Moon Cycle Magic

Reconnecting with our Sacred Womb Space and Intuitive Power

with Bridgette Wolleat & Brittany Taylor

The same force that moves the stars and the seasons pulses through each of us. Literally. Every cycle our bodies prepare to create, nurture, and birth life into this world. This is so epic! Whether we are wanting to literally bring a human life into this world, or harness the power of our creative centers and channel it in other life-giving ways, our cycles have the power to do that, and by syncing up with them, we have the power to mold those manifestations in whatever ways we most desire. 

To many, our menstrual cycles are quite a mystery. Perhaps elements of them are understood, while a large part still remains unknown. Most people are familiar with the shedding of the uterine wall (that’s the part where many of us have been told we have to “deal” with our blood making a mess everywhere). Most people also know that we release an egg at some point somewhere in the middle. Beyond that, how much do we actually know of the magic that is happening within our womb space? 

In this section, we are going to break down the basics of what is happening in each of the four phases of our menstrual cycle. We will also share about how to chart our cycles by observing a few simple signs within our bodies and tracking them. 

The Four Phases of Our Cycle

The menstrual cycle is one of the most primal, basic, earth-connected cycles that we have, much like the cycles of life, death, and rebirth, which correlate to all we experience internally within our bodies and externally in nature around us. The monthly ripening of an egg within us reflects creation in nature. The macro-cosmic cycles of nature, such as the ebb and flow of the tide, the changing seasons, and the moon, mirrors on a smaller but equally powerful scale, the menstrual cycle in our human bodies. There are four phases to our cycle, just like the four seasons and the four phases of the moon. 

Phase 1- Menstruation (Pre-Ovulatory)
The first day of bleeding is considered day 1 of your cycle. Progesterone drops, which causes the uterus lining to shed. This drop in progesterone is also reflected in the subtle dropping of our body temperature (which we will observe in the charting section). This phase can last anywhere from 3-7 days. During this time, our energy is likely the lowest in our cycle and we may feel tired and internal. Some quietness and rest time might be very helpful.

Phase 2- Follicular Phase (Pre-Ovulatory)
This phase follows menstruation and lasts anywhere from 7-10 days. It’s called the Follicular phase because our pituitary gland releases a hormone called Follicle Stimulating Hormone, which stimulates the follicles in the ovaries to mature. Estrogen and testosterone start to rise during this phase. This can bring us a boost of energy, improve our mood, brain function, and libido. As our energy rises, we may feel more confident and ready to take action. 

Phase 3- Ovulatory Phase
Ovulation is when an egg is released from one of our ovaries, which will survive for 12-24 hours. It is often said that ovulation occurs around the 14th day. However, the pre-ovulatory phase can vary depending on a number of factors specific to us, our internal worlds, and our lives during that time, and ovulation can occur before or after the 14th day of our cycles, or not at all. This is one of the many great reasons to chart so that we may accurately know when our ovulatory phase is. 

During this phase, estrogen and testosterone rise to peak levels, boosting the energy and the effects of the follicular phase. This usually gives us a highly creative burst of energy and increases our sex drives. This phase typically lasts 2-3 days. Once ovulation has occurred, we can observe a temperature shift as our progesterone levels rise. 

Phase 4- Luteal Phase (Post-Ovulatory)

The first 2-3 days of this phase may feel a lot like the ovulatory phase. This will then change when estrogen and testosterone decline and our body starts producing progesterone again. Progesterone is an anti-anxiety hormone, so we may find our energy dropping. Now is a good time for nesting, self care and tending to simpler tasks.

This phase generally lasts 12-16 days, however some people have shorter luteal phases. In general, if our luteal phases are less than 10 days, it is a likely sign that our progesterone levels are not high enough to sustain the implantation of an egg, allowing for pregnancy. 

During this phase, we may feel PMS symptoms like cravings for comfort foods, bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, anxiety and moodiness. PMS or a challenging luteal phase can stem from many different factors, with some of the most common being imbalanced hormones, lack of supportive nutrients, and suppressed emotions, all of which this program aims to address so that PMS need not be a part of your cycle. 

