Chandni Rtu Mandala – A practical guide for learning to ease into your Artava ‘menstruality’ and Vitara using self care and age old Ayurvedic principles

The word ‘ ‘rtu,’ is sanskrit for circle. The rtu ancient old rituals connect to woman’s natural bleed and have different customs according to the indigenous rituals of rtu passed down from women to women of their culture.

Note: this Rtu Mandala is my work and design and all rights are reserved. The ‘Chandni Rtu Mandala’ should not be reproduced, transmitted without my expressed permission. I am happy for my Rtu Mandala to be referred and used for self reflection, self love, Rtu guidance which is why I have included it as a downloadable copy.

Mandala – is also a sanskrit and buddhist Tantrism word for Circle:

Mandala in Sanskrit means “circle”. In Hindu and Buddhist Tantrism, the Mandala is an iconic symbolic diagram. Used in sacred rites and has been an instrument of meditation for centuries.

Mandalas are these days used as a focus of love, creativity and expansion. The Mandala I designed is a circle or retreat for self love during or in preparation for a ‘Rtu’, ‘Artava’ or Vitara which is shown in my Chandni Rtu Mandala Chart. Use the link above to read it if you are feeling curious about this model of reflective self love and care.

I am using the Sanskrit names for the seasons of India in mine to offer a new perspective on the Rtu meaning, period /season. They are Grishma taken from Grishmarutu which is Summer; Vasant which is Spring: Varsha which is Monsoon, Sharad which is Autumn, Hemanta is the Pre-winter stage of the season and Shishira is Winter. There are 6 seasons throughout the Indian year and I when elders referred to these seasons during my upbringing I understood there importance to them and their heritage. I use these terms out of respect for my ancestry and my roots to India.

My family are farmers and farmed according to these seasons and the luna calendar. This is how I became familiar to them in this way.

I am proud of south asian heritage and my parents and family have used these seasons despite living in the England and the UK since the 60’s. I think our ancestral lines remain strong as we have family in India who take care of the family farm and still keep us in check!

During my research, I noticed that there is a lot of different cultural names that are based on the flow of the Rtu for a women. Many appear less sensitive than we might wish them to be and I have adapted these here to correspond with what I feel I would like these be termed as a sensitive woman and empath who works a lot with women and the female side of our being.

Here are a few words I have chosen. Remember these word meaning were given along time ago when the empowerment of woman was culturally different for social and cultural reasons and owing to the inherited diversity of each woman based on their social class and status in their own homes.

Artava is the Sanskrit name for Menstruality

There are many names for the Artava and I have put these below as known. As seen, there are many variations to the terms and I have recorded these more sensitively. The cultural norms for Rtu were formerly :

Sanskrit Seasons
  • Rajas- impurity –
  • Rtu- Menstrual Discharge
  • Artava – Menstruality
  • Kala-Menstrual blood flow
  • Puspa-Menstruality blood Flux
  • Kusuma -Menstrual blood flow
  • Rajasa -Menstrual blood letting
  • Udavarta- painful Menstruality and blood flow
  • Samabhipluta – Covered in menstrual blood
  • Viraja – Free from Menstrual flow
  • Rajodarzana -the appearance of Menstrual blood flow

In my Chandni Rtu workshops and Circles I cover these and we talk about the ways we can cultivate our self care during the seasons/Rtu.

“The word ‘ritual’ comes from ‘homa,’ a sanskrit word

“The word ‘ritual’ comes from ‘homa’, a sanskrit word . The earliest rituals were connected to a woman’s monthly rtu .My maji ( grandmother and mother lived for along time in India in intergenerational extended families. They where woman who had experience of offering each other ime to rest and restore their wellbeing during their Artava’s (menstruality). 

Those days have gone for many women and we live in a society where there is little time for self love or self care unless we put this into place.

We need to address the imbalance and become a society that prioritises the need for each of us to rest, recharge and nourish ourselves. This is a fundamental area covered in the new Penji women’s workshops and circles I will be running to empower women to create new (self care ) ‘homa of care’ .

It is essential that we find ways to really pace ourselves as women again in the days we have and learn to slow down during the Rtu or Viraja.

Learning new ways to listen to our inner voices and reflect on ways we can understand the many ways we can nurture our ‘Dosha using good food, and guidance as we grown into this ebb and flow of our menstrual and menopausal cycle.

Rtu : Period / Season -Here is my interpretation of the seasons using Ayurveda principles.

  • 1st phase Menstruality Winter -face your shadow- use this season to balance Dosha
  • 2nd phase Pre-Ovulation: Spring- cleanse and  renew – Kapha – Cohesion & balanced
  • 3rd phase Ovulation: Summer -Activate – Pitta – Transformation strong and courageous
  • 4th phase Pre- Ovulation: Autumn – Self love make resolutions /planting the seeds for new beginnings -Vata –  Movement

I will be creating some online workshops soon to explore the Rtu and Artava for women using a traditional south asian model of women sitting together from their generational timeline just like my maji and mathaji did each time we had a family gathering with like minded spirited women. These strong and courageous women would talk about real life issues and share food and stories and laugh out loud.

My facebook page @nourishYin and my Forthcoming Events and Retreats will show any forthcoming circles.

I also look forward to working collaboratively with Nishma Bhimjiyani on another project soon who runs the Radiant Womb. Please sign up if you at all interested in learning about using Ayurveda principles of self care and Dosha. Please Register your interest for a forthcoming Event using the registration form below

This is the beginning of a new chapter to reclaim Rtu for any woman who feels this approach resonates for them