The great secrets and teachings of the 'Women's Mysteries' - the wisdom of the cycles of the Earth, the Moon, our lives and the menstrual cycle; how to live according to the seasons, the moon phases and your menstrual cycle; understanding and flowing with the transformational potential of the menstrual cycle, of pregnancy and of birth. Connecting with the Divine Feminine and the shamanic journey of the feminine cycle - menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, menopause.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

THIS IS THE SOUTHERN SUMMER 08-09 MOONSONG NEWSLETTER
THAT THE PREVIOUSLY POSTED ARTICLE APPEARED WITHIN.

THE SOUTHERN AUTUMN 09 MOONSONG NEWSLETTER WILL BE PUBLISHED VERY SOON.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE A PDF EMAIL VERSION OF THE NEWSLETTER PLEASE CONTACT ME
janecollings@bigpond.com

Moonsong Newsletter Number 5
Southern Summer
December 2008


Greetings and welcome to the fifth Moonsong Newsletter.
Her first birthday!
She had a rebirth in the Spring, as you do, with my son Sam, graphic designer extraordinaire, creating a different look from how he started her a year ago.
I thank Sam so much for his magnificent creativity.
As his Mother – the female personification of summer, the theme of this newsletter – I shall take a moment or many, to give thanks for my children – Sam, Ella, Ellie and Jackson and grandboy Bentley! and to give thanks for their healthy, happy lives.

Ive just been on a vision quest, Kym Kennedy, Paul (my husband) and I ‘did’ base camp. There were 6 courageous questers out there, 19 -28 years old, Kym’s son, our son, two of the others - a brother and sister, I’ve known since they were 5 and 7. It’s a blessed thing to see the great round of being, the children wanting to go on vision quest like they saw their parents do. I’m wise enough to know that what I choose as my path isn’t necessarily going to be what my children choose for theirs, so I give great thanks that it turned out this way. For Kym having her son ‘out there’ gave her the opportunity to go deeper into her own process about mothering. “I so desperately wanted to see him, to see if he was alright, however I ‘saw’ that to honour my child’s journey, I need to honour his needs rather than mine.”




SUMMER 2008
Contents
About the season – Summer
News
Feature article – Reclaiming Motherhood as a Spiritual Path by Re-Sacralising Pregnancy and Birth, a Midwife’s Musings
Recommendations

About the seasonSummer
By Patricia Monaghan

Let us go to the garden to understand.
Look: everything is full, fleshed out.
A few months ago, plants stood small and separate in the brown earth.
Now leaves press, rows crowd, into each other.
Summer is a season that seems but a moment. Everything seems to happen at once. Everything seems on the verge: peaches redden, corn tassles. Tomatoes fill the air with acridity, roses with their heady spice.
The sun is high and hot, the days are long and ripe.

This is the season of urgency. There is never enough time. Everything must be done now. This is the season of too muchness: too many blackberries, too much zucchini, too many tomatoes. It is a time of dense sensuality.
The air is syrupy on humid nights as peaches poach on the stove and steaming glass jars wait. The air is cool on the porch where breezes sway the vines as a stately full moon rises. It’s the season of gifts: potlucks and fairs, baskets of over ripe fruit, extra produce brought to friend’s homes.

Nature is in a splendour of excess. Even the garden’s villains are excessive: the starling flock taunting from the apricot tree, the myriad crawling pests, the slugs creeping through the evening’s cool.
The weather too is excessive. This is the time of violent winds that tear apart the harvest. Of sheeting rain that shreds and drowns. Of drought and failure: corn desiccated on the stalks, soil blowing in fierce grit winds.
Summer is bountiful. Summer is extreme. Earth is not kind nor gentle, save on those pale nights when even the sky holds still for a moment, and, through the hush of a sleeping world, the heart beat of time is heard.

