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women's health

32 articles in women's health

Beware Of Hormone Replacement Therapy

Beware Of Hormone Replacement Therapy

In the next 5 minutes, I want to share with you essential truths about hormone replacement therapy—HRT. This stuff that vitally important for you to know. But first, let me ask this: Do you feel or have you fever been afraid, confused or frustrated about your own menstrual, peri-menopausal or menopausal issues? I know I once did. Intense hormonal changes can make you feel like you’re going crazy, so you’re not even sure who you are any more. And these symptoms can start as early as 10 years before menopause arrives. Natural hormonal shifts are natural transformations in every woman’s life. And, believe it or not, they can even be profoundly beneficial. But you need to learn how best o handle them. We women are constantly told that we have to take drug-based artificial hormone drugs known as HRT to do this. I’m here to tell you this is most certainly not the way to go. Why? Because medically based HRT— using synthetic drugs can produce massive side effects. It is also incapable of delivering genuine healing. It cannot treat fundamental causes. It can only mask symptoms. In the process, synthetic HRT hormones can poison your body long-term. Drug-based synthetic estrogens, progestins and progestogens commonly prescribed as HRT are fundamentally dangerous. Used long-term, they may even be life-threatening. We women need to band together and challenge the “wisdom” of conventional medical practices. It’s time for us to turn away from the widespread propaganda that accompanies the promotion of HRT as the solution to all our problems. Indiscriminate doling out of potent drug-based hormones can undermine a woman’s fertility as well as trigger the development of her menstrual agonies—from PMS and endometriosis to cancer of the breast and womb. The current attempt to make every woman a “patient” for the rest of her life by subjecting her body to long-term HRT is also a way of diminishing her personal power and undermining her control over her own body. Conventional HRT is most certainly not the answer. I believe passionately that it’s time for a radical overhaul in how we handle women’s issues. There are safer, better, more effective ways. As celebrated expert in the natural treatment of peri-menopause and menopause, Dr Jonathan Wright, Medical Director of Tahoma Clinic in Washington—a long-time advocate of bio-identical, that is natural hormones—says, “Replacing estrogen that your body is no longer producing with the synthetic versions found in conventional HRT is like replacing parts designed for a Chevy with those made for a Mercedes.” More about these alternatives in a moment. Meanwhile, let me share with you a couple of scientific studies carried out in the last 15 years which show just how potentially dangerous and ineffective conventionally prescribed HRT can be: In 2002, researchers called a halt to a huge government- run study involving 16,000 women on HRT under the Women’s Health Initiative. Researchers found that long-term use of synthetic estrogen and progestin significantly increased women’s danger of stroke, blood clots, heart attack, invasive breast cancer and stroke. Then the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published another study, showing that women who take a combination of synthetic estrogen and progestin are also at high risk of getting a highly aggressive form of breast cancer. Other studies have revealed that HRT can increase your risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia and asthma. More new research indicates that combined synthetic estrogen-progestin HRT increases your risk of severe forms of breast cancer as well as your chances of dying, from the disease as well as other causes. This is but a small sample of the volume of research that has surfaced since the turn of the millennium, exposing potentially serious consequences of buying into the ongoing hype of HRT and allowing such synthetic chemicals into our bodies. Let’s look at the alternatives. There are many. Bio-identical hormones—commonly known as “natural” hormones—do a far safer, more effective job of helping most women handle the challenges they face. This is a truth now well supported by scientific research. Your hormonal system, with all its ebbs and flows, parallel those of the earth’s tides and the moon itself—acting as an interface between your emotional life and your body. Mess with your hormones and you may even undermine your ability to grow spiritually. I will soon be shooting some more new videos about Bio-identical Hormone Replacement, what it is, how it works, how it differs from synthetic HRT, as well as other natural ways of treating menstrual and menopausal challenges. So keep an eye open for them. In the meantime, go to lesliekenton.com where you can learn more right now about the remarkable things natural hormones and other natural approaches from herbs and changes in diet can do to support your own challenges right now. See you soon. Here are the links to additional information about HRT and Bio-identical hormones: 5 steps to natural menopause: http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/5-steps-ideal-menopause-part-2/ Beware of HRT: http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/beware-hrt/

Nature's Female Aphrodisiacs

Nature's Female Aphrodisiacs

Most people treat aphrodisiacs as folk fantasy. Don’t be deceived. When libido flags in women, there are many herbs that can help revive it. The biochemistry of plants like ginseng, dong quai, fennel, shilajit—even a few essential oils can bring powerful sexual regeneration to your body and intensify your libido. It’s your own individual response to specific herbs that holds the key to which aphrodisiacs are best for you. Loss of your libido can have many different causes. So when turning to herbs for help in the sexual arena, you will need to experiment a bit to find which plants work best for you. But watch out. It can not only be easy to create an experience of intense desire; it can be just as easy for a woman to end up fertilized by the results of it. Shatavari—Asparagus racemosus This Ayurvedic female rejuvenation tonic is also an excellent aphrodisiac as well. It’s been used for thousands of years as a female tonic to correct menstrual and menopausal imbalances as well. Traditionally known as “She who has 1,000 husbands”, it was long believed to give a woman the strength and passion to handle 1,000 lovers. Organic shatavari root extract contains a full spectrum of active and synergistic constituents, including saponins containing shatavarin. Use only this herb which is naturally grown or ethically wild crafted so it contains no chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Wild Yam—Dioscorea villosa Often restores a woman’s libido so successfully that I wouldn’t advise you to use it unless you have a sexual partner. You can take it as a tincture—½ to1 teaspoon in water twice a day—or as a dried herb in capsules, 4-6 capsules a day. I have known women who take as many as 10 capsules a day, but less than this works very well for most. American Ginseng—Panax ginseng Is as good a raiser of libido in women as it is in men, despite the assumption that it is a male plant. It is particularly useful for post-menopausal women. Drink it as a tea three or four times a day. Be patient it takes time to do its work. Shilajit—known by many names in many countries Has been used as an aphrodisiac and female fertility treatment for centuries. One of the most powerful “herbal” substances known, it has been used for thousands of years all over the world. It comes in a thick, tar-like form containing over 80 minerals from Himalayan rocks. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-stress and anti-anxiety, as well as anti-aging. Be sure to buy only the highest grade of Shilajit, wild crafted and gathered from the Himalayas, since only the finest will bring you your desired goal. Fennel—Foeniculum vulgare Is replete with plant steroids. In animal experiments it has been shown to raise the libido of both males and females. You can take it as a tea. Bruise a teaspoon of organic fennel seeds and pour 2 cups of boiling water over them. Steep for 5 minutes, strain and drink. Caution: Do not use fennel oil on your body when you are pregnant, as it has been known to cause miscarriage. Other simple herbs which you can add to your foods with a good reputation for enhancing libido are parsley, fenugreek—great to sprout and eat in salads—ginger, and anis. Even coca, from which chocolate is made, is a mild aphrodisiac. You can also use certain essential oils to enhance libido on the night. Massage your body and your partner’s with a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil or apricot oil to which you have added one of the aphrodisiac essences: Clary sage, ylang ylang, rose, or jasmine. Of course, this is for external use only. It’s powerful stuff—you need only 1 drop of an essential oil to each teaspoon of carrier oil. A capsule of vitamin E squeezed into the oil when you mix it helps keep it fresh longer. Next week on our Sacred Truth Podcast, we’ll be looking at some of the best aphrodisiacs for men, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, check out the links below for the best products you can find. Paradise Herbs, Organics, Shatavari, 60 Veggie Caps Paradise Organic Shatavari ultimate ayurvedic extract is the highest quality nature has to offer. Using a 100% natural extraction method the true essence and breath of the whole herbs is captured therefore retaining all of its active and synergistic constituents in the balanced ratio nature intended. Order Paradise Herbs, Organics, Shatavar from iherb Herb Pharm, Wild Yam We prepare our Wild Yam Extract from the rhizome of Dioscorea villosa vines which are Certified Organically Grown especially for us in their native forest habitat in eastern Kentucky. Order Herb Pharm, Wild Yam from iherb Nature's Way, Wild Yam, Root Capsules Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa) was historically offered as "colic root" and used in herbal remedies for gastrointestinal irritations. In recent years it has become popular for women's health. Order Nature's Way, Wild Yam from iherb Triple Leaf Tea, American Ginseng American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) has long been a popular herb. Modern research confirms both American and Asian ginsengs contain ginsenosides and supports their long history of use. Order Triple Leaf Tea, American Ginseng from iherb Dragon Herbs, High Mountain Shilajit Shilajit is one of the premier "herbal" substances known to humankind. Shilajit has been used for thousands of years throughout much of the world as a tonic. Order Dragon Herbs, High Mountain Shilajit from iherb Organic Whole Fennel Seed A graceful plant, fennel is an aromatic, hardy, perennial with golden yellow flowers and feathery leaves. Also known as garden fennel, this plant's botanical name, Foeniculum vulgare, comes from the Latin for "fragrant hay" Order Organic Whole Fennel Seed from iherb

