First, The Power of Naming

The power of naming is critical for communicating, discussing, examining, exploring, and integrating unfamiliar concepts.

 

I realized a language for Monthmatics was needed for it to be clearly conveyed and easily applied.

 

The Monthmatics Glossary is provided to students of Monthmatics. 

Joining A Path of Remembering

In 1998-99, when I first began teaching the course to women in Amsterdam, Crete, Malta, and the U.K. I originally had named it Spiraling Moon. It was not until March 2014, that I began restructuring Monthmatics into a four-level course starting with the basic concept of Cycle Logic, progressing through Lunar Logic and Cyclical Renewal and ending with Monthmatic Power.

 

Back in the mid-90's, I lived in a Dutch canal house on the Prinsengracht near Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam. I found and read almost 200 books at a feminist bookshop on the Westermarkt Plein, called "Boekhandel Xiantippe." The owner Doris, collected all of feminist publications from the early 90's Women's Spirituality Movement. I would visit her bookshop weekly between January 1998 til the end of 1999. Xiantippe was my doorway to discovering a new spiritual path.

Boekhandel Xiantippe, Prinsengracht, Amsterdam
Living on the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam during the 90's

 

The most inspiring books I bought at Xiantippe were:

 

  • Judy Grahn's Blood, Bread & Roses: How Menstruation Created the World
  • Penelope Shuttle's The Wise Wound and Transformation Through Dreams & The Menstrual Cycle
  • Demetra George's Mysteries of the Dark Moon, Finding Our Way Through the Dark, and Asteroid Goddesses
  • Marija Gimbutas' Civilization of the Goddess and Language of the Goddess
  • Betty De Shong Meador's Uncursing the Dark
  • Barbara Walker's The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets
  • Gerda Lerner's Why History Matters
  • Louise Francia's Dragontime: Magic & Mystery of Menstruation
  • Lara Own's The Curse
  • Miranda Gray's Her Blood Is Gold

 

Into The Millennium

One week before the millennium, I bought myself a one-way plane ticket from Amsterdam to L.A. I left Europe to follow a new path in search of deeper knowledge. I applied to two Women's Spirituality graduate programs located in San Francisco: New College of California (NC) and California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), which offered me a scholarship. I made a difficult decision.  I chose to attend New College in January 2000, for the priviledge of having as my thesis advisor, a favorite writer and poet, Judy Grahn, Ph.D., author of Blood, Bread, & Roses: How Menstruation Created the World (1993)

The Results of My Masters Thesis Qualitative Study With Five Age Groups of Women

In 2001, I earned my Master's Degree in Women's Spirituality from New College of California. 

 

For my required community service practicum, I designed a 6-month qualitative study course working individually with different age groups of women. My finding results showed that my system improved the lives of all the women.

1) A young teenager changed her physical experience of menstruating from a painful period into a healthier, less symptomatic renewal experience. She was very quick to learn how to harmonize with cyclical lunar time. To her mother, it appeared as though her daughter had experienced sudden recall of a forgotten memory. The teenager finished the qualitative study as an awakened woman. 

 

2) A 20-year old woman applied the concept of Cycle Logic Power to her graduate project, which helped her pave an enormous amount of progress in six months;

 

3) A 34-year old mother of a 10-year old, was able to heal her marital relationship in six months by transforming her self-esteem, reawakening her sexuality, and expanding her perspectives; 

 

4) An independent 46-year old woman reshaped her self-identity by acknowledging and honoring, through repeated daily rituals, her connection with lunar cycles. Her dedication to the study brought on changes in her life and in her surroundings by analyzing her menstrual dream journal for six months.

 

5) A mature 60-year old participated in my qualitative study to pass the learnings on to her grand-daughter. The results of which deepened their bond.

 

These sample results suggested that the women who had participated in my study began to either experience or perceive the fertility cycle as much more than a physiological event. It had clearly became spiritual. They all transformed their experience and discovered their own unique femcentric perspective. 

In the years that followed, I taught my Spiraling Moon course privately and in small weekly group workshops to several hundreds of women in the San Francisco Bay Area. I also guest lectured at Mills College.

My first website for Spiraling Moon, 2000

The Birth of Menstrala

I began using my menstrual blood to create a menstrual journal. My first painting, Silverfish Spirits, was created on September 19, 2000. I published my Menstrala on LiveJournal, which during the time, was one of the earliest online blogs on the web. I received thousands of comments from people around the world and numerous requests for interviews after my painting posts became memes via Metafilter.

6 of 88 Menstrala by Vanessa Tiegs

My intention was to affirm menstrual blood as woman's reminder of her feminine renewal process. I presented my menstrual blood as "the medium is the message," and to this day, the medium's universal message reveals how ingrained the menstrual taboo is, and persists. Yet, my deeper psychological motivation hidden behind the Menstrala series of 88 paintings, has yet to be discovered. Thanks to audiences worldwide greeting and repeling the artworks, society's perception of menstrual blood remains unconcealable. 

 

So now, menstrual blood flows less invisibly through cyclic evolution.

 

~ Vanessa Tiegs, M.A., Creator of Menstrala, Mind & Menstrala, and Monthmatics

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© Vanessa Tiegs 2017. Permission to use photographs is required by copyright law. Inquire: vanessa (at) vanessatiegs.com