Why we love it:
We welcome different ways of looking at and celebrating periods. Although, some people don't like getting their periods some women believe their periods allow them to tap into their femininity. In this episode, Jess and Stephanie sit down with Jacqueline Rolandelli to talk about how women are disconnected from their women power which originates from menstruation. They even talk about how women can celebrate their period by performing rituals throughout their cycle. If you're interested in looking at a different perspective about periods, then this is the episode for you.
We're sure you'll love this episode just as much as we do so make sure to give it a lesson below and subscribe to The Flow Down on your favourite podcast app.
Listen & Learn:
Our Periods are the elixir of life, the great mother's gift of restoration and health and wellbeing, sensual, live power streaming through your body and through your legs to heal, to vibrate and to birth through pleasure and joy.
That gave me chills. Today on The Flow Down we're taking you on a journey deep into your womanhood.
And that voice you just heard is our guide.
I'm Steph, a women's health coach.
And I'm Jess, a journalist.
Don't go anywhere, we've gotten much more to come. Jacqueline Rolandelli is a shamanic priestess, mother, healer and teacher of the mystical arts.
She facilitates ceremonies and rituals around menstruation, such as to welcome a first blood. We are so excited to talk. Jacqueline, welcome to The Flow Down.
Thank you so much both of you for having me. I really appreciate it.
Jacqueline, through your work, you help women reawaken and connect with their power, their truth, their bodies. We wanted to start by asking you to tell us, in your words, why you think women are disconnected in the first place and then why you feel called to do this work.
Well, that would be about 5,000 years of the reign of the patriarchy. And although... Yeah, it's good to laugh about that because otherwise, we could really... So 5,000 years, so generationally we have been handing down a lot of pain and we've also handed down a great deal of resilience. So this remembering and this awakening is not dwelling in what has been.
But really using it as a way of revolutionising the soul because I feel that there is a deep longing in all beings to really feel alive in the source. And we're just kidding ourselves when we're not connected to that. We fall into that all the time. I do as well, the illusion is real and then we remember again. That's why it takes communities to support one another so that we can stay active in being faithful to ourselves and honouring ourselves as women.
And you call yourself a woman who has walked through fire. You have lived this journey of reclaiming your power. Can you tell us a little bit about your own journey home to yourself?
I would have to say that throughout my life I have always felt as though something was not right. Even though at some level there was conformity as a child, I had this growing depth that knew that there was a need for defiance. That what we were seeing was not a true full spectrum of what was possible and what could be. So throughout my life, I think that defiance and that rage grew and it was painful and it was my medicine. So through anger and rage, I went through a lot as a teenager and I was in a group home, talk about rebellious. I mean, I had really been out there and really did not want to be domesticated in any form. I didn't want to learn how to cook. I didn't want to learn to take care of the house.
I wanted liberation because I had seen, growing up, what a typical white household looked like and I didn't want any part of that. That led to me wanting to create on my own terms. So I purposely became and had a calling to be a mother at a very young age. So I was like a struggling teenage mother because I wanted to parent on my own terms. I wanted to liberate what motherhood could look like on my own terms and what it could look like for women. So teenage motherhood led me through deeper levels of depth, obviously, is not just me, but embodying the mother.
What does that look like to be connecting with the divine and starting to live life in a way that is completely different from what I had known growing up? And then the journey just continued and I ended up, of course, working in the corporate world and then shifting out of that and having a very enormous spiritual awakening where I was then guided to begin travelling. I ended up first initiating in Brazil and then China And then it just went on and on. And then I and my son were guided to relocate to the South of France. So the past seven years or so have been very transient and nomadic, so to speak.
Cool, wow and the list of places you travelled is incredible. Brazil, China, Mexico, India, Nepal, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, all through Europe. I know you visited some of the most sacred sites in the world and took part in spiritual experiences and rituals. Was there a common thread between your experiences in all of these places?