Video: The Four Phases of Our Cycle with Bridgette

Watch this video, in which Bridgette goes into more detail about the phases of the cycle.

JOURNAL EXERCISE: Checking In With My Internal World

TIME: 10-15 minutes

 

We invite you to create a calm, loving space, both externally and internally, physically and emotionally, to be in for the duration of this exercise. Bring your journal and writing implement with you, as well as a timer. Use the suggested amount of time above or decide on an amount of time that feels right for you. Either way, use your timer so you can keep track. 

Find a comfortable seated position. When you feel ready, take a few slow, deep breaths to center within yourself, perhaps placing one hand over your heart and one over your belly, or using any other mudra that is calling to you.

Once you have found a place of calm within you, ask yourself the following questions, with an openness to receive whatever comes up. As answers arise for you, we invite you to write them down in your journal, while simultaneously maintaining this space of gentle curiosity within yourself as you continue to hold space for your intentions and thoughts.

What has my experience with birth control been like? Has my relationship with it felt satisfying? Has it felt conflicting? If so, in what ways?
How do my hormones feel overall? Do I feel in a state of balance?
How do I feel about charting? Do I have resistance around charting? If so, what is coming up for me. (For example, do you feel like it will be challenging, time consuming, not accurate, etc).
What are 5 empowering beliefs I could embrace right now about what charting could bring to my life?

If other related thoughts or feelings come up as you are tuning into this space, feel free to write about them as well. Continue journaling until you feel complete, or until the time you have allotted for this exercise is nearing the end. When you are done, look back over what you have written down. Take a deep breath and use it to breathe your intentions into your being. If it feels good, offer yourself gratitude for the space you have created here to connect with your intentions before gently returning to this program or to your day.

Charting Your Cycle

Charting your cycle is a great way to become familiar with the natural rhythms of your body. By observing and tracking a few signs within your body, you can learn when you are in each of the four phases of your cycle. When you know what phase of your cycle you are in, you can better understand what you need in order to be the fullest expression of yourself.You can draw connections between your cycle, what you are experiencing in your external world, and what you are experiencing in your internal world. Using the data you gather in charting to better understand yourself and be able to plan for a more harmonious life. 

Charting your cycle is also a great natural option for tracking your fertility. When you can confidently track your fertility, you empower yourself with the ability to plan sexual activity accordingly Using charting in this way is often referred to as The Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) of natural birth control. This method, when done properly, can be highly effective. 

In this section, we will talk about the main fertility signs, the phases of our cycle, and how to chart, either on a physical chart, or using an app electronically. 

Primary Fertility Signs
1. Basal Body Temperature (BBT) 
The way this sign is best observed is by taking your BBT immediately upon waking with a Basal Body Thermometer (a digital thermometer that tracks the 10th degree -or often to the 100th degree) or after your longest sleeping period of the day (ideally longer than 3 hours). By tracking your temperature throughout your cycle, you will be able to observe a shift in your temperature. This shift delineates the pre-ovulatory and post-ovulatory phases. To do this effectively, you will need a Basal Thermometer. We recommend this one.  

When your temperature rises considerably, you can deduce that you have ovulated, once you have observed the pattern of your temperatures throughout your cycle and see that they are above the coverline (explained in the next paragraph) at this point. All temperatures before your large temperature shift are pre-ovulatory with the last temperature/s being during ovulation, where as those after will be post-ovulatory. Once your temperature dips back down again, it will coincide with menstruation and the start of your cycle. 

By charting your temperature, you can see a trend. Once you observe this trend, you can draw a coverline. The coverline is determined by observing the 6 last temperatures you took before your temperature rose considerably and drawing a line one degree above the highest one, as done so in this example chart.

Temperature variations to be aware of and accounted for could be fever, time change, taking your temperature after being awake for some time, drinking a hot beverage, or doing activities. If you have a temperature that seems inaccurate, make a note of it so that you can omit it while drawing a coverline. 

