Ritualizing Menstruation Blood: An Exploration of Kamakhya, the Goddess who is “Happy to Bleed”

This paper delves into the ritualization of menstrual blood within the Indic religious traditions, focusing particularly on the Tantric practices. It further investigates the depiction of Kamakhya, the esteemed Tantric site in Assam, India. The annual menstruation festival at Kamakhya, known as Ambuachi Mela, takes place in June. The “Happy to Bleed” campaign aptly encapsulates the annual menstruation event at Kamakhya, presenting a paradoxical view when compared to the veneration of Lord Ayyappan’s shrine in Kerala. This perspective is intertwined with themes of sexual desire and patriarchal views, which manifest to different extents in both contexts. While the patriarchal aspect in Lord Ayyappan’s case is evident, in Kamakhya’s case, it is perceived as a notion that associates menstrual blood with sacred spaces, supposedly diminishing their sanctity. Such beliefs are labeled as hot, dangerous, and impure. This interpretation of the menstruation paradigm is narrow and flawed, necessitating broader research and understanding.