So, too, for women, the summer of life. She is in her prime, full of energy.
Life is endless, endlessly crowded. It draws her here, there, here, with new desires and demands. Every sunrise is an opportunity, every noon a driving compulsion, every sunset a dawn into night’s possibilities. She is full and brash and busy. She takes and discards lovers; she produces children and art; she creates a self and home. She is exhilarated by her power, exhausted by possibility. She says yes to everything, everything grows and burgeons from her energy, she is a forcefield of affirmation.
But this is also the time of loses so huge they seem to stretch to the horizon: parents gone, children in pain, the world convulsed with war. Tornados of feeling sweep through her, this woman in summer years. Sometimes she feels a vast hunger, an enormous yearning, as though her soul can never be sated. Sometimes she feels as though beauty is a thin membrane stretched over pain. In the midst of excess, she feels wrenching want, for there is never enough: enough time, enough tears, enough love.
Summer comes to women more than once. It opens, a wave of green energy, driving us to productiveness and passion. Summer can explode upon a woman at any time, whenever the force of life rages through her, whenever life’s ache opens her eyes to the magic and beauty in each moment.
The magic of the season rests in transformation: seed into fruit, embryo into child, idea into reality. Daily the magic occurs, so fast we fail to see it. But within this flux of transformation, there are moments of perfect stillness: a hawk pivots perfectly in a tight sky circle; a star glows a single second before falling. Inside those moments, power lives. Power that is beyond the normal magic of growth and death. In these moments, time can reverse it’s self, all forms may change, all directions can flow into their opposites. This is the secret of witches and initiates: to recognise these moments and, falling into the vast space behind them, become timeless and free.
Go into the garden for understanding. Let power flow through you. Touch yourself. Touch each other. Transformation rests within you and among you. You are always transforming yourself. Just watch. Just watch.
From “Seasons of the Witch”

Summer is a joyous time, a full time, a busy time. And this summer right here, right now, has its own particular scent and flavour to it. The summer of ‘08/’09 the time when…. So many things! For me, one of the significant elements of this time is the heightened sense of the global community. The global environmental concerns, the world economic situation, the USA presidential elections, etc etc, and the influence these all have on each of us no matter where we live or what we do, how little or how much we have contributed to the situation personally, we’re all in this together. There feels to me, in the air, in the cosmic web that links us all, a sense of relief and hope. I hadn’t realised how worried I was about the future of so many things until I felt the relief and hope sweep through me that accompanied the election of Barack Obama as US President.

Don’t let summer busyness get in the way of honouring the season - the dance between the Earth and the Sun, the feminine and the masculine. You can easily make an altar to summer that you and your children, if they are there, can tend. Creating an altar is an ancient human practice that brings our focus to a particular thing/theme/event, in this case season, providing us with an opportunity to direct our attention to it, go deeper in relationship with it and ‘get’ whatever that deepening provides.

Choose a place that you will see often on your movements through your home or somewhere that particularly lends itself to being an altar. You’ll know the perfect place. Decorate it with special things you have and things from nature that make you think of and feel all the different aspects of summer. Perhaps light a candle on the altar each evening or morning, making particular wishes or setting intentions that are in keeping with the energy of summer – full potential, ‘full bloom-ness’. For example “I give thanks for…. being its full potential/ expression/manifestation.”

The stories that we’ve told ourselves over the eons to explain the way of things, the cycles, the great round, involve archetypal energies/characters and epic encounters with supernatural beings or events. In the Spring newsletter I spoke of the Greek story explaining the events that created the seasons. Spring was the jubilant reaction of Demeter, the Mother, to the return of Persephone, Her daughter, from the Underworld. The Greek story of Persephone’s abduction by Hades to the Underworld, is in fact, the patriarchal version of the story, part of the myths from the Classical, Hellenic period written down by Hesiod and Homer in the seventh century BC. The story that predates this, and originates from the matrifocal cultures of pre-Hellenic times (prior to1500BC, some 3500 years ago) says that Persephone chose to go to the Underworld to help the lost and wandering souls of the Dead, to receive and renew their souls, to help them on their journey.
Classicists and archaeologists have pieced together from the archaeological evidence and references to Goddess worship from as early as 25,000 BC and from the writings of the Classical Period starting around 1000BC, an image of our Pre-Hellenic past. They have deduced from the artefacts that have survived from that time that the people lived in harmony with each other, animals and nature. A celebration and respect for the mysteries of the body and spirit are depicted in the remnants of pottery, friezes and jewellery of that time. The stories of the later Classical period in Greece, the time of the ‘birth of democracy’ and patriarchy have very different themes of deceit, treachery, alienation and brutality.
The stories share that the seasons were a reflection of Demeter’s,grief at being apart from Her Daughter Persephone, and when Persephone returned each year from the Underworld, Demeter would rejoice and Spring, then Summer would bless the Earth and Her people. When Persephone left again Demeter would grieve for Her and the Earth would experience the seasonal reflection of that with autumn and winter.
For more information on this, research the works of Marija Gimbutas and read “Lost Goddesses of Early Greece” by Charlene Spretnak.
Thanks to Glenys Livingstone for reminding me to go deeper.



