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Dearest Monthlies, 

In this very special issue we focus on menopause. October is World Menopause Month and we would like to dedicate the content to learning more about this often stigmatized phase of a women’s life. In this issue we have an awesome giveaway from I Heart Guts, write about the Maiden/Mother/Crone archetype, discuss how to honor our Crone elders in our moon ritual, trash the taboo of being “dried up”, share a painting from Portland artist Tamara Adams, flip the script in Ask Amy and introduce you to filmmaker, actor and period-positive activist Casey Hartnett. We hope this issue leaves you with a new perspective and appreciation for the experiences of our foremothers. Enjoy. 

Happy Monthly,
The Red Rebels

This giveaway, in partnership with the Blood Cycle Conference, is for a chance to win a set of 3 awesome badges from I Heart Guts!

This month we're celebrating the unsung Crone! To enter, reply to this email with "All hail the Crone." For bonus entries, share the same message and tag @bloodcyclecon and @cycledorkdotcom on Twitter or Instagram or post to our Facebook walls: 

Giveaway will remain open and entries accepted until Friday, November 4. One winner will be chosen at random and announced in our Cycledork Circular on the next full moon, November 14.
Maiden, Mother, Crone

Maiden/Mother/Crone, otherwise referred to as the Triple Goddess, is an ancient archetype used to illustrate the different phases of a women’s life. Thought to be the original Holy Trinity, the Maiden/Mother/Crone has been used by many ancient cultures and religions as a symbol of feminine energy. Versions of the Triple Goddess have been found in Hinduism, Paganism, Norse and Greek mythology, and many Asian and African cultures. Symbolized by the waxing crescent, full and waning crescent moons, the Triple Goddess is the embodiment of the many cycles a woman experiences throughout her life. 

Although there are varying versions of the Triple Goddess the symbolism remains consistent throughout culture: the maiden represents enthusiasm, youth and new beginnings; the mother represents fertility, abundance and maturation; and the Crone represents experience, wisdom and the liberation of self. Unfortunately, modern American society fixates on the Maiden/Mother phases of a woman’s life and disregards, even despises the Crone. Often portrayed in popular culture as a bitter old woman, past her prime and pining for her lost youth, the Crone has become an overtly negative trope. Think back on the stories you loved as a child. Chances are the Crone archetype was an evil witch or queen, she was haggard, often had a cackle and perhaps fed on children. 

The Crone, in symbolic terms, represents the end of a woman’s fertile life. Menopause. It is a time when a woman can freely explore her sexuality without a concern for pregnancy, it is a time when she can focus on herself instead of nurturing and caring for others, and it is a time where she can liberate herself from societal conformity. The phase of the Crone can be very powerful. This makes it threatening to traditional patriarchal cultures where male power is dominant. 

The oppression of the Crone phase can be detrimental to female relationships. In a culture that not only devalues but ignores the wisdom of our foremother’s we are at risk of denying ourselves. Seeing beauty and importance in the experience of our elder’s helps us live a more enriched, fulfilled life. We, too will one day enter our Crone phase. How would we prefer to be treated by society? I know I would rather be listened to than ignored. I know I would rather be valued for my experience than disregarded as insignificant. 

In a society that is afraid to get old we are told over and over again by popular culture that old is ugly, old is useless, old is burdensome. We must change the dialogue surrounding aging so we can better understand that our best years are not behind us, but ahead of us. We, as women, should refuse to be defined by our youth and fertility, and should not fear the wisdom our years have taught us. Let’s take back the Crone phase of a woman’s life and extol it as the powerful, meaningful and important phase that it is. All hail the Crone. 

Moon Ritual 

For this month’s moon ritual I would like you to focus on the Crone women in your life: your grandmother, mother, aunt, friend, maybe even yourself. Autumn is the perfect time of year to honor the Crone because she symbolizes the approach of winter. The final phase of a woman’s life brings her closer to death. As unpleasant as this may seem to think about, this phase fills the Crone with new perspectives on life. She becomes more fulfilled, more honest and more willing to live her authentic life. 

Light a red candle for each Crone woman you love. Red symbolizes sex, love, power and vitality. Use the candles to draw their sage energy to you. Spend time meditating on them: their female experience, their wisdom, advice they have given you, their value and what they symbolize in the life phases. Use this time to get in touch with your inner Crone. Learn from her. If you care to take it a step further I have included an invocation to help draw out your inner Crone:

Invocation of the Crone:

Behold the Crone...

Dancer of Time

Completion of the Sacred Cycle


She Who is Wisdom 

Beloved, respected and feared

Honored as Grandmother, Ancestress and Hag


In the end, there is beginning, 

Death brings Birth, Life renews through Her


Behold the Crone, Dancer of Time

Mother of worlds, Maiden of re-birth, 

Child of the next generation


Dancing through Time

She Who cuts the cords…Of life and death, 

Grandmother of all


The Crone comes……..

Silently, powerfully, relentlessly

Crossing space and time, 

Holding the threads of life and death, 

Mistress of endings and beginnings


Speaking through elders

I am the Crone….

