Important tips for the ladies
by Winyan Staz
(WA, State, U.S.A.)
Women in the wilderness have needs that are not generally covered in most survival areas, but it is a matter of health and survival, so I feel it needs to be addressed. If you are in a bug-out situation, there are things every woman of child-bearing age needs to have along. However, first I shall tell you a bit about the ancient ways.
The ancient ways
Native American Indian ladies called a woman's monthy time/period by the name of "moontime". Women went to the women's hut and sat around on moss or shredded the inner-lining of the cedar trees for sanitary purposes. They wove soft pads of hair or natural fibers or leather for their needs and used the moss or bark shreds as well.
As the moon time can be painful and difficult for a woman having to be very active at a time of rest for the body is another reason the women went to the lodge where they would be cared for and given teas of herbs to help with their pain.
Women of child bearing age tend to start all having their moon time at the same time when they live together. It was a time of re-newal for women of child bearing age as well as for the body as it was concidered that not only were they shedding the lining of the womb of life but also any negative energy that they may have accumulated during the month.
Todays society does not address these issues and women end up carrying around a large load of negativity and tend to be very edgy just before and during their moontime, blow up at little things etc because of it. Today we call it pms and because as a society we do not deal with it except with chemicals and drugs, the whole family can suffer. This is also why they did not cook or sew at this time as this negativity was thought to go into the food as it was shed, making people sick if they ate that food or wore items that were full of negative energy (that women naturally shed once a month and that men have to work at to shed by going to the sweatlodge.) It also gave women and men a much needed break from each other. :)
The elder females and the young girls cooked and cleaned the camp, took care of the children and helped the women in the moon lodge. Men went to the men's lodge and cooked and ate and did their own work (usually the young men did the chores to learn the skills a hunter needs)at that time as hunters should be able to do. It was not a "taboo" time but more of a sacred and spiritual time and a time to renew the spirits of both men and women. It only became "taboo" as many people forgot the reasons later on.
Women shared women's knowlege and medicine and spiritual songs and stories and ceramonies at that time and men also used this same time to be in the men's sweat lodge and do their own cleansing, sharing, story-telling, chanting, dancing and ceramonies. Because a woman was so strong during her moon-time that they could easily over-power a medicine man's power or men's power is another reason the males and females went to their own lodges and away from each other. Men had to go to a sweatlodge to do the same cleansing that a female did naturally while in moon-time.
Without these ways of cleansing it was thought that negativity would build up and it could make you sick and even effect others around you. You wanted your energy field/spirit to be bright and clean. After this time the men and women came together in councils and told each other what was thought about and needed etc.
As to repeat trouble makers in a survival situation, the old way was to give them some tools to hunt with if possible and something to keep warm with...and then banish them to stay at least five miles away from the group. Those that wished could leave things behind for them to eat or whatever as long as it didnt hurt the group as a whole....but anyone coming back into the five mile radious before their time of banishment was up.. was concidered an attacker and dealt with accordingly. This incouraged people to work out their problems and to be kinder to each other.
When hiking and backpacking
Anyways, with all that said, I would like to suggest to the ladies that unless you want to backpack a whole lot of modern day neccessities along..you make at least six or eight (or however many you wish) of the following items and bring a few small plastic bags along as well. (they will be very light-weight and not add much at all to your pack.
You will need a minimum of 6-8 strips of soft white cotten cloth about 10 1/2 inches long by 9 1/2 inches wide. For each of these strips you will also need to make 4 tie-ons/belts that can reach around your hips or waist long enough to tie the ends together.
Sew a small hem all around each rectangle and then fold the rectangle so it overlaps into thirds. Fold the shorter sides so you end up with a folded rectangle about 3 inches wide and ten inches long. Cut and hem another 4 long belts/strips of the same fabric that can fit around your waist or hips long enough to leave room to tie them. Sew a seam along both ends of the rectangle but leave the fold on the top side open. In other words..you will be making a "pocket" that you can tuck some clean dried moss or shredded inner cedar bark layer into...(both of which are highly obsorbing of moisture.)
Sew the two long "belts" onto the ends of the pads. If you neeed to you can make the pads longer or wider or what ever you need of course when you make them. Its a lot like making a string bikini with a place to tuck the pads into inside the folds.
If you wish to pack them along, you can also make some home made smaller pads to tuck into the strips. However it will greatly increase your cleansing chores in the long run and you will have to make a goodly number more as the pads, being thicker, will take much longer to dry after being cleaned. Be sure to not use fabric with dyes as this can cause reactions and problems.
Clean all blood stains out with cold water only of course. Then you can wash them in hot boiling water. Dry your belts and pads in the sun if possible to aid in disinfecting.
Use your plastic bags to carry and bury all used moss or bark far away from camp. Some like to make a little ceremony of getting rid of negativity as they dispose of the waste. Don't bury the plastic bags of course. Re-wash the plastic bags in cold water and then rense them in hotter water (not too hot) and dry them in the sun so you can use them again to carry the waste next month.
As you travel or at camps.. keep the use of one of your plastic bags to gather enough moss or shredded inner cedar bark to dry and use for your next moon.
When a woman is on her moontime, it will attract male bears as it is very simular to a female bear in heat scent. Needless to say the male bears are not happy when they dont find a female bear. This is why women and their partners have sometimes been attacked in the past. Women on their moontime need to be aware of this and so do the warriors protecting them. That being said...if you have small children you will want to make the same things for them to use as diapers.
It helps to keep wild animals well away from a camp if males (and females NOT on their moon) will "mark the territory" in several places all around the far perimaters of a camp area with urine. That tells the animals that humans are up ahead and they will turn and/or go around.
While we are talking about camp safety dont forget to keep the little ones close and a sharp eye on them as preditors will take them if the animal is hungry enough. If it is safe to do so, making a bit of noise like beating together two sticks (singing sticks) and/or singing songs or chants as you move will give animals time to get out of the area, and let the preditors know there are a lot of you. It will also keep the children happy and occupied as well as letting them have a bit of fun and make the journey easier for everyone.
Moving as a group should be slow enough to do any gathering or harvesting as needed as you pass along the trail or area and to not give the grandmothers and grandfathers heart attacks or wear everyone out. If you can, spread out to cover more possiblities of finding food, medicines or whatever is needed as you pass. It also leaves less sign as there is less wear and tear in any one area. In the evening, share with the group what you found or what you saw that day as it might be important. For example like if you saw a lot of sign of rabbits or certain plants in an area that are not quite ripe. Then later people can set snares there or come back to harvest the plants.
(If it was something you already know is very important like a fresh cougar track, or a good supply of food, etc, you should tell others right away of course)
Bathrooms . . .
One last thing. If you are moving with a group of people in a bug-out situation... have two different bathrooms and two seperate wash up and bathing in the water areas. It will help keep the peace which is extremely important in a group. Bathrooms should be well away from the area and done so waste can be covered later.
In bathing you will need one upstream (where water is in a pool with a shallow end is best) for the women warriors,(yes women can be warriors too), women and small children and another one for the male warriors and young men in the other direction. Only gather water for cooking, etc. from above the two washing areas of course. Do not forget to post guards.
Take care of each other
It is far easier to survive and even live well with everyone doing their part. It is much harder to survive alone in the wilderness. We will need everyone if it comes to that. Some are needed for the things they can do, some for their knowledge and everyone because we are all related/One. It will no longer be the care-free camping out of the past in a bug-out but a time to take great care of each other.
Be safe..and smile often....namaste...