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Serving our own Miracles through Reconnection

Written by Frances Barbara, 20th April 2023

On 8 April earlier this month, tucked away off an Amsterdam canal, a group of Women lay down together in a circle. Here they shed a part of themselves. What rose from the love into the air turned into visions of future selves. 

Manouk de Bijl co-created this Women’s Circle. A safe space for Women to come together. To bear witness and be bare. Manouk’s capacity to hold this space for several women is a gift she has cultivated. A long diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis was the catalyst for Manouk to begin the slow dance of reconnecting to her body and her moon cycle. Her healing is the result of the harmony between growth and creation. 

Manouk offers us utensils to release our minds and say hi to our own instincts for deep reconnection. There’s a soft morning moon cycle ritual at the end of the piece for you to embrace. Self massage, oils, rhythms and music. This article is an invitation to use your woman’s instinct and moon cycle (menstruation) as an opportunity to cultivate your sensuality and creation.

Healing as a forever Journey

Healing is a term used a lot within the wellness world. To ‘heal’ is something personal to all of us. When you google the etymology of heal our first hit is an academic journal paper titled The Meaning Of Healing: Transcending Suffering. The word itself does not imply that there's anything “wrong” with us, it rather says that we can become the healthiest version of ourselves. We ask Manouk what it means to her and she says healing is a forever journey. It’s fluid, malleable, a form of creation. 

“Dis-ease means when you are out of balance but this does not mean the rest of your life. You can come back to ease and to health. Being in a healthy state is a birth rite. There is a middle ground where we can live in ease and be connected to our body. Healing is something that never stops. ”

She is ready with laughter and wearing a Babushka-esque head scarf tucked behind her ears, which gives her a timeless presence. She uses cyclical hand movements to describe her healing. It is non-linear. 

Five years ago she took a break from her Fashion studies to go to Byron Bay Australia. This is where she found natural medicine, stunning white sand beaches, and (she didn’t know it then) a commitment to be the creator of her own healing. 

The documentary Heal from 2017 accelerated this decision. There is a core nugget of wisdom that stands out as a shared value between Manouk and the film: that through self-creation of a healthy self, you can heal anything.

We ask Manouk how we can start to re-engage with our body and self, even in Urban environments.

“It doesn’t have to be a huge-life change and so serious. Start with small steps. Walk barefoot on a patch of grass. Find a tree to climb. In these brief moments of connection I started to see how I treated my body and slowly my body started to communicate with me. When I removed my mind barrier, the one that consisted of things I had been told to believe, rather than what I felt to be true in my heart, the more connected I became.”

It is different for everyone. Taking small steps in listening to your body and heart, leads to a snowball effect of good health. These are our own miracles that we serve. Visualising meditations of your health-full self can help engage with the healing process. “I haven’t ever shared this with anyone, but I would do visual meditations and say to myself over and over again these words: My body and all of its organs is created by the subconscious mind and it knows how to heal itself. My body and all of its organs are created by the subconscious mind and it knows how to heal itself.”

Reviving sacred Women's Circles

Humans have always gathered in circles. Prehistoric cave paintings, like Tina Newen Roc Art Site in Acacus, Fezzan in Libya show us this. Women have also always gathered circles. With a rise in women connecting this way, Manouk’s stepping into this space was unplanned. 

Manouk tells us that women would bleed together through their moon cycles. We talk about what evidence of this there is. When you try searching for the first recorded women’s circles, there are not many recorded texts describing their evidence. In Judaism, Jewish Women have recorded Rosh Chodesh new moon circles, and in biblical times bled together in Menstruation huts. There is  aural evidence of Indigenous Women creating circles to ask for replenishment from the Grandmother Moon. 

In 1484 when the book the Hammer of Witches was published by two German Dominican Monks, it began a domino effect of the slow disappearance of women’s spiritual practices and natural medicine. Now Manouk is part of this revival. Redefining how we can deepen our feminine connection, in an urban go-paced society. She says women have two cycles. 

“Women have two cycles: the Sun cycle and our Moon cycle. The moon cycle is our menstruation cycle. It is so powerful for women to be together around this time.  We all live by the Sun Cycle - it gives the masculine framework to our society.”

Manouk also tells us that if women are balanced in their womb, then they will be connected to the moon on the first day of their bleeding synchronising to when it is New or Full. How we connect to our womb and our cycle is a critical pillar of our health. 