I would have to say that the theme was earth as our mother, the true remembrance of the different landscapes of the sacred all over the planet and how those landscapes are so directly related to me as a woman. So there was a very powerful and crucial element of me in connection with her as the earth. The more I was able to connect with the earth, the more I was connecting to the stars. That somehow through her, everything was accessible to me.
Oh yeah and then just four years ago, I know you had an experience that had a tremendous impact on you and the evolution of your work. You were diagnosed with fibroids. Jacqueline, you've written about how one doctor encouraged you to have a hysterectomy, which led you on a journey to use your voice and save your uterus and ultimately, connected you even deeper to your sacred womb. Can you tell us about this transformative experience?
Yes, thank you. So first I want to say this is why being attuned and connected is so vital because when we are, then we're just aware. And this is where having sisterhood is so vital because there's so many other women that have wisdom and that are able to hold and support us. Health issues are a huge deal for women who, for fibroids, for cancer. So having wise women in the periphery is very helpful. So for me, I obviously had some awareness, but I also had wise women. So I mean when the doctor said to me, the first one, "We are going to do a partial hysterectomy, blah, blah, blah." It was like a glaze went through my eyes, my body. I looked at him like he was crazy. I didn't even think that was an option and I was like, "You mean I'm not going to bleed again?"
And he was like, "No," and there are no words for it. It was bewilderment, absolute bewilderment. I was like, "I can't have another child?" But I just had a deep, deep knowing inside of me that the way in which I was being treated, what was coming through from this paradigm. It was so apparent and so painful. It was the full structure of the patriarchy in my face. But then also, that just in having the knowledge and feeling the support and the deep strength from within to be able to say, "Actually, no." And then suddenly all of these other doctors, because I was like, "Oh, I'm getting a lot of second opinions, third opinions, fourth opinions, let's do this. This is big, this is serious for me."
Now I realise how much I love her. This womb can't go anywhere. She is everything and these incredible men, interestingly enough, Syrian men. All of these Syrian doctors started to come up and I equate that with ancient. And that there was support coming in from me and they were like, "We don't want to take away your womb. We want you to keep your womb." And I was like, "I love you. That's wonderful." When I went to sleep, when I went under anaesthesia.
I just didn't know because the idea is, we're going to try our best to keep your womb, but when the fibroids, they grow all over and the uterus becomes enlarged. And so you just really don't know how much blood you're going to lose and what's going to happen. And then I saw grace and beauty in this incredibly hot and beautiful Syrian man with fantastic hands, that completely saved my uterus. And I just, it was the anniversary again, in October, of my surgery, October 4th and I called the office. He called me back and I was like, "I just wanted to thank you again because you have saved a life here."
And he was like, "Thanks, I don't get that, that often." And I'm like, "You get it from me." And I am like, ah, beyond grateful that I am able to continue to bleed. I could have had a hysterectomy and it could have been fine, but that was not my path. I needed more of her. I needed more teachings and more time and potentially even another child from her. And since then, I mean I felt loving towards her before that, but now I'm like... I'm like on a soul mission for the holy womb. And holy womb as holy womb in our bodies, holy womb as mother earth. Let's restore, let's restore and heal. We are resilient. We can do this. So more education and more support for women to make empowered decisions.
So we believe that by connecting with our cycles, we can deepen our relationships with our bodies and tap into our power, which is why we're here. Breaking the stigma and talking about periods on The Flow Down. How can ceremony or ritual reconnect us as women with those things, with our cycles and our power?
Well, ceremony, there are several pieces to ceremony. Number one, ceremony is fun. It feels good and it nurtures the soul. So it's a place where we then step into another realm. It's where the bridge comes together and says, I am human and I am bridging and connecting in divination. So as we go into these ceremonial spaces, the veil is then lifted and there are greater truths that are revealed. And then we begin to get snapshots of what those greater truths are for us. Bringing ourselves into the sacredness of everyday life and into ceremony creates a bridge for others and gives permission for women to remember so deeply who they are and who they come from and to seek their own liberation.
