Cerridwen’s Menopause Medicine Wheel

Cerridwen’s Menopause Medicine Wheel

The midlife woman stands on the edge of a threshold. She is there only for the fact she is alive and her body tells her it is time. The liminal space opens before her to an ancient spiralling path that has been walked for many thousands of years by the women who came before her. She knows not what it holds, only that she will change. The rite of passage she must undertake may last many years and there will be challenges that may at times take her into the shadows. She knows that this is her own personal journey and she has no idea how she will fare.  All she knows is that she may have to let go of many aspects of  who she is and possibly lose herself in the process. She knows deep down all this will clear space for her rebirth. 

Fearful as she is, she understands the importance and necessity of this journey, not just to herself, but for her community. She has many allies including the plant beings and other women who have walked this path before her. She honours Cerridwen in all her aspects working with her medicine wheel to guide her through this massive time of change. Cerridwen is a goddess of transformation  and through her wisdom she will be supported to let go of that which she no longer needs, to look into the dark mirror of her soul and eventually be re-birthed as the wise elder woman. 

As a dedicated sister of Cerridwen and Medical Herbalist specialising in working with women’s health and those struggling with all stages of the menopausal transition, I wanted to adapt Cerridwen’s medicine wheel to bring support for women who are journeying through this very powerful and ancient rite of passage. This supports my own experiences and that of many other women who I work with individually or in groups.



The journey starts with change.  The woman steps away from her reproductive years, whether she has had children or not, and menstruation slows and stops. Letting go of this part of our life can sometimes evoke deep grief and loss as we step back from this part of who we have been for most of our lives. As our body shape and skin changes, we start to be more aware of our ageing body. As we experience health changes or loss of parents, family and friends, we become aware of our own mortality. If we have children, they grow up to leave home and it seems our role as a mother has changed and we are needed less.  Relationships or marriages may dissolve, careers change and life may feel stressful as we cope with political concerns and environmental worries. This change feels challenging to us and we stand at the threshold of menopause with much reluctance. 

Cerridwen as Initiatix holds up the dark mirror to us to reflect back who we are or think we are and she exposes our fears and our shadows as the fire inside rises within us to burn away that which we no longer need. Menopause can often bring up our “issues” and magnify them as they surface to be hopefully healed.

Autumn leaves 

Herbal allies: Herbal adaptogens such as Ashwagandha, Schisandra, Rhodiola, Siberian ginseng, Nettle seed and leaf. These herbs support the adrenal glands and increase our resilience to the stress that change often brings.


Cerridwen of Air

The menopausal transition can often be a time when we go inwards, we want to be alone more and be by ourselves. We don’t always feel comfortable in big crowds and feel more tired, even exhausted.  We may become intolerant of others and relationships we have put up with in the past. We journey deep into the darkness of winter and sometimes it’s hard to find a way out.

Menopausal anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia and depression can often be a very challenging aspect of menopause as our hormones fluctuate,  oestrogen levels drop, and those feel-good hormones like serotonin drop too,  leaving us feeling the darkness of despair. Sometimes, we just feel the grief of loss of those parts of ourself that were once very familiar. Many of us also start to develop our intuition and inner knowing and it may be we are exploring spirituality for the first time or starting to work on personal development. 

Cerridwen can just hold us through the darkness, guiding our path as she helps us to find the wisdom and insights we so deeply need for our own healing and transformation. She shares the knowledge of the plants we need to bring the light back as well as supplements to help us rebalance.

Herbal allies: St John’s wort, valerian root.

Winter trees by Edwina



As we journey, we start to learn more about our own body and how we can work with natural medicines and foods to help us feel better and find balance. Cerridwen as Swynwraig or medicine woman is an ideal ally to help us learn more about the herbs and diet that can support us. The foods we eat or need to avoid can have a massive impact on menopausal symptoms and wellbeing. We need a diet that avoids sugary and processed foods and includes phyto-oestrogen foods such as nuts, seeds, wholegrain foods, oats, leafy green vegetables, pulses and beans. Cerridwen as swynwraig teaches too about our own power of healing, not just of ourselves but others as we have the potential to be medicine women too. 

Herbal Allies;  Ground linseed


Cerridwen of Fire

Menopause is fire energy. We feel Cerridwen’s fire in the hot flushes, the drenching night sweats and nocturnal hot furnaces that make us throw aside our bed clothes even in cold winters. The restless legs and itchy skin that irritate us and the fire in rage and anger as we feel the wisewoman furnace rise and start to burn away that which needs to be transformed.  Many of us work with the fire of the warrior in activism as we feel rage for the damage to the land, lost futures of the children and social injustice. We stamp our feet and shout “No”, calling out the bullshit and unfairness, sometimes bypassing our fear as we often shock ourselves in the ferocity of our outrage and righteous actions. We ask Cerridwen to give us courage to be the warriors so needed right now and to stand with us as we hold fast our values and integrity and to fan the flames of our passion. 

Hot flushes and night sweats can often have a massive impact on our wellbeing and Cerridwen shares with us the wise knowledge of how to balance our hormones to cool our bodies when they cannot cope with the heat any longer and it disturbs our sleep. 

