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Menstruality Leadership Programme: a menstruality apprenticeship 2019
April 28, 2019 @ 5:30 pm - September 27, 2019 @ 4:00 pm BST
Menstruality Leadership Programme:
a menstruality apprenticeship
(Formally known as the Women’s Quest Apprenticeship)
Red School’s Menstruality Leadership Programme offers a radically new approach to women’s leadership training based on a cyclical model of development: the menstrual cycle and the psychological and spiritual developmental journey from menarche to menopause and beyond into our mature years. It is the only comprehensive training of its kind in the world exploring and developing the exciting new discipline of Menstruality, a discipline that is set to change the way we approach women’s and other menstruators wellbeing at all levels of our personal and professional development, creative and spiritual life.
It is a training rooted in an apprenticeship to your own lived experience of the menstrual cycle, and if you don’t have a menstrual cycle, you can work with the moon cycle. The patterning is the same although the menstrual cycle is felt more deeply as it is an embodied process.
Menstruality is a woman’s Inner Intelligence or organising principle that is working her from her first bleed at menarche, throughout her menstruating years and menopause and into her post-menopause years. It is leading her Home to Herself.
Menstruality is an initiatory journey to power (a process of maturation): a psychological death and rebirth process that unfolds over each menstrual month leading to ever more expanded levels of consciousness. Menstruality is the knowledge, knowing and consciousness that accumulates in a woman through the lived experience of this repeated initiation, month after month; and what she simultaneously generates in her community.
In summary, menstruality is both a consciousness and a new professional field which has not previously existed. This training is a chance to be a forerunner in this new emerging field of menstruality.
What the training offers you
You will receive comprehensive grounding in the (Red School) menstruality cosmology explored in the context of your own lived experience of the cycle. It is an apprenticeship with your own cycle that will:
- Root you in a custom made personal and spiritual development programme for life
- Give you clear information, and growing skill and authority to share, teach and facilitate this work.
You will learn how to:
- Ground in the Red School menstruality cosmology
- Establish an ongoing discipline of Menstrual Cycle Awareness as a life practice
- Forge an intimate and trusting relationship with your cycle
- Work with the powers of the menstrual cycle for personal healing, creativity and spiritual awakening
- Root into your cycle experience and how to work it as an evolutionary process from menarche to menopause
- Be initiated into the via negativa – the way of the Feminine
- Step into your own authority with menstruality – find your own voice and leadership role
- Embed within the Red School menstruality community – creating collegiality, friendship and creative support networks.
If you are on the cusp of or have crossed the menopause, you will work retrospectively recovering something of your menstrual cycle story, understanding how the cyclical powers exist within you still and how to honour them, while also exploring this in the context of the transition of menopause itself.
- A detailed and intimate grounding in your own cycle pattern through its various seasons and layers
- An ability to read your cycle’s signs for insight into your own nature, needs and Calling
- An appreciation of your strengths and vulnerabilities and how to care for and capitalise on them
- A self–care tool kit
- Greater clarity and connection to your Calling – your Wild Power
- An emerging inner authority
- A feeling of being recognised/seen by yourself and others
- A community of sisters who are on your side with support, insight, cheerleading and extraordinary wisdom and skills to share.
- A deeper understanding of the Feminine and a stronger capacity to realise its presence in the world.
- An inner authority to share and facilitate this knowledge
- An understanding of menstruality – can be used to hold menstruality circles and/or offer menstruality coaching
- Apply menstruality within your chosen field/profession
- Become an advocate/activist for menstruality in the world – raising awareness
- Develop your personal expertise or area of speciality within the menstruality field, for example birth, motherhood, menopause*, research, mental health
- Embed within a professional menstruality peer group
- Be a forerunner in the menstruality movement
Please note: we don’t teach you how to teach this material but rather support the awakening of your authority to do that)
*If you want to teach and coach in the area of menopause, you would also need to attend our Menopause: unveiling the hidden power workshop. As we are unable to cover the full scope of the menopause transition itself. Currently only available as an in-person event but we are looking to also making an online version.
