top of page



13 Moons by Laurel Birk 

Coming to the AAC Gallery September 2nd-October 28th

13 Moons is a visual documentation of one woman’s journey to connect more deeply to her menstrual cycle, her body and the Earth. Every 28 days for 13 moon cycles, Birk retreated alone into nature for four days where she engaged in dreamwork, nature observation, intuitive drawing and guided visualization journeys, all conducive practices for people while they are menstruating.

Each of her art pieces is an individual meditation of each of her 13 moons, also known as menstruation. Together they tell the story of her process to reconnect to her body, recover her wild nature and find a sense of belonging with the Earth.

The artworks are circular, contained within the shape of the moon, symbolizing her personal moon time. They are a combination of pencil, watercolour and gold acrylic each a depiction of the layers of connection with her reality. The use of pencil documents her physical experiences, watercolour represents her internal transformations and longings and the gold acrylic highlights the magic that exists within everything - if one looks closely enough. The artworks are named in Spanish and English to honour the retreats that Birk did in both Mexico and Canada.

Birk’s project was born from her desire to regulate her menstrual cycle and to learn how to listen to her own inner wisdom and overcome her fear of being alone in nature. However, it took her on an unexpected journey of navigating her own inner darkness and facing her fears and sense of loneliness and disconnection from herself and the Earth. During her year-long journey, Birk encountered two main guides in her dreams and meditations: the she wolf and the butterfly. These two archetypes appear largely throughout her artworks as Birk begins to uncover their messages and meanings. For Birk, the she wolf was a guide for her to reclaim her feral and wild female nature. The butterfly was a guide calling her to go on a journey of transformation, leaving behind the old way of life she once knew in order to live in deeper relationship with the Earth.

Like the moon, those who menstruate cyclically pass through four main energy phases in which their hormones fluctuate.While menstruating, people have the ability to think more clearly, be more creative and have the capacity to be more connected to themselves and the Earth. Historically, in cultures all over the world, menstruation was seen as a deeply sacred and inward focused time. Women would gather in moon lodges and red tents to share in feminine teachings and wisdom. In some communities this was when women would counsel on community affairs. We all have female ancestors who would have seen their bodies as deeply connected to the cycles and rhythms of the Earth and Moon.

In the modern western world, people have been encouraged to ignore or push through their menstrual cycles instead of being permitted to rest, go inwards and listen to their body’s needs. Culturally, we view those who leave their communities to bleed together as disempowered. Furthermore, it is still taboo culturally to have open, public discussions about menstruation - a sacred and natural bodily process.

Birk’s exhibition is for personal as well as collective healing.13 Moons gives voice to Birk’s personal experiences, but more importantly she hopes to create a space where people can come and reflect on their relationships with their own bodies. It is also her hope that by publicly exhibiting artworks on menstruation, it normalizes conversations about menstruation and creates a space to highlight its sacredness and power.

bottom of page