Become Ageless

Become Ageless

I learned the secret of agelessness when, many years ago, I came upon a quotation from someone I much admire. Let me share it with you: “All men dream; but not equally.” he said. “Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it was vanity: but dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.” The quotation comes from T.E. Lawrence. I adore it. It transformed my own vision of aging. It reminded me of the imaginative power each of us has to create our unique path. It taught me that there is no need to fear growing older. Each one of us can live a rich and fulfilling life at any age. Yet too few of us make use of our powerful abilities to envision, then bring into being, what we long for. If, like me, you’d prefer to die young late in life, there are two things for you to do: First, get savvy about how to care for yourself naturally. Second, start to practice Lawrence of Arabia’s dictate. Decide to become a “dreamer of the day”. Then “act with open eyes to make it possible.” The growing understanding of natural medicine, together with reputable research into high-tech biochemistry, has made this transformation possible. Once little more than a pipe-dream, agelessness is becoming a reality. Savvy gerontologists have challenged the assumed maximum lifespans of human beings. They show us that people in the know can make intelligent use of antioxidant nutrients, electromagnetic treatments, and a myriad of other safe, natural anti-aging tools—including an organic, high-raw diet—to prevent physical degeneration and restore a healthy balance to their bodies and their lives. It is never too late to begin. Instead of prescribing dangerous drugs, this new wave of visionary scientists and practitioners show that the foods we eat exert powerful effects on control centers in the brain. These powerful loci direct metabolic processes on which your health depends—from hormonal behavior, weight and appetite, to emotional and mental states—even, believe it or not, the way we perceive the nature of reality. What few people yet know—and what I have been studying and teaching for decades—is that these control centers in the brain are also filters through which we experience profound spiritual growth. Choose to live on a diet of convenience foods, sugars, and carbohydrates, as more than 90% of people now do, and your brain’s control centers become crippled. You begin to age rapidly. Then, should you be urged to buy into relying on pharmaceutical drugs, eventually your body becomes poisoned by them. Become aware of this. Fresh foods grown on healthy soils foods and top quality nutrients do not poison the body’s crucial enzymes, nor do they block vital cell receptors, on which your health depends. Taking drugs long-term does both, bringing about not only ill-health and rapid aging, but unbalanced emotions, mental fog, and a strong sense that—in ways you cannot even articulate—you have lost trust and connections with yourself, although you may have no idea how this has happened. Changing the way you eat and care for your body can begin, within a few weeks, not only to transform your health. It can expand your consciousness and help you change your life for the better on virtually every level. Forget your chronological age. It’s a very limited indication of your biological and functional age. These are the measurements that really matter. Older people are capable of far more than society would have us believe. At any age, people can learn how to live by the principles of natural wellbeing and become highly resistant to the ravages of degeneration and chronic illness. They come to know their bodies. They face each morning in fresh anticipation about what the day can bring. They’ve learned to dismiss the negative brainwashing continually bombarding us from mainstream media, the medical profession and government directives. They know, for instance that, as George M. Mann MD says, “The diet-heart hypothesis which suggests that high intake of saturated fat and cholesterol causes heart disease has been repeatedly shown to be wrong. The public is being deceived by the greatest health scam of the century.” Those in the know refuse to allow themselves to be deceived any longer. Savvy, independent people have every right to boast of their increased longevity and high resistance to degeneration. They’ve earned it. These people seek truths and continue to uncover them. They choose to shun unnecessary drugs, to banish convenience foods, to make at least 50 to 75% of the foods they eat organic. They reject negative beliefs about growing older. They become not old, but ageless. Agelessness makes available to you a steadily maturing wisdom which is one of the greatest blessings as years go by. You become someone whose experience and awareness has not been distorted by an ill-functioning mind or waning vitality. Our sense of time expands and helps us come alive to the present moment. In a powerful, real, and positive way, this draws it towards the future. And when we are able to project ourselves into the future, that future becomes not an abstract consideration, but an experience of great rewards. The future of the planet is our future. We are responsible for it. If we wish, we can start to see ourselves as caretakers of our earth instead of tenants in a rented property. At last, the freedom from mental and physical degeneration which agelessness brings is no longer an empty dream. It is happening to many who are awakening. Who cares if, at the age of 85, you are still capable of running a marathon, or if you look 20 years older or younger than you are chronologically? Such things matter little by themselves. But high-level health, mental clarity and well-being which are the rewards of agelessness—no matter how old one is chronologically—are of urgent concern to all of us as residents of the earth. They form the foundation on which we human beings can build if we are to make use of our creative potentials. In the full use of such creativity lies the future of ourselves, our children and our planet. Have I become one of Lawrence’s “dreamers of the day”? I certainly have. It’s dreams that create the true mythologies by which we live our lives. I believe each and every one of us urgently needs solid dreams to give our lives direction—dreams which, tempered by the wisdom of age, are large enough and rich enough to carry us forward. Such dreams not only have power. They can help us bring forth exciting new realities.

