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The Sacred Female Cycle

The Sacred Female Cycle

The Four Seasons of Women’s Wisdom

Suzanne Mathis McQueen is a keeper of women’s mysteries. The author of 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks, she is renowned for defining natural rhythm principles that are critical to female balance, joy, and optimal experiences in health, business, and love.

Go to 4s4w.com to receive updates on Suzanne’s annual retreat, workshop schedule, and upcoming DailyOM.com 8-week course. Join her free women’s FB group at bit.ly/4s4wSisterhood.

Suzanne Mathis McQueen is an American author, workshop facilitator, feminist, inspirational leader and carrier of a water medicine bowl gifted to her in the Lakota Way. She is best known for her work with the symbolism and primal wisdom of the lunar rhythmic female hormones. She wrote “4 Seasons in 4 Weeks,” a symbolic journey through the 28 days of the female hormonal experience.

What do people come to you for, Suzanne? When it really comes down to it, I would say that people come to me with their secrets and vulnerabilities. I feel really honored, actually, that they trust me to hold space for them and have an honest and helpful conversation about whatever’s going on. I also help women who believe in their inherent power yet feel overwhelmed find balance and clarity each day. I teach them how to tap into the energetic flow of their monthly hormonal rhythm, a navigational system within that follows a monthly body clock.

Do you work with mostly women? Yes, and men as well.

What type of vulnerabilities? Men come to me to more deeply understand how to align with their partners because I teach about the monthly hormonal cycle, the lunar cycle, and also the rhythmic sex drive of women. I give workshops on this. The men come away with a more well-rounded wisdom in these areas, and have given some of my most heartfelt testimonials. Naturally, this topic ripples out into the realm of relationships. Men feel very safe to ask all kinds of questions because I’ll talk about anything as long as it’s respectful. I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t feel vulnerable in the area of sex and relationships no matter how empowered they are normally. Sometimes they’ll say something like, “I don’t want to talk to my partner about these things—just tell me the secrets to approaching her and I’ll try it.” I give them information that will help them align better with co-creating the relationship they really want.

Are these conversations around intimacy “secret” because society doesn’t encourage them? There’s a lot of shame put on these topics, sexuality and also what I call a woman’s monthly rhythm. It’s under the surface but it’s there. We all get a lot of mixed messages, particularly about what we can and can’t do. We’re supposed to be empowered, we’re supposed to be who we really are but society is really not supportive or kind to us in these areas. We don’t get good information. Plus, most of us feel that everyone else knows more than we do. Feeling somewhat embarrassed, it’s hard to reach out for more information because we don’t want to be identified as someone who knows so little. We feel it’s a problem others don’t have, which keeps us from getting the information we need.

Don’t we all have concerns about the same things? We all want to fit in. We want to know more. We want to have more confidence.

Is this why it’s important to get together in groups for support? I do this with women, which is very helpful. I believe women yearn to be in circle with each other, they yearn to be in sisterhood. When women get together, they discover how lonely they actually are. They don’t realize it because they’re so busy day in and day out. Morning, noon and night, they’re holding it together in all areas of their lives, whether they have children or not. They have a hard time sitting down, they have a hard time resting, they’re always doing-doing-doing. When they get together at a retreat, we have an annual retreat in June, all of a sudden they begin to pleasurably sink in. When it’s time to leave, they don’t want to. Not because they don’t want to see their families but because they don’t want to leave the bond they’ve created with each other. There’s a lot of crying that goes on, mostly about some grief for something they’ve missed out on in the past or something they haven’t incorporated into their lives.

You mentioned that society gives women a lot of mixed messages. Yes, politically, culturally. Nobody wants us to be very powerful, actually, even though they say they do.  It’s in the mental realm but not yet desired and embedded in the heart and soul of society. It’s an underlying stress we women just learn to roll with; we try to figure out how to walk that path. It’s challenging and lives in the deepest corners of our personal essences.

Those aren’t empowering signals society is delivering. And yet you don’t sound bitter; you sound upbeat. Well, true, because I like to move forward. I’m a real Mama Bear and I will stand up and say something when I need to. My intention now is about building the new model or, more accurately, rebuilding the ancient model. I’ve been an advocate for women my entire life. I don’t want to bicker with anyone anymore about the politics of what women should or shouldn’t be allowed to do. The idea that women still need to persuade the world they are deserving, capable and trustworthy makes me feel ill. It’s upsetting when others continue to feel they have the right to control us. It feels like an assault on the divine design and the divine responsibilities of women to protect themselves. Instead, I, along with so many others, am building a big, beautiful temple over here, per se, a different model, where women and men can go and feel comfortable and empowered. Where they can feel joy within themselves and have their “medicine” for the planet supported. This new model I speak of is an entirely different way to view women. When we can honestly honor the feminine and masculine balance, we can then align with who we really are as well as the things in the world we think of as being feminine, such as the environment and homelessness/hunger, home and hearth issues.

What is your approach when people come to you with ailments? The Mayan shamans believed if someone is physically sick, they are first sick in spirit. That’s what I think needs to be addressed or listened to by allowing the person to just speak and be heard and ask questions if they like. I look for their true gifts and like to follow that road. With women, I can help them tap into that by following the wisdom of their hormonal sequence.

Western medicine doesn’t typically take this holistic perspective. Other types of philosophies look at the whole person but Western medicine has not typically looked at the bigger picture of who this person really is much less witness and acknowledge who this person really is. Sometimes I think that is all someone needs. We, as individuals, are not acknowledged enough for our gifts. People have so many secret gifts because society or families tell us we need to be something else, so we hide them.

