Female Mystique: The Three Phases Of Eve
Maiden, Mother, Crone which one are you? You are
all three every month!
Whether you are a hormonal teen, menstruating woman or
menopausal crone you will pass through each and every phase once a
By Leslie Botha-Williams
That hormone cycle that you have been taught to ignore/dismiss/cover
up/hide actually is your foundation of being; the definition of who you
are, your connection to yourself, to other women, to your partners, children,
to your life!
Women's hormone cycles are not just a cyclical pain; they are our integral
link to all the other cycles in life. They are so much more than hormones
"raging" through our body. Your hormone cycle earns you the right
to be a healer, a spiritualist, and wise woman, respected by all. Living
with that cycle instead of against it or by denying it gives you the freedom
to "be"; to laugh, to cry, to change your mind, your career, your
relationship or lifestyle and to know the reason why! Understanding the
influence this cycle has will open your eyes to a life that makes sense;
that is filled with hope and will do more for you than all the self-help
books that you could ever possibly read in your lifetime.
There was a time in our long-forgotten past when the first correlation
between human life and the universal life was the recognition that women's
menstrual cycle followed the same pattern as lunar cycles. Simply put, before
the advent of electricity, the moon played as much a role as the sun in
defining cultural activities at night. When the moon was waxing, nightly
activities increased. When the moon became full, those activities intensified
until the waning moon ceased to light the nighttime sky and activities became
Somewhere in your mind is still a seed of remembering. Remembering the
power that was associated with women's roles and lunar cycles. The new moon
- the time for our monthly bleeding. When the moon was full, so were we;
filled with the power to nurture and love all around us. And then with the
waning moon, our energy ebbed, as the light of the moon became less in the
It was the recognition of the relationship of women's cycles to lunar
cycles that gave women status, respect, self-esteem; all those values that
we now have scotch-taped to our bathroom mirrors, and repeat 10 times a
day; because we have forgotten from whence our inner strength comes. In
the bottom of our hearts we all know that shopping, chocolates, alcohol,
drugs, soap operas, clothes, exercise, relationships and sex are only quick
fixes for our ailing spirits.
According to Barbara Ehrenreich and Deidre English, "Women have
always been healers." We were the unlicensed doctors and anatomists
of western history, abortionists, (not like abortionists of today), pharmacists,
cultivators of herbs, and midwives. For centuries women were doctors without
degrees, barred from reading books and attending lectures, instead learning
from each other, and passing on experience from mother to daughter, neighbor
to neighbor. We were known as "wise women" in our communities;
witches or charlatans by authorities. The practice of medicine is a part
of our heritage as women; it is our history, our birthright. During the
transition of medicinal practice to male professionals arose one of the
darkest times of women's history: the "witch burnings," where
many writers estimate that millions of women, men and children were killed.
Women made up 85% of those executed.
Today, however, the health care field is the property of male professionals.
Women are still the majority of health care workers; approximately 70 percent;
but we have been incorporated as employees into an industry where
the top administrators and directors are men. (1)
How do we change the paradigm? By listening to our bodies; remembering
the knowledge that was passed down from our grandmothers; honoring our bodies
and saying "no" to a practice that looks at us as "deviants";
the "second sex"; abnormal because we do not fit into the
male medical model.
The Three Phases Of Eve
To help women understand their monthly passage as Maiden, Mother
& Crone I will explain these phases that we pass through every month.
As the moon begins its journey into the sky, there is also a pull for
a renewal of life and activity. It may be a pull that consciously we are
unaware of, but nonetheless, it is there. Just as the moon influences the
tides and causes the ebb and flow of all bodies of water, so it also pulls
at the ebb and flow of the energy in our bodies. The new moon pulls at the
water rushing to the shores of the earth in the formation of a wave that
begins its outward curl, reaching out to life.
Mythologically, characteristics given to the new moon are: new beginnings,
renewal, independence, socialization, sexuality, and emergence. These characteristics
are not unlike what a woman feels 3-4 days after she begins menstruation.
Her hormones begin to surge and whereas she might have felt unsure of herself
the week prior to the start of her period, the resurgence of the estrogen
and progesterone gives a sense of renewal and increasing energy.