Goddess sculptures dated older than 20,000 BC

SUMMER’S FESTIVALS
The Summer Solstice or Litha, Midsummer, is the longest day and shortest night of the year. The Southern Hemisphere’s Summer Solstice is Sunday December 21st this year.
Our community will gather around a bonfire , we’ll go around the circle with each person expressing gratitude for whatever they are thankful for and then giving thanks for whatever they want to see come to ‘full bloom-ness’ or ‘fruiting’ in their lives. You could gather with friends to do this or do it with your family or by yourself. The idea is simply to align with the energy of the season, the energy that is - of full bloom, of fruiting, of maximum potential, of beauty, ripeness, full light and use this energy to fuel your life, your prayer, your intentions.
Lucy Cavendish in her wonderful book “White Magic – and inspiring guide to an enchanted life” adds that “Litha also is the feast of the fairy, and at this time, doors between the worlds open, and we can peek through and dwell for just a little time in the Otherworld of the fairies – a place where youth is everlasting, and enchantment, plenty, beauty, love and joy are ours for all time. For just a moment, Litha gives us a glimpse of life in all its perfection. It encourages us to seize the day, and to dwell completely in the magic of the present moment.”
We invoked a fairy ring with our children when they were young. The only preconceived idea they brought to the process was faith. Paul and I, in contrast, thought we were playing a game, but we got right into it. Well, ‘lo and behold’ as they say, I saw a fairy! Ellie, about 5 at the time, carried her hands gently cupped around a pink ball of glowing light to me saying, “Mummy look, a fairy.” We all saw it and we all saw it a little differently.



Summer Solstice 2006

In the first edition of the Moonsong Newsletter, last summer, 2007, I wrote
“Make a ‘wish list’ and review it next summer solstice. Be careful what you ask for! And remember wishes don’t always come true how you might expect them to!”
Did you? What’s happened?

Lammas or Lughnasadh on February 2nd 2009 is the second summer festival. Lammas is the first of three harvest festivals. It’s the half way point between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox. At Lammas the fruits of Summer are ready, its a time to celebrate the bounty of life.

A wonderful way to honour this time is to gather your family and friends around a bounty-ess cornicopia-like feast and give thanks for all that life brings to you, for the harvests of your efforts and the gifts of the Earth.
A few good things to contemplate and discuss at that feast:
What has your year long growth cycle produced?
What have been the ‘fruits’ of your labour?
What worked to produce a bounty-ess harvest? What didn’t?

Our metaphoric harvest, as well as our literal harvest, needs to sustain us all winter whilst nothing grows and the seeds of the new lay dormant in the Earth, the time of inward reflection and contemplation. The harvest needs to sustain us well into spring when the new shoots will grow. At Lammas, we have the opportunity to assess the fruits of our labour, and see whether our spring and summer activities of this year, in the metaphorical garden of ourselves, in fact yielded, and will yield further into autumn, the harvest we wanted and hoped for. Perhaps we need to learn new ‘gardening techniques’, again metaphorically speaking, for a greater, more sustaining harvest next year.

Notice how you feel the energy of this part of the summer season affecting you. Notice what you need to notice, learn what you need to learn, change what you need to change and heal what you need to heal. That’s the opportunity, that’s the gift.

