February 24, 2008

Menstrual blood art

Drum and Art by DeAnna L'am © 2008 ~ www.deannalam.com
Yes, this drum was painted with my Moon Blood.
Our moon blood is sacred substance. It starts as life-giving tissue that lines up our wombs monthly, in preparation for new life. If no life is conceived, the lining is shed as our menstrual flow. The tissue that would have nourished new life now flows from within us. We can choose to trash or honor it.

For many years I have been collecting my moon blood by soaking menstrual cloth pads in water, and feeding my plants with this rich, nourishing soup.
The house plants were ecstatic! They shot up as if fed by magic (which they were!) and looked happier than ever before (not to mention the environment, that is given a break each time a woman chooses to stop using disposable menstrual products). Recently, I have discovered the Moon Cup: a little goblet made of latex-free rubber. It is inserted like a diaphragm, and collects our Moon Flow at source.I was led to a new level of connection with my blood.Pouring the deep crimson liquid from the moon cup into a bowl allowed me to see my blood for the first time in its raw form. I have collected 4 days worth of flow into the bowl (no, it doesn't smell. The odor you may be familiar with comes from the interaction between your blood and the chemicals used in commercial "feminine hygiene" products.) Later that night I took my Moon Blood bowl and my drum, and went to sit by the fire place.
The long gaze into the flames moved me to an altered state, and I dipped my hands into the bowl.
With no fixed idea in my mind, I let my fingers chase each other in the rich broth, lifting them occasionally to see red ruby droplets fall back into the bowl. I was fascinated. My hands felt like fish gliding in smooth waters, and my eyes feasted on the beauty and depth of the burgundy blood. After a while I was ready to touch my hands to the drum.I reached one hand and let it play on the drum's surface. My other hand immediately wanted to follow. I watched as they chased each other in spiraling rounds, creating vortexes and whirlpools, letting them smear and allow fresh ones to emerge. I was in kindergarten once again. The pure joy of playing with color overcame me, and for a while I had no attachment to an end result.Then a pattern started to emerge. The spiral that sprang from the center felt like "the one." My left hand made a print below it. I liked the idea of it being an impression of my heart-hand, and proceeded to leave a left-hand imprint in each of the four directions. I stood up to look at it and my mind shifted to "art critic" mode. It took a minute to switch off, and to realize I was actually sorry to be done, since this meant the fun was over... Well, at least until my next cycle.I washed my hands and saw the blood interact with water. It thinned, turned pink, and disappeared down the drain. I was sad to let it go, and wondered what else could I create when my Moon Flow returns. The possibilities, of course, are endless...

Is this art? My Moon Time drum is sacred to me. It is not displayed as art, for it is meant to be used ceremonially. The power that emanates from it feels like it needs a container, and I keep the drum covered when it is not in use. I have since painted with my Moon Blood on paper and recycled it. That month I wanted to keep the experience of painting as the only essence, and let go of the end product.

I hope you are inspired to try...
Yes, years of societal taboos may spring to mind, disguised as resistance, aversion, or judgments. Listen to them. Then inquire within: whose voices are talking to you? Can you find your authentic voice among all others? If not, where is it? Relax into a comfortable position, dive deep into your wellspring, and let your deepest guidance speak. That is the most worthy voice... http://www.deannalam.com/


Anonymous said...

How beautiful! I use a mooncup to collect my blood for art work as well- to paint your sacred drum with your blood is a powerful statement!
I am honoured to be included in your web of women!
blessings and love Rachael

Lea said...

DeAnna, this is beautiful and sacred art... for not all art is meant for display, nor does being on display need to be the all defining criteria of art... To be able to reach to this depth, to the roots of understanding our bodies as women and making ritual, ceremony, and sacred art is precious and beautiful... thank you for the gift of sharing this with us...

Yours Truly said...

Hi, I have a question for those you collect period blood for art. I have an idea I would like to try, but would need to collect my blood for, and I'm just wondering if there is anything I should mix it with? I was thinking maybe a little bit of linseed oil?

In it's natural state, how long will the blood keep in a glass jar, before starting to alter itself? Or does it?

DeAnna L'am said...

Hi Olga,
Glad to know you are planning an art project!

In answer to your question,
there are three ways to go:

1) Mixing your blood with acrilic (clear paint/varnish) will preserve it, and will also preserve its natural vibrant red color (otrherwise the color tends to become brown with oxidation...)

2) Using your blood as is, but after your art project is done, spraying it with a fixing agent. This will also preserve the color.

3) In order to preserve your blood in a jar, until you are ready to use it, I recommend lavender essential oil. It's good to start with some lavender oil in the jar before you pour the collected blood in, since the blood start oxisizing right away...

Hope this is helpful :-)

I would love to see your project when it's done... so if you feel comfortable sharing, go ahead and post a photo!

Good luck!


Yours Truly said...

Thanks that is exactly what I wanted to know. I recently took pictures of my menstrual blood as I was pouring it out of my Diva Cup and into my sink, which is what got me thinking about doing some arts projects with it.You can see the pictures of that on my blog http://cuntlove.wordpress.com

Anonymous said...