So we actually learned about you and your work through someone who participated in one of your Women's Red Rights sessions in New York. And from what we understand, that's when you take adult participants back in time to their first period. And she said that it was incredibly healing for her. So we were wondering if you could just describe this ceremony to us and explain a little bit about what it's like for people that take part.
Sure, that would be wonderful. It is one of my favourite offerings. So many women carry so much shame. So it is a really potent place of restoration and healing. So in a session, essentially, we go on a shamanic journey and travel back to the onset of a woman's first menstruation and we then lift all of the emotions, the psychological, sometimes it's trauma depending upon what was the experience? And start to release the energy from the cells and from the mental body, so to speak. And then I actually go into an instructional piece and there is like a place where they then can receive new information because can you imagine if all of us actually knew what to expect when we were going to bleed?
Like if our moms and grandmas sat down with us and said, "When you receive your first period, your blood is going to flow down. There's nothing to be afraid of." Just any of the details, then we might be like, "Oh yay, I'm so excited to receive this. I'm going to be a woman and this thing is going to happen to me." So I basically then go in and we connect with the psyche and share new information that they're going to feel safe, that this is the most wonderful thing that's ever going to happen to them in their life as a woman. And really prepare them and it's incredible what happens.
Then we travel back, forward in time. So we travel, it's like shape-shifting back in time and then we go back again, to before the period actually came. And then I take them to the day of the period. And on that day spirit comes through in all sorts of incredible forms, whatever the person needs. Like on whatever land that they need. So some women will end up in Ireland, some women will end up in Peru, wherever it is that they need to be. They are like looking around and they're like, "I think I'm in..." And it's fascinating and then all of their ancestors come in and it is an incredible ceremony of rebirth.
Wow and then after the ceremony I can imagine that just has profound effects on a woman's experience of her period. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Yes, well each woman is always different, just as though each ceremony is different. But different women have reported that their next cycle is different. That there is less cramping and they're like, "I can't even believe this." And I'm like, "Oh yes." So less cramping, less tension and some women have reported that they don't have headaches any more. And generally, I think that the consensus is the first one changes the cycle a bit.
So they might be a little bit late or something because there's a whole revamping of a current of energy. And yeah, the source is shifting. There's a major liberation at some level. So there is less cramping and women feel, this is the part that makes me smile ear to ear. Women feel so much more sourced. They literally feel like they belong to themselves and they have physical, huge activations in their wombs. It's like an entire grid system gets turned back on.
Wow, that is incredible. Now, I also know you do ceremonies for girls who are just about to get their first periods. You call it the First Blood Ceremony. Can you tell us more about that? If you had an 11 or 12-year-old girl in front of you right now, who didn't know much about what was coming, could you walk us through how you would support this young woman, who's about to bleed for the first time?
I would love to do that. First of all, what I want to say is, I would love her. I would love her so deeply and share in a space with her from a deep space of femininity. I would really want her mother and her family to be present if that was possible because that's so important. The mother and their aunties would equally be involved and I would dress her up and adorn her with flowers and prepare her by sharing wisdom and singing with her. And really bringing her into her body, so that she could know what it feels like to feel really safe in her femininity and to even understand what that is.
There would be instruction about what she might feel like, how it's safe for her to express herself and the sacredness, the teaching of what this means for her and what I would want to convey is that her life force is so valuable and that it's okay for her to be as big as she wants to be and as wild and playful as she wants to be. I would really inform her that the energy, the flirtation, the excitement that's running through her body is about to intensify. That it's essentially the onset of her sexual energy. Her first menstruation, it's the initiation into her power because her hormones are going to be opening in a new and vast way.
And there's all this life force that is going to be participating and coming through her. So she needs to know what that even potentially could look like for her, so that she can embrace it, that she's normal. Knowing that we're all the same. We all bleed, we all share really coming into sisterhood from the jump because it's so vital. So really, really bringing that through, so that she could feel the power and safety of what it feels like to be surrounded by women, as a woman.
