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(revised excerpt from Sage Woman magazine/winter '94)
by Penny Valladares

Sitting here today during my bleeding cycle, I try to imagine what it was like for the mooning women of the Maya, thousands of years ago. After studying the Mayan culture for eight years, I feel I've come to know them. The women of Meso-America have not been researched and discussed in the academic world very extensively, save for a few writers like: JoAnn Roman Brisco and Barbara Tedlock. Their works explain the Mayan women as Goddesses and Shaman, instead of just the wives and mothers of the noble men.

In other literary realms, the work of Hyemeyohsts Storm, in a book called Lightningbolt, describes the women and men of the Maya living as equals, following the "Great Circles of Law." He tells of the women as spiritual warriors, defending their villages along with the men. A great priestess/general named Temple Doors who lived 2600 years ago in an area south of Mexico City, led 24,000 people on a northern migration from the Yucatan to the southwest area of the United States, in particular, to Chaco Canyon in northern New Mexico. Storm was told this story by Estcheemah, a descendant of the ZERO CHIEFS of long ago. His story also credits Temple Doors with bringing the "Great Circle of Law" and the "Medicine Wheel" to the people of North America. According to Storm, this information has been kept hidden for hundreds of years and is surfacing at this time.

The Mayan Sacred Calendar follows a path of thirteen moon cycles. Thirteen moons, instead of twelve months. Twenty-eight days in a moon cycle represents a woman's bleeding cycle. The more my husband and I studied this system, the more their calendar seemed to represent a woman's body. We began to keep a count of days on a device called the Tzolkin. A grid of 260 days repeated over and over. My husband figured out how to use this Tzolkin as a woman's bleeding chart, a MOON MAP. I charted by own bleeding cycles on it and watched as wonderful patterns emerged. The feminine principle oozed forth, the calendar came to life. When we acknowledge thirteen moon cycles, we honor the female cycles.

I think the ancient women of the Maya enjoyed their moontime bleeding because they followed the true cycle of the thirteen moons. They felt the rhythm of the moon tides pulsing through their bodies and celebrated this joyous time together. They nurtured and cared for each other, making their moontime a special visionary time. When they emerged from their moon lodges, they shared their visions with the tribe.

Our studies continue about these fascinating people and everyday we find more connections to the women of the Maya. If you dig deep and read between the lines, the roles of the females in the Meso-American traditions were ones of power and accomplishment. The female bloodlines were actually the acknowledged lineage of a king or nobleman. The importance of recognizing the female parameters of this society is a step in the worldwide acceptance of women as equals in our world today. The Mayan Calendar has many secrets to discover and Lady Tzolkin is just one of them. Play with her and experience the MOON CYCLES OF THE MAYA for yourself. Happy Mooning...

Visit Penny at her website and don't forget to ask her for a special MoonMap

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Luna Yoga
Vital Fertility and Sexuality

by Adelheid Ohlig
Wise woman secrets from many cultures help you take control of your fertility, increase your sexual pleasure, and relieve reproductive problems. Translated by Meret Leibenstein. 192 pages, illustrations.

Adelheid Ohlig, who cured herself of cervical cancer with her LUNA YOGA system, wants to inspire women to reclaim control over their fertility and to empower and support women in reclaiming the beauty of menstruation and menopause. Never has a little book packed more power.

Read an excerpt: Fertility Dances
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