Seasons and the menstrual cycle are connected in so many ways: biology, biochemistry , neurobiology and physics among them.
Autumn, the last season of the year, starts with the autumn equinox, on 21-22 September, when the hours of light and darkenss are in perfect balance. Since the equinox, the hours of darkness will increase and the hours of light decrease, until the winter solstice on 21-22 December.
It is traditionally the season of the last, largest harvest and effort for both plants and animals, including us of course. Humans have used this season from time immemorial to transform and store food to sustain the community until next spring/summer.
Plants prepare for winter by releasing everything that is not needed anymore, like leaves, with a centrifugal dynamic. If spring and summer are extrovert seasons, where everything springs up and outward, autumn is an introvert season, where everything falls down and inward.
The air becomes a little cooler, and the earth a little warmer, thanks the leaf carpet and the bacteria that get busy working on decomposing waste and transforming it into nourishment for the prolific life that we find on and beneath the ground, namely, roots, fungi, worms, etc.
The luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, the last one before the new cycle, starts when the two ovarian hormones, estrogen and progesterone, are in perfect balance (see the blue circle in illustration below). Since that moment, progesterone will rise and dominate over estrogen.
It is the phase of the last, biggest effort for our body – especially the uterus, which now has matured and is able to feed and sustain a potential pregnancy. It is not as turgid as before (at ovulation) but has become more porous and relaxed. During the luteal phase, the body will be able to decide what needs to live and what needs to die inside the uterus, again, with a centrifugal dynamic that will take the shape of a secretory uterus or the menstrual flow.
Our body temperature rises under the effect of progesterone, and our metabolism increases. The cervix descends the vaginal canal.
Progesterone has a calming, relaxing effect over nerves and muscles, it releases them. It also promotes sleep quality and REM sleep.
Progesterone stimulates our right hemisphere, which presides over intuition, emotions, feelings, dreams, and raw creative energy. Progesterone gives us better judgment and wisdom, and it is easier to get rid of toxic habits during the luteal phase.
Our rational, focused mind abdicates leadership – after keeping it for the whole follicular phase, thanks to estrogen, which stimulates the left hemisphere – to the advantage of our intuitive mind, which puts us more in touch with the subconscious, what’s inside and underneath, there light does not arrive. The power of darkness increases, where darkness is the complementary force of light, the place that the focused mind cannot reach and investigate, the subconscious, the roots, the raw core, emotions and altered states of conscience. Neuroscience tells us that this place is most important for creativity as well as physical and mental health, and there are many tricks we can use to nourish this place.
As you can see, autumn and the luteal phase have a lot in common because they are different shapes of the same blueprint, the biological Cycle that permeates life on planet Earth.
If you suffer from premenstrual disorders, there is a lot you can do to address problems to their roots, eliminate pain and discomfort and tune into life’s rhythm for better health, creativity and resilience. Check out Medulla’s upcoming group seminars or contact Anna to arrange a private consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org.