SONG OF THE CHRONICLE SONGS
In ancient times, before writing was common, events were
recorded through songs. Sitting by the fires in the evenings, each
tribe or community remembered events that occurred through
singing the "chronicle on"." Births, deaths, marriages, seasonal
changes, celebrations and special hardships were the verses of the
community song. Each verse was like a chapter of a story, telling
of one activity in a series of events that affected the growth of the
tribe or community. These songs had many verses and could last
for hours or even days.
There were also chronicle songs that told of the wisdom of the
Ancestors and preserved the sacred knowledge of healing as well
as rites of passage ceremonies. These songs were perhaps sung
during special ceremonies to initiate new keepers of wisdom and
were the vehicle trough which the sacred knowledge could be
remembered and passed own to future generations.
When visitors arrived, or when tribes or communities gathered
together, the chronicle songs were the way that information was
shared. entire histories were sung by the people around the fires.
The songs of wisdom were continually changing, as new
experiences and knowledge became part of the verses.
I have chosen to use the format of the chronicle to present this
Wisdom given to me by the Ancient Grandmothers. At this time,
our Mother Earth is in need of new keepers of women's wisdom
so that the Bleeding Lodges may again come together. The songs I
share here tell the story of Women's Wisdom that comes from our
wombs and the rites of passage that attune our lives with the larger
cycles of the Mother. I sing them through the pages of this
book so that the sacred knowledge can be remembered and given
to our daughters.
These songs, too, will change and grow, as the Bleeding Lodges
return to bring healing to our planet.
SONG OF THE BLOOD LODGE
In ancient times, the women's Bleeding Lodge was a structure set
apart from the rest of the community where women would go to
dream and communicate with the Ancestors when they were
bleeding. Since life follows the cycles of the Earth and the Moon,
activities of our Ancient Ancestors also closely followed the cycles
of the Earth and Moon. The women all cycled together, ovulating
at the full Moon and bleeding at the new Moon.
When women started to bleed, they left their homes and families
to go to the sacred introspective space of the Bleeding Lodge. The
Lodge was honored and respected by the entire community, for
the dreams and visions of the bleeding women brought vital
survival information such as planting and healing knowledge and
guidance on community relations. When there were questions that
needed to be answered, the women would go to the Lodge and ask
the Ancestors. All questions were always answered by the Ancient
Ancestors. The entire community benefited through the powerful
gifts of the women's bleeding cycle.
Since our Ancient Grandmothers probably all bled together, many
women shared the Womb Lodge at one time. Ceremonies to honor
our womb cycles, celebrate the cycles of the Earth and Moon, and
rites of passage were developed by these women from visions and
dreams during their bleeding times in the Sacred Lodge. These
traditions were passed dow in the initiatory rites of the Blood
Lodge from mother to daughter.
As our current culture has separated us so far from honoring the
cycles of the Earth and Moon, these ancient women's rites have
become almost forgotten. But, as we granddaughters of these
an cient women dream during our bleeding cycles, fragments of their
powerful honoring and healing ceremonies fill our spirits. We
know that there is a wisdom within our wombs that is our birthright.
The spirits of the Ancient Ones have returned to teach us ways
of honoring and healing the Earth. It is no coincidence that these
Grandmothers are feeding our dreams at this time when the Earth
is in dire need of the healing ceremonies of the Blood Lodges. We
must return to the old ceremonies of honoring if we want to heal
ourselves and our planet. The answers to our survival questions
will come through the Blood Lodges.
During our bleeding times, our Grandmothers can help us
remember ancient ceremonies, wisdom and rites of passage. We
must remember to ask, and they will teach us. The Ancient
Ancestors know all the answers and they will help us remember
everything we need to know, just as they helped our Ancestors.
Our Blood Lodges today are not usually a particular physical
place but more an attitude of community that occurs whenever
women come together in any Sacred Space to honor and celebrate
our bleeding cycle. So, we make our womb-space wherever we
meet . . a spare room in someone's house, in the basement of a local
church or YWCA, or any private outdoor place where women can
be safe and uninterrupted.
The Bleeding Lodge is when women come together to celebrate
the ancient ceremonies of honoring our bleeding cycles,
communicating with the ancestors, sharing our gifts and
passing the women's wisdom on to our daughters. The Lodge reminds
us that we live within the cycles of the Earth and Moon. When we honor
our wombs, we honor the Great Mother. Remembering and recreating
these ancient ceremonies will bring right relation to all children
of Earth. Perhaps, eventually, Bleeding Lodges will once again
become respected women's places in our communities.
SONG OF MY WOMB
My womb cycles are the cycles of my life. My womb teaches me
of my body and spirit and the connections I have with all of my
relations and our Mother, the Earth. My womb is the center of
my creativity and the place where my Guardian Spirit speaks. It is
here in my womb space, the core of my being, where I learn and
My womb awakens me in the night when I am ovulating or
bleeding these are the times when she has strong messages for me.
She must speak and I must listen, in order to maintain balance and
in my life.