2. Cervical Fluid
Depending on which part of your cycle you are in, the cervical fluid that your body produces will vary. At the beginning of your cycle, you are likely bleeding. After that, your cervical fluid may be non existent, sticky or crumbly, and your vaginal sensation may be dry. As you near ovulation, your cervical fluid tends to become more like lotion, milky, smooth, and white or yellow. When you are in the fertile phase of your cycle, your cervical fluid is most often slippery, egg-white in color and tends to stretch without breaking, as if it were a membrane. This fluid has the ability to house sperm and keep it alive for up to 72 hours before ovulation. This allows a safe environment for sperm to “wait” for an egg to be released. After ovulation, when estrogen production decreases and progesterone rises, the cervical fluid changes to a more sticky quality once again, and your vaginal sensation will likely feel dry.

Phase Menstruation Follicular Follicular
Ovulatory
Luteal Menstruation
Cervical Fluid Menstruation Nothing
Dry
Sticky
Creamy Slippery
Egg White
Nothing
Dry
Sticky
Menstruation
Vaginal Sensation Dry
Sticky
Wet
Moist
Gooey
Wet
Lubricative
Slippery
Dry or Sticky

The best way to observe cervical fluid is to take two fingers and pass them along your vaginal opening, as if you were wiping yourself. You can also do this by inserting a finger inside your vaginal canal and observing your fluid upon removal. It is most important to be consistent about whatever way you choose to observe your cervical fluid. 

If you are wanting to find the times of your cycle you are most fertile, observing your cervical fluid is going to be one of the most telling ways to do so. You may even choose to observe your fluid multiple times in a day when you are near your fertile window, especially if you are curious about the most ideal time to conceive. 

  1. Cervix Position
    The position of the cervix changes throughout your cycle. During the infertile phase of your cycle, the cervix is lower in the vaginal canal, it is firmer, and the opening is smaller, or more “closed”. Conversely, as you become more fertile, the cervix rises higher in your vaginal canal, becomes softer, and the opening gets larger and more “open.”

Secondary Fertility Signs
Secondary signs of fertility refer to other sensations you may notice within your body throughout your cycle. Some examples could be abdominal cramping, breast tenderness, lower back soreness, heightened emotions, heightened intuition, a greater sense of creativity, feeling turned on sexually or turned on for life, and much more. The possibilities are really endless and are unique to each being. By charting about these sensations, your unique pattern, or cycle, will emerge.

How to Chart Your Cycle
While reading about how to chart, we recommend opening up the blank fertility chart template listed below so you can follow along.
Blank Fertility Chart (pdf) – to print out and chart by hand.
Blank Fertility Chart (excel) – to customize digitally, and then print out to chart by hand.

Charting can be done either manually or using an app, such as OvaGraph (which is a free app you can use on your phone or computer). In this section, we are going to explain how to chart manually, because it is easier to see what we are talking about, though all that we will explain here is included in the OvaGraph app and will look quite similar.

Setting Up Your Chart
To get yourself set up for daily charting, follow these steps:

  1. Print out this chart (or one that you have printed from somewhere else, or customized yourself). 
  2. Fill out the date and the days of the week, starting with the first day of your menstrual flow.
  3. Add the new and full moons to the “luna”’ section of the chart. (To find this information you can use an app such as The Moon: Calendar Moon Phases or search in Google). 
  4. Add any events of importance that you are aware of in advance to the “notes” section (such as travel, a family visit, or party).

Daily Charting
There are a few simple steps to charting daily, which we recommend doing in the morning upon waking. They are as follows:

  1. When you wake in the morning, or after 3 or more hours of sound sleep, before getting out of bed, take your temperature with a Basal Body Thermometer. Record your temperature on your chart. (Note: most Basal Body Thermometers will store the last temperature taken in them, so you can take your temperature and go back to sleep or lay in bed without having to get up immediately and write down your temperature).
  2. Observe your cervical fluid and chart its consistency and sensation. 
  3. Optional: observe the position of your cervix and chart it. 
  4. Make note of any secondary fertility signs. 
  5. Make note of any other occurrences going on in your life that could potentially affect your cycle. For example: family visiting, being sick, traveling, having a big emotional experience, etc. 
  6. If you have customized your chart with other areas of health you are tracking, fill out those areas at this time. (Examples of areas you may like to track could be yoga, meditation, journaling, or other regular practices you are participating in).
  7. The following section will explain how to chart your peak day, your day of ovulation and luteal phase days. 

