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Abso-bloody-lutely: Five uses for your period blood every month


TextLouise Trueheart

A face mask, as paint, in rituals, and more – this guide unlocks the hidden benefits of menstruation

Period blood is a highly dynamic and powerful substance. Mystically speaking, the main thing period blood represents is the idea of the cycle. Something that grows, holds, releases, and rests, like the seasons of the year. The blood that comes out of you is only one part of the cycle, but it carries the energy of the cycle as a whole, and of cycles in general. With that in mind, the period is just as much a symbol of life-generation or as it is a symbol of death and the underworld. 

However, when searching the internet for resources about menstrual blood, it is easy to encounter ideas like “our bodies,” the “divine feminine,” and “mother earth.” Don’t be fooled by this gender normativity. Everybody needs to reconnect with the cycles of the moon and earth, with their bodies and with nature, whether they bleed or not. Not all people who get their periods are women, and not all women get their period. Period!

Scientists devoted to researching stem cells found that the lining of the uterus, and therefore period blood, are full of them. Period blood stem cells proliferate faster than the stem cells in umbilical cords and can be persuaded to transform into all kinds of cells, including those found in fat, muscle, bone, and nerves. You can do so much with your period blood, but the most important thing is that you don’t waste it. Treasure it. Would you throw breast milk down the toilet? This is the same. 

“You can do so much with your period blood, but the most important thing is that you don’t waste it. Treasure it. Would you throw breast milk down the toilet? This is the same”

Many people use menstrual cups to collect their period blood, and most of the suggestions below assume you will be using one. However, you can always squeeze the blood out of your tampons, or use freshly removed tampons as applicators for suggestion number one. But the nice thing about cups is that we get to experience the materiality of the blood, it isn’t mixed in with artificial smells and chemicals, and pouring blood into a jar is generally a more aesthetic experience than squeezing out an old tampon. 

To collect, bring a jar with you to the toilet, and when you have removed the cup from inside your body, pour the contents of it into your jar and close the lid. Always store your period blood in the fridge. Also, use it quickly. Some smell is not a big deal (it basically comes with the package) but given how period blood isn’t exactly a rare substance, no need to ‘save it for later’ only to get grossed out by 10-day-old blood. 

If you do end up throwing it away, think twice about how. Obviously, period blood is an excellent fertiliser because it is the original fertiliser. Plants love it and you can give it to them in two ways. The first way is to dilute it by pouring a full menstrual cup’s worth into a large container of water. The second way, for struggling plants, is to take a homoeopathic approach and put a few droplets into a plant every day and stay attuned to how it affects them. Remember that there are plants all around you, not just houseplants, so you could easily water the trees and bushes around your house with blood or take it to a nearby forest. 

DO A FACE MASK

Active regenerative stem cells? Life-nurturing nutrients? Heady, rich minerals? These words could easily be written on the back of a $50 face mask. Turns out your body produces these ingredients every month, for free, and that they are amazing for smooth, young-looking skin. Yes. You know what I am getting at. The period blood face mask. Here’s how to do it: 

Prep by cleaning your face and wearing either nothing or a t-shirt you don’t mind getting dirty. Collect the blood from your menstrual cup and put it in a little container. The fresher the blood the better here. Using clean fingers, apply this amazing liquid to face and neck, avoiding getting too close to your eyes and mouth. Because of its liquid consistency, only a thin layer will stay on, which you can build up by adding more blood on top. It dries even quicker than a clay mask, but you can leave it on for about 15-20 minutes, or as long as feels right. 

The effect is cooling. The mask can smooth your skin, treat acne, and many people swear over its youthful effect. Not surprising that blood is considered the ‘fountain of youth’. It is safe to use someone else’s blood for this mask, but the fresher the better, and make sure to check in about common vaginal ailments like vaginosis, or STDs. 

It’s astounding how trolls have shamed people on YouTube and across the internet for sharing ways of using your blood. This may also occur in real life. Be mindful of this and prepare yourself for some backlash if you are working on this publicly or publishing it on social media. Please know that you are amazing and that no piece of shit troll will ever be as fulfilled and whole as you, loving your body, your face covered in your precious nutritious blood.