What Every Women Wants

What Every Women Wants

Great stories carry hidden secrets that can transform a life. They bring us face-to-face with hidden truths that help free us from false beliefs and attitudes, self-criticism and negativity that crush us. Cultural conditioning has taught us to undervalue the wild creativity that lies within—that part of us which is instinctual, irrational, and full of passion. Conventional society is so frightened of these things that we have been taught to fear ourselves and to judge ourselves harshly. We swallow our anger even when it is righteous. We crush our wild nature and we see ourselves as ugly. Yet locked within what we most hate and fear lies the greatest power for true freedom. Today I’d like to share with you one of my favorite mythologies of self-discovery—as delightful and important for men as it is for women. Here’s how it goes: THE LOATHLY LADY One Christmastide Arthur rode out with his knights to hunt. By chance he became separated from his companions and found himself at the edge of a great brackish pond. There, a knight in black armour emerged from the shadows and challenged him to a fight. Arthur reached to draw his sword Excalibur and call on its power to protect him from all harm. Alas, he had come away from court without it. He could feel every ounce of strength drain away from his body in the presence of the dark and evil stranger who raised his sword and threatened to kill him. Being a responsible king, of course, Arthur told the dark knight he didn't think that killing him was such a great idea—he had a country to rule, after all, and knights to look after. Where would they be without him? The stranger, bored at the thought of such an easy kill, relented and replied, "OK, I won't kill you so long as you return to this place in three days with the answer to a riddle I shall give you. If you fail I shall remove your head in one fwll swoop." WHAT DOES SHE WANT Arthur agreed. He figured that given half a chance and a mug or two of fancy mead, his pals back at the castle would be sure to come up with something. The riddle the stranger posed was this: "What does every woman want?" So Arthur headed home to ask all of his knights and wise men to give him the answer. Everyone from Merlin to a goose girl he met along the road had a go. Each gave him a different answer: "A woman wants beauty," said one. "A woman wants power," said another, or fame, or jewels, or sanctity. None could agree. Time was running out. Finally, although he had done his best to hide from his beloved Guinevere the seriousness of the situation, the third morning arrived. Bound by his word of honor to the Black Knight, Arthur had to face the music. Along the road to the meeting at the brackish waters, Arthur came upon an old woman. She sat on a tree stump by the side of the road calling his name. Arthur dismounted and approached her with all the courtesy he could muster. For the closer he came, the more ghastly this old hag appeared. Although she was dressed in fine silk and wore magnificent jewels on her gnarled and twisted hands, she was unquestionably the most hideous thing he had ever seen—or dreamed of, for that matter. Her nose was like a pig's, her mouth was huge, toothless and dribbling. What hair remained on her head was greasy, and the skin all over her misshapen and bloated body was covered in oozing sores. COURTESY CHALLENGED Arthur swallowed hard, forcing himself not to have to look away. "My Lord," she said in a surprisingly gentle voice, "Why look you so dismayed?" Summoning up all his chivalrous training, Arthur apologized for his manner, trying to explain it away by telling her he was most unsettled at the prospect of returning to meet his death at the hand of an evil knight because he could not tell him the answer to the riddle, "What does every woman want?" "Ah," said the hag. "I can tell you that. But such knowledge cannot be given without payment." Arthur, hoping once again for a reprieve from death, replied, "Of course Madam, anything you desire shall be yours for the answer—even half my kingdom." IMPOSSIBLE REQUEST The Loathly Lady made Arthur bend down while she whispered a few words in his ear." The moment Arthur heard them, he knew his life and his kingdom had been saved. He was about to leap on his horse again and ride off to meet the stranger when she tugged on his cloak and said, "Now I want my reward." "Of course Madam, what is it that you want?" he asked. "I want to be the wife of your bravest knight and live at your court." Arthur, who only a moment before had felt his spirits soar, was plunged into the deepest despair. How could he possibly expect any knight to consent to marry such a hideous hag? And what would it be like to have to endure such ugliness every day at court? "But Madam, that is impossible!" he said. The words slipped through his lips before he could catch them. Aghast at his own lack of courtesy and agonized by having to ask any of his knights, Arthur said, "I beg your pardon, Madam. You are quite right. Come to court tomorrow. There waiting for you will be your future husband." So saying, he mounted his horse and rode off to meet the Black Knight to convey to him the answer to the riddle. When he got back to the castle, Arthur was distraught. The knights questioned him. He confessed that he had won his life from the Black Knight but then told them at what cost and reported his promise to the Loathly Lady. "My very honor is at stake," said Arthur, wringing his hands, "unless one of you will agree to wed her." His knights were horrified at the prospect and tried to avoid his gaze. But one—the youngest knight of all—Sir Gawain, the most courageous and purest of heart stood up. "Worry, not my liege," Gawain said, "I shall save you, I will marry the woman no matter what her mien." SELF-PROFESSED HERO Gawain did not have long before he rued his offer. The marriage was planned for the following morning and the hag arrived at court. When he looked upon her, even Gawain with all his chivalry did not know how he could go through with the ceremony. It demanded every ounce of his courage. Somehow he managed it. But things got worse. When the festivities were over, the couple were obliged to retire to their chamber for the night. Gawain, unable to face the hideousness of his wife, sat for long hours in their bedchamber with his back to the lady, writing at his desk and praying she would go to sleep without him. Was he to spend the rest of his life shackled to such a hideous monster? ENCHANTED WOMAN Long past midnight, as the candle burnt low, he felt a hand come to rest upon his shoulder. "Will you not come to bed now, my Lord?" a voice whispered from behind him. Shuddering with horror, Gawain mustered his courage to look at her. To his astonishment there stood not the ugly hag he had married but the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She had golden hair and ivory skin. "Why do you seem so surprised, My Lord?" she said to him. "I am indeed your wife. I was enchanted by a wicked magician. But now the enchantment is half broken by your having consented to marry me and so you see I stand before you now in my true form." Gawain could not believe his luck. "Half broken?" he asked. "Yes, my lord" was the reply. "Sadly I am only allowed to spend half the time in my true form. For the rest I must return to the shape of the same hag which this afternoon you married. And now you must choose, my Lord. Would you have me be my true self at night when we are alone together and the hag during daylight hours?" Gawain, whose mind was flooded with passion at the thought of her beauty filling his bed each night replied eagerly, "Yes, that is certainly how it must be." TEARS FOR FREEDOM In the eye of his beautiful lady appeared a tear. "But sir," she said, "Would you then have me suffer the humiliation of the court who cannot conceal their horror at my ugliness?" Now Gawain, if he was nothing else, was compassionate. He could not bear to bring this beautiful woman a tear of sorrow. "No, of course not," he replied. "It shall be the other way round, of course. You shall be my beautiful wife for the court during daylight hours and the hag at night." But this only made the lady weep the more. "Oh sir, would you then deny me forever the joy and pleasure of your embrace?" She asked. Poor Gawain, who after all was but a man (and man has never found it easy to deal with woman's grief) did not know what to do. After much thought he replied, "My lady, whatever choice I make will be the wrong one. It is therefore for you to choose which you prefer." At the sound of his words the Lady threw herself into his arms in glorious laughter. "In so saying, my Lord, you have given the right answer. You have bestowed upon me what every woman wants—her own way. The spell at last is broken. You will never have to look upon the hideous hag again. I am my true self and it belongs to you forever." Such is the power of accepting that which to ourselves is most loathsome. And such is the power of myth in reminding us of it.

Beware Of HRT

Beware Of HRT