The harvest festivals continue into Autumn. The seeds from these harvests will go back into the Earth, and be what will be reborn in the Spring. This happens literally in the garden and metaphorically in our lives. Perhaps if you’re not happy with the ‘seeds’ your current harvest will create, then you might choose to plant different ‘seeds’ for your new growth cycle next Spring. Make new plans, start new ways so you don’t repeat anything that didn’t work so well from the last cycle.
This same cycle and opportunity occurs each lunar cycle and menstrual cycle.
So much opportunity!

News
The Father’s Evening reunion was a testimonial to the benefit of these gatherings. The fathers who came loved sharing their birth stories and were keen to be involved in future Father’s Evenings as the ‘old boys’ to offer their support to the new Dads.

“I realised during the labour, that all I had to do was be, be there, be me.” Phil

“Being the father, is the greatest role that I play as a man. It’s a wonderful, life changing experience to become a father, to be at the birth is magical.” Michael

“I loved the birth. There was no past or future just the moment.
The birth was my complete world. It didn't allow any distractions but just
the process and the excitement of what was to come.” Nick



Phil and Charlie

The School of Shamanic Midwifery (SSM) will be commencing in October 2009 and at the time of writing this, its full and I’m taking bookings for the SSM2 program (Oct 2010-Nov 2011)! Each yearly program will have a maximum of 15 students. The first program, SSM1, will be held in a combination of venues in Southern Highlands, NSW and Melbourne, Victoria. Current plans have the SSM2 to be in a combination of Southern Highlands and Northern NSW/Queensland venues.

The program, which runs over a year, involves Moonsong and Pregnancy – The Inner Journey Workshops, weekend gatherings around specific moon phases and a vision quest. The students will come to know and explore the shamanic journey, experience the shamanic journey and prepare to facilitate the shamanic journey, especially in the realm of pregnancy, childbirth and mothering.



We had a magnificent Earthdance Beltane weekend. Four beautiful maidens had their menarche ceremony and we danced a thrilling Moe Pole! Moe Pole? A May Pole in Moevember!


Gabrielle, Elly, Matilda, Amellia


Alison and Greg


NOVEMBER PREGNANCY WORKSHOP


The most recent pregnancy workshop was a group made of an even split of pregnant women and midwives and doulas. T’was a lovely three days in my lounge room. I so love the magic that a group of women can create. We journeyed well together, women from different cultures, backgrounds and experiences, creating a sacred circle to explore, heal and celebrate pregnancy, birth and motherhood.

Dearest Jane,
Just to say a big thank you for the most amazing three days, the energy was magnificent.
It has been the catalyst for an inner revolution and a reconnectedness that has been healing to my heart and spirit, beyond words. I have reconnected with my own pulse, my rhythm, my flow and my baby and I journey together and weave the magic.
I feel like I have been rebirthed, with the Divine Feminine as midwife. Thank you for carrying and living Her work I feel so blessed by your presence in my life and the circle we women have created during the workshop.
Love and blessings, looking forward to the Summer newsletter...
Jaia xx

Herewith an interesting piece by Marianne Williamson about the recent American election.

YES WE DID
By Marianne Williamson

America has had a non-violent revolution.

As long as there are historians writing about the United States, this moment of fundamental re-alignment of our national purpose will be remembered, pored over and analyzed. It will be seen as one of the shining points along the evolutionary arc of the American story. Yet it will never submit itself to being summed up in a nice little package that reason alone can understand.

It's been noted before that Americans get excited about politics every forty years. Then, in the words of comedian Will Rogers, "We have to go sleep it off."

We were certainly excited in the l960's. And this is 2008; exactly forty years since the most dramatic and violent year of the Sixties decade: the year when both Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. were literally killed before our eyes.

At that point, a generation of young people -- looking much like the youthful army so out in full force today, only grungier -- marched in the streets to repudiate an oppressive system and to try to stop an unjust war. And then bullets stopped us. The shots that killed the Kennedy's and King carried a loud, unspoken message for all of us: that we were to go home now, that we were to do whatever we wanted within the private sector, yet leave the public sector to whomever wanted it so much that they were willing to kill for it. And for all intents and purposes, we did as we were told.

