The Red Death: Menstruation as a Symbol of Renewal. Pt.2

What progress has been made since the original writing of this in 2016, and what continues to fester at the core of our cultural conditioning?

Gnostic Woman

Apache Sunrise Ceremony- A Woman Coming of Age- Apache Sunrise Ceremony- A Rites of Passage from girlhood to womanhood. Photographer unknown.

Traditional and indigenous cultures have a different relationship to menstruation: anthropologists Thomas Buckley and Alma Gottlieb say, “this apparently ordinary biological event [menstruation] has been subject to extraordinary symbolic elaboration in a wide variety of cultures” (Buckley and Gottlieb, 1988, p. 3). The meaning of menstruation while apparently more symbolic in traditional cultures is no less ambiguous; cross-culturally studies shows that while menstruation is universally ‘taboo’, rules, social mores, and customs “bespeak quite different, even opposite, purposes and meanings…. ambiguous and often multivalent” (ibid).

In our own culture ‘selective’ myths on menstruation may be found within the Judaeo- Christian tradition where, generally speaking, menstruation is viewed as “impure”, “unclean” or “contaminating” – Leviticus 15:19-23, is a typical example: “When a woman has discharge, if the discharge in her body is blood, she shall continue in her menstrual…

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