Restoring Balance.

By Lianne Divine
Nov 2014

When Anita Diamant published her bestselling book “The Red Tent” in 1997, she had no idea that her novel would be responsible for arousing such a powerful remembering in women all around the world. Published in 28 languages, and currently being made into a movie, her stirring story begins with a focus on the setting of the sacred space within the Red Tent. This was the space where women from an ancient Biblical Hebrew tribe gathered during the phase of the New Moon and the time of their mutual menstrual flow. It was a space where women retreated to, removed from their ordinary duties, and entered an extraordinary feminine focused temple, promoting the communal sharing of stories, womanly creative arts and wisdom.

“Women are like the Moon. We change from day to day.”  Miranda Gray.

The story of The Red Tent invokes a deep longing in Women to re-awaken an ancient practice which is integral to every indigenous culture of the world. Marking the changes of the seasons and the shifting of time by observing the rhythm of the shifting cycles of the moon andattuning with these ebbs and flows by pondering upon their reflection in the feminine cycles of fertility and menstruation is common to all cultures and eras.

The first edition cover of Anita Diamant’s ‘Red Tent’

By withdrawing from the daily concerns of life to commune with Female kinfolk and community, Women enkindle a reverent remembrance, activating ancient memories and accessing a way of be-ing that meets her deepest soul yearning for recognition, validity and self-honouring. Disengaged from the Patriarchal definitions of success. Sometimes described as a Moon Lodge, this Red Tent tradition is re-emerging as a powerful unifying and transformational catalyst for Women, issuing forth across our earth, like the cascading of her menstrual blood, in a gush that commands attention.

The Moon Lodge or Red Tent is co-created as a safe and sacred space reserved for Women of all ages, and cultures. Babes in arms, pre-pubescent maidens transitioning into puberty, young women freshly embarking on the journey into motherhood, Mothers, menopausal Women, Grandmothers, fertile and infertile, single, married, polyamorous, lesbian or bi-sexual, with or without a womb. The Red Tent is a space where you can speak your story, expressing, witnessing, supporting, and reintegrating the stories you share and hear into your own life. It offers a space for peer support, non-judgemental listening, garnering wisdom from the stories and experiences that are shared. A place to chant, sing, recite poetry, journal, dance, laugh, cry, yell, scream, meditate, craft, play an instrument, or beat on a drum. Anything is possible, there is no right way to conduct a Red Tent circle. Like the creative power of the feminine, it is inspired by spontaneity.

Red tent circles can be spontaneous or planned.

The Red Tent offers you the opportunity to find validation from your experiences. As you surrender into the embracing bosom of your sisters in sacredness, recognizing that you are not alone, you learn how to begin opening into a new way of trusting and be-ing with yourself and others. Through sharing your deepest fears, concerns, shames, traumas, sorrows, and frustrations as well as your strengths and achievements, you are able to make sense of experiences that have held your mind hostage, enabling you to make peace with yourself. You are initiated into a previously unknown still space deep within your womb where the magnetic Divine Feminine co-creative Power of attraction is invoked.

The Oracle of Delphi, Hon. John Collier

Egyptian with a child, Konstantin Makovsky. 1876

In his book “Sex, Time and Power – how women’s sexuality shaped human evolution;” Leonard Shlain informs us that of the 31 menstruating primate mammals, Gyna sapiens (human women) are the only female species whose average menstrual cycle duration is closely synchronised to the 29.5 day synodial rhythm which is the measure of the cyclic dance of the moon. According to Shlain, before Western culture converted to solar calendars, midwives more accurately calculated the duration of an average 265.80 day pregnancy gestation by counting from the day of the last full moon prior to a pregnant women’s first missed menstrual period. This significantly correlates with 9 lunar months = 265.77 days. One example of the way that this correlation between the moon and fertility is embedded in language, is with newlywed coupling described in English as a “honeymoon.”

One of the words for menses used by pre–EuropeanMāori was Mate Marama. Marama being the moon and the lunar month. Narrations delivered to Eldson Best and recorded by the European Royal Society of NZ in 1904 indicate that herstorically, Māori Wahine did not menstruate during the time of Hinapouri – the dark moon but rather varying times during the waxing phase of the moon and also the Turu moon – the 17th day of the moon phase, which is the day after the full moon. However, she always cycled on the same phase of the moon each lunar month. Wahine considered that penetrative sexual intimacy during menses and particularly during Koero Tanga – the 2nd and 3rd day phase of her menstruation was the most likely time to lead to pregnancy.

Have you wondered how the word men relates to a Wo-men’s men-ses or men-struation? This word is common to many languages and is from the root me = to measure. Ancient Greek Mene was the moon and men = month.

Today we live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with stimuli, artificial lighting, chemically altered food, EMF’s, and stress ridden lifestyles that play havoc with our hormones and menstrual cycles. Is it even feasible to consider that we could return to an absolutely rhythmical menstrual cycle?

Miranda Grey in her book “Red Moon – understanding and using the creative, sexual, spiritual gifts of the menstrual cycle” suggests that there are two predominant moon-blood cycles. The White Moon cycle describes a Woman who ovulates with the full moon. Her body acts as a perfect mirror for the fertility of the earth. The earth herself is at the height of fertility under the light of the full moon. The White Moon cycle represents the fertile power of women and was considered the cycle of the ‘good mother.’ Miranda Gray says, “A woman with the White Moon cycle, bleeding with the dark Moon, becomes linked to the deepest levels of her awareness, reminding her that there exists more than just the world she sees, because she is the carrier of the seed of life.”

Dust Storm in Rajasthan India. Steve McCurry

A woman in the Red Moon cycle ovulates with the dark moon and releases her blood with the expansive energies of the Full Moon bringing “the energies and mysteries of her inner darkness out into the world around her as a gift and an offering of the depths of her learning.”

In my experience, Women shift from one cycle to another, depending on the predominant influences in your life at the time. It is also my experience that when Women gather together regularly as a group or a tribe, their menstrual cycles begin to synchronise.


Lianne Divine is a practitioner of Ayurvedic Medicine – the ageless, timeless science of living life in balance, a yoga teacher, mother of four creative daughters, Grandmother of two and a Red Tent Shodhini. “Under The Red Tent” is a Red Tent circle facilitated by Lianne and meeting in the Auckland district of Aotearoa.