The Grandmothers….The Wisdom of Age…. 


I am Hecate, I am Kali, I am the Eternal One


I cross space and time, 

Holding the threads of life and death,

Mistress of endings and beginnings

I am completion of the Cycle

Maiden….. Mother….. Crone.....

I have come as the Goddess, 

And in me... all life renews

All things are possible


The Crone comes dancing

Silently, powerfully, relentlessly, 

To all

Taboo Trashing

We’ve all heard the joke about postmenopausal women: she’s all dried up. This joke connotes the myth that an older woman is no longer sexually vibrant. I hate this joke. Not only is it inaccurate but it is incredibly insulting. While, yes, hormonal changes that occur throughout menopause can affect a woman’s sex drive, her body’s ability to lubricate itself or her ability to climax, it by no means has to become “the norm”.* Society, popular culture and even medical professionals are guilty of telling older women that a drop in sex drive is normal and that older women are not sexual beings. This is complete hogwash. 

Unfortunately, we see this myth perpetuated everywhere. We are a culture obsessed with youth and define beauty and sexuality though the male gaze. The American standard of beauty is typically defined as young and slender with large breasts and long hair. We see this trope everywhere: advertisements, TV shows, movies, music videos, comic books, children’s toys, etc. We let youth (which is also correlated with fertility) define our sexuality. This can be incredibly damaging. 

Telling an older woman that she is not a sexual being can inadvertently convince her that that’s true. But based on some pretty open conversations I have had with older women about their postmenopausal sex lives, they would argue to the contrary. Sex after menopause can be a completely freeing experience for some women. There is no fear of pregnancy, they are often empty-nesters, she may feel more confident in her body, be more direct about what her sexual desires are, and can be completely spontaneous. All of this sexual freedom can, in fact, lead to an increase in sexual desire. 

We are born sexual beings and we will die sexual beings. Sex is a natural and healthy part of the human experience. We need to stop reserving sexual activity for the young and stop telling older women they are not sexual beings. So, ladies, go out and enjoy your many uninhibited years of fulfilling, enjoyable (and safe) sex. 

*If you are experiencing a loss of sexual desire or painful intercourse I would highly recommend discussing it with a health care professional. 

Bloody Good Art

"Mother Maiden Crone Triple Moon Goddess"

Oil on canvass by Tamara Adams

“Portland native, Tamara Adams has been painting for over 20 years. She is a full time professional artist, exhibiting her work in galleries and juried art events throughout the Pacific Northwest. Her colorful acrylic paintings of women and children and contemporary interpretations of traditional iconography pay tribute to the beauty, mystery and strength of the female spirit.

With a wide range of artistic influences, she draws much of her inspiration from mythology, culture, spirituality and religion. The concepts and values reflected in her work are meant to inspire people of all faiths to a deeper spiritual connection.

Encountering the divine can be as simple as a moment of quiet contemplation and these moments are the theme of Adams’ work. While exploring her own beliefs and divine potential through art, writing and healing practices, she’s created thousands of sacred images and a powerful vision of women who are truly blessed.”


In honor of World Menopause Month I decided to change roles for this month’s Ask Amy. Rather than answering a question from a reader, I have asked three important women in my life (Alice, 68, Julie, 75 and Beth, 62) to discuss their experiences with menopause. 

How old where you when you began to experience menopausal symptoms?

I was 55 years old. - Alice

I had my first hot flash when I was 48. - Julie

I was 51. - Beth

What are some symptoms you experienced? 

Headaches, hot flashes and fatigue mostly. - Alice

Major night sweats, some weight gain and almost constant bloating. - Julie

Dizziness, mood swings and a lot of sleep problems, among others. - Beth

How did you manage your symptoms?

I would put ice packs in my bra when I would have hot flashes (she says as she’s laughing). I  gave myself permission to nap if I needed. I used a lot of Tylenol for headaches. - Alice

I slept naked and had a fan on me at all times. I tried to eat a better diet. I drank a lot of ginger water for bloating. - Julie

My dizziness got so bad I had to visit a specialist. After a few months of physical therapy I was able to manage my spells. I also converted a guest room in our house to my craft room so I had somewhere to go and be creative when I couldn’t sleep or if I was feeling particularly moody. - Beth

Overall, how did the menopausal transition affect your life? 

I guess I never really thought about it. It is just something that happened. You deal with it and that’s about it. - Alice

I had a hard time feeling feminine. I guess I never really appreciated my period until I didn’t have it anymore. I felt disconnected from womanhood. My husband was a great support system. He never let me feel undesired. That helped. - Julie 

I fell into a pretty sever depression for a while. Like I was suddenly useless. I didn’t feel like I belonged in society. I started noticing how in conversations with my kids or nieces and nephew’s my opinions were ignored. Like what I had to say didn’t matter anymore. I was old. Nobody cared to listen to me. - Beth

How helpful was your healthcare provider during your menopausal transition? What, if anything do you wish they did differently? 

