Seven Year Cycles of Womanhood

“Seven is the number accorded to the Moon’s cycles… Seven days of creation, seven days to a week, and so forth. But beyond these mystical understandings is one far greater and it is this: A woman’s life is divided into phases of seven years each. Every seven year period stands for a certain set of experiences and learnings. Since the beginning of time, women’s lives have been divided into phases, most having to do with the changing powers of her body. Sequentializing a woman’s physical, spiritual, emotional and creative life is useful so that she is able to anticipate and prepare for “what comes next.” What comes next is the province of the instinctual Wild Woman. She always knows. Yet, across time, as the old initiation rites fell away, the instruction of the younger women by the older women about these inherent womanly stages was also hidden away. Here are cycles of seven years each, stretching across a woman’s entire lifetime. Each has its rites and its tasks. It is up to us to fill them in.” - Clarissa P. Estes

This new month of December has been one of full transparency for me. I have come to this space of realization about the last seven years of my life and what that means to me.  As I look back on that time, I can see so clearly how I’ve grown and changed and I feel so deeply in my heart that I am beginning a new seven year cycle.  I literally woke up the other morning and just knew that something was different. Now that I have settled into my new home, I can see this space, in my heart, that has been created. And somehow, that space, seems different than before.

image by Richard Casteel

image by Richard Casteel

The theme in all of my yoga classes this week was the seven year cycle. I asked my students to look back on where they were seven years ago, and how they have changed. What about you? What were you like seven years ago? 

As I look back on this time for myself- I see amazing changes that for some reason, I am just now fully seeing.

Seven years ago, I was 19 and had just separated from my twin sister for the first time in our lives. I remember feeling so afraid that something would happen to her. We called each other about 10 times a day for that first semester of separating! It needed to happen but was oh so scary when it did. The next year, age 20, I was still in college and began suffering my first bout of face-numbing panic attacks. I remember being so afraid and so LOST.  By age 21, I was taking a little white pill twice a day; my anxiety & panic attacks disappeared but was replaced by barely no feeling at all. I turned 22 and moved out to Austin, Texas with my twin.  It changed my life.

After a few months here, I began a daily Yoga practice and started following an Ayurvedic diet. I quit drinking caffeinated coffee, cut out ALL processed sugars and bread and started the slow process of weaning myself off of meds. By the time I turned 23, I was fully off of medication. At 24, I finished my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training- it was an amazing lesson in what I could accomplish both physically & mentally! At age 25 I attended my first Vipassana meditation course; I learned more in 10 days than I had in my entire lifetime. Right after I turned 26, I quit my full time desk job to challenge myself to think about the bigger picture in how I want my life to look. 

Of course there have been so many ups and downs in the last seven years. Some days, I felt like I took one step forward and 20 steps back. I can truly say, though, that I didn’t feel this immense love for myself until quite recently.  And THAT has been the most amazing change for me.  I am getting better every day at speaking with my heart and being impeccable with my word (The 4 Agreements, anyone?).

This instinctual being within me has been slowly built back up and she get stronger every day. I am so excited to see where she takes me for the next seven years.