Living in a community where there is a Woman (an individual or a group of women)
who is responsible for preparing girls for puberty and celebrating their first period; teaching them cycle awareness
for self–care, menstrual health, contraception, and the sacredness of sexuality; preparing women for pregnancy and birth,
and finally greeting them as they arrive at the door of menopause
Going for healing, counselling or coaching and at the centre of your work is the acknowledgement of your cycle
as a core tool for healing and creating your future
Attending a personal or spiritual development program where the menstrual cycle is openly acknowledged and
recognised as the quintessential Woman’s Way
Working in an environment where your embodied intelligence as a woman is welcomed, and in which business
development recognizes cyclical consciousness
Men respecting the menstrual cycle as a wonderful ally for deepening relationship and experiencing
an exquisite holy union
A culture that celebrates cyclical life in all its guises…
You are the woman who is instrumental in restoring this knowledge to our families, communities and culture.
Our menstruality consciousness restored to the world.
You are a woman restoring that consciousness
Elements of menstruality – the key elements of the training that you will explore
- From menarche to menopause (including how it prepares you for the initiatory journey of conception, pregnancy, birth and motherhood)
- Initiatory arc each menstrual month
- Initiation is the evolutionary path to psychological and spiritual maturity—a death and rebirth process, moving from ego to Self, from ‘me’ to ‘us’, developing participatory consciousness
- The menstrual cycle + menstrual cycle awareness = the ‘gold’ of your Calling (an alchemical process)
The birthings (peak moments of initiation):
- Monthly menstruation
- And for women who have children, giving birth
The Three Inner Maps (the inner architecture of the menstrual cycle)
- The vias (via postiva—first half of cycle, via negativa—second half of cycle)
- The inner seasons (the workhorse of the initiatory process) + the cross over days
- The 5 chambers of menstruation (which mirror the five stages of menopause)
The layers (the processes at work through the initiatory arc of your life):
- Wellness—self care (modulating the nervous system—cycle is stress sensitive, act of cycle awareness is soothing), inner work, building the initiatory vessel, restoring (establishing) the order of the cycle/restoring (establishing) the psychological inner ecology. Predominates in 20/30s
- Creativity—finding and fulfilling your Calling. Predominates in 40s
- Spirituality—putting together Wellness and Creativity, gives you the means to experience the full ineffability of menstruation, the Holy Intimacy. Operating in the background through all the years and reaching its zenith in the 50s and onwards
The three archetypal powers
- The power of agency (via postiva)
- The power of encounter (via negativa)
- The power of presence (the meeting and integration of the two vias)
The role of the inner critic in the initiatory journey
- Wellness—build the inner container, establish your boundaries, face your shadow
- Creativity—holds you to your Calling; refine, edit and clean up your act; create mastery, become an authority
- Spirituality—grow the muscle of discernment, the gatekeeper of the holy grail, calls you into leadership, matures you into a truth speaker
The four psycho-spiritual menstruality foundations for healing
- The archetypal menstrual map: learn about the natural powers of each season and the seasonal initiatory tasks, the imperatives of the cross-over days and the sacred tasks and powers of the 5 chambers of menstruation. An understanding of the cycles inner architecture is a core pillar of healing for women.
- Menstrual cycle awareness: practice cycle awareness to build mindfulness, get to know your cycle pattern and plan your life according to your natural tendencies in each phase. This practice is a potent form of medicine that can ease symptoms in and of itself.
- Restore the natural order of the cycle: get to know each season and identify your needs in each (allows you to better care for who you are in each phase of the cycle), restore the order of the cycle.
- Reframe the premenstruum: often it is the second half of the cycle and our engagement with the via negativa that can be the most challenging. Coming to understand this part of the cycle in a new light is, for most of us, the psychological underpinning needed to reclaim our feminine power.
What you won’t get from the Menstruality Leadership Programme
- The physiology of the menstrual cycle
- Instruction in how to do fertility awareness (important to know about and there are many excellent resources for this e.g. natural fertility management kits, www.bodyliteracy.co and www.holistichormonalhealth.com Fertility Friday)
- Specific details/material on how to prepare young girls for their first period, although we will speak of the ingredients for celebration of this. Check out the work of Jane Bennett and Celebration Day for Girls for training in the girls’ work. You can experience your own menarche ceremony as an addition to the training. For further information contact Clare Warren clarityvibration.com.