In the grip of insane materialism, and controlled by the intense power of pharmaceutical companies, doctors who once practiced from a genuine passion to help heal are being forced to surrender their autonomy to a brutal overuse of dangerous chemical agents. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the “treatment” of menstrual and menopausal symptoms through the prescribing of HRT. In many ways, conventional medicine has disintegrated into a high-tech nightmare since the turn of the century. It has become controlled by the unbridled greed of corporations and government bodies who have only one goal in mind: Profit. The selling of drugs capable of producing massive side effects fails to deliver genuine healing. They do not address fundamental causes of illness. They only mask symptoms and in the process can poison your body long-term. Meanwhile, conventional health care has become so expensive that none but the top 0.1% of the population can afford it. Hundreds of thousands of people die each year as a result of using patented medicine. It is time for a radical overhaul in how we choose to treat health and healing. Nowhere is this more urgently needed than in addressing the way women’s issues are treated before, during and after menopause. Drug-based synthetic estrogens, progestins and progestogens prescribed in the form of HRT are dangerous and, used long-term, may even be life-threatening. RADICAL REVISION IS DUE Once dazzled by high-tech medical intervention at birth, we women willingly surrendered our bodies to epidurals, episiotomies and fetal monitoring equipment, which promised pain-free, trouble-free childbirth, but too often delivered problems for mother and baby. Then, inspired by the work of visionary doctors such as Michele Odent, Pierre Vellay and Frederic Leboyer, more and more women began to insist on natural childbirth, breastfeeding and good mother-child bonding. We demanded the right to drug-free childbirth and control over our own bodies. Gradually—not without resistance—doctors, hospitals and government agencies became more willing to provide this in response to the demands of us ordinary women, who kept insisting there is a better way. It’s we women ourselves who brought to fruition the natural childbirth revolution. Now it’s time for another revolution—that women’s reproductive and post-reproductive health be naturalized. It’s time we refused to swallow the nonsensical propaganda about the glories of drug-based HRT that continues to be forced upon us by the powers-that-be, and the media. LET TRUTH BE TOLD It’s time for us to begin challenging the “wisdom” of established medical practices. Time for us to dismiss the widespread propaganda which accompanies the sale of HRT. The indiscriminate doling out of potent drug-based hormones can undermine a woman’s fertility as well as trigger the development of her menstrual agonies from PMS and endometriosis to cancer of the breast and womb. The current attempt to make every woman a “patient” for most of her life by subjecting her to drug treatment through HRT is a way of diminishing her personal power and taking away control over one’s own body. I believe these practices to be biologically, politically and morally reprehensible. As Dr Jonathan Wright, Medical Director of Tahoma Clinic in Washington—and long-time advocate of bio-identical, natural hormones—says, “Replacing estrogen that your body is no longer producing with the versions found in conventional HRT is like replacing parts designed for a Chevy with those made for a Mercedes. They may be roughly the same, but with both engine parts and biology, very precise measurements matter.” NEW FACTS In 2002, researchers called a halt to a huge government- run study of HRT therapy used by millions of women under the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) when researchers discovered that long-term use of synthetic estrogen and progestin significantly increased women’s danger of stroke, blood clots, heart disease and invasive breast cancer in these women. Soon after, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published another study, showing that women who take a combination of synthetic estrogen and progestin are at high risk of getting a highly aggressive form of breast cancer. Meanwhile, other studies showed that HRT increases the risk of Alzheimer’s dementia and asthma. Then in 2010 more new research discovered that combined estrogen-progestin HRT increases the risk for more severe forms of breast cancer as well as increasing women’s chances of dying, from the disease and from other causes. This is but a tiny sampling of the research that continues to appear since the turn of the millennium, strongly exposing serious consequences from believing the hype for HRT and choosing to allow such synthetic chemicals into your body. CALL TO ACTION There is mounting dissatisfaction among women themselves. Many women write to me about this. They continue to be told that HRT is the only answer to mid-life depression, hot flushes, loss of sexual appetite and early aging. Women are by no means stupid, provided they have not been brainwashed by a media who these days toe the corporate party line in our chaotic world on the verge of unnecessary wars waged by insane governments. Women are smart. We know in our gut that such advice goes against our deepest intuition. Now is the time for us to stand up, band together, and make sure our voices are heard. For a long time, menstruation was talked about as a disease. Now it’s menopause which is treated as the biggest “crisis” demanding extreme medical treatment. Why? And because HRT is a billion dollar business, magazines and the internet are full of “reassuring” information about how “beneficial” and “necessary” are the synthetic hormones in the form of HRT given to women. You’ll find all sorts of soft-sounding names of organisations eager to give you such advice. They too are not to be trusted. Why? Because many conveniently toe the party line, like much of the media—choosing to minimize the dangers of HRT, under the guidance of strong control and direction from profit-seeking corporations. In the USA now, half of menopausal women are still using synthetic hormones, having been told that HRT is the only possible answer for alleviating their suffering during a time of profound change in their lives. Pharmaceutical companies forecast that, within the next decade, 75% of menopausal and post-menopausal women will be on HRT for the rest of their lives. A few loud voices still insist that HRT is “the most important advance in this half of the century”, proselytizing that taking hormone drugs can safeguard a woman’s bones and heart as well as keep her eternally young. None of these claims have been adequately proven, while many—including the notion that HRT can be used as a youth treatment—are blatantly false. SOME GOOD NEWS Despite our being asked to believe that HRT is both a miracle of modern science and an essential treatment for menopausal women, there is much evidence that, once the immediate flush of excitement of a new treatment is over, most women’s experience of using HRT does not back up these assertions. Many who start HRT initially experience a kind of euphoria, primarily because the one thing that estrogen replacement gets rid of almost immediately is the hot flushes that can disturb your sleep and contribute to exhaustion. But the hot flushes return as soon as they come off it. And significant numbers of women report that, a few months later, their experience of HRT has worsened dramatically, because of side-effects it can engender including mood swings, decreased control over the bladder, fatigue, headaches, and many other miserie that have developed since they began taking it. Some of the most common complaints I hear from women who have used prolonged HRT include migraines, bleeding, depression, water retention, increased blood pressure, weight gain, thrush, breast problems, varicose veins and chest pains. A Swedish survey in the university town of Linkoping showed that 48% of women who go on HRT stop taking the drug within a year. A British study examined the reasons most commonly given by women who give up HRT after starting the treatment: Half of these women stopped taking it because of side-effects, about one-fifth because they were advised to do so by their doctors, and about one-third either because they are afraid of long-term consequences such as cancer, or because HRT has shown itself to be ineffective in significantly helping them. THE ROAD AHEAD So where do we go from here? A woman’s hormonal system, with all its ebbs and flows, which parallel those of the earth’s tides and the moon itself, acts as an interface between her emotional life and her body. Mess with her hormones and you may even undermine her ability to grow spiritually. There are better, natural ways of handling them. In the next six weeks I will be sharing them with you. I will be writing another three articles—every other week—at www.lesliekenton.com. They will address the most important issues in relation to handling menopause naturally. Here are some of the issues I’ll be writing about: What is natural Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) all about? How does it work? How is it different from pharmaceutical HRT? What causes hot flushes and how can you clear them naturally? Can BHRT be useful in managing stress? How is your hormone balance related to diet, lifestyle and attaining optimal health? Are there specific herbal remedies that work to counter premenopausal, menopausal and post menopausal issues ? Be sure to join me—every other week—at www.lesliekenton.com. I look forward to connecting with you and hearing back from you about your own experiences, as well as receiving your comments and questions while you are reading this important series, which I am passionate about sharing with you.