Herbal allies: sage, black cohosh, red clover

Autumn Woodstove Fire by Edwina


Lady of love and of the heart

Many women who start the menopausal transition often notice a change in sexual feelings and how their body responds to intercourse. Earlier in perimenopause, this can be a raging unquenchable sexual fire as oestrogen levels become erratic and sometimes raised. Later, this can diminish leaving women struggling with low libido and intimate dryness. Changing bodies can affect our sexual confidence and self love as cultural views of getting older make us feel unattractive and undesirable. Loss of libido, low self esteem and uncomfortable sex can affect relationships and intimacy. Cerridwen in her aspect as wife and lover to Tegid Foel understands this and the importance of self love, understanding and healthy loving relationships of whatever sexual orientation as we struggle in silence with the most intimate challenges that affect us and our relationships. 

Herbal allies: Maca, Shatavari and sea buckthorn oil


Lady of Water

The changing tides of hormones and life can bring with it a range of emotions and fluctuations in mood that can often leave us and our loved ones in despair. Amid a backdrop of political chaos and rapid life changes, stress can be felt keenly and have a massive impact on our hormones leading to more intense symptoms and difficult moods. Along with the tears, menopause can impact on the waters of our body making us sweat more, bleed more, wee more, and leak more. Cerridwen  holds us through the tears and emotional challenges of this transition. She helps us to work through our deep and sometimes confusing emotions to find meaning and healing so that we may find peace and wisdom. She supports us with healing herbs and encourages us to share with other women. Some find support in women’s circles realising we are often not alone in our changing tides of watery emotions. 

Herbal allies: Oat straw, Vervain, Rose



As Cerridwen brings forward the Awen from her caudron, she also reminds us of the life force of creation that comes from her womb in the birth of her children Creirwy, Morfran and Taliesin.  Menopause is defined as the cessation of menstruation and is officially declared a year after the last menstrual bleed. Until that time, many women often struggle with very heavy menstrual bleeding that can sometimes be frightening in its intensity.  Bleeding can be irregular and periods may become sparse and erratic before they stop. Other women may have had a surgical or drug-induced menopause thrust on them well before they are ready and still quite young. Cerridwen as creatrix reminds us that the creative force of our own wombs or womb space still continues after we have stopped bleeding and we can now use it in other ways to focus more on our own unique gifts and creative skills..

Herbal allies; Mugwort, ladies mantle, yarrow and vitex agnus castus. These are the herbs that support womb health and help with balance of hormones.


Cerridwen of Earth

As we get older,  we look towards maintaining the health of our body. It’s important to keep bones strong, skin supple and maintain good digestive function which includes liver health. Cerridwen knows the importance of supporting liver function to stop broken-down hormones from being reabsorbed into the body which can adversely affect hormone balance. She also knows the importance of a healthy microbiome for good gut health, hormone and serotonin synthesis. Cerridwen of Earth teaches us that we are connected to the earth and are her daughters. She reminds us of our sovereignty and our responsibility in sustainable practice as we think of all of our kin in nature and the children who inherit the world from us. She teaches that our medicines, healing, wisdom and strength come from the land. 


Herbal allies: Dandelion root, horsetail, globe artichoke


Cerridwen of the Centre

When the post menopausal women emerges, the heat calms and balance resumes, she takes up the mantle of the wise elder woman if she so wishes. Not all women choose this path. It’s been a time of massive transformation in a physical, emotional and spiritual way that sees us walk differently in the world. We have the opportunity to stand in our power and to cope with the challenges of the world in a more balanced, wiser and more compassionate way. We become leaders in our communities and families, mentoring others, teaching and sharing our skills for the benefit of all. 


This is the first article in a series exploring Cerridwen’s menopausal medicine wheel and in each season we will explore these aspects in more detail — we will start with Initiatrix. The Herbal Allies are shown here as part of a larger pharmacopia of herbs typically used by herbalists to support women during the menopausal transition and beyond and will be explored more in further articles. They are not prescriptive in any way, nor is it suggested you use them for particular issues and menopausal symptoms. Before using any herbs it’s best to consult with a Medical Herbalist or suitably qualified practitioner as not all herbs are suitable for all women and may interact with medications. 


Read Edwina’s other articles in the Cerridwen’s Menopause Medicine Wheel series.


Edwina Hodkinson BSc(Hons) MNIMH

Medical Herbalist 

Member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists

Bury, Lancashire UK

Edwina Hodkinson

Edwina Hodkinson. BSc (Hons) MNIMH – Medical Herbalist and second spiral  priestess of Cerridwen

I have been a medical herbalist for 12 years, having graduated with a first-class degree in Herbal Medicine at Central Lancashire University. I work as a consulting medical herbalist in private practice in Bolton or via zoom specialising in women’s health as well as working with community groups to help reconnect them to nature and the medicines growing around us. I also facilitate Wise Woman Rising workshops which help women to reconnect to the wise knowledge of menopause. I have a love for our native wild medicines and like to work with them  as much as possible which includes teaching local people about local herbs in a way that helps them reconnect to the world around them in a deeper way.

I have a background in nursing as well as having been a complementary therapist for over 25 years specialising in cancer care and working with the very sick. I am a forager, Clinical Reflexologist for 26 years, aromatherapist, Shamanic practitioner and Breath work coach.

websites: edwinahodkinsonherbalist.co.uk and weedsandwildmedicine.co.uk

Images by Edwina

Medical Disclaimer

The Herbal Allies are shown here as part of a larger pharmacopia of herbs typically used by herbalists to support women during the menopausal transition and beyond and will be explored more in further articles. They are not prescriptive in any way, nor is it suggested you use them for particular issues and menopausal symptoms. Before using any herbs it’s best to consult with a Medical Herbalist or suitably qualified practitioner as not all herbs are suitable for all women and may interact with medications.

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