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I Shamelessly Use 'Blood Tea' For My Houseplants--Here's What You Should Know

There is life, love, and energy in blood.

I Tried It

I've never really felt any shame around my period.

Not really anyways.

There were some behaviors like hiding my tampon in the presence of people (namely men) that I have become more aware of but not any deep-rooted trauma and shame. That's the thing about me, I've always been relatively shameless when it comes to matters of the human body. I recall wearing pads around the house well before I began my period, excited for the possibilities. I don't mind the mess of period blood, now I'm not going to go smearing it on my face but really I have more of a visceral reaction to loose hair than I do to menstrual blood.

However, I did grow to feel some disappointment and resentment towards moon day because it has come to feel like an inconvenience. Which at times, it is a challenging experience but it's also a beautiful one. And this is what I'm coming to realize! For so many years, my period was just something that had to happen to me. I disassociated from the experience, outside of the pain of PMS. I could never tell the doctor if my period was coming or going. I knew the bare minimum when it came to my period. But, no shame.

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I say all of this to say that when I saw and heard of blood tea for the first time -- a moon blood, water mixture -- I didn't cringe so much as my curiosity was piqued. Curious because, well, what is life if we're not always searching and exploring the roots of ourselves and those who came before us? Especially sans colonization! I understand this cocktail to be an offering to Mother Nature. A celebration of feminine energy--of Earth.

If we are Queens and our bodies are as sacred as our ancestors believed -- throwing that energy down drains and into landfills is ungodly and wasteful.

Feng shui principles similarly believe that you shouldn't leave your toilet seat up because it is a portal where energy can flow into, so imagine thinking it's the rightful place for something as sacred as menstrual blood. There is life, love, and energy in that blood. Per ancestral guidelines, you're better off giving your blood back to nature. Traditionally, in some cultures, it is given back to the oldest tree in your yard. But, recycling your blood back into your garden is also sufficient. There's a quote, "When the women give their blood back to the earth, men will come home from war and earth shall find peace." And as I read it, I'm reminded of how our periods were once held to the highest esteem.

Interested in shifting the way I experience menstruation, I began returning my blood to the earth via my houseplants.

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Plus, like so many others I had become more invested in gardening as a hobby back in March, as we slowly came to realize 1) the summer would be spent in the house and 2) the possibility of living through a global food shortage was real. My thumb is not the most pigmented shade of green, so I had a few plants that I was willing to test this knowledge out on. I bottom watered them by using menstrual blood easily from my menstrual cup and pouring it into a bottle filled with water. Watering it from the bottom leaves less room to attract gnats since the top of the soil doesn't stay wet. If and when I can, I use rain water to water the plants in an attempt to give and take from nature as much as possible. And very quickly, I was able to see my plants perk up, then within 24 hours, new blooms had come through.

Although I was less interested in the journey it would take me on when I began doing this, I have come to realize the plant and I am sharing a journey that is one and the same. We are both life forces.

Here are the lessons that came from fertilizing my plants with moon blood -- for myself and my green thumb.

1. Life Force

Blood in general is rich in phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen. These are the major minerals needed for plants to thrive!

Our blood has the ability to give life to all things great, all life forms including babies and nature alike.

And sure there's blood meal, but therein lies the problem -- we're already too far removed from what is natural and wholesome. Plants shouldn't nourish from unknown/unnatural sources anymore than we should.

2. Synchronicity

I became more connected as the ritual intends. Like I said before I had no clue of when to expect my period. Now I'm far more observant of what's to come, by either looking to the moon or looking at the condition my plants are in. I have Pothos plants that get watered on the same cycle of my menstrual cycle, when they start to wither I know they're in need of sustenance. In turn, I've become more in sync with my needs and when I can anticipate them.

3. Purpose

I feel more whole in the act of seeing the life my menses brings to my plants; the capabilities of my body helps me to feel a bit more firm in my purpose here on this earth.

Our duty to put back into nature rather than take from it. We are natural nurturers and in addition to standing in that role,

I've come to understand there are many things in our environment that require nurturing--human babies are not the only things we're supposed to give life to.

As I continue gardening, I'll be looking to the gradual changes and observations that manifest on behalf of this ritual.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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