You wrote a book called “4 Seasons in 4 Weeks.” What does that mean? It’s a non-technical humanistic look at a woman’s monthly cycle. Society tells us we’re crazy, that we have mood swings, but this is just not the case. Women are actually lunar-rhythmic. All of us, men and women alike, are rhythmic thinkers. We all have a circadian rhythm, a 24-hour body clock, which was proven in the 1950s. Every rhythm in the universe has a resting phase (sleep), a building phase (morning), an expressing phase (midday), and a deconstructing phase (evening) and back to rest. Nobody thinks it’s crazy to have different energies at different times of the day or throughout the different seasons. Yet, we’ve not been taught to view a woman’s monthly cycle as a natural, predictable rhythm. I’ve also found that this rhythm stays with us beyond menopause—it’s just subtle. As females, our bodies have been designed to support this lunar rhythm, no matter where it falls within our monthly cycle. Every woman has their own new moon phase, starting when their period or cycle begins.

The resting phase speaks for itself. What’s the building phase about? Let me first say that the resting phase is important because not only is it the most important phase for healing body, mind and emotions but when done well, will bring our most potent visions. Each phase, which occurs daily and monthly,  has many layers to it. The building phase is about taking action due to the fact that the hormones are building, taking action to build the uterine lining. Women need to understand the awesome power of this and also the self-sabotaging aspect of it. This second phase, which also occurs during the second week of a woman’s lunar cycle,  is, generally, the time a woman is openhearted and loves everyone. Her primal body is trying to attract a mate and, sexually, she is intoxicated. So, it’s a “yes” week. She is more likely to say yes to a potential partner or yes to volunteering when “no” would be a better idea.

You’ve called this the party-girl phase. This is a “yes” phase. I’m not joking when I tell clients, “Take a friend to a party to make sure you don’t walk out the door with someone who probably isn’t a good idea!” It’s important to be mindful about the purpose of this week hormonally because it’s an intoxication. It’s an extreme phase. It’s not a balanced phase. However, on a metaphysical and spiritual level, we’re becoming the light. We are filling with light, exponentially, and we all know what that feels like, to be filling with joy and excitement, and everything is connecting. It’s so thrilling. It’s beautiful.

What goes up must come down? Yes. The third phase is the balance. Ovulation or creation happens, which is the most amazing thing in the universe because it’s a perfect Earth-Spirit alignment. The idea of a sperm and egg coming together—it doesn’t get much more primordial than that. This is as Earth-ancient as anything can possibly get. And there is nothing more spiritual than the idea of creation. I tell women, “Do you realize what that means? Do you realize what you’re carrying? You’re this sacred temple that has the possibility of having one hand on the Earth and one hand in the ethers, and bringing it all into one.” It’s not only about creating a human being; it’s the potential of anything, profound beyond words. It’s true goddess energy. Every woman needs to take that in and understand how amazing and powerful that is. Every single female on the planet is capable beyond measure. Every human is lucky enough to be baptized straight through the female, so everyone benefits from this sacred alignment.

What are some things people have said after seeing you privately or in a workshop? The one thing I get over and over again from women, and I know this sounds cliché, is, “This changed my life.” They say this because this way of understanding themselves completely changes the way they look at their power and place in the world. One woman who’s a big leader for women’s empowerment groups called me and said, “I read your whole book last night and I was in my partner’s arms just sobbing. I realized I’m not crazy. You showed me this. This all makes so much sense. It’s a natural rhythm of the universe. This is so simple. Why haven’t we been teaching it in this way?” Another woman told me she makes all of her business appointments based on the four phases.

That’s high praise. I find it humbling and heart-warming when I hear these things. We’re all lightworkers, and when our work resonates with others, we know we’ve found alignment with those in need and are fulfilling our purpose.

In the book, you deconstruct the idea of PMS. I completely get rid of the idea of PMS altogether because it’s not a syndrome. This is such a ridiculous concept, and women are brutally criticized for this fourth week of the cycle, the deconstructing phase.

Because of a lack of understanding? Yes, even women are trying to get as far away from the week before their period, the week they’re “PMS-ing,” as much as possible because of all the verbal assaults and stereotypes attached to it. There’s nothing more disrespectful to us as humans than to look at women this way. I get rid of the idea that it’s a syndrome (unless you’re truly suffering and have the type that causes extreme challenges). I call it the firewalk because I see it as a ceremony, as a strong initiation. This is the deconstruction phase after all. The body’s figured out it’s not having a baby. The uterine lining has to come down, which means we lose our feel-good hormones. During this week, progesterone takes this deep dive, going down as fast as it went up. We’ve already started losing estrogen. It’s a firewalk because, during this time, we’re forced to face our fears. We’re in survival mode. We’re responding to any threat to our security, our children’s security, our circle’s security and survival. And this is also a real problem-solving phase. When we learn to recognize when we’re in it and acknowledge the benefits of it, we can learn to navigate this rite of passage to handle our challenges. Then we really understand the power of our well-rounded cycles, our womb wisdom. Facing our fears and challenges are things we humans don’t do very well and we need for the women to take this monthly opportunity to practice how to walk through this. The firewalk isn’t easy to master but when it is mastered, it provides the biggest form of empowerment because it’s very different than what society has taught us about ourselves. It’s the number one thing that brings relief because we finally feel validated about what we’ve known all along: As women, we’re amazing, important, creative and brilliant.

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