“If a woman broke taboo, not only would she herself be harmed, but harm would come to others, to her family, her village. Her eyes had special power, sometimes too much power, so she could not look at others or they would sicken. In one example, she could not drop blood on the path, for someone might step on it and later die or be infertile. In others, she had to avoid talking to her husband or touching his weapons lest harm befall him in the hunt; she was forbidden to cross the path of a hunting party. In some practices, she was sexually dangerous, harm would come to her partner’s genitals, and person, so she could not have sex. In tantra, however, sex with her was magic and a method of acquiring positive power.
Her responsibilities were enormous, for if the menstruant failed to keep her taboos, her community would no longer thrive. Thus, she could not look at the sky or the planets. Nor could she gaze at bodies of water, for fear of causing a flood. If she were to look at trees and plants, they would wither. She had to protect the sources of water; she could not look at the pond or it would dry up. Her glance would cause the village cows to sicken and die, or their milk to dry up; it caused crops to wither in the fields. In other practices she ran through the fields to ensure their fertility. She was, considered overall, a vessel for cosmic power—vulnerable to it and carrying it forward, through her body, her gaze and touch, her blood, and also, her allure. She had, in her blood rites taken as a whole, complete positive and negative powers over all that humans depend on for their lives, all we had deciphered about the universe—for, as I have argued, it was menstrual consciousness that first created all these elements. And so many of the rites involved silence, as though they were laid down during the long eras before speech, when action alone did the creating.
Hers was the power of raveling and unraveling, since what consciousness (spirit, mystery) gives us, it can also take back. And the power of creation and destruction, as at one time evidently all humanity believed, was in the woman’s blood.”