Yeah, pretty different than how a lot of us experienced our first period.
It's very yummy.
And in your experience, working in a city, I know you work in New York City, but in cities in general, people tend to be so busy, we're all kind of stuck in our technology. Do you find that women are craving these experiences or are they open to it?
I feel that women are so destitute for connection and they're not even sure generally what type of connection or what they're seeking. But there is a deep hunger that they are searching for something. But I see that women are still really unsure about how to do that. So for some women, like I feel that dance and simple things that can get women engaged are a good bridge because not everybody is so open to unearthing the belief systems around menstruation, around this deep ceremonial work because they're still very much under the guise of religious structuring.
So I'm finding more and more that it's happening, but a lot of women that I come in contact with are still not ready to step into ceremony. And there is a different medium of language for many of them and I feel like it's just a matter of time because we're seeing it raise in great numbers all over the planet. Everywhere I go, there's women doing a ceremony and it's going to keep growing, which is fantastic. I think that there'll be women that will be led to doing a massive ceremony and there'll be women who walk a different line, but are still connected and sourced, but they don't feel called to some of the more ancient traditions and they'll embody a different synergy. And that's perfect because as long as they embody themselves, we're in business, yeah.
So for those of us who are coming away from this conversation inspired, but are not quite sure where to begin, can you share a simple ritual that we, as women, can do either on the full or the new moon?
Well, I actually would like to encourage, yes, you can do a ritual and do any type of practice on a full and new moon. But I really want to inspire women not to wait. It's really, really time for us to reconnect to our bodies. So really getting into our bodies and going into deep feeling states. So whatever that might look like for you. But essentially right now I have my hand just migrated to my heart and I just am like, want to rub my heart and I have one hand on my belly dropping down to my womb and I'm just gently massaging and stroking myself.
And when I'm doing that, I'm actually petting myself and bringing myself into a place where I'm calling myself. And our soul really resides in the womb. That's its nesting place. It's the seed of our power. So really just coming into a place of greater acceptance. So my scenario would be to light a candle and drop into your body, connect with your heart, connect and explore your body. Don't be afraid to touch your breasts and touch your stomach and give yourself the love that you've been wanting everybody else to give you and go in and open up your body, touch yourself, feel yourself.
So this is a great ceremony. This is the ceremony of ceremonies. You are the altar. So this could be done every day and I'm inspired and encouraged right now to do that. Then on full and new moon I do this practice and I do different practices. I work with fire, depends on what elements I need. But absolutely do let go of what no longer serves you and drop deep into what does and sometimes you can write some things down on paper and burn what you no longer need. But I'm inspired by song right now. Like womb song, just letting the body growl, saying speak. We are a living ceremony. So for those that are not ceremonialist, you can get started just by exploring yourself.
That's so great, thank you.
I was so moved, Jacqueline by one particular post that's on your blog that you wrote about your body, and the journey to love your body and level up with it after struggling against it for so long. I think that's something that a lot of women can relate to. So for someone who is in a place of not even wanting to sit with their body, not feeling in tune with the way it looks or the way it feels, what would you suggest? How can we begin to inch our way back towards ourselves?
Oh, it's so tricky and beautiful and we're all still walking through it. But I would have to say, we have to look at ourselves because, and I know that that has to come with a certain type of readiness. But for a person who is at least on the cusp and is like, "I want to want to love my body, even though I don't." There are two things I would say. One, in the shower, just again, touching and connecting and just feeling. And then feeling all the feelings that come up, all the pain because we essentially assault our bodies, right?