My research has shown that in fact, because of this renewal in energy,
women are also more independently active in this phase of her cycle; we
are prone to start new projects, and become more socially involved. In terms
of work, whether in or outside the home, projects, deadlines, appointments,
all seem easier to cope with, especially in comparison to the feeling of
hopelessness that was experienced the week before. Once again life becomes
manageable and exciting if one becomes aware of new possibilities and opportunities
that also arise with new beginnings.
As the moon increases in its fullness, so it also sheds light and energy
that gives rise to night life. It is at this time that wave comes crashing
to the shores, resounding with an energy and life of its own. Mythologically,
the full moon is the "mother," nurturer, and bearer of the fruits
In synch with the pull of the moon, women hormonally blossom, with creative
energy. We are prone to nurture life that surrounds us, whether it is our
children, partners, animals, gardens, homes or work. Subtle changes take
place from the pre-ovulatory phase of the hormone cycle where we are socially
active, to the ovulatory phase where we embrace life for its fullness. It
is a time when we are free to create, weave and have the power to bring
those new beginnings to fruition.
So instead of being out at meetings or socializing night after night,
we may be more content to remain at home and nurture that which is important
to us. Sexuality, though historically associated with the full moon, is
not necessarily a trait at this phase. The desire to become pregnant, yes,
is powerful at this time; however, "sexuality" is more often associated
with the preovulatory and postovulatory phases an innate sense of
birth control, if you will.
As the moon begins to retreat into the sky, so does the wave that has
crashed into the shore begins to retreat and curl inward. It is the same
for cultures that were active in the full moon. Without the moon shining
around them, activities also slowed down and people retreated to the warmth
and safety of their fires.
Attributes given to this phase of the moon are: reflective, inward,
mysterious, secretive, and yet so very powerful. The same characteristics
also hold true to this phase of a woman's hormone cycle. Instead of being
outgoing, or nurturing, we retreat, become quiet, reflective and yes, mysterious.
Yet it is this phase of the hormone cycle that has been most threatening
and frightening to ourselves as well as those around us. Because we do not
understand this change, we doubt ourselves, undermine our efforts of the
past three weeks and become self-destructive.
We have been taught that this phase is a "syndrome," an imbalance.
"Take two Valiums and go home, Honey," type of behavior. In fact,
women are known to be more psychic and magical at this phase of their cycle
than at any other time. Yet, how many of us self-destruct, attempt suicide,
binge, drink and take drugs, leave our partners, homes and jobs and then
a week later when those hormones once again rise we look back
and say What did I ever do that for?
Instead of fighting our bodies as they slow down, we need to trust that
instinct and structure our lives accordingly. I can already hear you say,
"But how can I do this?" as your list goes on with things to do.
A friend of mine once said, "There is time for everything in the universe."
And if you begin living with your cycle, all those things will get done
when you are active and able to achieve them easily. And then it is time
to rest and reflect on not only what was accomplished in the last cycle,
but also what needs to be done in the next cycle. And the surprising thing
is that no matter how much we may struggle to do things when we are premenstrual,
it all becomes so much easier after our bleeding ceases or for menopausal
women with the new moon as our hormones and energy levels resurge.
How can we be effective politicians, company presidents, or even good
parents? Let me ask you this: Are you effective now? Don't we all know that
a woman does not have a chance to be elected president because she will
become premenstrual and in a fit of "rage" hit the "red"
button and blow up the world? (Remember what happened to Pat Schroeder when
she shed tears at her press conference announcing that she would not run
for president?) Don't women in the corporate world hit a glass ceiling?
The perception is that women are too emotional, unstable, etc. Traditionally,
mothers and childcare providers are considered to be at the low end of the
work structure. And when one of us kills our children, husbands or partners
in a disturbed act of violence, we are all looked upon as potential threats
to each other and ourselves.
I believe that learning to live with the hormonal and lunar cycle is
the only way that women will become whole, healthy and effective. Women's
hormone cycles are the foundation of our power, collectively and individually.
Each cycle that you pass through is a progression of understanding and becoming.
Fulfill your dreams become the woman that you have always wanted
to be. Remember that our hormones are holy and to forget is to deny
the sacred. For more information about the Female Mystique; The Three Phases
of Eve, go to Botha-Williams' Web site, www.holyhormones.com
1. Ehrenreich, Barbara, English, Deidre, Witches, Midwives, and Nurses
A History of Women Healers, The Feminist Press, 1973.