Menstruation, like sexuality, is richly lined with sediment colored by culture, gender roles, personal experience, ancestral psychic inheritance, taboo, and mystery. So as you might imagine, when the emphasis of my work on female sexuality widened to include the menstrual, the shift in use of the 4-Dimensional Wheel was quite fluid. From my very first introduction to this Wheel of Relational Sexuality, I was inspired by its capacity to be a temenos, a sacred and catalytic container, for dynamic exploration, healing, transformation, integration, and empowered embodiment. And as such, the 4-Dimensional Wheel encompasses the precise kind of psychotherapeutic approach largely unavailable to menstrual distress.
And so, I created Red Wheel, an intensive workshop that guides participants through the layers of their menstrual identity. In Red Wheel, participants are provided with a pre-workshop reflective exercise to identify two objects that anchor and concretize aspects of their menstrual experience. These objects are framed under the arch of one’s personal myth, the narrative thread that links us to our lived context, and compels us forward. One object holds the story of one’s menstrual bloodline: the/a story of menstruation from one’s family, culture, and upbringing. The menstruation which one has inherited. The other object holds the story of one’s menstrual legacy: the sense of the way in which one wants to relate to and with the menstrual, living forward.
An important element to this work is that Red Wheel welcomes those who are menstrually embodied – women/menstruators, and trans-men – as well for trans-women. This, I have found, is crucial to our times. And to me, this is the same as saying an inclusive approach is crucial to loosening the binds of bio-medical, reproductive, transcendent, and misogynistic views on PMS/PMDD, the female anatomy, embodied psychic autonomy, and authentic personhood. However one might identify, when menstruation is given the space to occupy its unique and individual role in body/soul/heart/mind wellness, rooted in the context of one’s life, psychic life blossoms. When the full complex beauty of who we are is engaged, authentic embodiment is empowered from the depths up and out.
Therefore, these two story-objects ground participants in the present moment of their menstrual experience. Participants introduce themselves to the 4-Dimensional Wheel through these objects, placing them intuitively at first within the four quadrants. From here begins the intensive exploration of the workshop. Visualization as well as movement-based Image Theatre exercises serve to invite and deepen into the unconscious, or unknown aspects of the narrative pieces that emerge as participants move through the Wheel.
It’s an honor to witness, hold, and guide what happens in this process. The insights, the surprises, the release, the shifts that come through walking the Red Wheel. Relationships to fertility, traumatic reproductive experiences, premenstrual distress, and ideas of womanhood and the feminine are unpacked, healed, transformed. Participants go home with their story-objects re-configured, their faces full of new blood.
I’ll be facilitating a Red Wheel • Embody Menstruation workshop Saturday, June 25th from 10:30am – 5:30pm in Hudson, New York. If you’d like to join, or know someone who might, see here for details.
Dr. Roxanne Partridge, CHt is known for inspiring and guiding others into embodying their unique fullness.
The heart, soul, vision, and flesh of Roxanne’s work for the past eight years has been dedicated towards the deepening and expanding of embodied experiences of the self, through thresholds of sexuality and menstruality. In her practice and her writing and speaking engagements, she is an advocate for equal rights to imagination for all things related to the image of what is female.
Roxanne received her PhD in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, California. Informed by Jungian, liberation, and eco-psychological theory and practices, Depth Psychology is inherently holistic. Depth Psychology attends to the nuances of experience in the context of daily life, cultural and familial backgrounds, and manifestations of the unconscious, such as dreams. Importantly, this paradigm sees troublesome emotional and behavioral symptoms, suffering, and questions of identity as invitations into a deeper and wider understanding of personal purpose, potential, healing, and transformation. Roxanne received her Clinical Hypnotherapy certification from the Santa Barbara Institute of Hypnotherapy.
Roxanne’s background in holistic therapies and the arts forms a creative container for deep and catalytic work.