If you’re Asian, you would have grown up with an aversion to walking under other people’s underwear (hard to avoid in cities where laundry hangs on bamboo poles from high-rise apartments).
You don’t want water from underpants (even when they’re washed) dripping on your head – yech, bad luck! But even more importantly, you must steer clear of women’s underthings because women menstruate, and that’s super ‘unclean’.
This notion of menstruation being dirty and henceforth sullying all women from puberty to menopause is a part of Asian culture. There are so many taboos surrounding the monthly cycle that women in the old days must have been handicapped for a week of every month.
My mother used to say that when your “friend” visits, women should not touch auspicious plants like the pomegranate, or make certain traditional cakes. The result would be a withered plant and a ruined cake. It sounded like menstruating women turned radioactive.
Male family members were especially protected against the taint of women’s blood. It wasn’t so bad for us in Singapore, but in some places, superstition and even religious beliefs led to poor hygiene as women tried not to dirty or contaminate communal wash areas.
“According to WaterAid, women and girls in some South Asian communities, for instance, are not allowed to use water sources during menstruation and nearly 20% of those interviewed refrained from using latrines during their periods despite having access to them – See more at: http://blogs.adb.org/blog/menstrual-hygiene-management-taboo-must-be-broken#sthash.yQo3me6N.dpuf”
Of course, this seemingly imbecilic taboo must have been created by men as elders, priests and all leaders were mostly male in ancient times. But are there valid reasons, and why do even New Age practitioners advise women not to carry out sacred rituals while menstruating?
Finally, an acceptable explanation when I chanced on an old book in my collection. Published in 1996 (Piatkus), from Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston, here’s an excerpt:
It is best not to do Space Clearing if you are pregnant, menstruating or have an open flesh wound
Let me say straight away that this is nothing to do with women having ‘the curse’, or anything like that. It is because of the blood element, which can apply to both men and women alike.
In many religions, women are not allowed into temples when they are menstruating. Feminists get indignant at this, but perhaps they wouldn’t if they really understood the underlying reasons. In Bali, it is not just menstruating women who are not allowed into temples but anyone who is bleeding in any way at all.
One reason is that blood attracts lower levels of entities, and they don’t want those entities in the temple because they want to keep it as clean and pure as possible. Western studies of groups of people who go into jungles or into places far from civilization have shown that if ever they are set upon by wild animals, it is the menstruating women they go for first, and their second choice is anyone with an open flesh wound! Exactly the same thing happens in the realms of energy where lower levels of entities are concerned.
Another absolutely different reason why menstruating women in particular are not allowed into temples is because they are not able to handle the high levels of energy in temples while their bodies are involved in the monthly process of internal cleansing. All their energies are turned inwards, and this is a time when their life force is at its lowest ebb. Women lose life-force energy through menstruation in the same way that men lose it through their ejaculation.
Space Clearing is about cleansing externally, and women are not equipped to do this so well at the time of the month they are doing their own internal electromagnetic cleansing. I used to sometimes do Space Clearing when I had my period but I found I got a lesser result and I felt more exhausted afterwards. Nowadays I never do Space Clearing when I have my period, and I certainly wouldn’t do a full-scale consecration ceremony while menstruating.
Similarly, during pregnancy, a woman’s energies are turned inwards because they are in the process of building and nourishing a new life inside. Also, everything that happens to the mother is transmitted directly to the sensitive foetus inside her.
To protect the child and nourish the mother, pregnancy is a time for a woman to have her partner do Space Clearing for her. In ancient cultures women would go into ‘confinement’ during the time they were pregnant, which was for the entire gestation period, not just for the few hours while they were in labour (or for Asians, for a month after delivery).
From the time they conceived they would live in the elevated atmosphere of a specially created place apart from other members of the tribe, to give that new life the best possible opportunity. They knew that the most formative time in a person’s life was the time spent in the womb.
Note: Karen Kingston is updating her book.
“My first book, Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui, has sold over a million copies in 16 languages. There have been so many developments in my space clearing work since then that I am now writing a completely new book that will replace it.”
For information, visit https://www.karenkingston.com/web/