The forgotten Goddess of Menstruation: Ucchistha Chandalini

Updated: Jul 17, 2020

We live in a magical universe, filled with great forces of life and death, creation and destruction. Divine powers can be found everywhere and the Tantric tradition has personified many of these powers into symbolic gods and goddesses to be able to relate, understand, and work with the many subtle forces that make up the world around us. 

Some of these gods and goddesses are very known, you might be familiar with deithies such as Shiva, Kali & Ganesha. We often hear their names chanted, honoured and praised. And…. there are so many more! There is a whole expression of divine energies that are as powerful and less know. 

One of them is a Goddess that represents a very strong and powerful energy, it’s a goddess that almost every woman (even on the Tantric path) has never heard of. Yet every woman is in touch with her, every single month. 

We are talking about the goddess of menstruation: Ucchistha Chandalini. 

As you might know, within Tantra, woman are seen as the manifestation of the Divine Goddess called Shakti. Shakti is the mother, the Divine mother, the mother nature, who also goes by different names in different traditions. All manifestation is created by her and the universe is a dance between her energy and pure consciousness.  

Her energy comes forth from this one essence and has many many different forms. When we want to work with it, there are important laws of nature that many westerners do not know about  (including myself until very recently) especially in relation to one of the most powerful energies a woman has flowing through her, the energy of menstruation.

I have learned a whole lot about the menstrual cycle from many different views, and it completely changed my perspective about menstruation to what I had learned growing up. There is so much more to the menstrual cycle than I had learned in biology class, in the same way that there is so much more to sex and childbirth. There is magic inherent in the menstrual cycle and recently I got initiated into another perspective, the traditional Tantric view on menstruation, aka, Chandalini. 

According to Tantra, a woman is even more powerful during her Chandalini. It is obvious that in this period things are changing. The body is changing, hormone levels are rising and dropping, energy levels jump up and down and our feelings and emotions are shifting throughout the day (or even throughout the minutes ;) Changes are happening on many different levels which manifest differently for each woman, and often differ from day to day of the cycle. Acknowledging all of this, it is not difficult to accept that our energy too, must be changing. 

The Gunas, the 3 fundamental energies that make up this Universe

This shift of energy that is happening (weather you feel it or not) is an activation of an heavy energy called tamas. The tamasic energy is considered to be the strongest energy of the 3 Gunas. The 3 Gunas are the 3 fundamental energies that make up this universe (sattvic- rasjastic - tamasic). One is not better than the other, it is a trinity, that is constantly interacting with each other and their interplay will mostly occur outside of your conscious awareness. 

Now some of you who have more understanding about the Gunas might think that tamasic energy is not good. What is important to understand is that this is part of the fundamental energy of the universe, it is not wrong or bad, it basically is too strong to handle when its manifested in a female body. It is like an electric wire in high voltage, the high voltage is not bad, its just powerful.

It is so powerful it can absorb all the energy of the surrounding objects and also of sacred places and temples. Maybe you might have seen signs at sacred places that woman who are menstruating can not enter, or you have heard about cultures where menstruating woman are not allowed to be in the kitchen or are excluded from other aspects of socio-cultural life. Unfortunately the taboos around menstruation that are alive until today can have a heavy impact on girls and woman, and they lack proper education around menstruation leaving them with feelings of guilt and shame about a process that is so beautiful.

Chandalini Villa

In the traditional Tantric practices, woman are also separated into a different house, not because they are dirty or impure, but because they are simply too powerful. While doing sadhana in a Tantric ashram in India, I got to stay in “Chandalini Villa”. A house specially build for menstruating woman which has its own bedrooms, showers and kitchen. All the woman who are menstruating in the ashram spend their time in the house together. The space is created to turn within, rest and nurture yourself. It is a time to enjoy womanhood and rejoice in the depth of that feeling. The woman unite together to do their practice with a special mantra for the Goddess Ucchistha Chandalini, which helps uplift the energy. Chandalini Villa has their own yagna and temple space, PLUS the woman are served by other practitioners in the Ashram.

How lovely it may sound to be served (like the goddess herself!) for most woman, especially western woman it is something that is very difficult! For me it was! I noticed I found it challenging to constantly ask for what I needed, and I didn’t want to disturb people. I felt it was too much to (again and again!) ask for something. Yet after a while I discovered there’s is such a beauty in allowing myself to receive, which also presented the opportunity to give someone else the gift of serving! Having been on both sides, the one serving and being served I notice it was such a joy to help the woman on her Chandalini.

Western view 

This might sound very different from what we see in the wester world, there, menstruating woman are just expecting to continue their regular workday. Menstruation is not taking into account or respected, pain killers are taken and woman just use the right birth-control that stops them from have their menstruation. 

And I was part of that, doing that, while being in such a young age to logically think for myself how crazy that actually is.

To manipulate the menstrustion like this, is not only physically very unhealthy, neglecting the menstruation also means to not allow the DIVINE MOTHER TO FLOW THROUGH YOU! 

There is a power that you carry as a woman in this world and with denying your own cycle you deny this power within you. 

If you are interested to hear more about this topic, I started a deeper exploration and will soon come with more profound insights! Leave your e-mail address below so you are among the first to receive this precious information!