This is so lovely, so whole. I use my moon blood to feed my plants, and they have never looked better. I soak a tampon, wrapped up until needed. When I have my hands in the blood tea as I squeeze out the excess...an incredible feeling of calm washes through me.

Femspective said...

Hi, first time reader here! This is so neat. I've been reading a lot about feminism and our menstrual cycles and I've realized that I'm always grossed out by my blood. I know that I've been brainwashed to believe it's gross, but I'm trying to retrain myself. I think creating a work of art is a great idea and one that I believe might help me come to terms with my own natural bodily function.

I'll let you know what I come up with! Thanks for the inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone,

It's so good to find there are more women out there, connecting with the most powerful magical tool on earth.
I do have a question; would anyone have an idea on how to preserve my menstrual blood for longer. I am 40 now, and becoming very aware of the fact that my blood flow will be coming to an end in the next decade. I would like to try a preserve it, so I can still use it in my crone days.
I did preserve it for two weeks once, with apple cider vinegar. But that won't do for long.
Any ideas?

Love and blessings,

DeAnna L'am said...

I would recommend preserving your menstrual flow in Lavender essential oil. Start with 9-13 drops and add more according to the volume of Moon Flow you are preserving. The level of lavender fragrance would be a good guideline to use, as there is not a scientific measure :-)
Good luck!

katymoon said...

Hey there, since you seem to be the only person on the internet talking about preserving menstrual blood, I'd like to ask you about it :) Do you know how long it will last once you put the lavender in? Would you freeze it? With or without lavender? I heard you could put a drop of a white alcohol in there too - but I feel this may dilute it. Thoughts? Thank you

DeAnna L'am said...

I do not think there is a time limit once you preserve it in lavender oil, I would say years.
If you want to be on the safe side, you could add a few drops of lavender after a long interval (6-12 months).
I never tried freezing.
Never tried alcohol either, since lavender essential oil is such a good anti-bacterial.
Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

Blessings DeAnna,
I have a question. I tried preserving my menstrual blood in a little glass jar like a baby's food jar and I was surprised how fast it started evaporating! Half of the jar was filled but in a few days it was decreasing less and less! Divinely and magical stuff that is!!! I kept the lid open as I was trying to dry it out. Then on another attempt, I poured cypress essential oil and a bit of olive oil and it preserved much better. When the weather was warmer and tried it again, the blood started to go off real fast so then I figured that the best time to preserve it would be during the winter. I am not so keen on freezing it as I prefer it dry if possible. I also think that any essential oil will do since they have natural alcohol content and last a long time. (I didn't' have Lavender at the time). Have you tried storing menses during summer time??

DeAnna L'am said...

Hi Anonymous,
Experimentation is always good :-)
I never tried to dry my menstrual blood, but preserved it in essential oil in its liquid form. My guess is that nay attempt of drying it will not leave much since the majority of the substance is liquid.
I read that Australian Aborigines make a healing substance of mixing Earth with menstrual blood. Perhaps mixing blood with Earth will allow for the dryer consistency you are looking for?

Anonymous said...

If I don't have Lavender essential oil is there a substitute I can use? I just got my diva cup and am currently on my period so I'm trying to save as much as I can :)

DeAnna L'am said...

Aishlee, any and all anti-bacterial essential oil will do such as Tea Tree oil and so forth. Bon Voyage!

Unknown said...

Dear DeAnna,
I really appreciate this post, I myself am about to embark on the voyage of vreating art with menstrual blood. I have been storing it for a day at room temperature without any oil, it wasn't until today that it occured to me to look up the best ways of storage. Would it be ok for me to add the drops today? Could I still use this blood I've been storing since yesterday? I read in another page that keeping it in the fridge is an option, but I'm currently with my family and I don't think they would like that!


DeAnna L'am said...

Dear Gala,
Wonderful to know you are embarking on this journey! I believe it would be OK to preserve blood you've been string in room temperature since yesterday.
Keep in mind, though, that our menstrual blood is a living tissue. Once it comes into contact with air, it will begin to (slowly) decay).
In future - you may want to begin preservation earlier :-)
It is my understanding that keeping menstrual blood in the fridge will indeed preserve it. It's another method to preserving it with essential oil.
Bon Voyage!

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for your answer dear DeAnna!!!

Unknown said...

Blessings ♡ I am looking to use my moon blood as a medium on watercolor paper, then mounting on canvas some way. I am wondering if there is any new or updated info/suggestions about how to preserve the blood AND how to seal artwork so as not to lose the integrity of the red color. Many thanks, Sistars :)

DeAnna L'am said...

I have no updated info other than what I've written here & in "Menstrual Blood Art 2":
I suggest preserving in Lavender essential oil (start with 9-10 drops, add if doesn't smell "lavendery").
The sealant I used, bought at an art & crafts store, didn't dull the color. I used a mat finish, but there's also a glossy option.
Hope this helps!

Unknown said...

Thank you so much ♡