According to ancient Asian philosophers, history moves not in a circle but in a spiral. Whether as an individual or as a nation, whatever lessons we were presented once and failed to learn will come back again but in a different form. For the generation of the Sixties and for our children, the lessons of that time -- as well as its hopes and dreams and idealism -- came back in 2008.

During our forty years in the desert, we learned many things. Then, we marched in the streets; this time, we marched to the polls. Then, we shouted, "Hell no, we won't go!" This time, we shouted, "Yes, we can." Then, we were so angry that our anger consumed us. This time, we made a more compassionate humanity the means by which we sought our goal as well as the goal itself.

In the words of Gloria Steinem, "I feel like our future has come back." And indeed it has. For in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., "No lie can last forever." What Bobby Kennedy tried to do, and was killed for trying; what Martin Luther King tried to do, and was killed for trying; what the students at Kent state were trying to protest, and were killed for daring to; Barack Obama and his army of millions of idealists with the audacity to hope have now succeeded at doing.

Praise God. Praise God.

And that praise to God didn't just go out last night, when Obama's election to the Presidency was finally achieved. That praise was part of what allowed the waters to part here in the first place. Millions of Americans have been deeply aware that this kind of historic and fundamentally positive effort has not gone well in the recent past, and the spiritual understanding of this generation of Americans -- an understanding not yet fully formed forty years ago -- created an invisible light around the Obama campaign. How many people over the last twenty-one months have posted, in their own way, angels to Obama's left and angels to his right, angels in front of him and angels behind him, angels above him and angels below him? I know I have, and so has everyone I know. Hopefully we will continue to do so.

The Obama phenomenon did not come out of nowhere. It emerged as much from our story as from his -- as much from our yearning for meaning as from his ambition to be President; as much from our determination to achieve collective redemption as from his determination to achieve an individual accomplishment. And those who fail to recognize the invisible powers at work here -- who see the external drama of politics yet fail to discern the profound forces that moved mountains by moving the American heart -- well, they're just like Bob Dylan's Thin Man to whom he sang, "You don't know what's going on here, do you, Mr. Jones?"

Back then, Mr. Jones didn't know what was going on, but many of us did. We knew what was going on then and we knew what needed to happen; we simply weren't mature enough and we were too wounded then, as people and as a culture, to pull it off.

This time, we both knew and we did. We knew who we had to become and we knew what we had to do. The violent American revolution of 1776 entailed separating from another country. The non-violent revolution of 2008 -- a non-violent revolution that did not quite fail, yet also did not quite succeed in the l960's -- has entailed separating from who we used to be.

In the l960's, we wanted peace but we ourselves were angry. This time, after hearing Gandhi's call that we must be the change we want to see happen in the world, we came to our political efforts with an understanding that we must cast violence from our hearts and minds if we are to cast it from our world; that we must try to love our enemies as well as our friends; and that when a genius of world-historic proportions emerges among us, we cannot and we must not fail to do everything humanly and spiritually possible to support him. For his sake…and for ours.

Having gone to a higher place within ourselves, a higher level of leadership began to emerge among us. A higher level of leader now having emerged among us, he calls us to an even higher place within ourselves. And from this spiraling dance, these two forces together can and will, as Obama has told us, truly change the world. Having moved one mountain, we will now go about the work of removing the ones that remain.

With God's help, yes we can. Yes we did. And yes we will.

--- by Marianne Williamson,
author of Healing the Soul of America Visit www.marianne.com

Feature Article
Reclaiming Motherhood As A Spiritual Path By Re-Sacralising Pregnancy And Birth
A Midwife’s Musings

A spiritual path is a journey concerned with the sacred, the spirit, the soul.
A spiritual path is a journey to wholeness.
A unique journey for each soul, each life time.
It is a journey of self discovery, trust and faith.
Whilst each person’s journey is unique, there are certain common experiences, specific events and particular times during our lives, that have profound effects on us, creating signposts on our spiritual path.
Pregnancy, birth and motherhood are such times.

Pregnancy is always the beginning of another phase of a woman’s spiritual journey.
During each pregnancy a woman has the opportunity to come to know her intuition, her inner wisdom, her inner strength, her connection with all women and her divine nature - all essential prerequisites for mothering.

