestyle. Maybe it’s that unsustainably stressful and hectic lifestyle you’ve been living, or the nonstop competitive work environment that is robbing you of enough sleep, regular meals, rest, and solitude, that is to blame for your irritability and moodiness. Maybe your wacked-out cycle is just trying to tell you “No more! Please stop this madness!” Just a thought.
Aside from diet and lifestyle changes, there are so many beautiful and ancient healing modalities for self care that we can explore such as breast and abdominal massage, womb sauna, and jade egg practices such as Yoni Yoga. By becoming advocates for our health and wellness, and pursuing natural and alternative means for healing, we are smashing the patriarchy yet again and shifting our consciousness from denial to acceptance of our power while healing ourselves and our world.
Beginning to courageously step outside of our comfort zones and into our power is not easy. However, the benefits go far beyond personal empowerment. By choosing to reclaim our bodies, and honor our cyclical natures and innate healing abilities, we are choosing to respect the Feminine in a world long overrun by a distorted masculinity known as the Patriarchy. It is yin in a world that has lost its balance, and has become yang to the extreme. It is choosing the Feminine in us, casting a vote for the resurgence of the Goddess smoldering within each of us, waiting to be liberated.
This is what I call Goddess Alchemy. Goddess Alchemy is the art and science of awakening the Divine Feminine in you, your sisters, and your brothers (because they have the Divine Feminine in them too!). The resurgence of the Divine Feminine is not just happening in and through the women of the world, it's also happening to our men as they heal the Masculine of the wounds of patriarchy, connect with their own inner Feminine, honor the cycles of nature (like the moon!) and begin to live in harmony with them. We are all vessels for the rising of the Feminine, here to bring the world into balance and create a sustainable future for the generations to come. So whether you burn your bras literally or figuratively, do so not simply out of defiance, but rather as a reclamation of that which you truly are, Divine.
Sabrina Ourania is an Astrologer and Menstrual, Fertility, and Reproductive-Health coach, Yoni Yoga Instructor, Herbal Alchemist and Retreat Leader. She sees clients and teaches workshops locally and online. Her current offerings are Goddess Alchemy: An Embodied Exploration of the Goddess Archetypes beginning on Monday evenings at the Isis Temple in McKinleyville and Intro to Yoni Yoga at the community yoga center in Arcata on Tuesdays in July. You can find out more about her and the work she does at www.goddessalchemist.com.
* Two Lunar Cycle tracking Apps Sabrina recommends are Eve and MyFLO. If you’d like a copy of the luna journal wheel she mentions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can send you one.