by Gail Faith Edwards
From a shamanic perspective, menopause is an initiation process into ageless and ancient midlife mysteries.
excerpt from Traversing the Wild Terrain of Menopause; Herbal Allies for Midlife Women and Men by Gail Faith Edwards,
author of Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herb
From a shamanic perspective, menopause is an initiation process into ageless and ancient midlife mysteries. Why look at menopause from a shamanic perspective? Because shamanic awareness implies deepening, as well as developing personal power, or spirit power. Not power over anyone, or anything, but an inner strength, a power from within.
Traversing the Wild Terrain of Menopause from a shamanic perspective is walking a beauty path of inner knowing and self realization. Soul work. We are talking about a natural, chemically induced, spiritual growth process, an age-appropriate initiation that connects us to every other human who ever lived to midlife on the planet throughout time. This ancient passage also links us in an unbroken line back to the ceremonies held by ancient indigenous peoples throughout the world, such as the ancient Goddess cultures, the early Mesolithic hunting-gathering societies of Eurasia, and New World cultures.
Like all true shamanic initiations, menopause is a complete metamorphosis that consists of three distinct phases. In today's world, if you are a woman presenting early menopausal symptoms, your medical doctor may refer to the first phase of this initiation as peri-menopause and offer you hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) to ease the symptoms.
If you are a man, your midlife changes likely bewilder you, and may drive you to take pharmaceutical antidepressants to mask your pain. You can certainly choose these routes if you want to. But please consider another option. Consider a life-affirming, life-honoring surrender to the natural world. Consider Traversing the Wild Terrain of Menopause from a shamanic perspective.
Allow your unique passage, your sacred story to unfold, unsuppressed, before you. Honor the soul of your menopause and welcome your changes. Allow your menopausal/andropausal symptoms to point the way toward the nourishment you need.
Heart palpitations? Nourish the heart. Uptight? Anxiety-ridden? Jumping out of your skin? Nourish the nervous system. Depressed? Nourish your spirit. Generally run down? Feel like shit? Nourish your immunity. Trust the infinite wisdom of your body/mind/spirit. Allow yourself the opportunity to choose a path that will bring you to the door of self realization, self acceptance, and self love. A path that will lead you into relationship, and therefore connection, with Mother Earth and all your relations. A path that will bring you into resonance with the medicine plants, the nourishing, tonic, and blessed herbs. I encourage you to choose a path of healing and nourishment, a path of beauty, a path of grace. This ancient path I lay before you now.