Sometime between the ages of 35 and 55, give or take, a woman enters a phase in her life that can only be described as metamorphosis. Yes, most call it peri-menopausal or menopausal, but truly such changes occur in each woman’s life at this time and it truly is a metamorphosis.

It is that time in her life when she stops producing as much estrogen but the production is often haphazard, sporadic and certainly unpredictable. This affects every aspect of her life. She might notice her eyes being dry in the morning, feeling like grating sand when she tries to open them. Her bleeding times may come on at different intervals or not at all. She may bleed more – she may bleed less. She may experience hot flashes – you ask, “What does that feel like?” Imagine a wave of hot air hitting you in the back of your neck and head – instantly causing you to break out in a sweat. You might even get red in the face! All of this, of course, is without warning, and happening at the most inconvenient times. You will often exclaim, “Is it hot in here?”

Night sweats – now these are fun! You will find yourself waking up in the wee hours of the morning, sometimes able to go back to sleep but often not. It may take awhile for you to notice that along with this wakefulness come the drenched bed covers and sleepwear! Ye gads!

This, my sisters, is the best of it. There is more you ask? Oh my, yes! Let’s talk about the mood swings! Imagine PMS every day – now, not all day – but all of the emotional expressions of PMS become your regular friends. Bitchiness, bad temper, impatience, foul moods, unexpected tears, and a general “leave me the heck alone” feeling! Your friends and family will wonder what is happening to the sweet, levelheaded woman who used to be in their lives. Actually, this is a very beneficial process of pushing aside all of the garbage we load ourselves down with and the phony fronts we feel we have to put on to be what is expected instead of who we really are. This process is truly a shedding – you are the Sacred Snake of Becoming!

My whole world as I knew it, my relationships with friends and co-workers – everything changed for me when peri-menopause set in.

I had spent my entire life up to that point controlling every emotion, making sure that what surfaced for others to see was “acceptable” to others.  Having been raised in a very “British” home, emotions were something not displayed in front of others.  Not silly laughter, not anger, and certainly not tears.

I had a hysterectomy (uterus only) when I was 43.  Because I had healthy ovaries, I knew that one day I would experience menopause as does every woman.  But somehow, because I no longer had a period each month, it took me awhile to figure out who this new woman was that I was becoming.

Everyone had always known me as steady, level, un-flappable.  Never seen before were the sudden eruptions of temper or the instant fits of weeping.   Even more important was the fact that I also, did not know this new woman emerging.  It was frightening, to say the least.

Fortunately, I had just recently found the Goddess and so when I figured out what was going on with my emotions, I decided to accept this new me and ride the ups and downs, the ever turbulent roller coaster of my life.  I also decided to do it without hormone help and was far too new at this to even consider herbal assistance.

It did not take me long to figure out that my anger would not kill me or anyone else.  I also learned that I did not die from my flowing tears.  I am not sure why I thought I would.  Perhaps I had transferred my earlier fear of parental wrath into fear of the emotions themselves.  One thing I did know, I was free of that paralyzing fear – free of embarrassment and free to fully experience the “feeling” me, the emotional woman I had buried deep inside.  Gone were the muscle spasms of pent up tension.  Gone were the headaches I had suffered for years.  Gone too, were those I thought to be friends but who were not accepting enough to accompany me with love on this ride.  Surprise, surprise, I have never missed them!

If your friends wonder – share that with them. Tell them that you are the Sacred Snake shedding Her skin! You may even feel like “hissing.” This is your time of metamorphosis and in the end, a magnificent Crone will appear. Guaranteed!

Oh, did I tell you that your hair will mysteriously disappear from all over your body as well? Ye gads, someone ought to tell you that pubic hair is not forever! Nor are thick eyelashes or shapely eyebrows. Those will suddenly grow in every direction imaginable. You might even get nose hair! The good news is you won’t have to shave your legs near as often and if you are like me – you will just quit shaving altogether!

All of this is your practice zone for the Crone that is coming. The Crone who won’t give a darn what people think. This is your training ground for letting go of all of those “people pleasing” ideas. This transitioning time will allow you to test the waters for being outrageous and of course, will give your friends and family a taste of what is yet to come! This is your time to shed all the cumbersome clothing and the clinging trappings of a sedate life and learn to fly – even if one day you might need a cane!

My advice for you is to accept this as a normal part of your life. Welcome the surging emotions for it may be the first time in your life that you can actually feel them fully as well as find new ways to express them. Love them, for they come from you. They will force themselves on you, so become their friend.  Love yourself. Give all the loving care to yourself that you would to a beloved “other.” Follow a healthy diet. Learn ways to adjust to these changes gently. Make your bath your comfort zone, complete with soft music, candles, and some sweet smelling herbs. Be patient with yourself. Forgive yourself. Most important of all, be your authentic self. You are a beautiful wonder!

In Dianic Craft, the Fall Equinox is the time we honor the peri-menopausal woman.  She is Woman Coming Fully into her Power.  She displays the unbounded limits of her own self.  She explores and shares the amazing power of her emotions, now less contained, now erupting in a glorious array of color and sound.  She is emerging as Woman Glorified!

We dress her in blazing color – the oranges, red, and russets of the Harvest Season, for this is surely her harvest.