Androgens - Although considered to be male hormones, androgens have a very significant role in the female body. They are responsible for a woman's libido, muscle strength, and overall sense of well-being.
Avalon - The island of paradise in Arthurian legend where the Goddess was worshipped. It was where King Arthur was taken when he died. During menopause, it represents the inner isle of a woman's soul.
Barge - The ethereal vessel that symbolizes a woman's ability to transport herself through any crisis.
Crone - At one time it depicted an old and haggard-looking woman. It is currently used to describe a postmenopausal woman who shares her wisdom with the outer world.
Endrocrinologist - A physician who treats the endocrine system. He/She often specializes in hormonal imbalances.
Estrogen - A hormone secreted primarily by the ovaries, adrenal glands, testicles, and fat cells. The three major types of estrogen are estradiol, estrone, and estriol. Estradiol is the estrogen that is produced by a woman's ovaries, and is the strongest and most active of the three. Estriol is the estrogen that a woman's body produces during pregnancy. Estrone is made from estradiol and stored in a woman's fat cells, and is the least, or weakest, of the three estrogens.
Excalibur - The legendary sword of King Arthur. During menopause, forgiveness becomes the excalibur, or swift sword, of the journeying woman who wishes to free herself of past experiences.
Follicular Phase - The first half, or first two weeks, of a woman's menstrual cycle. During this stage, the uterus is building up its lining in preparation for the egg that is about to be released from the ovary.
FSH - Follicle Stimulating Hormone. Produced during the first half of the menstrual cycle by the pituitary gland, FSH moves through the bloodstream to the ovary and stimulates it into producing eggs. FSH also stimulates the production of estrogen.
Grail - According to medieval legend, it was the large, round cup that was used by Jesus during the last supper. This cup was sought after by King Arthur's knights, and is often used to signify other holy quests.
HRT - Hormone replacement therapy. It refers to the artificial replacement of estrogen and progesterone in a woman's body.
Hypothalamus - A gland in the limbic area of the brain that puts out the releasing hormones that tell the pituitary gland when to stimulate the ovaries into producing sex hormones.
Hysterectomy - The removal of the uterus.
Inner World - An internal existence where the majority of little girls live before puberty, and where the majority of women retreat when they go through menopause. Being in the inner world means being fully present in the inner, spiritual world of one's being.
Initiation - The onset or beginning of a new experience. During the journey of menopause, a woman in initiated into her wise-women years during the phrase known as perimenopause.
LH - Luteinizing hormone. It is produced mainly by the pituitary gland and is released during the second half of a woman's menstrual cycle. The secretion of this hormone is responsible for the egg bursting from the ovary.
Menarche - Typically used to describe a woman's first menstrual cycle. But it also denotes the journey through puberty.
Menopause - Typically used to describe a woman's last menstrual cycle, but it also denotes a woman's journey through the final years of menstruation.
Menses - The menstrual flow or discharge of menstrual blood.
Micronized - The reduction of substances to particles so that they can be metabolized easier.
Outer World - An eternal existence where women find themselves spending the majority of their childbearing years. Being in the outer world means being an active participant in the comings and goings of the physical world.
Ovaries - The two female reproductive glands that produce eggs and hormones.
Pilgrimage - A spiritual journey.
Perimenopause - The five to ten year period before the cessation of menses. It is often the most difficult time of a woman's journey through menopause.
Pituitary Gland - Located in the limbic area of the brain, it sends out the stimulating hormones that tell the ovaries what hormones to produce.
Progesterone - Derived from the word "gestate" which means "to bring forth." It is a hormone that is produced during the second half of the menstrual cycle and it is what prepares the uterus for the fertilized egg. It is also what sustains the lining of the uterus during pregnancy.
Progestin - A synthetic form of progesterone.
Rite - A sacred or ceremonial act.
Soulskin - The sacred covering of a woman's spirit that protects her from harm in the outer world.
Testosterone - A hormone that is made by the ovaries, adrenal glands, and testes. Although found primarily in men, women's bodies also make and depend on testosterone to build muscle.
The Mists - The transparent dividing line between the inner and outer world. They keep the physical and spiritual worlds separate.
Waning - To decrease in size. During the lunar cycle it represents the last quarter when the light of the moon is decreasing. During a woman's menstrual cycle, it represents the luteal phase, or the time after ovulation and before menses.
Waxing - The molding or making of something. It represents the first half of the lunar cycle when the moon is becoming full. It also represents the first two weeks of a woman's menstrual cycle, or the follicular phase, when her uterus is building up its lining before ovulation.
Wise-woman - A woman who has arrived at the land of her sacred being, had her last period, and then journeyed back to the outer world to share what she has learned with others. At this stage in her life, a woman is said to have accumulated the wisdom of the universe, and holds the "wise blood" within.
Boylan, K. M. (2000). The seven sacred rites of menopause. Santa Monica, CA: Santa Monica Press LLC.