It used to be, I accepted all those degrading attitudes that society
teaches us about a woman's body. You know, the "dirtiness" menstrual
blood, and the need for secretness about "that time of that we dare not
speak to others about, let alone give signs of bleeding. I strongly felt
the pressure to flaunt my woman's body, yet hide my woman's
gift. All the feelings of being different and somehow not "good
enough" during this time of natural bodily functioning made me dread
the coming of my blood each month.
Even my trusted girlfriends reinforced this negative self-image.
We couldn't wait until we were old enough to bleed so that we
could experience this secret that the older girls talked about in the
gym locker room. But, as soon as we began our cycles, we lived
each month dreading this "curse." When we got a little older some
of us dreaded not getting this "curse" because that could mean we
were pregnant. The inconvenience of our cycles took over all of
our lives and all activities were cleverly planned to hide this
Sensing this special time of passage, I felt elated at finally starting
my bloodcycle. But, the lack of support and recognition I received
soon lead to feelings of shame. There were no joys in discovering
the flowering depths of my woman's body, no rites of passage;
only a few whispers and snickers from the few friends I dared tell
about this event, and a few hushed words from my mother about
how to use and secretly dispose of the sanitary pads. Now things
would be different between me and the boys, she told me. And
they were. The snide remarks in school, and later on the job about
particular women being "on the rag" if they were too
independent, moody or outspoken, became all too common. I
quickly began to regret growing up because it meant hiding who I
Now that I had become a woman, I found my cycles ridiculed, and
felt my body unclean, and my spirit pressured to perform each
day of the month as if nothing unusual were happening. When I
complained about this and demanded womb-time, I was told that
this was "all part of becoming a woman" and now it was time for
me to "act grown up."
So, cycle after cycle, I recited to my womb these foreign ideals
until I finally had myself convinced that I was no different,
performed no less and did not require special attention during
those days. I must have thought that if I kept it up, my bleeding
would go away, or at least stop being such an inconvenience. But
underneath it all, my womb, like a needy child demanding
attention, got louder and louder until I was forced to spend the
better part of my bleeding days in pain and in bed. It wasn't until
then that I finally took the opportunity to listen to my cycle.
We live in a society where our roots to the Earth Mother are
forgotten and we are not encouraged to honor and celebrate the
cycles of women. Yet, somewhere deep inside my womb, the
voices of the Grandmothers spoke and my womb has insisted that I remember
their ancient blood celebrations and the power of my special gift
of Womb Medicine.
Because we are the daughters of the Earth, women carry within
our wombs her rhythm. All of the answers to all of the questions
are within our wombs. The cycles of bleeding are indeed the keys to
me mysteries of life.
During those bleeding days spent in bed, my Grandmothers
came in dreams and shamanic journeys to teach me the old ways
of honoring women's bleeding cycles. Each Moon, they brought me
a new lesson and a new celebration. Through the teachings of my
Grandmothers, I reconnected with the cycles of the Earth and
Moon and the wisdom of my womb.
As my knowledge of Womb Medicine began to grow, I brought
healing and balance into my life. My womb taught me about the
herbs and foods that would nourish her. My Grandmother taught
me how to massage my womb and send her energy. I set aside a
special place where I could go to celebrate my bleeding. At first, I
would try to fit in time when I was bleeding to go there to meditate,
but now I eagerly look forward to canceling my plans at the first
drop of blood to spend as much healing time in my Sacred Space as
possible. I was also given symbols: a blood stone, a bleeding skirt
and a shell necklace to use to make this time special and sacred.
Each Moon brought the opportunity to give or make myself a
gift. I began to talk about my special time to others and some of my
family and friends began to acknowledge it. Everyone really
noticed a difference in me.
As I learned to heal my womb and live by her wisdom, my
self-image changed. I notice that if I look to my bleeding days
with anticipation, I use the intense pre-menstrual energy for positive
creation rather than developing "P.M.S. symptoms." I like feeling
my womb round as the Moon. I recognize that if I do feel uncomfortable,
it's my body expressing her special needs. So, I try to allow plenty
of space for me during this most personal holiday. My cramps,
pain, and excessive bleeding have become virtually nonexistent.
My Inner glow is reflected in my relationships and work every
day of the month.
The wisdom of my Grandmothers taught me to honor the Earth
Mother, my Ancestors, and all of my sisters and brothers. The
Earth gives so much to us . . . She gives us our very life. The
Grandmothers have taught me to show my appreciation of Earth
by giving back of my life . . . my blood. As our womb-blood
brings healing and wisdom to us, so it brings healing to our sick
Mother Earth and awakens our understanding of the Wheel of
Life. As the Earth heals, her abundance increases and our
environment becomes one that supports life. Peace will prevail
and respect for the wisdom and power of women's bleeding cycles
will return. The medicine of our womb-blood can heal the entire
The Grandmothers have directed me to share these teachings and
ceremonies so that other women will awaken to their own
womb-songs and men will awaken to honor women and Mother
Earth as creators of life.
