Vedic Hinduism and Pagan religion believed that the alignment of the moon and celestial bodies that is, the nakshatras, gave the female her core strength and her ability to reproduce and regenerate. Menstruation marks the birth of fertility and this rangoli tries to show this phase of a woman’s life. This rangoli is made by some bright students of IIT Kharagpur.
The upper region of rangoli depicts the universe and the celestial bodies. The moon cycle mirrors a woman’s menstrual cycle, which lasts roughly 29.5 days, just as the waxing and waning of the moon. A woman’s menstrual cycle changes from the menstruation of new growth to the ovulation of full power and blossom, to the pre-menstrual phase of harvest and degeneration, and back to menstruation of renewal again. Here you can see Venus, the Greek goddess of love, beauty, femininity, fertility and prosperity. The entire energy of the universe concentrates, forming a spiral, bestowing all its power to give women their inner strength.
The menstrual blood is sacred and self-nourishing, as you can see in the centre. These flames represent her core strength to fight her inner demons and also Indian celebrations or yagyas performed when a girl first menstruates. The lotus symbolizes the womb and water her ability to be calm and composed during tense situations. The greenery depicts her connection with Mother nature, the butterflies her freedom and flowers her beauty and elegance.
To the right is painted a picture of the harsh realities of today, because early religions never considered menstruation are unholy or impure. Whether ovulating or bleeding, struggling with pre-menstrual syndrome or conception, our bodies, energy levels, sense of self, even our abilities are constantly shifting each and every day. And yet, nobody talks about it – a taboo among more mundane and everyday topics.
The myths, such as, a menstruating woman is dirty and impure, that she cannot worship, that when she touches a tree, it wilts and that can she cannot lead a normal life during that phase are baseless, for it’s not the inner you but only the biology that is changing. Let us accept that menstrual blood is pure, sacred and respect women for being blessed with the power to give birth.
As Manu from Hindu Mythology says in Manusmriti, “Yatra Naryastu Pujyante, Ramanti Tatra Devtaha, Yatraitaastu Na Pujyante, Savastatra Afalaha Kriyaha” Which means ‘the divine are extremely happy where women are respected, but where they are not, all actions, even the holiest and purest, are fruitless’. Let’s talk about menstruation freely, not as if it’s a taboo and let the flower of fertility blossom.