by Barbara Walker
Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets)
Men regarded this blood with holy dread, as the life essence, inexplicably shed without pain, wholly foreign to male experience. Most words for menstruation also meant such things as incomprehensible, supernatural, sacred, spirit, deity.
Like the Latin sacred, old Arabian words for 'pure' and 'impure' both applied to menstrual blood and to that only. The Maoris stated explicitly that human souls are made of menstrual blood, which when retained in the womb 'assumes human form and grows into a man.'
Africans said menstrual blood is 'congealed to fashion a man'.
Aristotle said the same: human life is made of 'coagulum' of menstrual blood.
Pliny called menstrual blood the 'material substance of generation', capable of forming,
This primitive notion of the prenatal function of menstrual blood was still taught in European medical schools up to the 18th century.
This was the way she gave birth to the cosmos, and women employ the same method on a smaller scale. According to Daustinius,
Indians of South America said all mankind was made of 'moon blood' in the beginning. The same idea prevailed in ancient Mesopotamia, where the Great Goddess Ninhursag made mankind out of clay and infused with her "blood of life."
Under her alternate name of Mammetun or Aruru the Great, the Potter, she taught women to form clay dolls and smear them with menstrual blood as a conception-charm, a piece of magic that underlay the name of Adam, from the feminine adamah, meaning "bloody clay," though scholars more delicately translated it "red earth."
So was the Koran's creation story, which said Allah "made man out of flowing blood"; but in pre-Islamic Arabia, Allah was the Goddess of creation, Al-Lat. The Romans also had traces of the original creation myth. Plutarch said man was made of earth, but the power that made a human body grow was the moon, source of menstrual blood.
The root myths of Hinduism reveal the nature of this 'wine'. At one time all gods recognized the supremacy of the Great Mother, manifesting herself as the spirit of creation (Kali-Maya).
To this day, clothes allegedly stained with the Goddess's menstrual blood are greatly prized as healing charms.
W.R. Smith reported that the value of the gum acacia as an amulet,
For religious ceremonies, Australian aborigines painted their sacred stones, churingas, and themselves with red ochre, declaring that it was really women's menstrual blood.
The Norse god Thor for example reached the magic land of enlightenment and eternal life by bathing in a river filled with the menstrual blood of 'giantesses' - that is of the Primal Matriarchs, "Powerful Ones" who governed the elder gods before Odin brought his 'Asians' (Aesir) out of the East.
Odin acquired supremacy by stealing and drinking the 'wise blood' from the triple cauldron in the womb of the Mother-Earth, the same Triple Goddess known as Kali-Maya in the southeast Asia.
Soma was the object of so much holy dread that its interpretations were many.
Soma was drunk by priests at sacrificial ceremonies and mixed with milk as a healing charm; therefore it was not milk.
Soma was especially revered on Somvara, Monday, the day of the moon. In an ancient ceremony called Soma-vati, women of Maharastra circumambulated the sacred female-symbolic fig tree whenever the new moon fell on a Monday.
On drinking it straight from the Goddess, Indra became like her, the Mount of Paradise with its four rivers, "many-hued" like the Goddess's rainbow veils, rich in cattle and fruiting vegetation.
The Goddess's blood became his wisdom. Similarly, Greeks believed the wisdom of men or god was centered in his blood, the soul-stuff given by his mother.
Amulets buried with the dead specifically prayed Isis to deify the deceased with her magic blood.
A special amulet called the Tjet represented Isis's vulva and was formed of red substance - jasper, carnelian, red porcelain, red glass, or red wood. This amulet was said to carry the redeeming power of the blood of Isis.
Always it was associated with the moon.
Celtic kings became gods by drinking the 'red mead' dispensed by the Fairy Queen, Mab, whose name was formerly Medhbh or "mead."
Thus she gave a drink of herself. Lakshmi. A Celtic name of this fluid was dergflaith, meaning either "red ale" or "red sovereignty." In Celtic Britain, to be stained with red meant to be chosen by the Goddess as king. Celtic ruadh meant both "red" and "royal."
blood color implied apotheosis after death. The pagan
Medieval churchmen insisted that the communion wine drunk by witches was menstrual blood, and they may have been right.
The famous wizard Thomas Rhymer joined a witch cult under the tutelage of the Fairy Queen, who told him she had "a bottle of claret wine here in her lap," and invited him to lay his head in her lap.