Women would gather together to bleed together. When you were a child and you bled for the first time, there was nurturing celebrations and guidance through these circles. This was a sacred time of sharing, releasing, being in harmony and healing. Manouk’s Ulcerative Colitis diagnosis started in the gut, as a result of taking contraceptive prescriptions since she was twelve/thirteen years old (she started bleeding at aged ten). 

“I was super young to start bleeding, but also too young to understand how I was being taught to numb my natural inner light, being and creation through the womb. As well as my feminine cycles and sexuality. I also navigate the Women’s Wound but I am still learning about what this is.”

Transmute through Love

On April 8, just after the Pink Libra Full Moon a couple of days earlier, Janne Zazi’s Visual Storyteller and photographer Belle, documented Manouk in Amsterdam for a gathering under the full moon in a Women’s Circle. Manouk started holding Women’s Circles as her graduation project. 

“It was a beautiful safe space. There was a sharing circle where emotions came up from different women. What was super powerful was the women had to bear witness to other women by pairing up. One of the things they did was to look into each other's eyes for one minute then actively listen to each other for five.”

Perhaps in seeing other women and supporting them through their own eyes and visions, we can transmute women’s connection and creation to their wombs, through love. We can, even in concrete, red brick, glass places, find rivers to lie with our belly to the sun, and get lost in our dreams. This is at the heart of the Zazi sisterhood. There is a rise in women creating gatherings for other women: in this case we go with the words of Manouk - trust yourself to go where it feels right

We encourage you to try one of Manouks’ circles in Amsterdam (or any locale depending on where you read this from).  And we leave you with her to-go joyful morning for your next moon cycle, complete with an all feminine sound playlist. 

“Women have two cycles: the Sun cycle and our Moon cycle. The moon cycle is our menstruation cycle. It is so powerful for women to be together around this time.  We all live by the Sun Cycle - it gives the masculine framework to our society.”

Soft Moon Cycle Mornings with Manouk

How do you like your mornings? Manouk likes a feminine approach to her morning routine with self joy and humour, although there is space for the masculine too. But how are you when you are in your moon cycle (menstruation)? Do you slow down and feel your way into the day? 

“It depends, right? It’s really good to challenge yourself and be consistent, especially when you are working on things. But when we are on our bleed hard running, intense cardio, two hour set practice of Ashtanga yoga of the morning routine. These are especially moments when we can connect to our womb and our feminine creative and sensual side.”

This is a little soft morning offering from Manouk for you to loosely follow, your next moon cycle. 


  • Music  - Play the mother I feel you playlist by all women artists/musicians made by Manouk (so there are no male voices intentionally)
  • Incense
  • Oil - you can use coconut oil, almond oil, or any oil that gives you a sensual feel
  • Tea
  • Phone and laptop remain switched off !


Depending on you, anywhere from 5 minutes to 90 minutes.

Scroll down to read more about the Moon Cycles Play Mornings...

Moon Cycles play mornings for Creation

  • When you wake up, make your bed. This creates a dopamine effect as you will have completed a task and helps you with productivity the rest of the day. 
  • Make some hot tea with fresh roots to kickstart the belly. Fresh ginger and lemon. Turmeric root. 
  • Cleanse/tidy the space. Open the window to release any stale energy. This will help to relax and feel at ease. Light some incense and move it around you. Speak out loud a few things you are grateful for. 
  • Write down whatever comes out. Don’t overthink it. Write down your dreams (both kinds). This helps to release what is in the mind to be able to be in the body for the rest of the day.
  • Ayurvedic style of cleaning her teeth and washing her face. This helps to excrete any toxins that build up overnight. 
  • Put on the mother I feel you playlist to do an embodiment practice. Close your eyes. Take your hands and put them on your belly or your heart. Do some neck rolls and some shoulder openings. Try some cat-cows. Dance, move, create. Breathe and connect to your body. Leave your yoga mat unrolled for this and see how flexible you become. Embodiment practices help you to connect to the body and get out of your head! 
  • Humm and sing to the music before you speak to anyone else in your day. This helps to activate your throat chakra.
  • Go outside and find some earth! In your local park, beach, nature reserve or square etc. Close your eyes. With your bare feet put your feet IN the earth. Feel the earth. Find a tree. Close your eyes. Touch the tree.
  • Have a shower/slow bath. Afterwards, slowly move oil with your hands around your body and your womb. Massage into your collarbones, around your neck, anywhere that you can sense within your body needs attention. 

***Notes: Have fun! This is just a guide but can be in any order that feels natural to you. You can extend it by  adding dancing/reading/a restful Yin yoga session.

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