“Since finding out I was pregnant I’ve had a blossoming of my heart. I feel more alive and heart centred, its really strong. I’m so much more sensitive, I saw a dead wombat on the side of the road, which I often see, and I couldn’t stop crying. In the usual situation of seeing a dead wombat I get out of my car, drag the wombat off the road and check the pouch for babies, this time I just sat in the car crying and crying.”
Patting her swelling belly she says “Motherhood is making me feel whole and connected to my spiritual responsibility which is mothering, being mother and knowing mother from the inside. Because there is another being here, that I am responsible for, I’m being more mindful, more careful. And I feel myself being so much more mindful and careful of all children. I feel a connection with the Goddess, the Earth, because I feel like I am becoming whole. It’s as if I have ‘stepped into myself’, it feels very strong..” Jaia

Pregnancy is often the first time that a woman, and a man, notice that there’s more going on than they can see! For many, pregnancy brings up the important spiritual questions – Where does life come from? Where does life go? Why do certain things happen? Pregnancy draws a woman inside herself. There is a compulsory shift from the rational, left brain, masculine approach to the non-rational, right brain, feminine way. This becomes an invitation into her inner world and a pathway to deeper knowing and understanding, part of her spiritual journey. Or as it is for some who don’t make the shift, evidence of a hormonally induced madness, an inconvenience.

“I’ve always been a bit of a follower, wishy washy, drifting along. I didn’t step up and make the big decisions, I was never the instigator of things. Now that I am pregnant I recognise my inner power, its been a journey of discovery, finding faith in my own power and stepping up to that therefore taking responsibility for myself and my baby.
Pregnancy has awakened in me more faith in femininity and faith in myself as a woman. I’ve had faith in other things about myself for example my intellectual side, I know I can do that. Where as using my intuition instead of my intellect hasn’t been so comfortable, that’s been a big part of my journey. So now I am embracing this feminine way, its what I need to be right now. I challenge myself to use my left brain, but when I do, it doesn’t satisfy me. It does in a lot of ways but something is missing. I see the part of me that is right brained, doing university study, as the part of me seeking approval. Coming from my left brain, no one says well done, its different. So being pregnant has challenged my right brain focus. Will I be that again? maybe, but it will be totally different, more spiritually based, then something won’t be missing.” Mel

The spiritual potential of pregnancy, birth and motherhood challenges the dominant patriarchal paradigm. The spiritual aspects of the experience - finding one’s inner ‘all knowing’ wisdom, connecting with the divine essence of the baby, feeling the oneness of all life - don’t fit with the premise that pregnancy and birth are medical events. Today reproduction is mostly viewed as a medical speciality, with lots of technology and experts. The medical approach to pregnancy and birth, with its fear based beliefs and attitudes, with its multitude of tests and specialised technology has eroded away any trust a woman may have in her body and its natural biological processes for many generations. This has resulted in the dominance of the masculine way of thinking and being around pregnancy, birth and mothering. For most women today, pregnancy and the birth process, originally sacred women’s business, are feared, controlled and devoid of spirituality. Most women and men go along with this. This has and still weakens our link to the Earth, to Nature and to our inner nature. Since pregnancy and birth are the rite of passage into motherhood, what happens during pregnancy and birth choreographs a woman’s mothering and this of course affects her children, her children’s children, our future.

Mothering today for many children, often from six weeks of age, is outsourced. While the mother gets back to work, real work, paid work, and she is replaced by childcare workers who raise her children. Trapped on the materialistic, capitalist treadmill, we think we have to return to paid work after birthing our babies or we wouldn’t be able to have this, that or the other thing. The mothering instincts of many have been overridden by a yearning for the dollar. Already we are seeing the ramifications of institutionalised child care and the replaced mother and I dare say we shall for some time.

A group of 1364 children who had regular childcare from birth to school age were assessed through to their fifth grade year. Many of them were prone to disruptive classroom behaviour as they grew older. Astonishingly enough, these trends were present when any care was given for at least 10 hours per week by anybody but the mother, including the father, grandparents and other relatives! Types of disruptive behaviour observed included: bragging, arguing, cruelty, destruction of others property, disobedient at school, fighting, lying, cheating, screaming.

