Wisdom of the Womb

In early 2021, artist & activist Marisa Papen arrived at a point in her life where her periods became increasingly difficult, debilitating and excruciatingly painful, both physically and emotionally. For most of her life that was not the case. But for most of her life she was constantly traveling, never really settling in a place for more than a couple weeks at a time. It wasn’t until her life came to a pause during the pandemic, that her menstruation began to take center stage. Marisa expresses, “After years of uneventful periods suddenly that moment of the month shook me up and left me stranded on broken, unstable ground. I had never felt my body like this before, anywhere I’d normally look to find my center, nothing was to be found.”

As an artist, her natural response was to explore this through art. During one cycle she decided to bleed directly onto some paper. What she witnessed through seeing her blood for the first time in this way captivated and furthered her quest for healing. She saw her blood as extremely beautiful & mysterious and decided to document 13 months of her flow through free bleed painting. In doing so, she was able to connect to her womb and wound in a way that was both profound and life changing.


Healing Journey

Through her journey she came into deep contact with her inner dimensions, both physical and emotional. Often she would be on the floor in fetal position, crying, shaking, in pain, her blood full of clots, her emotions high, extremely vulnerable & volatile, often resulting in deep depression & anxiety. At one point, she ended up in the emergency room, bleeding 5 cups in a couple hours outside of her usual flow, her strength was leaving her body.

She began journaling every month, taking note of all the sensations in her body, mind and the features of her flow. She also started working with a Chinese medicine healer weekly with herbs and acupuncture. Additionally she began working with the I-Ching, delving into her sub-conscious for clues and insights into the wound — hers, her lineage and the collective feminine.

By the end of 13 months, her clots were down to the size of pea, if she had any at all, and her pain subsided to a degree where she no longer needed to take pain meds. Her emotional wellbeing was not only restored, but much more balanced and centered. Connecting to her flow through art, writing & close observation, she now sees her monthly bleeding as profoundly sacred. Synchronizing her whole being as a woman with the divine principles of nature.

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