Moon & Ovarian Cycle Rites

Moon & Ovarian Cycle Rites

Quite literally, the menses is the period of waxing and waning between one new moon and the next. Once menstruation begins at puberty, which is a woman's first rite of passage, the ebbs and flows which her body goes through each month are the stuff of which the second movement in her life's hormonal symphony is made. This part of her life has one major goal - childbearing. Its success depends greatly upon the two major steroids - the oestrogens and progesterone - working in close communication with her body's major control centers, the pituitary and hypothalamus. Only since the late nineteenth century have women's menstrual cycles - the menses - been investigated scientifically. The name menses also comes from a Greek word - meaning `month'. It in turn is derived from an even older word meaning `moon'. master controls A neural nuclei in the limbic brain, the hypothalamus, is the control center for homeostasis. It balances and oversees biochemical and energetic changes throughout the body. The limbic system in which it sits is the most primitive part of the brain. It is the part which deals with emotions and with our sense of smell, with our passions, and with all the unconscious interfaces that take place between mind and body. The actions of the limbic lie beneath the level of the thinking mind. This is one of the reasons that the hypothalamus is often referred to as the `seat of emotions'. When excited, the hypothalamus triggers desire - for food, for water, for adventure, for sex. Its actions can also be influenced by inhibitory thought patterns. In a woman frightened of becoming pregnant, for instance, the fear itself - via the hypothalamus - can dampen sexual desire or even disrupt menstrual cycles so she remains barren. The hypothalamus also responds to alterations in the electric and magnetic fields of the earth and of moon, and to other planetary events, as well as to electromagnetic pollution in our environment and the positive stimulus of energy medicine. It reacts to bodily changes that take place as a result of meditation, and its activities are influenced by spiritual practices - which is a major reason why women who meditate regularly tend to develop greater emotional balance, as well as why repeated experiences of joy or stillness can dramatically improve various female complaints such as PMS and hot flushes in both menstruating and menopausal women. sacred cycles There are three main branches of the female endocrine system involved in menstruation. The first is the master gland, the hypothalamus. It releases gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH). The second is the anterior pituitary, which releases follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) - both of which are secreted in response to GnRH from the hypothalamus. The third is made up of the oestrogens and progesterone which, during a woman's non-pregnant childbearing years, are secreted by the ovaries in response to FSH and LH. It is the symphony of interactions and feedback mechanisms between these three branches that bring about the blood ritual of menstruation. All of the hormones released during a menstrual cycle are secreted not in a constant, steady way, but at dramatically different rates during different parts of the 28 day period; a cycle which like everything else in a natural world involves birth, maturation, and death, only to lead to new birth again - in this case, of the egg a woman's body produces. Menstruation itself is simply the elimination of the thickened blood and blood filled endometrium in the womb - the lining developed in preparation for a possible pregnancy. For when a pregnancy does not occur, this lining is shed at monthly intervals under the control of oestrogen and progesterone with a little help from their friends GnRH, FSH, and LH. When ovaries are not stimulated by the gonadotrophic hormones from the pituitary, they remain asleep, as they were during childhood and as they become again after menopause. For the first 8 to 11 days of the menstrual cycle, a woman's ovaries make lots of oestrogen. Within the ovary itself are little things called follicles - partially developed eggs. One of these will be released each month in hopes of meeting up with the sperm and creating an embryo. It is oestrogen which prepares the bloody lining of the uterus and causes the follicle to develop in the ovary, bringing it to the surface of the ovary and preparing for the release of one of the eggs. The word oestrogen, like the hormones produced in a woman's body which belong to this family - oestrone, oestradiol, and oestriol - comes from oestrus, a Greek word meaning `frenzy', `heat', or `fertility'. It is oestrogen which proliferates the changes that take place at puberty - the growth of breasts, the development of a girl's reproductive system, the reshaping of a woman's body. It also alters your vaginal secretions, making them more viscous and less watery, and it causes your body's temperature to rise at the time of ovulation, by about one degree. Each girl baby is born with all the primary follicles she will ever need. At the time of puberty, a girl's ovaries contain about 300,000 of these follicles. And while each woman only produces one or two fully developed eggs each month, somewhere between 100 and 300 follicles have to start developing in order for one to become fully grown, so a woman can lose between 100 to 300 follicles a month. However, since she started with 300,000, she will have enough to last all her reproductive life. On day one of each monthly cycle - that is, the day of the onset of menstruation - first the production of FSH and then of LH increases. This increase in hormones from the anterior pituitary triggers a group of ovarian follicles each month, causing accelerated growth in the cells surrounding them. As cells around the eggs grow, they secrete a follicular fluid which contains a high concentration of the oestrogen oestradiol to bring about many other changes, developing the potential of one of the follicles so that it becomes capable of being fertilized by the male sperm. It is not the oestradiol alone secreted by the follicle which brings about the maturation of the egg, however. Luteinizing hormone (LH) from the anterior pituitary continues to be secreted to help the process along until after a week or more, when one of the follicles outgrows all of the rest. This is the one that will become the female egg ready for impregnation. The remainder of the follicles now begin to involute. LH becomes particularly important at this stage in order for the final follicular growth to be completed and ovulation itself to occur - that is, the release of the egg into the fallopian tubes for its journey down into the uterus. So the rate of secretion of LH by the anterior pituitary increases markedly, rising 6 or 10 times then peaking about 18 hours before ovulation - the release of the egg into the fallopian tubes for its journey down into the uterus. The production of FSH also increases at this time, and these two hormones act together to cause a swelling of the follicle during several days before ovulation. Finally ovulation takes place usually around the fourteenth day, in the middle of your cycle. enter progesterone LH also alters the cells around the egg follicle, so that now they secrete less oestradiol, but progressively rising amounts of progesterone. This means that the rate of oestrogen secretion begins to fall about day thirteen, one day before ovulation occurs. But as small amounts of progesterone begin to be secreted, very rapid growth of the follicle takes place. Beginning with this secretion of progesterone, ovulation occurs too, triggered yet again by the luteinizing hormone from the anterior pituitary. During the first few hours after the ovum has been expelled from the follicle, more and more rapid physical and chemical changes take place to the egg in a process called luteinization. At this stage - known as the luteal stage of a woman's cycle - the follicle becomes known as the corpus luteum, or yellow body. The cells around the egg begin to secrete larger quantities of progesterone, as the level of oestrogen decreases. Some of the cells around the egg become much enlarged. They develop inclusions of lipids or fats which give them their distinctive yellow color. From now on, development becomes rapid until seven or eight days after ovulation, when it peaks. As soon as a follicle releases an egg, the ovary switches over from pumping out oestrogen to primarily making progesterone. Progesterone is only synthesized when you ovulate. In fact, ovulation changes the whole ball game. No longer is there a need for further build up of the womb lining. The challenge now is to hold on to the secretory endometrium, and to render it capable of nurturing a fertilized egg long enough for it to grow into a baby. That is progesterone's task. The progesterone released with the egg has a negative effect on the other ovary. Its release tells the other ovary: "Hey, we've got an egg out now, so you don't have to worry about producing any." For even though women have two ovaries, they usually produce only one egg a month. The business of fraternal twins - that is, both ovaries releasing an egg at the same time - only happens once every three hundred months, which is why fraternal twins are so rare. The corpus luteum, which forms each month, is a tiny organ with a huge capacity for hormone production. It releases large quantities of progesterone, plus some oestrogen, which cause a feedback decrease in the secretion of FSH and LH by the anterior pituitary, so that no new follicles begin to grow. But as soon as the corpus luteum degenerates at the end of its 12 day life - which is about the 26th day of the female sexual cycle - this lack of feedback triggers the anterior pituitary gland to secrete several times as much FSH, followed a few days later by more LH as well. This in turn stimulates the growth of new follicles to begin the next ovarian cycle. And at the same time, a fall in progesterone and in oestrogen secretion trigger menstruation. peaks and falls From day 1 until about day 13 of a woman's menstrual cycle, the level of progesterone in her body is very, very low. Yet the point at which a follicle is released, it continues to rise dramatically until day 21 to 23, at which point it begins to fall down again to its lowest level, as menstruation begins around day 28. In addition to maintaining the endometrium and shifting down activity in the other ovary, the progesterone provided each month travels to other parts of a woman's body to fulfill other roles. It protects her from the side-effects of oestrogen for one thing, helping to protect her from getting breast cancer, from retaining water and salt, from high blood pressure, and from becoming depressed. Progesterone also brings surges of libido. You still hear a few so called experts say that oestrogen increases libido. But think about it. Which hormone would you rely on for sex-drive - oestrogen, which is present before the egg is made, or