Although some of these ceremonies are similar to specific
traditions, the wisdom given by my Grandmothers comes from no
particular traditional source. The shamanic journeys, dreams and
ceremonies that I share here are all part of remembering the
wisdom that holds together the Hoop of Life. Perhaps they are
only fragments of that wisdom given back to us now to return a
spiritual focus in honoring the Earth and healing ourselves. I am
honored to share these teachings.
SONG OF THE GRANDMOTHERS
Through our wombs, we are connected to our mothers, their
mothers, their mothers before them and all of our Grandmothers
all the way back to the first woman, the Ancient Ancestors and the
original spirits of life, the Elementalsóall the way back to the
Earth Mother herself. Through our wombs, we daughters know
the story of the evolution of life.
During our bleeding cycles, we are especially open to perceiving
this connection. When we begin to bleed each month, we step
outside the normal boundaries of physical reality. Transcending
the limitations of time and space, we are able to experience the
wisdom of the Ancient Ancestors and learn from their teachings.
Women are able to feel, through our womb-roots, the Web of
Life that connects all the children of Mother Earth.
It is through these roots that the voices of our Grandmothers
speak, providing guidance and healing, and allowing us access to
the Ancient Sacred Wisdom of the mysteries of life. The
Grandmothers have all of the answers to all of our questions, and
they have the knowledge to help us survive all the difficult trials
of the Trickster.
The Grandmothers are keepers of the sacred baskets. These
baskets contain the original wisdom of the mysteries of life, the
spirit medicine of the Sacred Web, the knowledge of plant use and
of sacred healing energy. The four sacred foods are in the baskets and
all of the knowledge of the Medicine Wheel is kept within the care of these
Ancient Teachers. During the Bleeding Lodge ceremonies, the
Grandmothers give us gifts from the sacred baskets in the form of
teachings. The women then take this wisdom out to the community. As
women, our birthright is to learn the Grandmothers' teachings
through the Bleeding Lodge, so that we can bring this sacred wisdom back
to our relationships with all of our sisters and brothers.
In our blood dreams, we can speak directly with our
Grandmothers.We know that they are still with us. The bleeding women
are the connection that keeps alive the Ancient Wisdom to pass along to our
daughters. Because women bleed and create new life, we are the
keepers of wisdom of the Ancient Ancestors. All we have to do to receive
their guidance is ask.
All of us carry within our cells the memories of the lives of our
grandparents. In this way, all of our Ancestors are a part of our lives
every day. Through this memory link, they give us gifts and talents to
use as we walk our paths. Through this link, they speak to us,
reminding us where we came from. Certainly, each particular set of
grandparents contributes to how we individually look: our skin, hair
and eye colors, features, build, and many other characteristics. Every
time we look in the mirror, we are reminded of the gifts given to us by
our Ancestors. Do we remember to honor them when we see their smiling
faces in the glass in front of us? Honoring our bleeding wombs is one of
the ways that we can honor our Grandmothers. We welcome the bloodflow
that opens the doorway between the worlds, so that we can speak with them
and listen to their teachings. We burn candles at our Grandmothers'
altars and sing the honoring songs to remember their lives. We invite the
Grandmothers into the Blood Lodge to celebrate the bleeding ceremony by
bringing their pictures and memory boards to our circles. By honoring our
bleeding wombs and thanking the Grandmothers for enabling us to live
through the life they have given to our parents and grandparents,
we honor the Spiral of Life. The Grandmothers speak to us in our Lodge
and in our spirit journeys. They drift into our blood dreams at night
to sing to us. We can hear their voices and their guidance upon the
winds, in the running streams and in the songs of the birds.
The Grandmothers bring us presents and help create changes in our
lives whenever we ask them to. They give whatever is needed to
granddaughters who remember them and ask for their gifts. All we need
to do is listen to hear their advice. It may come in the most unexpected
way at the most unexpected time. And be patient. The Grandmothers
always hear us and act at the right time, although that may not always
be exactly when we want them to! Women can take personal, family
or community relationships and situations that are in need of healing
into the Bleeding Lodge and ask the Grandmothers for wisdom
and guidance to bring about fair, healing resolutions. We sing to
ask the Grandmothers to help us, we meditate on all the viewpoints
surrounding our concern, and we listen through the drum to feel
their wisdom in our hearts. Then, passing around the spirit feather,
each woman speaks her piece of the message that is our answer.
In that way, the wisdom of all the Grandmothers is heard. Putting
all the pieces together gives us a clear perspective on what is needed
to solve our problem. Depending on the message each woman has
received from her own Grandmother, we will all know the course
of action to take to make the necessary changes for the resolution
of our problem. The voice of each Grandmother is equally important
in the healing ceremonies of the Blood Lodge. At this time, the
Grandmothers are waiting for their granddaughters to remember
them and invite them once again into the Blood Lodges. The
Ancestors have never left us. They call to us every day. Our
Grandmothers are waiting for us to remember where we came from.
When the Grandmothers speak through the bleeding women, they
bring the gifts of the sacred baskets to the people. Their messages
should never be doubted for they always speak with the best
interest of their children and grandchildren. When the people
again honor the bleeding women and the voices of the Ancestors,
a new harmony will be known for all will once again be in right