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Virtual Red Tents, Ovaries and Uteri

Women around the globe gather for topical presentations and rich dialogue in our Virtual Red Tents, one of the fabulous options included in our Mentoring Girls Training.

A recent juicy conversation focused on how to help girls understand, honor and connect to their uterus and ovaries. (If trans girls are in the group, they can still learn about these organs and connect to their Womb Centers.)

 Sharing with girls how the menstrual cycle aligns with nature’s cycles is an inestimable gift. 


Here are some fun facts shared by JOYW Grad and Certified Fertility Awareness & Reproductive Health Educator Caitlin McMurtry of cycle-wise.com:

  • The uterus is the strongest muscle in the human body by weight.
  • The moon cycle of waxing and waning is 29.5 days on average. The average young menstruator’s cycle is 29.5 days.
  • The average age of menopause is 52 years old. There are 52 weeks in a year.
  • The average menstrual cycle is 4 weeks long. There are 4 seasons in a year.
  • There are 13 lunar cycles in a year. 13 (well, just under) is the average age of menarche.
  • Menstruation is the only type of human bleeding that does not signify injury or sickness, but rather a normal healthy body full of vitality, fertility and life.


For ideas on helping young people understand and honor menstruation, check out these blogposts:

… as well as Toni Weschler’s Cycle Savvy, a fantastic menstrual literacy book for teens.

To join as many of our Virtual Red Tents as you wish - and to enjoy the Red Tent Video Library with dozens of titles - join the Mentoring Girls Certificate Training.  For lower tuition, check out the non-certificate version of the training.  Fine out more about our Virtual Red Tents including upcoming Red topics here.


P.S.  Registered students are also invited to the JOYW Special Topic groups.  In our Cycle and Body Literacy group, we've been talking about pills bleeds, welcoming trans girls into a Girls' Circle, and whether there is a purpose for ovulation other than simply fertility.  Lara Briden talks about two of those topics in her book Period Repair, and I recommend it.

What's on your mind about helping young menstruants connect with their bodies and their cycles?

P.S.S.  This is my first blogpost in a LONG WHILE!  For the past year and a half or so, I've been intensely busy caring for my ailing father who passed away sweetly and knowing he was loved last summer.  It was a life-changing honor and privilege to help him live well and then die well.  

And I'm so glad to be back here, writing to all of you.

~ Katharine

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Share the magic of menstruation with your child

Magic of Menstruation: Discover It

Our cycles are more than blood leaving our bodes.

Yes, it's very important for menstruating youth and adults to understand the biology of menstruation, and overall, the structure and function of our entire reproductive system.

magic of menstruation

Art by Alberto Seveso

But our moon cycle is more than biology. It's magic. It's an alive, responsive, ever-changing magic that is there for us every day.

Our moon cycle a constant reminder of the cycle nature of life and of our cyclic nature as women. Our moon cycle is a barometer of our health and overall well-being. Our moon cycle, if we're open to it, brings us deep insight.

It's the nudge to be present with our entire body-mind - our Whole Sacred Self.

Our cycle begs us to be curious and tender with ourselves

Each day, let us ask ourselves:   
... What's real for me now?
... What am I receiving?
... What am I giving?
... What am I ready to release?
... What seeds shall I plant?
... Which seedlings need tending in order to ripen?

Art by Ronnie Biccard

If this sounds good - but is new to you - try this:

Simply tune into your cycle.  Each day, pause, breathe and tune into your body for 3 to 5 minutes. Gently, with devotion, patience and love. Simply be present and curious about what you're experiencing in your body, physically and emotionally. What would your body like more or or less of?

Over time, notice what happens. How does your body respond? Does it appreciate the attention? What are its needs?

You may find that the shift in you is flat out amazing. Joy and empowerment and insight and health and, well, a book of poetry's worth of goodness.

Magic of Menstruation: Share it with Girls

Another lovely tuning-in practice is to chart your cycle, noting how your emotions, intuition, and activities change through your cycle. This is a lovely mother-child activity.

Mom and her young menstruator may each have her own chart. Or if the child has not begun to bleed yet or does not yet have a regular cycle, the child can help with their mother's chart.

If you begin charting your cycle, your daughter will inevitably become interested. You and she together can discover the magic of menstruation.

magic of menstruation

Art by Anne Dewailly

​There are plenty of apps for cycle tracking, but all you need is a piece of paper. I prefer paper because one's spirit shines through - and one can pick up shifts over time visually.

Magic of Menstruation: Chart Cycles on Paper

On a large sheet of paper, write a series of well-spaced numbers in on the left. These are the days of your cycle, Day 1 being the day you begin to bleed. Across the top, label what you'd like to track, such as Physical and Emotional (for what you're experiencing physically and emotionally).  You may also like to track food, activities, and the phase of the moon.

Then each day, record how you're doing. Post this on the fridge if you're feeling revolutionary - if you're tired of hiding menstruation and would like the people in your life to know how you're doing. 

Here is a chart with the cycle days listed across the top and emotions, physicality and activities listed down the lefthand side.