Claret was the traditional drink of the kings and also a synonym for blood; its name literally meant 'enlightenment.' There was a saying, "the man in the moon drinks claret," connected with the idea that the wine represented lunar blood.
It is still specified in the Left Hand Rite of Tantra that the priestess impersonating the goddess must be menstruating, and after contact with her a man may perform rites that will make him "a great poet, a Lord of the World" who travels on elephant-back like a rajah.
The concept is also clearly defined in India, where menstrual blood is known as the Kula flower or Kula nectar, which has an intimate connection with the life of the family.
Taoists said a man could become immortal (or at least long-lived) by absorbing menstrual blood, called red yin juice, from a woman's Mysterious Gateway, otherwise known as the Grotto of the White Tiger, symbol of life-giving female energy. Chinese sages called this red juice the essence of Mother Earth, the yin principal that gives life to all things.
They claimed the Yellow Emperor became a god by absorbing the yin juice of twelve hundred women.
She turned her back on him and went to live in the moon forever, in much the same way Lilith left Adam to live at the 'Red Sea'. Chang-O forbade men to attend Chinese moon festivals, which were afterward celebrated by women only, at the full moon of the autumnal equinox.
The Sumerian Great Mother represented maternal blood and bore names like Dam-kina, Damgalnunna.
From her belly flowed the four rivers of Paradise, sometimes called rivers of blood which is the 'life' of all flesh.
Her firstborn child, the savior, was Damu,
Damos or 'mother-blood" was the word for "the people" in matriarchal Mycenae. Another common ancient symbol of the blood-river of life was the red carpet, traditionally trod by scared kings, heroes, and brides.
This was the basic Tantric Idea of male and female essences:
Female blood color alone was often considered a potent magic charm. The Maori rendered anything sacred by coloring it red, and calling the red color menstrual blood.
Andaman Islanders thought blood-red paint a powerful medicine, and painted sick people red all over in an effort to cure them. Hottentots addressed their Mother Goddess as one "who has painted thy body red"; she was divine because she never dropped or wasted menstrual blood. Some African tribes believed that menstrual blood alone, kept in a covered pot for none months, had the power to turn itself into a baby.
This habit, common in Greece and southern Russia, might be traced all the way back to Paleolithic graves and funeral furnishing reddened with ochre, for a closer resemblance to the Earth Mother's womb from which the dead could be "born again."
Ancient tombs everywhere have shown the bones of the dead covered with red ochre. Sometimes everything in the tomb, including the walls, had the red color.
J.D. Evans described a well tomb on Malta filled reddened bones, which struck fear into the workmen who insisted the bones were covered with "fresh blood."
A born-again ceremony from Australia showed that the Aborigines linked rebirth with the blood of the womb.
The chant performed at Ankota, the "vulva of the earth," emphasized the redness surrounding the worshipper:
Images like these help explain why some of the oldest mages of the goddess, like Kurukulla in the east and her counterpart Cybele in the west, were associated with both caverns and redness.
Styx was the blood-stream from the earth's vagina; its waters were credited with the same dread powers as menstrual blood. Olympian gods swore their absolutely binding oaths by the waters of Styx, as men on earth swore by the blood of their mothers.
Symbolic death and rebirth were linked with baptism in the waters of Styx, as in many other sacred rivers the world over.
Jesus himself was baptized in Palestine's version of the Styx, the river Jordan. When a man bathed seven times in this river, "his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child" (2 Kings 5:14). In Greek tradition the journey to the land of death meant crossing the Styx; in Judeo-Christian tradition it was crossing the Jordan.
That was the same "river of blood crossed" by Thomas Rhymer on his way to Fairyland.
Another name for the agape was synesaktism, "the Way of Shaktism," meaning Tantric yoni-worship.
Synesaktism was declared a heresy before the 7th century A.D. Subsequently the "love-feast" disappeared, and women were forbidden direct participation in Christian worship, according to St. Paul's rule (1 Timothy 2:11-12).
The meaning of this Ophite sacrament to its practitioners is easily recovered from Tantric parallels.
Eating the living substances of reproduction was considered more "spiritual" than eating the dead body of the god, even in the transmuted form of bread and wine, though the color symbolism was the same:
The resultant mixture is tasted by the united "father-mother" [Yab-Yum], and when it reaches the throat they can generate concretely a special bliss.