Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Red Tent

The new book I'm reading is down right interesting. It's called The Red Tent and the storyline takes place in the biblical days of the Old Testament. Although this book is entirely fiction it is definately based on true characters of the bible. Now, if that doesn't spark your interest allow me to continue my persuasion.

The story is narrated by Dinah, pronounced DEE-Na. She is the only surviving daughter of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham. Jacob falls in love with the lovely Rachel but marries her older sister, Leah first who is "large" and has mismatched eye colors. He then marries his beloved Rachel but also takes on the women's other two sisters, Zilpah and Bilah. They all bare him many many sons, and like I mentioned, Dinah is the only child of Jacob's who is a girl.

The title, The Red Tent, is used in reference to the tent in which the women go to "rest" during their menstrual cycle! For three days they gather together eating sweets, drinking wine, rubbing each other's backs with oil, and laughing, all the while they are more than likely bloated, cramping, cranky, having headaches, feeling 10 pounds heavier, and of course bleeding onto straw.

The men in their camp do not understand anything about this monthly routine, nor do they wish to learn anything about it. To them, it is painful and unsanitary, but the women claim that it is the most joyous time of the month. Now, I for one, dread my period. My boobs swell and become painful and tender, I have cramps, my lower back aches, I get headaches, I become paranoid and emotional, and particularly dazed and "out of it." Just blogging about it makes me think anything about it being "joyous."

But the book states that in the biblical days, the women saw their menstrual cycle as meaning the death of last month and the beginning of life for a new month. They perceive it to be a cleansing of one's old self from a month ago. When the women started their very first cycle the blood was was sacrificed into the earth as an offering for good health and easy conception. The only thing women were expected of back then was to cook, marry, and deliver healthy strong sons.

I found this menstrual theory of the biblical women the most interesting about this book. I see my monthly period as a complete nuisance. Maybe I should also remember that it is in a way a cleansing experience of an old month and the start of a new, I don't intend to go sacrifice my blood by any means, but I do hope and pray for a healthy and easy day and not in the near future. About another 5 years!

So there, ladies! Go have yourself a happy period and excuse me for being so vulger with this blog!