If you follow astrology or keep a lunar calendar, you’ll know tomorrow is a new moon (a super new moon actually). Many take the new moon as a time to reflect on the month and take inventory of new goals and intentions. I fell into the habit of making these lists after seeing so many do it on social media, but I never understood why I felt the need to be reflective on this day. That was until I joined Molly Hayward, founder of Cora for a meditation at MNDFL to celebrate the launch of Cora’s new editorial platform, Blood + Milk. The new site acts as a launch pad for thoughtful conversations around woman’s health and fills a gaping hole in the wellness industry where open and honest conversation was greatly needed.
Through the site and the meditation, I learned from Molly that the lunar phases, and the phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle are eerily connected: both average 28 days, both experience a death and a rebirth, and many women naturally sync up with the lunar cycle. To celebrate this new moon, I wanted to take a minute to reflect on these phases and what it can teach us about our bodies. (Plus Cora just launched an incredible and innovative new pad that you’re going to want to hear about!).
The Moment: Before we get in to the phases, how did Blood + Milk come about and what kinds of resources does it provide?
Molly: We saw a huge opportunity in that there isn’t a single resource dedicated to women’s health that is also progressive and examines the experience of life in a female body through many different lenses, some of which are political, psychological, spiritual, and emotional. So many resources are focused on changing certain experiences: how to transform your body, how to make your period go away, how not to feel sad after a breakup. We wanted both to demystify some of these experiences by talking to experts and having women share their stories, but also to be a resource that doesn’t tell women how they can be different but promotes acceptance and even shifts the lens through which you understand these experiences. Being a woman is such an incredible, connective experience, and we want to celebrate that.
The Moment: I couldn’t love that any more! That’s terrific. I had such an incredible experience in the Blood + Milk workshop at MNDFL. It totally transformed my perspective on how I view myself and other women around me. We are all in this ebb and flow, and subjected to all of these natural life rhythms. Where did you first learn about these energetic phases?
Molly: I was fortunate to meet a woman named Therese Jornlin in the earliest days of Cora who holds the knowledge of cycle wisdom and has dedicated her life to teaching it and helping women live in greater awareness of it. I joined a circle of women facilitated by Therese, who wanted to find deeper connections to themselves and to life by understanding this most natural manifestation of the life cycle that women get to experience each month.
The Moment: How have these phases helped shape your own life?
Molly: Understanding the phases allows me to listen to the data given to me by my own body. In tracking my cycle and understanding not only the phases in a broader sense but also how each one affects me personally, I’m more in tune with my body and when I might anticipate certain emotional or physical states. For example, when I’m ovulating, I tend to be very reflective and creative. So I might plan a meeting with my creative team during this phase rather than just after it, when I might feel more sensitive and introverted.
The Moment: What are these four energetic phases, can you break them down for us?
Molly: I think it’s easiest to think of each phase in terms of its corresponding archetypal woman. The ovulatory phase is characterized by the “mother,” who is nurturing, manifesting, and radiating. The “wild woman” (pre-menstrual) is sensitive, introverted, and even angry, and is associated with speaking truth and finding your voice. The “maiden” (pre-ovulatory) is creative, energetic, and sensual. The “wise woman” (menstrual) is intuitive, reflective, withdrawn, and visionary.
The Moment: When we are in any one of these phases, how should we adjust and treat our body and minds accordingly?
Molly: The reason behind understanding the phases is to try and embrace the mental, emotional, and physical shifts that occur during each of them. For example, in the menstrual phase, you’re likely to feel more introverted, energy-depleted, tired, maybe even sore. Instead of berating yourself because you don’t feel up to a HIIT workout or dinner with friends, curl up on the couch and listen when your body is asking you to rest and to be quiet. We should celebrate the fact that our bodies can provide us with this information. It’s when we disregard this inherent wisdom that we end up resenting our cycles and bodies.
Every phase of the feminine cycle corresponds to a phase of the moon’s cycle. Each phase carries it’s own dominant energies that reflect what is happening in our bodies at that time.
The Moment: How does a woman’s menstrual cycle and the moon phases relate? Anything to think about in terms of self-care on this new moon as it enters its own Wise Woman phase?
Molly: Every phase of the feminine cycle corresponds to a phase of the moon’s cycle. Each phase carries it’s own dominant energies that reflect what is happening in our bodies at that time. For example, day one of your feminine cycle is the first day of your period, and it corresponds with the New Moon and the archetype of the Wise Woman. It carries the energy of rest, intuition, reflection, and spiritual connectivity. Given the upcoming New Moon, even if your own cycle is not “synced” with the moon’s, you can connect with the moon’s energy by laying outside under it, or by generally slowing down, lighting candles, and initiating indulgent self care like a hot bath, a message, or just a quiet meditation. In short, it’s a good time to “take the phone off the hook” and connect with your deepest self, setting new intentions based on its messages and wisdom.
The Moment: Cora also just came out with these new life-changing pads. Can you tell us about all the cool technology that went into them?
Molly: Seeing that women truly wanted better period products, we began looking around at existing pads on the market. Even new brands were offering bulky, diaper-like pads. After a ton of customer research with hundreds of women to understand what “the pad of the future” should look like and how it should perform, our team spent a full year working with top designers and material engineers to bring our truly innovative pad to market. In that time, we created a pad with the modern shape our customers wanted and a Patent Pending design with channels to maximize the pad’s absorbency. We used the most cutting edge new materials, making the pad 50 percent thinner than other ultra thin pads, and eliminating more than 20 toxic chemicals found in typical pads, like chlorine, rayon, polyester, and fragrances.
The Moment: Any other ways you’ve found to help you really tune into your body? During your period or otherwise?
Molly: In addition to having an active awareness of my cycle and what energies might be at play, I try to simply stop and ask my body directly what it needs and wants. The simple act of quieting the mind and actively asking the question, instead of passively interpreting or ignoring, makes a huge difference. Sometimes I hear “to move” or “to be touched” or “a hot bath”. I’m never surprised when the answer is “rest”!
To learn more about the lunar-menstrual connection, check out these articles on Blood + Milk!
Special thanks to Molly!