There is an absolute betrayal there and that, that's what needs to be felt. So more feeling into that and I would say sisterhood helps. Coming together and sharing the self-hatred and discussing it, so that you know that you're not the only one. That would be one piece I would say and then also looking at yourself in the mirror, sitting down naked in front of the mirror and just being with what is. It's going to pull up everything, all of the pain and I know that we're supported to walk through that. But it's really important to just be able to look at ourselves and find the beauty again because no one's going to find it for us. That's our job.
Yeah, and it's not an easy walk at all. And one more thing I want to add, what I have found to be unbelievably helpful is when we feel brave. I just, every time I go to a naked spa, I go to the Korean spa and I have to take off all my clothes in front of people. It's like... take a deep breath and just, it's like, Holy mother, really? And this happens every time and I'm like... And then I do it and it's unbelievable how normalised it is.
So we don't see other people's naked forms. So we isolate and think, we just see what's on TV and who we're supposed to be, right? But not necessarily that who we are is actually wonderful. And you walk around and all of these women have different shapes. It changes your total perspective on body, fat, small round, tall, hair, no hair. It's incredibly fascinating. It's like a science project. I just think that all women should experience that because it is transformative and so deeply healing.
I love it. So before we go, Jacqueline, I think you had one other thing to share with our listeners. Is that right?
Actually, I am going to read something. So let me just, I'm going to just invite all of our listeners to take a deep breath and just drop into the body a little deeper. They can connect down to the womb, connect down to the heart. I wrote this to my womb. Dear womb, I am intrigued by your depths and your infinite wisdom, your power, passion and fury infuse me with erotic creativity, summoning me to move into colourful rhythms of primal desire. Your pulse draws me down into the earth, where I open wide like a wildflower. You sing through me songs of the ancestors, bridging me through dimensions and back to the first spark of life.
You have been silenced through my consciousness and are now rising fiercely through my flesh, aligning me with the womb of great mother, anchoring the ancient seeds into the earth as I birth. I am ravenous with thirst as I awaken to your brilliance and honour you in continuous creation through the dance of life. May all women remember the depth and beauty that reside right in their own flesh. May they understand that they are holy life-givers and may they rebirth themselves into freedom and liberation and live ecstatically, speak ecstatically, feel ecstatically and give in to that source of life. That source which is her, the sacred feminine and the strength and the gifts. May they be fully activated and realised, we are all enough just as we are.
This has been incredible. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and your love with us today. As a last note, can you tell our listeners where they can find your work?
Sure, first of all, thank you both so much for the incredible work that you're doing. It is touching lives and I so admire your mission, so thank you for that.
I can be found by my name jacquelinerolandelli.com. Jacquelyn, J-A-C-Q-U-E-L-I-N-E, Rolandelli, R-O-L-A-N-D-E-L-L-I.com.
Beautiful, thank you.
Thank you so, so much.
Happy 2019 to everyone and thank you so much for tuning in to episode eight of The Flow Down Podcast. We hope you're feeling just as inspired as we are.
On our next step episode, we take a deeper dive into fibroids and period pain. We can't wait to share that important conversation with you.
If you liked this episode, please consider writing us a review on iTunes. We would be so grateful.
Our theme song is Crimson Wave performed by Tacocat courtesy of Hardly Art Records.
And that beautiful music you're hearing and that you heard throughout the episode, that's by Kalema, a friend of the podcast based in Argentina. You can find her on SoundCloud.
Thank you for tuning in. We'll see you next time, bye.
We start the year in reverence to our beautiful bleeding bodies. According to healer and shaman Jacqueline Rolandelli, our periods are not a burden − they're the key to our wisdom and our power. In this episode, we acknowledge how the patriarchy has disconnected women from their truth, and explore how to reconnect to our cycles, our wombs and Mother Earth. We hear about Jacqueline's "Red Rites" and "First Blood" ceremonies and learn rituals to practice in our own lives. Learn more about Jacqueline and her offerings at jacquelinerolandelli.com. This episode features music from our friend Kaleema. Here’s to making every day a ceremony in 2019!
Resources + links
More about Jacqueline Rolandelli