Our power as women is rooted in our moon’s moonthly orbit around us. Originally our calendar months were actual moonths -the time our moon takes to orbit us. However, the Roman patriarchy ended this, leaving us with a calendar that fails to keep us connected with our power. Fortunately, the Hawaiian calendar never suffered this fate. Its months are moonths.
If you want to see what a moonth is, just look at the sky. A good time to start is a day or two after the new moon. When it’s new it’s orbiting between us and the sun, so we don’t see it. But within a couple of days – as it orbits around – it’s visible in the west at sunset, revealing a sliver of its sunlit side. If you watch it nightly for a moonth, you’ll see the cycle of your own fertility.
Hawaiians call the moon, mahina, and their word for woman is wahine. When Hawaiians talk about the moon, they’re talking about its cycle – including the menstrual cycle. This cycle, of course, involves the protecting, caring and nourishing activity of the womb. And the Hawaiian word for protecting, caring and nourishing is malama, which also means moonlight and lunar month. Malama, in Samoan, means the ninth month of pregnancy.
Our first astronomers were women asking themselves a sustainability question: How can we avoid bringing more babies into the world than our eco-system can provide food for? These women saw that any eco-system produces a finite amount of food, and when there are more people than food, there is fighting. So they asked themselves another question: How can we practice birth control? The answer was to regulate their sexual activity. To do this, they had to know when they were fertile. Noticing that their fertility cycle is synchronized with the lunar cycle, they kept track of the moon.
Our earliest known records of this were etched onto animal bones 40,000 years ago. These bones were our first calendars. Today in the Gaelic language of the Celtic people the word for “calendar” and the word for “menstruation” are still the same.
Yes, the sky lives inside us. As above, so below.