Not at all. He gave me a pamphlet on menopause and sent me on my way. I would have liked a little more guidance. - Alice

My naturopath was excellent. She really helped me understand what was going on in my body and how to manage my symptoms naturally. - Julie

She was OK. She is young though so she couldn’t really relate to what I was going through. She did her best. I’m not sure how much training they get on menopause, I wish she knew more. - Beth

What do you want me and other women to know about menopause?

Learn as much as you can about it, don’t rely on your doctor to educate you. - Alice

Many of your symptoms can be managed naturally. You can still have lots of sex! (she says with a huge smile on her face) - Julie

Be kind to the women in your life who are older than you. It’s not easy when you start to feel yourself being excluded from society. Menopause is not the end of your life, it’s the beginning of a new one. - Beth


Have a Monthly related question? Submit your inquiry via email to be featured in a future edition of The Monthly:

Further Reading

When you’re pregnant you’re making a lot of plans—plans for where you’ll give birth, plans for where baby will sleep, plans for pumping if you’re breastfeeding and returning to work. In the midst of it all, it’s also important to plan what birth control method(s) you’ll use postpartum...

To start, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence for a link between depression (in extreme cases) or changes in mood (in more mild cases), and hormonal contraception. Mood changes is one of the most commonly cited reasons by women who discontinue hormonal contraceptive use within the first year. Mood swings are also listed as one of the primary side effects of most oral contraceptives...

Seven reasons to keep your period

Cosmopolitan recently published an article called 7 Reasons to Stop Your Period. To be honest, my initial reaction was one of anger and frustration. We hear so often through social media, popular culture or even conversations with other women how periods suck. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, it has become the dominant opinion...

Meet the Red Rebels

Casey Hartnett, Film Maker, Actor and Period-Positive Activist 

Hi there, I'm Casey Hartnett, the creator of the new comedy series Unplugged. Unplugged is a series of comedy shorts highlighting taboo issues that women face daily, such as periods! 

The series is a spin-off of my previous web series, 
Period Drama, which explored women on their periods in different time periods. The play-on-words title came to me one night while I was lying in bed unable to sleep. A group of female actors and filmmakers teamed up to shoot these mildly historically accurate comedy sketches and the rest is comedic period history! 

My intention in creating a comedy series about periods was simply to present something light and entertaining that everyone could laugh at. But I quickly realized how uncomfortable it made men to whom I would explain the series. In my mind, the whole concept was hilarious. However, for many men, it was considered gross, cringe-worthy and embarrassing to even be talking about. While watching my relative's face turn bright red and desperately run out of the room to be with his steaks on the grill was a funny moment in itself. These reactions only pushed me to continue creating and writing stories about women and periods. Until the factual reality of being a woman is fully understood and accepted, how will we ever be comfortable in our own bodies if we are taught to be ashamed of our body's natural function? I felt a sudden purpose in the desire to use my comedy to take that shame and turn it into acceptance.

Period Drama surprised me by introducing me to a whole world of period activists and women fighting to make the world a better place for girls and women, especially homeless and low income women dealing with menstruation. Period Drama held a premiere party last November and teamed up with 
#HappyPeriod to collect menstrual hygiene products to be delivered to a homeless shelter in New York. We did the same with our finale screening event this past April. Since our premiere party, I have been volunteering with Chelsea VonChaz, the founder of #HappyPeriod, to help out with several donation drives throughout the city to make and deliver period kits to a variety of homeless shelters in need of feminine hygiene products. It has been an amazing journey so far as I am constantly being introduced to more and more amazing organizations working towards menstrual equality. 

With my new series Unplugged, I wanted to continue touching on taboo topics that are not talked about enough to broaden the scope of the conversation I could open up through filmmaking. The first season of Unplugged will explore the transition from girlhood to womanhood, from a girl's first period up until those lovely menopausal hot flashes, while telling stories in between about significant moments in every girl's life. We will be "unplugging the conversation" about each of these experiences of the everyday girl through a quirky cinematic comedy experience.

We are in the midst of an 
Indiegogo campaign to raise money for the first season (where you can also watch me free-bleed in our promo video). The plan is to continue hosting menstrual hygiene donation drives at each of our screening events. We also have a featured incentive offering a workshop on reusable menstrual products with the period-positive organization UnTabooed for our backers to choose from! A percentage of the proceeds from that perk will go to UnTabooed, so backers will not only be supporting the web series and female filmmakers but also allowing an organization to continue helping homeless and low income women manage their periods. 


Twitter:  @unplugged_tv_ and @PeriodDramaFilm and @CaseMcChase 
@unplugged.series and @PeriodDramaFilm and @caseyhartnett

We encourage you to get the most out of your subscription by contributing to The Monthly’s content. Have a question you want to ask? Know an amazing period-positive artist? Want to share a story about your experiences as a menstruating person? We want to hear from you!

Feel free to send us an email, tweet us, tag us on Instagram or message us on Facebook. We look forward to sharing this space with you and building our community together. 

If you like what you’ve read, please spread the word!

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The Monthly is curated by Cycledork contributor Amy Sutherland

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