DO A RITUAL TO HEAL SHAME

Periods aren’t easy. From physical pain to logistical annoyance, nobody relishes the ordeal that is a period. To make matters worse, people who bleed have been shamed and reviled for thousands of years because of what is essentially a bodily function. It’s called dirty. It should be hidden away. We whisper the words “tampon” to each other in public restrooms. We grip them in our hands and discreetly press them into the palms of the stranger, always out of sight. 

Shame hurts. It permeates many aspects of our life and can hugely affect our mental health. That’s why it’s important to make space in your life to handle shame and your relationship to it. What better representation of shame than period blood? Each month, collect some of your period blood and put it into a ritual container that you place before you. Light a candle, and add anything to this altar that you feel called to. 

Then, take some of the blood and put it into your hands. Play with it. Feel it. Smell it. Make friends with it. Take more if you like. Be with it. Whisper words to your chosen or familial ancestors. Give gratitude to the lineages that brought you here today. Then, take the container of blood and gaze into it. Meditate with your eyes on the blood for 15 minutes or so, listening for any messages that may come through.  

Want more blood magic? The most comprehensive list of ways to incorporate period blood into magical practice is here

MAKE NAIL POLISH

This totally untested recipe could be fun to try if you are the sexy combination of crafty, into make-up, and a daredevil. Shop for a nail lacquer base on a website like this. Good to have a little funnel, some silver mixing balls, and a clean nail polish container as well. 

If I were to try this, which for the record I have not, I would first strain some first or second day ruby-red-and-bloody type period blood into a container, thereby removing any chunks (go bury the chunks under a bush!). I’d then plop the mixing balls into the empty nail polish container, fill it about ¾ of the way full with the lacquer base, then, using the funnel, I’d add some blood. 

Now, I know that chemistry is a big part of this process, and I don’t know how organic matter reacts to lacquer. However, if the result I got was unsatisfactory, I would probably add a little nail polish remover to the mix. The cheap and easy version of this is to just take some clear polish you already have at home and try mixing in some blood. You could even add glitter! 

Hygienically speaking, I feel intuitively like the chemicals in the lacquer (words like Ethyl Acetate, Nitrocellulose, Isopropyl Alcohol, Silica, N-Butyl Alcohol, etc) kind of cancel out the growth of unhealthy bacteria that develop if period blood hangs out in oxygen for too long. Have a go! 

PAINT WITH IT 

Another great way to use your blood is to make paintings with it. Take some blood, take a big piece of paper, take a paintbrush or your fingers, and do what your heart compels you. Do it for fun, for play. This is a time for you, your body, your creative self, and for period appreciation. You can paint with your eyes closed or using your non-dominant hand if you would like to make it more magical – think of it as channelling your subconscious. 

Once you sense you are finished, you can gaze upon the painting and consider what messages might be coming through. Doing this is really good for our mental health because sometimes, especially during the period, a lot of feelings are being released that have been built up over the rest of the cycle. Externalising this into a painting can be really therapeutic. 

Online mindfulness and meditation guru Teal Swan has a great overview of reclaiming one’s period, and her version of the period blood painting instructions can be found at minute 19:20. If you have friends who don’t have periods but are into *this kind of thing* then a generous thing to do is to let them know that you would be open to sharing some of it with them. Obviously each person feels differently about handing their buddy a jar of blood. Do discuss your comfort levels around this and the logistics (fridge-wise) of the transaction.

AMPLIFY YOUR DREAMS 

Before bed, place a dot of period blood onto your third eye. As you fall asleep, call in dreams and visions that you need to see right now. When you wake up, be sure to write down what you saw in your dream journal. Do this for a few nights in a row and you will start to notice a difference between what you dream of when you are on your period and when you are not. What is this part of the monthly cycle trying to tell you? Are there any themes, symbols, or messages coming through? 

Working with our dreams is really important because they offer shimmering glimpses of our subconscious. I’m not a dream interpreter or a fan of psychologising (read: pathologising) yourself via your dreams. However, if the goal is to be a sensitive person who notices how various aspects of life filter through my body and to understand how I play a part – how my existence is manifested in this chaotic cosmic web – then pay attention to dreams and use your period to amplify them.

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