- Specific instruction in how to facilitate this work although you are free to use any of the exercises on the course. Many of the previous apprentices have gone on to set up their own workshops/programmes driven by a passion for the work and with the skills they already have. The vital first step towards facilitation is your own embodiment of the material—you can only teach what you have deeply felt. We will be offering further training in the Menstrual Medicine Circle Process in the future.**In 2017 we offered the first professional training in the Menstrual Medicine Circle Process – a one-to-one tool developed by Red School to be used within menstruality coaching. To find a list of MMC facilitators see the register here
How we work
Our programme includes cycle check ins, teachings, experiential exercises, sharing and processing in pairs/small groups/large group (in which more teachings emerge from your experiences), listening partnerships, embodied explorations of the cycle using Movement Medicine, silence and reflection time, along with great food and much conviviality in very beautiful surroundings of Hawkwood College!
Overview – Residential 1
The initiatory process – an in depth exploration of what initiation means and how it works through the three inner maps of the cycle. We root into the foundational wellness layer of the cycle – the cycle as a personal development, self care and healing process. The power of encounter is emphasised.
We work from 9.30 to 5.30/6pm with a lunch break of 1.5 hours, and morning and afternoon breaks of 20-30 mins. On some mornings before breakfast there is an optional yoga/movement session. Evenings are generally free for hanging out, walking in nature and any spontaneous ideas/events to emerge.
Day 1: Ignition: setting the container and invoking the Medicine of your Wild Power
- Set up, underpinnings of Red School approach
- Menarche – teachings + exercise keying into the essence of themselves, the awakening of the Calling
- The two vias teaching, exercise and processing
- Meet your womby + listening partnership (evening)
Day 2: Unpacking the initiatory process: gathering and rooting into the ideas
- Inner seasons – teaching, exercise and processing
Day 3: Holding the tension to create space for what wants to emerge
- Silent time alone until 10.30am
- Movement Medicine session plus listening partnership time
- Power Card Council in small groups.
Day 4: The heart of the initiatory journey – entering the inner temple
- 5 chambers of Menstruation – teachings, exercise and sharing processing
Day 5: Re-emergence: collecting the Medicine for your next steps
- Menstrual Medicine Circle (MMC) Pairs exercise
- Closing circle
Overview – Residential 2
An in depth exploration of the creative process and its arc over your life from menarche to menopause; how the creative cycle is intimately embedded in the menstrual cycle, and how your cycle works as an ally to lead you to your Calling and its manifestation in the world. We explore menopause as the culmination of this process – the time when we fully come Home. You root into your unique expression in the world (the creative layer) and how to manifest it.
Day 1: Grounding in the creative process
- The Creative process – teachings, exercise and processing
Day 2 Truth honing: meeting the creative tension of the critic
- Inner Critic – teachings, exercises and processing
Day 3 Dare to dream…exploring your Calling
- Movement Medicine session plus listening partnership
- Affirmation: Menstruality Insight Council (daring to name your Calling/vision)
Day 4 The gift of menopause – Union
- Menopause – teachings, exercise and processing
- Listening partnership
Day 5 Self anointing and flying the nest
- Self anointing ritual
- Sharing/preparation for next steps
- Closing Circle
Who is the Menstruality Leadership Programme for?
- Who feels drawn to being a leader in the Menstruality field i.e wants to teach in this field or apply this knowledge to her family life, community or professional field
- Interested in personal or spiritual development
- Searching for greater meaning and purpose in your life
- Yearning for a deeper understanding and embodiment of the Feminine
- Drawn, even compelled, to attend for some unknown reason (we think this is a great way to come and many who attend say “I don’t know why, I just feel I’ve got to be here!”)
Please note this is a training program and not therapy. We aim to create a supportive and safe community within which you can explore deeply the inner forces of your body. However, such is the power of menstruality, we have found that the initial awakening to this work can be sometimes be challenging and catalytic. It is therefore important that you have some personal development skills and your own therapeutic resources in place should you need it.
- 2 x 5 day residentials approximately 4 months apart
- 2 individual forty–five minute coaching sessions related to the themes of the residentials.
- A comprehensive 50–page manual
- Closed online community group (this proves a valuable resource in the sharing and development of experience)
- Optional online sharing circle in between residentials
Alexandra Pope & Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer
We are co-directors of Red School and together have developed a radical new approach to women’s health and wellbeing, creativity, leadership and spiritual life based on the power of the menstrual cycle.
With combined expertise in the fields of psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, coaching, embodied movement practices, teaching and facilitation, we are published authors and experts in the field of women’s wellbeing and spirituality. Our most recent book is Wild Power: discover the magic of your menstrual cycle and awaken the feminine path to power, published by Hay House (April 2017).
Between us we have spent forty years exploring and learning about menstruality from our own deeply lived experience and the collective knowledge we have gathered from working with thousands of women. Pioneering this field, we have created the most comprehensive and life changing programme available to date, offering in-person workshops, online courses and professional training in the field of menstruality. We’ve been featured in countless radio and TV programs, documentaries and in print media worldwide. Working as a very creative and productive partnership, we bring liberal doses of irreverent humour and are not afraid to take an outspoken stance to help shift this outrageous taboo on women’s power.
There will also be several assistants on the training drawn from the previous Apprenticeship trainings.
For information on costs and to apply for the Menstruality Leadership Programme contact Penny Fuller via firstname.lastname@example.org
When the next course in-person programme will be:
Residential 1 May 2021
Residential 2 Sept 2021
For info about the first online menstruality leadership programme in 2020 read this
The Women’s Quest Apprenticeship is nothing short of a miracle. Through the experience, I am delighted to have created a personal, practical and useful toolkit to life, including: a feminine instruction manual on the inner workings of my cycle and the creative process, an internal map that guides me straight to profound connection with nature, a sound-proof room to keep my Inner Critic in when it gets too much, a five star cleaning service that has loosened some deep rooted emotional clogs and blockages and a Dictionary of Acceptance that allows all my feelings, thoughts and words to be heard and not judged.
I have such gratitude and love for Alexandra, Sjanie and the assistants for creating an essential, loving, nourishing and fun womb circle. I am so grateful to have sat in the physical presence and boundless energy of a group of incredible women apprentices, and I feel immense joy to know that there is a seat in the circle always, for me and for each and every woman when they are ready. Menstrual cycle awareness and authentic community has brought me one step closer to true love.
Grace Winteringham, cofounder PATTERNITY, and many other things. 2018
This menstruality work has, and continues, to influence my life at the deepest level and I thank you for, and honour you for this amazing gift that you have given, to me, to so many others. As you know, my own entrance at the door of menopause was pretty dramatic, and I can honestly say that without the understanding I had from the training, from practicing cycle awareness and of the menopause rite of passage, I don’t think I would have got through it.
Doing the training was one of the best decisions of my life.
As a holistic therapist and yoga and meditation teacher, the training and my own practice with MCA are priceless in the work that I do. Teaching and sharing this deep wisdom with women, I see the profound change and understanding that develops in them; the healing, the delight in finding where their power and happiness lies.
Working with my own cycle brought me to a place of really meeting my power and honouring myself and it gives me so much pleasure to see this happening for other women. This truly is the absolute ‘key’ to women’s wholeness on all levels. The more women that become educators of this deep wisdom and share it, the quicker the earth and this world will heal
Nalini Deane, women’s wellness therapist, yoga and meditation teacher and Dance of Awareness teacher, 2014 Italian Apprenticeship
I feel so grateful to have had the honour of training with Redschool. The Women’s Quest Apprenticeship allowed me to dive deeply into my connection with the feminine and I have emerged from the experience more assured, compassionate and connected to my deeper purpose and true nature in life.
The residentials were profoundly moving and the level of learning had such depth and consideration, yet there was a sense of lightness and playfulness about the course that connected with my own spirit and preferred way of learning. I felt so held the whole way through and so grateful to have been connected to such a beautiful group of like-minded and hearted women that I know I will maintain a relationship with for the rest of my life.
A few months on from the residential I am continuing with a daily practice of MCA and have a greater more attuned and respectful relationship with my cycle, my inner critic and my deeper creative energy. My own power patterns! Honouring my cycle and taking more time to be in my feminine has positively impacted many areas of my life, sending positive ripples into my current work, my relationships and my deeper purpose. I have been able to create much healthier boundaries in daily life and have a heightened sensitivity to my own energies than I ever have had which is helping me to live more authentically and sustainably – as I grow into the next phase of my life. There is now BRS + ARS – life before-red school and life-after-red school! The shift has been that life-changing.
Anna Murray, author, Creative Director and Cofounder of PATTERNITY, 2018
As someone who has grappled with the ‘feminine principle’ and how to recover it to some balance in my own life, the MLP takes the notion of the restoration of the feminine principle into a grounded embodied place. After years of trying to search for answers this training has revealed much to me, and drawn it out from within; clarity, how I operate in the world and a very clear path of what I need to do now. Practical magic! I’m finally feeling at home in myself for the first time ever. The impact has been massive for me.
Adrienne Egan, Maya Massage therapist and healer, 2011/12
Deciding to take the step to commit to the Menstruality Leadership Programme was one of those things where I didn’t know exactly WHY I was doing this, but there was a deep knowing I that I HAD to! The guidance received through the training has been like receiving a map into myself, through which I am learning how to better understand and handle the powerful feminine energies moving through me each month. Through the amazing support from Alexandra and the rest of the group as a whole, I am now beginning to grow a confidence to actually dare to share this female wisdom with others (A further note from Sarah: if I’m honest I have been putting off emailing you to arrange our final session, it feels like an end of something… my heart knows of course that that is not the case, but the mind doesn’t want to finish this amazing chapter with you. Both the Sacred Woman courses that are running now are flowing so beautifully and you are this solid, unshakable inspiration holding up the teachings… I am often referencing my notes from our training weekends in preparation for the Sacred Woman Gathering and am always wowed out by the constant stream of little gems from your sharing. Thank You Thank You Thank You!!)
Sarah Wilks, yoga teacher, 2011/12
What a journey we are on! The apprenticeship training has taken me to a deeper core understanding of my path in ways that I didn’t expect. Using my own cycle, I’m learning how to repair what was broken in my life and create anew, with an authority that self-awareness and years of therapy failed to bring. Through this apprenticeship, Alexandra Pope is reconnecting us with our birthrights as women.
Jacqueline Riquez, artist, mother, and menstrual educator, 2011/12
The Women’s Quest Apprenticeship is a rare gift; a unique opportunity for self discovery that opens doors to every aspect of our reality. It has been both a privilege and a revelation to watch all course participants flourish and grow in such an impressive, tangible manner. And it is humbling to see how far I have come myself in terms of emotional strength and awareness. The Apprenticeship has enabled me to embody an understanding of how vital it is for women to befriend their menstrual consciousness – undoubtedly a fast track to progress in terms of personal development. As these past 9 months have been possibly the most insightful and potent of my life so far, I look to the future with intrigue, awake to the manifold possibilities that Alexandra and The Quest have brought.
Penny Fuller, Yoga Teacher, 40 yrs old, 2011/12
For me the Apprenticeship training was deeply transforming just being within the field of its energy. I felt with you a deep resting and a journeying and traveling in yourself that gave me such permission. I felt deeply touched by your compassion for yourself and felt that radiated to us as women and created a glow and simple deep love in the room…You know from the inside the pain and disturbances and at the same time trusted something stronger than the wounding/periferal and what is all around us and listened and listened from inner ears. I felt I could rest/trust in that too and you gave permission for that which feels precious and unseen, the feminine way with mysterious senses. Like an invisible tincture/essence of silent knowing that you taste and ingest when you know it too. And for this I am deeply grateful as I know how precious and neglected this approach has been…how thirsty and how much denial of that thirst there is and the conflict this creates…
Claire Taylor, Artist 2011/12
The best thing I have ever done! To learn to live The Womanly Way, to befriend myself in all (yes, all!) seasons of my menstrual cycle, to delve where I have never delved before, and come out feeling so so alive and juicy wanting to share it with my sisters! This apprenticeship has given me the biggest Mother-Hug of my life! Thanks.
Jane Legge, 2012/13
You would not be able to fully understand how much my life has changed or how much you and the other women in the WQ Tribe have changed my life. One of things that I have learned from you…is that I must learn to trust. You trust and you have co-created with the divine. You have touched so many lives. And now the women in the WQ tribe are motivated to go out and help and serve other women! I never imagined or even believed that I could be this well and I know that I still have a lot to do. But here is the big change for me, I am actually getting on with it. I am all zipped up, a whole complete woman full of light, dark, softness, harshness. Love the whole bit. I acknowledge all of me…I just don’t have the words to express my gratitude or my Love. So while I had absolutely no intention of enjoying this journey…I am loving it! Not that it is easy on the contrary, but it is blissful because it is honest, real and true!
Althea Hart, community worker, 2012/13