Manatakaģ American Indian Council













By Stephanie M. Schwartz, Freelance Writer, Member, Native American Journalists Association (NAJA)

Excerpted from the book, ďAn Old Woman SpeaksĒ  © 2009


Today we are facing a new Era.  The ancient Mayan culture speaks of this change, the ending of their old calendar in 2012, and the beginning of a new age.  They, along with many other indigenous cultures, also speak that this coming time will be one of a more feminine nature, based in the heart.


But women in our modern world have a problem.  Thus far, they have begun to become financially empowered and professionally empowered.  Yet the most important need, for spiritual empowerment, has often been neglected or ignored. 


Our world is already in the time of transition and it will be a difficult time until the new era blossoms into an age of peace and understanding.  If our world is to survive, spiritually empowered women must take their place in helping.  Itís time for them to step up and step out.  The time of hiding is over.  


Most ďawareĒ people know that it is necessary to heal our Grandmother Earth if we are to survive.  However, it is equally as imperative to also heal each other through love, compassion, respect and, most of all, prayer.  Prayers of the heart are one of the most powerful influences in the universe.  Moreover, women also need to help men develop their own feminine aspects of gentleness and sensitivity, compassion, nurturing, and kindness.  They need to help men learn to work from the heart.


If we donít do all of this, we canít help our planet and humanity risks extinction.


Women are powerful, truly powerful, with unique gifts that are far-reaching.  That is why they have been considered a threat by so many male-dominated modern cultures and religious hierarchy.  Women are especially tuned to walk in both the spiritual world and the mundane world.  They are particularly adept at creating energy and change.  Their great capacity for bonding has made them especially empathic and gifted at seeing and understanding past surface levels.  Ultimately, their roles as caretakers and nurturers have opened their hearts and awareness to many levels of the universe.  Their spiritual gifts can be profound.


Unfortunately, women have begun to lose that understanding of their gifts as they have grappled to survive in the callous societies of today.  Many live tentative, cold, and fragmented lives as victims of violence, victims of unspeakable offenses against honor.  Too often, their hearts and spirit have become uncertain and lost, awash in grief and fear.  They have forgotten who they are.  They have forgotten their original instructions as human beings and as women.


Yet, most indigenous cultures recognized the unique and powerful qualities of women.  In many cultures they were revered and respected.  In some, the entire societal structure was Matriarchal.  In others, the special spiritual gifts of women were recognized and they were considered to be the nurturing connection to the Divine.  Throughout the indigenous world, women often held the honored roles of leaders, advisors, or wisdom-keepers.  Many times, they were also found as the community healer and seer, although in some cultures that was reserved for women in their post-menopausal years.


It was also fully recognized that a womanís moon-time, her period of menstruation, was her most powerful, albeit her most uncontrolled, time.  More importantly, however, her moon-time was considered her own personal sacred ceremony, a time where she is quite literally shedding her blood for humanity, purging and purifying herself to make room for the creative energies and life to arrive.


Due to the sacredness of this, some indigenous cultures sequestered their women away from the village during their moon-time.  This wasnít a banning or shunning as is popularly assumed today.  This was a period of protection and rest from the duties of their very hard lives, a few days off each month.  It was where they were waited upon by other women and served food they didnít have to cook themselves.  It was also a time for reflection or sharing and bonding with other women.  In short, it was a time of respect and honor and rest.


During this time, they also did not participate or go near any ceremony being conducted outside their seclusion.  There was good reason for this.  The main reason, very logical, is that it is never a good idea to cross ceremonies (start a ceremony while another one is in process).  At best, it just all blows up and becomes so diluted into confusion that nothing happens for anyone.  At worst, you can get some very crossed energies going with highly negative and chaotic results.  Therefore, since the women were already in their own ceremony, it was highly unadvisable for them to go near anyone elseís ceremony.


A secondary reason was simply the powerful but raw, uncontrolled energies that sometimes occur when a woman is on her moon-time.  Few women know how to control it and that kind of energy is quite literally capable of blasting anyone and anything, intentionally or unintentionally.  If you donít know what I mean then simply think of the last time you crossed a woman who was on her moon-time.  Itís not a pretty sight.


The ancient cultures all knew and understood these things.  Unfortunately, the truth has often been lost along the way to modern times or misconstrued and twisted into untruth.  Women have nearly forgotten their place in the Universe.


So itís time that women start looking at their power, their bodies, and their cycles with respect instead of as a ďcurse.Ē  Itís vitally important that women choose to heal themselves and regain the understanding of their own unique gifts; to re-claim their own power and themselves.  Then it will be up to each woman, her beliefs, and her Divine as how to best walk with it all.


It is said we are the sacred 7th generation.  For our children and grandchildren, for the next 7 generations, for ourselves, itís time for women to harness their power and get to work helping to save our world.  Women can do it; they are particularly suited for this need.  But itís a choice.


To quote an ancient indigenous song, ďWomen of the earth, take courage.  You carry the teaching of a people who look to you for guidance.  Be mindful of your walk.Ē


We are the ones we have been waiting for.  Itís time to step up.  And yes, Iím speaking to you.


Stephanie M. Schwartz may be reached at

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