progesterone, which comes after the egg is released and is ready for fertilization? Libido increases with progesterone surges. When this rhythmic cycling of oestrogen and progesterone during each lunar month gets out of sync (and many things in modern life can cause this) then all sorts of things can go wrong - from infertility to PMS, depression, bloating, endometriosis and fibroids. For the oestrogens and progesterone, each have their characteristic roles to play, and for a woman to be healthy they must balance each other. the last and the first So do all the other steroids: This group of hormones to which cortisol, aldosterone, progesterone, DHEA, testosterone and the oestrogens belong, is intimately involved in how you feel both physically and emotionally, as well as how rapidly your body ages. Steroids have a characteristic molecular structure which resembles cholesterol, from which they are all ultimately derived. Cholesterol is the vital fatty substance that has had such a bad press in recent years, but which is absolutely essential to life. Out of each steroid hormone made from cholesterol, yet another - and following that another - can be made in a knock-on effect. For instance, pregnenolone is the steroid manufactured directly from cholesterol. It in turn becomes a precursor to progesterone, as well as to other hormones. Natural steroid hormones such as progesterone, made by biosynthesis in your own body, have this remarkable capability to act as precursors. In other words they are capable of being turned into other hormones further down the pathways as and when your body needs them. Progesterone is mother of many other hormones. It can eventually be turned not only into various oestrogens, but also into cortisol - the anti-inflammatory hormone - and into other steroids such as corticosterone or aldosterone, with equally important jobs to do. All of these conversions happen through slight alterations in the shape of a molecule, thanks to the actions of enzymes, each of which carries out a specific task. But these conversions can only take place if the molecules on which the enzyme is acting "fit" precisely - both electromagnetically and stereochemically - into its structure. All of these changes which take place through the magic of enzymes occur in the presence of vitamin and mineral cofactors such as magnesium, zinc, and B6, which catalyze each enzyme reaction. They are all carefully modulated by elaborate feedback mechanisms as well. The names and chemical transformations from one steroid to another are not important to remember. What is important is that you get some sense of just how complex hormone synthesis and interactions can be, and how important it is to have sufficient cofactors as well as `primary' hormones, such as pregnalone and progesterone, to be able to synthesize others. A rich hormonal symphony? Immeasurably. Yet all this still does not even begin to take into account the myriad pathways by which these steroid hormones interact with other hormones, or master central mechanisms within the hypothalamus and pituitary, or psychoneuroimmunological pathways by which hormones effect our emotions, and emotions our hormones. sabotage It is in coming face to face with the rich textures of such hormonal symphonies that the synthetic progestagen drugs can come a cropper. When you look at the structures of their molecules, in every case you find that although they resemble your body's homemade hormones, their shapes have been altered slightly by adding extra atoms here or there at unusual positions. It is this that has enabled them to qualify as patentable drugs. However, unlike the natural hormones - which they attempt to mimic, and which not only fulfill their own functions by binding with their own receptor sites but also act as precursors for a myriad of other hormones with other important jobs to do - the progestagens are end-product molecules. They are also completely foreign to the living body. Unlike nature's own steroids they can also not be augmented or diminished as necessary to maintain balance, and to keep the body's hormonal symphony flowing smoothly. They also cannot easily be eliminated when their levels get too high. Although the synthetics can still bind with the receptor sites of the hormones they are made to mimic, they don't fit as well as the homemade steroids do into the enzymes meant to act upon them. This means they are not under the watchful eye and control of these enzymes, nor of the body's self-regulating capacities. Drug-based oestrogens and progestagens in contraceptives and HRT cocktails can significantly disrupt a woman's normal hormonal cycles by introducing foreign elements into her body. They also virtually wipe out the moon cycles to which a woman's natural fertility and spiritual balance are inexorably bound from puberty onwards. So although in the short term they may temporarily do a job such as provide birth control or quell heavy bleeding in a menopausal woman, in the long run they only sabotage hormone balance, by turning harmony into dissonance - a dissonance capable not only of causing disruptions in a woman's health and physical body, but also of creating emotional and spiritual confusion in her life. This, sadly, is not something you will find described in the Merck index that warns doctors of a drug's side-effects, however. For the spiritual aspects of health and healing tend to be all but forgotten in the linear thinking that underlies most twentieth century medicine. In the mechanistic western world of drug-based treatments, where we are trained to take a pill for whatever ails us, this concept can be a little strange for some women to grasp. Especially if they are well educated, intelligent, and if they have been urged from puberty to rely on oral contraceptives - even told they are irresponsible if they don't. Or if they have been filled with fear that if they don't take HRT as menopause approaches their life is going to fall apart. friends and lovers Quite apart from their biochemical actions, rather like people, hormones have characters with highly individual personalities. To the biochemist, the `personalities' of the oestrogens and progesterone will always remain a mystery. He is interested in nothing beyond their molecular configurations. But many women come to know these personalities well - by allowing intuition and instinct to be their teachers. When progesterone is surging through the body, a woman can feel high. Provided her body is producing enough of this steroid, she is likely to feel great. Your senses are keen when progesterone is running. Smells smell sweeter - or more horrible. Touching, sensing, tasting, hearing, are all richer experiences than usual. In the presence of progesterone, women have a desire to do something, to create something, to work in the garden, to dance or sing a song, or make love. Sometimes progesterone surges can feel like falling in love. They can bring feelings of balanced wellbeing together with excitement - a desire to explore new worlds, and to try new things. This can happen during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle after ovulation, when the follicle turns into the yellow body (or corpus luteum), but it becomes far more intense when you are pregnant. It is a high level of progesterone that makes a woman feel on top of the world during the last months of pregnancy. At this time the placenta churns out an amazing 300 to 400 milligrams of the steroid, while during the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle it will have only been producing 20 milligrams or so a day. I suspect that among those women who seem to get pregnant over and over and who so love the whole experience, you are likely to find high progesterone levels. You also find them in women who have trouble-free menstruation. Sadly the opposite is true too: When progesterone is low - as it is in a growing number of women now, who have been subjected to manufactured hormones and who, living in the polluted world, have become oestrogen dominant - women never seem to feel well even during pregnancy. Many have all sorts of troubles with their female organs and cycles including PMS - sometimes from puberty right through to death. when oestrogens flow The oestrogens have quite a different character. When oestrogens peak in the menstrual cycle just before the `fall' of ovulation, a woman feels less independent. She is more willing to adjust herself to the needs of others. She is more inclined to see herself in relation to men too instead of as a woman in her own right. When the oestrogens are running, women like to attract a mate not so much to draw him into her body as to comfort, admire and care for her. Her ovaries seem to be smiling - `whatever you want, I'm happy to give', they seem to say. A few women who by nature are high oestrogen producers feel quite dependent on others for approval, and for the definition of their being. While such an experience can be lovely and make a woman feel highly `feminine', it can also go too far. However, in these women, when menopause finally arrives and oestrogen levels drop dramatically, often they find to their surprise and delight that for the first time in their lives they begin to feel complete in themselves - as though they don't need anybody else to validate their lives. Provided they are otherwise well, menopause can be sheer joy in the sense of freedom it brings these women - that is, once they get over the shock of being such a `different person'. From a biological point of view, there are many important actions that progesterone and oestrogen exert upon the body and psyche. Since these are little known among women and doctors alike it is worth looking at a few: Effects of Progesterone Effects of Oestrogen Increases libido Decreases libido Prevents cancer of the womb Increases risk of womb cancer Protects against fibrocystic breast disease Stimulates breast cell activity Maintains the lining of the uterus Proliferates the lining of the uterus Stimulates the building of new bone Slows down the resorption of old bone Strengthens skin Thins skin Is a natural diuretic Encourages salt and water retention Brings antidepressant effects Can produce headaches and depression Encourages fat burning and the use of stored energy Lays down fat stores Normalizes blood clotting Increases blood clotting Concerned with the procreation and survival of the fetus Concerned with the development and release of the egg Precursor to important stress hormones End-molecule steroids The reproductive hormonal menstrual cycle of a woman between puberty and the menarche is a superbly ordered natural work of art. It becomes so much a part of our lives that unless we have some particular difficulties with PMS or fertility, we hardly give it any thought. Not, that is, until things begin to alter. Once they do begin - in most women sometime between the age of forty and fifty - they usually change gradually, until finally a woman senses that something deep in her being has shifted. Such feelings herald the coming of menopause - the third phase of a woman's life.

A Woman's World

A Woman's World

To understand cellulite it is important to understand how your flesh is structured. Let's look at the deeper layers first. They are known as subcutaneous tissues. In your thighs, these are made up of three layers of fat with two planes of connective tissue and ground substance in between. This brings us to one of the interesting things about cellulite: It is almost always a female complaint. With a very few remarkable exceptions, men simply do not get it. In part this is hormonal. A woman's body is rich in female hormones such as oestrogen, which encourage the laying down of fat. (For years farmers injected oestrogen-like substances in cattle and chickens to fatten them rapidly for market.) This is also why cellulite tends first to appear during times of intense hormonal change such as puberty, pregnancy or when she goes onto a birth control pill. In part, however, cellulite is a woman's condition because the basic construction of subcutaneous tissue of the thigh differs in men and women. In women, the topmost subcutaneous layer is made up of what are termed large 'standing fat-cell chambers', which are separated by radial and arching dividing walls of connective tissue attached to the overlying tissue of the dermis or true skin. The uppermost part of the subcutaneous tissue of men is different. It is thinner, and there is a network of crisscrossing connective tissue walls which makes it harder for a man's body to lay down large fat cells and to trap stored wastes and water in the tissues. Also the corium - the connective tissue structure between the true skin and the deeper layers or hypodermis - is thicker in men than in women. You can check on these differences yourself by carrying out a 'pinch test'. It is only pinching the thighs of women that results in the 'mattress phenomenon' with its pitting, bulging and deformation of skin. Pinch the thighs of most men and you will get gentle skin folds or furrows, completely without bulges or pits. beware the ravages of time Age-related changes in women also encourage the build up of cellulite. For instance, as women get older, their skin gets progressively looser and thinner. This encourages the migration of fat cells into this layer. The connective tissue walls between the chambers of fat cells also get thinner allowing the fat-cell chambers to enlarge - a condition known as hypertrophy. This progressive thinning of connective tissue structures is another major factor in the development of cellulite and creates the granular texture and buckshot feel of much cellulite-riddled flesh. An examination of cellulite tissue under the microscope also reveals that a number of histological changes have taken place. They include a distension of the lymphatic vessels of the upper skin, for instance, and a decrease in the number of elastic fibers. The circulation of blood, too, has been slowed, and the connective fibers have undergone a sclerotic hardening, so that the fluids and the wastes they contain become trapped in an unpleasant network which pinches nerve endings (hence the pain in well developed cellulite) and create stasis in the tissue - rather like a polluted swamp - where energy exchange is reduced. The whole area takes on a deadened quality - a sure sign of poor body ecology.

Secrets Of The Moon Goddess

Secrets Of The Moon Goddess

A woman's average menstrual cycle is 29 1/2 days—exactly the length of the moon's passage from new to full and back to new again. In tribal cultures, where women live in close physical proximity to each other and their natural menstrual cycles are not disrupted by such things as alterations in exposure to natural light, electromagnetic fields, drugs and hormones, not only do they menstruate at the same time, ovulation tends to occur when light is brightest at the full moon, and menstruation begins during the moon's dark phase—at new moon. There is by no means anything pathological in any woman in the modern world not cycling in this particular natural rhythm. However, it has also been demonstrated that the menstrual cycle can be regulated according to the exposure to varying degrees of light, which mimic the waxing and waning of the moon's phases. Under such circumstances the three phases of the moon—waxing, full and waning—correlate exactly with the monthly cycle of ebb and flow of female hormones—the oestrogen dominated proliferative phase, ovulation, the secretory luteal phase, and menstruation itself. SPLENDID PASSAGES In the realm of myth and symbols, these phases are superbly mirrored in the three phases of every woman's life—childhood, before the sex hormones begin to flow, the childbearing years, which begin at the menarche, and the postmenopausal years of the Moon Goddess in her Crone guise. In ancient cultures, the moon was considered the source of fertility and birth. She ruled destiny and time, the secrets of the unseen world, transformation, death and regeneration. It was the moon's power that quickened all of life. Sowing and harvesting were done in harmony with her ebbs and flows. It was the moon which grew bright then darkened and disappeared altogether each month that taught people that nothing in life is constant. The only thing on which you can rely is change. The moon became a symbol of the cycle of transformation that makes its home in a woman's body, while woman came to rule all things that involved change. Archaeologist Marija Gimbutas, professor Emerita at UCLA, is the acknowledged world expert on Neolithic goddess-centered cultures in pre-patriarchal Europe. Author of more than twenty books, she paints a richly detailed picture of their social structure, agriculture, customs, rituals, religion and art. Much has been learned in recent years about the nature of the goddess-centered cultures, which existed for literally tens of thousands of years in Europe and Asia. The miniature sculptures that have been unearthed in the past twenty years give insight into the great variety of female manifestation of the divine which appeared as long ago as 27,000 to 25,000 years BC. Three thousand of these have been found in Siberia alone. In The Civilization of the Goddess, a monumental encyclopedic book which has already changed history, Gimbutas writes, "According to myriad images that have survived from the great span of human prehistory on the Eurasian continents, it was the sovereign mystery and creative power of the female as the source of life that developed into the earliest religious experiences. The Great Mother Goddess who gives birth to all creation out of the holy darkness of her womb became a metaphor for Nature herself, the cosmic giver and taker of life, ever able to renew Herself within the eternal cycle of life, death and rebirth." WOMAN’S MANY FACES We learn from ancient sources that, like woman herself, the Moon Goddess has many faces. At the new moon, she is the Virgin Goddess, wrapped in enthusiasm for new beginnings as seeds sprout and first shoots appear. When her second phase begins, so does puberty. Buds turn into flowers and flowers to fruits as virgin becomes transformed into Divine Mother in charge of procreation and sexuality. She is the pregnant goddess, mistress of animals, bringer of life, the Madonna. As the moon begins to wane, woman passes through her next initiation to a time of harvest and a time of death, during which all that is old becomes compost for her new life. It is the Dark Goddess who rules the darkness of the moon, death and rebirth. Ancient statues of the Dark Goddess carved in bone, marble, alabaster or clay are often white—for white is the color of death. Bones are turned white by the elements. The big breasts and hips you find on statues of the Divine Mother become replaced by stiff nudes. The Dark Goddess is often depicted without breasts, her hands either on her chest or extended along her sides. She is shown with an enlarged pubic triangle, for the Dark Goddess of the waning moon is not only goddess of death but of regeneration. She rules the time in a woman's life when everything that has run its course, everything which has become outmoded or no longer has meaning in a woman’s life, must be destroyed to make way for a more authentic life. THE GIFTS OF MENOPAUSE Menopause is the initiation of the Dark Goddess. It is the passage during which a woman is asked to confront the possibility of her own death and probe the mysteries of decay, dismemberment, and regeneration. For only through the death of the old can the exciting new birth that awaits us take place. As menopause approaches, often a woman wants to spend more time in nature and to feel her spirit fed by the earth. The fear of menopause and the fear of the Crone, so widespread in our society, are nothing more than a reflection of our misguided fear of death itself. For, in today’s world, we have forgotten the great cyclic flow of birth, flowering, death and regeneration that is hidden within the circle of the moon—as it is within all life—and reflected in the circle of our own souls. Little wonder, since our patriarchal culture denies cyclical time and views events as linear. In linear time, the end is not connected with the beginning. Birth and death are not viewed as two vital passages in a continuing cycle of life, but as opposites—the one to be celebrated the other to be resisted at all costs until the bitter end. It is no wonder our society wants to black out menopause and to reject the older female. In the fearful fragmented world we live in, this appears to be the only way that human beings can deny for a time their own mortality. This is why the Dark Goddess remains a focus of fear and loathing in stereotypical male-dominated linear thinking. BANISH FEAR AND CELEBRATE Any woman who does not break through the limitations of such thinking and move beyond it risks becoming so paralyzed by fear that she looks upon The Dark Goddess (and menopause itself) as an enemy to be resisted. In truth, she is the archetype-medium by which the internal split that took place thousands of years ago between woman and her feminine nature can be healed forever. She is death's priestess. It is she that wipes out outmoded patterns of thinking and living. Then, acting the role of the midwife, she brings new forms of living to birth. The Dark Goddess—often called the Crone— can seem a terrifying figure to the uninformed women approaching menopause. She has so long remained repressed within our psyches that, when at last her energy rises and she makes her presence known, it can sometimes feel like an earthquake, a volcano, or some eruption of Nature that occurs to us as when pressures held too long within the earth are released. Yet the Crone has always been present in our lives: She has appeared each month as the moon grows dark and menstrual blood—the source of all creation—flows. Now, as menopause approaches, the Dark Goddess comes at last to rest within a woman's being. For instead of being released each month, the dark blood of creative power is retained within a woman's body and made available for her use. MONUMENTAL TRANSFORMATIONS The presence of the Dark Goddess in a woman's life is easy to spot. She arises whenever we experience dramatic changes—the death of a loved one, loss of a job, disfiguration. She is our teacher who guides us through the transformation that is being asked of us onto a new level of being. She is there in our deepest despair and at times when we connect most powerfully with our own creative fire. She is the hand-maiden that nurtures us through dark nights once we are willing to make the descent into our own psyche, and connect with whatever forms are sleeping there, so we can begin to live our own power. When these connections are made she is present too. She teaches us by her presence alone to become deeply and spontaneously sexual, assertive, straight, incorruptible, prophetic, intuitive and free. All of these qualities arise at menopause. These are the most precious gifts of the Crone. They herald the beginning of what is potentially the most creative part of any woman’s life... This time in which her biological creativity is let go of to be replaced by creativity of the highest order in any woman’s life. It must be said—it is these powerful gifts of the Dark Goddess which are still the most terrifying threats to the linear patriarchal culture of control in which most of us still live. More to come next week...