Cycle Chart courtesy of Leslie Carol Botha of Holy Hormones Honey

This teen is fascinated by menstrual-lunar synchrony, so her chart is organized by the lunar cycle and explores how her body, moods and activities respond to both lunar and menstrual cycles.

menstrual chart

Lunar Menstrual Cycle Chart from a JOYW Mother-Daughter Circle

How do you talk about menstruation with your children? 

Cycle Literacy and Body Literacy for Youth

cycle literacy

JOYW Mentor students and graduates meet in a Facebook group to support one another in developing ways to share Cycle Literacy and Body Literacy with children of all genders and their parents.

Our current project is creating a detailed chart of conversations and activities that will nourish children ages 2 to 16.

Join us!

Learn to mentor girls & lead Girls' Circles

Do you feel called to mentor girls?
Learn about JOYW's
 Mentoring Girls Certificate Training.  

You'll enjoy new content, new resources and new collaborative opportunities in addition to an extensive interactive resource platform offering post-graduate support.  Our aim is to stand with all our current and former students as they plan, launch and lead their Girls' Circles. 

JOYW Girls' Circle by JOYW artist Karen MacKenzie

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A Moon Basket!

A Moon Basket is bestowed upon a someone when they reach menarche, their first moon. It is part of celebrating and honoring this rite of passage. It is full of beauty and perhaps lovely aromas.  Its contents invite self-care, slowing down, expressiveness, ease and joy in one's cycling.

Sometimes parents and children will make the Moon Basket together. A delicious activity, and a beautiful time to share stories and wisdom.

Here is a guest post from JOYW Mentor Rebecca Woolley on creating a Moon Basket.

moon basket

Moon Basket by Rebecca Woolley

A Moon Basket for my nieces, ages 10 and 12

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Their Moon Baskets have lots of goodies:

  • beautiful journal
  • calendar
  • affirmation cards
  • agate stone pendant
  • flax & lavender womb warming pillow
  • sweet orange essential oil
  • homemade cloth maxi pads,
  • Hormoon chart
  • chocolate

I sat down with both my nieces, 12 & 11 (cousins) and gave them their baskets.

They were were wowed! The 12 year old loved it and showed her Mom the next day and asked her to show her Dad (my brother).

The 11 yr old was more giggles and blushes but was asking where I had put her basket later that evening.  She wanted to make sure she had it.

My sister and sister-in-law felt very supported by my gift to their girls and loved that their girls had received something initiating them into this stage of life.

I'm glad I put in all the work and walked through my own feelings of vulnerability in making this for them. It went as well as I could have imagined.  I know they will always remember it.

I hope they will feel the arms of support wrapping around them as they walk through any awkward or unfamiliar feelings. I think they wilI.

~ Rebecca Woolley​

What else might one include in a moon basket?

  • necklace with a red ruby
  • cycle tracking bracelet
  • moon calendar
  • red candle
  • red crystal or any healing crystal
  • moonstone
  • art supplies
  • raspberry leaf tea
  • Cramp Bark tincture
  • a mirror that is only allowed to reflect kindness and pride in oneself

Please share your ideas!

cloth menstrual pad

Homemade cloth maxi pad by Rebecca Woolley

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Join the Change Her Story Movement

The Change Her Story crowdfunding campaign is raising $100,000 in October to create more resources and outreach for mentors and girls.

Together with 1100 JOYW Mentors and 73,000 supporters, we invite you to join us in making this essential work more widely available.

We need everyone to give a little - and to help us get the word out!

Help us help girls thrive. Join the Change Her Story Movement. Give today.

(The campaign doesn't officially launch until October 1, but we'd love a few early donations!)

Mentoring Girls Certificate Training

JOYW's Mentoring Girls Certificate Training  is open for enrollment!

You'll enjoy new content, new resources and new collaborative opportunities in addition to an extensive interactive resource platform offering post-graduate support beginning in 2017. 

Deeper partial scholarships are now being funded by the Mary Krueger Scholarship Fund.

Learn more here.

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Tell Her About Her Body

Tell her about her body.

To be grounded and confident in her Whole Self, every girl needs to know her Whole Self, and that starts with her body.

Everything begins with the body.

When a girl lives in her body, understands her body, honors her body, she is able to stand up for herself, love herself, tune into her emotions, listen to her intuition, and connect with Spirit.

She's never too young to hear you naming all her body parts, including vulva, labia and anus. They are all sacred.

She's never too young for you to affirm that self-pleasure is good - and that it's private (bedroom or bathroom).

She's never too young to know that she is a sovereign being and that her body belongs to her. She gets to choose who gets close to her. That includes tickling from Uncle George and hugs from Aunt Ethel.

She's never to young to observe you practicing self-care, including honoring and taking care of your menstrual cycle, if you bleed.

Demonstrate honor and respect for your body and hers.

Over time, tell her the story of a woman's sexuality and fertility and the changes of puberty.

From these, all good things arise. 

Digital art by Kelly Tan.  Photo by Quim Fàbregas

Learn more: