The Menopause Journey: Embracing Change and Wisdom

Perrine Pauwels
Perrine Pauwels
  • Updated

Menopause, a transformative journey every woman experiences, unfolds in phases, offering unique insights and opportunities for growth.

Menopause, often viewed as the end of a chapter, marks the beginning of a new and transformative journey in a woman's life. It's not just a singular moment; it's a process, encompassing various physical, emotional, and spiritual changes.

Let's explore the menopause journey together, from its early signs, to the emotional, physical and spiritual changes it brings, including its 5 different phases. 

Preparing for Change: Perimenopause

In the years leading up to menopause, women undergo a transitional phase called perimenopause that usually begins in their 40s though some women notice symptoms as early as their mid 30s.

During this period, hormone levels fluctuate, causing first shorter and later more irregular periods, often with a heavier flow. The changes in estrogen and progesterone are different from woman to woman and may lead to symptoms as diverse as hot flashes, sleep disturbance, low libido, joint aches and histamine intolerance.

While perimenopause can be challenging, it's an opportunity to prepare for the changes after menopause and support our bodies through this important transition by for example taking magnesium supplements and doing strength training. Read more here in our article on Perimenopause. 

What is Menopause? 

Menopause is a natural process that marks the end of a woman's menstrual cycle and fertility. It's defined as the moment in time after a year of no menstrual bleeding. While the average age of a woman's menopause is 51, this can vary widely with some women experiencing early menopause before their 40s while others are close to 60 when having their last period. 

Embracing Change: Emotional Shifts 

Emotionally, menopause can feel like a rollercoaster ride and a profound shift in identity. Some women experience grief for the end of their fertile years or perhaps for not having had children or having their children leave home. 

But menopause can also be seen as a time of relief and celebration for the freedom it brings! It is a rite of passage into a new phase of life, which is even called 'Second Spring' in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

With many more women now living longer lives, this phase of 'cronehood' is being reevaluated as a powerful time in a woman's life when she can fully dedicate herself to following her passion and purpose.

If you miss the cyclical pattern of menstruation, know that you may still feel a cyclical ebb and flow, perhaps according to the monthly lunar or the yearly solar cycle.

Joining a women's circle may help you in finding validation, comfort and support as it offers a safe space to share your experience and insights with like-minded women. 

Embracing Change: Physical Shifts

Menopause also brings a multitude of physical changes as estrogen and progesterone levels drop. 

You may experience hot flashes, mood swings, a higher risk of osteoporosis, thinning of the vaginal walls leading to dryness and discomfort, and increased cardiovascular issues. 

While bio-identical hormone replacement therapy is now proven to be safe, there are many alternative therapy options to explore to manage these symptoms and promote your overall well-being during the menopause transition. 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, menopause is viewed as a natural transition marked by changes in the balance of Yin and Yang energies within the body. Practitioners focus on restoring harmony to these energies through techniques such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, dietary therapy, and qigong (a form of gentle exercise and meditation). Acupuncture, in particular, is often used to alleviate symptoms like hot flashes and insomnia.

Similarly, Ayurveda views menopause as a transformative phase influenced by changes in the body's doshas (energies) - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Ayurvedic practitioners aim to rebalance these doshas through lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, herbal supplements, and specific therapies like Panchakarma (detoxification procedures). 

Herbal supplements such as black cohosh, red clover, and soy products are believed to help balance hormones and reduce symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings. It's always best to talk with an herbalist to find the right supplements for your body. 

Yoga and meditation can help reduce stress, improve mood, and promote relaxation, while aromatherapy, using essential oils like lavender or chamomile, can help alleviate anxiety and promote better sleep.

Additionally, yoni steaming promotes pelvic health, hormonal balance, and your overall well-being. 

Embracing Change: Spiritual Shifts and Menopause as a Rite of Passage

Approaching menopause with consciousness can transform the experience into a meaningful and even enjoyable journey. It's not JUST the end of fertility but a rite of passage into the energy of the Crone, the Wisdom Woman, the Grandmother archetype. 

Whether we have grandchildren or not, embracing the Wisdom Woman archetype allows us to engage fully with the maturity of menopause, passing down knowledge to younger generations. 

In our society, it's a crucial role that has to be reclaimed. The grandmother hypothesis, a theory explaining the existence of menopause (which besides humans only whales experience!), suggests that women in this stage of life benefit society evolutionarily by transmitting essential knowledge, strengthening community networks and supporting younger generations.

The Five Phases of Menopause: A Journey of Transformation

The Red School's Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer, pioneers in menstrual education, in their book "Wise Power. Discover the Liberating Power of Menopause to Awaken Authority, Purpose and Belonging" have identified five distinct transformational phases of the menopause rite of passage which ultimately leads to a sense of rebirth and clarity of a woman's purpose and calling in life:

  1. Betrayal: The menopause journey begins with a sense of betrayal as women deal with the physical and emotional changes associated with menopause. It's a time of uncertainty and confusion, where the familiar rhythms of menstruation fade away, leaving many women feeling lost.
  2. Repeat: In this phase, women confront their past experiences and patterns, allowing themselves to heal and release what no longer serves them. It's a period of introspection and renewal, where women learn to let go of the expectations and pressures of their younger years, embracing the wisdom that comes with age.
  3. Revelation: As women move through menopause, they begin to experience moments of clarity and insight, gaining a deeper understanding of themselves and their purpose. It's a time of self-discovery and empowerment, where women reconnect with their true essence and embrace their unique gifts.
  4. Visioning: In this phase, women gain a clearer vision of their future and the legacy they want to leave behind. They feel a renewed sense of purpose and direction, a willingness to pursue their passions and make a meaningful impact in the world. It's a time of creativity and inspiration, where women harness their wisdom to create a brighter future for themselves and others.
  5. Emergence: The final phase of menopause marks a rebirth, as women emerge from the cocoon of transformation, fully embracing their post-menopausal years with vitality and confidence. It's a time of acceptance and celebration, where women honour their journey and step into their role as wise elders, guiding the next generation. 


Menopause is not just an ending; it's also a beginning—a doorway to a new chapter of life filled with purpose and possibility. 

We have the opportunity to reclaim the narrative of menopause, celebrating it as a rite of passage and embracing the wisdom that comes with age. Let's redefine it as a journey of growth, renewal and self-discovery from which we emerge as wise and empowered individuals.

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