What The Daily Mail Didn't Publish

What The Daily Mail Didn't Publish

London’s Daily Mail approached me a few weeks ago asking me to write a piece on what it’s like to have 4 children by 4 different men. The idea intrigued me so I did. The piece wasn’t published since, they said, “It’s not written in the Mail style.” This week we sent what I wrote to all lesliekenton.com newsletter subscribers. Since we had an overwhelmingly positive response to this piece, I decided to share it with you as well. (This is the first time we have ever done something like this.) I hope you will also enjoy reading it. It comes as a personal gift from me to you. Struggling to hold back the tears, my daughter’s voice on the crackly phone line was barely a whisper. “Mama, Dan died this morning,” she said. Dan Smith, biological father to my third child, Jesse, was much loved by all of my children. He had been seriously ill with a rare form of leukaemia. We knew he could die any moment. Still, the news that reached me at my Primrose Hill home that cold February morning in 2010 sent shock waves through me. “We’re already organising the funeral,” Susannah went on. “We want to play jazz music, tell fun stories about Dan and celebrate his life. Don’t worry about being 12,000 miles away, we’ll video all of it for you to watch later.” I would love to have been there to celebrate Dan’s life. It had been a good life. He was an honorable man—one who kept his promises. Dan had long adored each of my four children although only one of them was a child of his own body. Four years earlier, Dan had chosen to move to New Zealand to be near the children. Together they had searched for and found a house for him so that all of us—me included—could spend precious time with Dan and care for him so long as he lived. NOT THE MARRYING KIND I had met Dan 53 years earlier when I was seventeen years old. We became friends. Later, in my mid-twenties, we were briefly married. I was never much in favor of marriage, however. That’s probably why I chose to give birth to four children by four different men. Now I’m being called a trailblazer for what is becoming an increasingly popular brand of mothering, commonly referred to as ‘multi-dadding.’ I am supposed to be what is fashionably termed a ‘4x4.’ Mothering children by more than one man recently hit the headlines with the news that actress Kate Winslet is expecting her third child by her third husband, the rock star Ned Rocknroll. Kate, 37, has a 12-year-old daughter, Mia, with her first husband, Jim Threapleton, and a nine-year-old son, Joe, with her second husband, Sam Mendes. The former weather girl Ulrika Jonsson is a 4x4, and the late TV presenter Paula Yates was a 4x2. While supposedly gaining popularity, this style of mothering is still hugely controversial. I am told that the news that a woman has children by more than one man is still met with a mixture of horror and fascination. Maybe I’ve been lucky, but I have never had to deal with either of these attitudes. To tell the truth, I have never much cared what people think about me, how I chose to live my life or the way I have raised my children. Perhaps that’s a good thing, or maybe I am just naïve. One thing is for sure: I’ve always been one of those women so fertile that that a man could almost look at me and I’d get pregnant. I would never miscarry. I rode horses, went surfing and danced all night while pregnant and suffered no consequences. I am told that women like me are often looked upon as monstrously selfish, bad mothers. They are accused of being feckless for having multiple lovers and just plain wrong for not providing their children with a ‘traditional family setup.’ I’m sure some traditional families are genuinely wise, stable and happy. The parents love each other and care for their children with great devotion and joy. But, in my experience, such families are few and far between. KIDS MATTER MOST What matters most in child rearing is neither convention nor family labels. It is the children. Children brought up by a devoted single mother (or single father) who lovingly trusts their own parental instincts and forms honest relationships with each child in their care, thrive. I believe this is far better than desperately trying to hold on to a marriage that doesn’t work ‘for the children’s sake.’ What I find sad is the way an ordinary single woman—not a movie star or media giant—who has children by more than one man and has to bring them up by herself, earning a living and juggling the needs not only of her children but also increasingly of their fathers, doesn't get the attention, sympathy, or anywhere near the admiration she deserves. It’s a challenging job for any woman. I know, I’ve done it. I’ve raised four children all on my own, earned the money for our family, stayed up all night caring for them when they had measles, chicken pox or mumps, then got up the next morning to make breakfast and iron that school uniform about which I was told, “Mama...my teacher says it has to be perfect.” Many a time I worried where the money was coming from to pay for food that week. LION-HEARTED MOTHERHOOD I champion any woman making a life for the children she loves in this way. It is the child that matters most and his or her relationship to a mother, father, or a caring friend. Every woman has a powerful lion-hearted passion to care for and protect her children. Women should trust themselves, give thanks for such power and use it for the benefit of their children. Kids are notoriously smart. They know when they are being fed a line about what they are “supposed” to think and say. They easily distinguish between what’s real and what’s contrived. As parents, if we want to gain the respect of our children we must always tell them the truth and treat them with respect as well as demand that they respect us in return. As far as the fathers of our children are concerned, they deserve the same respect and honesty from a woman as the child does, whether or not she is married to them. I believe that each child needs to get to know its father in its own way and make its own judgements. MY OWN STORY I grew up in a wildly unconventional family of highly creative, unstable people. Until I was 5, I was raised by my maternal grandmother. Later I was raped by my father and had my brain fried with ECT in an attempt to make me forget all that had happened to me. I was always a tomboy. I hated dolls. I loved to climb trees and play football. Yet from 5 years old I was sure that I wanted to have children. When I told my grandmother my plan she said I would need to get married to have children. “What’s married?” I asked. “It’s when you wear a white dress and have a big beautiful cake and promise to love and obey a man,” she said. “Ugh, I’ll never do that,” I replied. “I hate cake.” In any case, I knew she was lying to me since none of our Siamese cats were married, but they gave birth to masses of kittens. At the age of 17, while in my Freshman year at Stanford University, I got pregnant by a 22 year old man named Peter Dau. I rang my father. “I’m pregnant,” I told him. “What are you going to do?” “Give birth and keep the baby.” “You can’t keep the baby unless you get married,” he said. Had I been a little more gutsy I would have told him to get stuffed. But at the age of 17, still wrestling with all that had happened to me in my own childhood, he wielded a lot of influence over me. So I agreed. Peter was all for the idea. Single-handedly I put together an all-white wedding for 250 people in the garden of our Beverley Hills home. I made the decision to wear black shoes under my white satin dress. I felt I was giving my life away by marrying Peter, but I was willing to make the sacrifice since I so wanted this child. As soon as Dan learned of the wedding, he sent me a beautiful sterling silver bowl as a present which I still have. My first son, Branton, was born six months later. When I held this tiny baby in my arms he taught me the most important lesson I ever learned: Love exists. It is simple, real and has nothing to do with highfalutin notions or flowery words. At the age of 18, I realized my life had found its purpose—to love and be loved. PREGNANT AGAIN A year later, Peter and I left California for New York where he was to attend medical school while I went to work as a model to help support us. At that time, Dan left his job as a journalist in Massachusetts and moved to New York to be near us. My marriage to Peter ended amicably three years later. It should never have happened in the first place. Three days after leaving Peter back in California, I stopped overnight at my father’s house in Beverley Hills on my way back to New York. Barry Comden, a man much older than I whom I had known since I was 14 but never had a sexual relationship with, discovered I was in town and came to see me. I made love to him once and knew immediately that I was pregnant again. Marry Barry? No way. I was determined not to make the same mistake twice. (Years later Barry would marry the actress Doris Day.) Nine months later my only daughter, Susannah, was born. It was then that a large tumor growing off of my right ovary was discovered. It had been hidden behind the baby during my pregnancy. It was dangerous and had to be surgically removed. HELP WHEN IT MATTERS Once again Dan appeared in my life. He had always insisted that he fell in love with me from the first day we met. He had written me letters every single day my first year at Stanford. I never answered any of them. I didn’t share his love and I didn’t want to lead him on. He had also sent me book after book which he thought I should read. I read them all and loved them. Dan had always been kind and generous to me. He was always keen to protect and care for me when I needed it. So, when I ended up penniless and alone with two children and in need of major surgery, he offered me a home. I accepted. For several months the four of us lived together in New York. Dan adored Branton and Susannah and treated them as if they were his own. I was longing to leave the United States. I wanted to live in Paris—a city I loved more than any other. Dan was able to arrange a job for himself there as a foreign correspondent. In early 1964 we went. Dan had repeatedly told me that he was sure we were meant to be together forever. I hoped that he was right and believed that if I tried hard enough to be a good wife I would learn to love him as he deserved. On July 29, 1964, we were married in Paris. Like every other man I have ever been close to, Dan knew long before we were married that my children would always come first. I had sat him down and told him that he would have to treat Susannah and Branton exactly the same as he would treat any child of his who might come along. He agreed. On June 12, 1965, Dan’s son Jesse was born. He was delighted. True to his word, never once did he favor Jesse over Branton and Susannah. This was great for all three children who came to know him well and to adore him. When presents were passed out, each child was equally favored. Dan belonged to all of them and they knew it. FATHERS, FATHERS Because Branton’s father lived in America and we lived in Europe, Branton did not see him again until he was 11. By that age I figured he was old enough to make the trip on his own and spend a week or two with Peter. Susannah was not really interested in her father—also in the United States—until she was about 17. She then went to Los Angeles to meet him. A good friendship developed between them which remained until Barry died. A non-traditional, unconventional family? Absolutely, but it worked because there was honesty and there was love—the two most important things in any family, anytime, anywhere. For five years I had told myself that, if only I could learn to love Dan more, then everything would be all right. But I couldn’t. And it wasn’t. Confused and disappointed, at the age of 27, I faced the fact that our marriage had failed. We moved to England and we separated. It was Easter. I went to a Buddhist monastery in Scotland to clear my head. Of course Dan grieved over the failure. But that never stopped him from being a welcome person in our family right up to his death. Years later he would marry Gerda Boyeson, a psychotherapist who died a few years before he did. BLESSED MEN The men who made my life rich after Dan and I divorced were, each in their own way, as special as he had been. Each accepted that my children came before all else in the world to me. I never compromised. I chose men, be they friends or lovers, who brought wonderful things to my children. No man ever came before my children. If any man didn’t understand and accept this, he had to go. One man whom I loved, Graham, taught my children to climb and sail and mountaineer. All my children forged deep bonds with Graham which have remained to this day. Another man, Garth, gave Branton, Susannah and Jesse his much cherished toy collection from his own childhood. Garth took us all on wonderful picnics, introduced us to hidden beaches, sang songs with us and blessed us with his unique brand of joy. Then there was David, a man with whom I lived with for 5 years in my late twenties. David constructed beautiful rooms for each of my children in the tiny house I had bought with the little money that my grandfather had left me, when Dan and I separated. David wrote and recorded songs for each of my children. That was 40 years ago. Last year, Susannah and her partner visited David and his wife in Barcelona where he now lives. AN UNCONVENTIONAL MOTHER Ironically, the only complaint I ever got from any of my children about my not being conventional enough was from Dan’s son Jesse. “Why aren’t you like other mothers?” Jesse asked one day when he was 7. “I don’t know, Jesse, what are other mothers like?” “Oh you know,” he said, “They’re fat and bake cookies.” Jesse even grumbled if, while I was waiting to pick him up from school, I sat on the playground swings. He was adamant that such behavior was not “proper” for his mother. Sixteen years after Jesse was born, I became pregnant for the last time by yet another special man—Paul. I announced my condition to 17 year old Susannah as we were all setting off for a six week holiday in Canada with Graham and his son Ruan. “I’m going to have a baby,” I told her. “Don’t worry Mama,” she laughed, “We’ll say it is mine!” FAMILY CELEBRATION In March of 1981, I gave birth to my fourth child, Aaron, at our home in Pembrokeshire. All three of my other children helped deliver him. While I was in labor, they prepared the most delicious lunch I have ever tasted from fruits and vegetables from the garden. I had insisted on giving birth naturally at home, not in some clinical, cold hospital. Jesse had been born via natural childbirth, at a clinique d’accouchement in Paris. After the experience of natural childbirth I swore if ever I had another child it would have to be this way. As for Dan, one way or another he was always close by. He knew David, Graham, Garth and every other man who was to play a role in my own life and my children’s lives. For many years he spent Christmases with us and with our other male friends when they were there. Dan loved to play saxophone at family gatherings. One year he dressed up as Santa Claus. Aaron, then 5 years old, was completely taken in by the costume and terrified when this rotund man belted out, “Ho, Ho, Ho, little boy, what do you want for Christmas?” It took a lot of reassurance from Aaron’s big brothers and sister to convince him that Santa was really ‘good old Dan.’ UNIQUE & INDEPENDENT As for my children, each of them is totally unique and highly independent. I have always fought hard to encourage them to trust themselves and listen to their own heart instead of doing or saying what the rest of the world tells kids they are supposed to do and say. After graduating with a first class degree from Lancaster University, Branton, now 53, developed a series of successful businesses. Susannah, 50, with whom I have written 5 books and done two television series, is a sought-after voice artist. Jesse, 48, is a highly skilled plastic surgeon. Jesse and I have also written a book together. Aaron, now 32, is a designer and filmmaker. He and I have worked together for the past four years developing Cura Romana—a spiritually based program for health, lasting weight loss and spiritual transformation. Branton and Jesse have been happily married for many years. Both have three children each. As for me, I am probably the world’s worst grandmother. I don't babysit, or do any of the things grandmothers are ‘supposed’ to do. (Including baking those cookies Jesse once complained about.) Why? I’m not sure. I guess because for forty-five years of my life I was a mother. I loved this more than all the books I’ve written, all the television programs I’ve devised and presented, all the workshops I’ve taught, and all the other things I’ve done and enjoyed. Right now, my life belongs to me alone. I love the freedom this brings me. I am passionate about being a catalyst in people’s lives, helping them realize their own magnificence and live out their potentials both for their own benefit and for the benefit of all. Who knows what exciting challenges lie before me. Bring them on!

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana®

Fast, Healthy Weight Loss

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana® has proudly supported 12,000+ weight loss journeys over the past 12 years. With an overall average daily weight loss of 0.5 - 0.6 lb for women and 0.8 - 1.0 lb for men.

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 26th of February 2020 (updated every 12 hours)

-0.52 lb
for women
-1.29 lb
for men
-0.52 lb
for women
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for men

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 26th of February 2020 (updated every 12 hours)

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