Identifying Your Peak Day
Your peak day is the day you are the most fertile, which is right before you ovulate. This could be observed either the day of ovulation or the day before ovulation. The peak day will be the last day that you have either fertile cervical fluid or a fertile (lubricative) vaginal sensation. When you identify your peak day, write “PK” in the peak day row of your chart. 

Ovulation
Ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary) may occur on your peak day, or the day after. After ovulation, your temperature will rise. Confirming your peak day and day of ovulation will take place after both of these occurrences have already happened. Once your temperature rises above the coverline, you can deduce that you have already ovulated and had your peak day, which will give you the remaining data you need. 

Pre and Post Ovulation Fertility
Once an egg has been released from an ovary, it will proceed to wait in the fallopian tube for a sperm to fertilize it for approximately 24 hours. Thus, you could potentially be fertile for 24 hours after your temperature rises. 

Also, sperm can live in fertile cervical fluid for up to 5 days, so you can consider 5 days before the day of ovulation potentially fertile days as well. 

Given this information, and leaving a safety window, you can deduce that you are potentially fertile for about 7-10 days of your cycle. Whether you are wanting to conceive or avoid conception, these are important days to be aware of. 

Luteal Phase Length
The length of your luteal phase is determined by counting each day that you have a sustained temperature above the coverline after the follicular phase. Typical luteal phases vary somewhere between 12-14 days, although you may have a healthy luteal phase that is 10 or 11 days, or 15 or 16 days. If you have a sustained temperature above the coverline for 18 days or more and have not menstruated, it is likely a sign that your egg has been successfully fertilized. If you have a luteal phase that is 9 days or fewer, it is likely that you do not have a long enough luteal phase to achieve pregnancy at this time. If this is the case, it could be due to low levels of progesterone (which is also often correlated with high levels of estrogen).

Video: How to Chart Your Cycle with Brittany

For more details on how to chart, check out this video.

There are so many variations within cycles. Within these, there are many healthy variations and many variations that indicate something may be a bit off within your cycle, or in the process of hormonal recalibration within your body. If you are wanting more help in understanding your unique cycle, we recommend booking a session with Bridgette. 

We hope you enjoy playing around with charting. We know that it takes a bit of time to integrate a new daily activity. We have found that in a very short time, charting can become a simple part of the day, which generally takes around 1-2 minutes in the morning. If it takes you a few cycles to form the habit of charting daily, that’s OK! We encourage you to stick with it!

More Resources for Charting
If you are interested in more resources on charting your cycle or interpreting irregularities within your cycle, we recommend checking out Toni Weschler’s book Taking Charge of Your Fertility. It goes into great detail about The Fertility Awareness Method, how to chart, variations, and gives a lot of sample charts to look at. You can also visit TCOYF.com and find more resources, such as these chart templates.

If you would rather watch videos than read, we recommend checking out Femmehead on YouTube.

We imagine there are a number of other apps that exist. We recommend looking into them thoroughly as some are not completely in alignment with all the principles of FAM and can mistake the phase you are experiencing in your cycle. Here are a couple we recommend:
OvaGraph
Clue

To see a video of Brittany’s where she shares about the benefits of tracking her cycle, recorded in June 2017, a few months after getting into FAM, watch here

EXPERIENTIAL EXERCISE: Charting My Cycle

TIME: 2-4 cycles

 

Create a chart. You can do this either by modifying this chart, printing this one out as it is, or creating something else of your own. You can also use an app such as OvaGraph or Clue

Chart for two to four cycles. We recommend at least three because the more cycles we track, the more we can see trends during our various phases. Also, it can sometimes take a few cycles to get into the flow of charting.

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