Our Lady of the Precious Blood
Period. Cycle. That time of the month. Aunt Flow. Have the painters in. Crimson tide. On the rag. Shark week. A 2016 study conducted by the International Women’s Health Coalition found that there are more than 5000 slang terms or euphemisms for the word ‘period’.
I’ve experienced this myself when training for my black belt and was asked to use the word ‘Medusa’ instead of saying I was on my period and would refrain from certain training. I kid you not. I refused to comply or ask any of the women I trained with to do so.
I decided to do this a bit off centered or ‘slightly off’ as I often feel that way when having an aggressive cycle. The extended decorative halo is rough an uneven but still draws attention to her glory! Her halo is an unfurled tampon, a triumphant open flower of womanhood. It symbolizes the fact that menstrual products are often taxable as a ‘luxury item’ rather than a necessity.
She wears armor to shield others from being ‘unclean’. An X is over her mouth to prevent her from speaking about her period, as that would be ‘offensive’ and ‘rude’.
On her right is the full moon looking with disdain at being associated with a woman’s time of hysteria. On her left are the icons of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, 3 religions that have looked at women as filthy, frenzied subordinates because of the nature of their bodies.
In her left hand she holds a toad. In medieval times, the church considered menstruation a reminder of ‘Eve’s original sin’ and so did not make pain relief readily available to women in need. Ingesting powdered toad to relieve cramps and heavy flow was totally acceptable though…
In her right hand she clutches lavender, which was often used to mask the smell of blood that some found distasteful. Both flowers and toad ashes were often worn in pouches around the neck to discretely dispel odor, but Our Lady wears it right out front-so that those offended can be reminded it is their shame that makes them uncomfortable-not hers.