What happens in the early years of one’s life, how one is mothered, teaches one about love and determines the underlying attitudes one will have toward being loved and loving others. Animal mothers that are numbed at birth reject their babies and won’t care for them. Animal studies link maternal deprivation with abnormal brain development that leads to depression and violence.
Rates of postnatal depression and Attention Deficit Disorder grow alongside rates of intervention in pregnancy and childbirth. According to the WHO, 85% of births should be natural, in Australia, a typical example of the modern world, around 25% are and yet most of these actually aren’t because almost every woman has her placenta unnaturally taken from her.

“The future destiny of the child is always the work of the mother” Napoleon Boneparte

Pregnancy and birth have many layers of very specific biological purpose that are intended to ensure survival of our species. A pregnancy is meant to show a woman how amazing she is to be able to grow another human being, her own baby, inside her, without even having to think about how to, so she can trust in life and her ability to create life, the feminine. Birth is meant to switch on and awaken the instinctual mammalian mothering characteristics that will ensure that the mother will protect and care for her baby.
Mess with this and we see for example, women willingly handing over their babies at their most vulnerable ages to others for their care, whilst they pursue the dollar or a career or whatever.

All this is no surprise when you know the effects of institutionalised pregnancy and birth care. The way women are treated during pregnancy and birth subconsciously brainwashes them to believe that others, trained others, will be better able to care for their babies than they would, just like they - the trained ones – were able to understand her pregnant and birthing body better than she was. Dictated to by the clock and specific homogenised routines, external methods of measurement and control, she rarely has the chance to find or notice her inner wisdom, her own rhythm. Hospital midwives and doctors rely on the machines more than a woman’s intuition or feelings. When no time is made to read the signposts on her spiritual journey through pregnancy and birth, she may not notice the psychological obstacles that come up for her, presenting in various ways to get her attention (eg emotions, physical symptoms) and so she doesn’t get the chance to acknowledge, heal and then let them go. Pregnancy and birth are meant to take you into your depths, because that’s where you find who you really are. This is one of the key spiritual opportunities. In the process of shedding the outer layers of patterned behaviour, socialised and culturally accepted behaviours and the belief systems that support them, a woman finds out the raw real stuff of which she is made, what she’s capable of and what her purpose is. This is the spiritual journey of pregnancy and birth, preparation for motherhood. When birth isn’t considered sacred and the hugely influential pathway to motherhood, then the spiritual journey is missed and motherhood becomes the expression of this, one way or another. And the state of the Earth and our culture’s future will also reflect this.

“Motherhood started me on my conscious life journey – I thought, there’s more than just me now, I need to ‘step up’ “ Pip

If we see motherhood as a spiritual path, knowing that our babies have chosen us as their mother, that we made deals in ‘heaven’ with each other, then trust and deep respect are more likely to prevail for all aspects of the journey and those on it.
As I said in a speech at my recent 50th birthday party, specifically to my children who had each just spoken beautiful words to me: “Thank you for helping me be the best mother I can be. Being a mother is a very special thing, it’s a life, it’s a devotional practice, it’s an honour. And I thank each of you – Sam, Ella, Ellie and Jackson, for choosing me.”

History tells us of another time when the mother baby relationship was messed with.
By the 1700’s in England and Europe, most of the wise women and midwives had either gone into hiding or been burnt at the stake as witches. Women’s knowledge of the cycles and the reproductive freedom this gave her had been labelled as witchcraft, a killable offence. Women were told that they must use no contraception, and never deny their husband’s sexual urges. Many families had many children. ‘Women were taught that their children belonged not to them but to God, this eroded the instinctual maternal possessiveness that best fosters good childcare and mothers often left their unwanted babies in God’s care. With so many unwanted children there was the advent of Foundling Hospitals where the nurses, nicknamed the “killing nurses” were expected to do the State’s dirty work and make sure the unwanted children didn’t survive long. The first Foundling Hospital in London admitted 15,000 infants in the four years of 1756-60. In Europe the death rate for infants in Foundling Hospitals was 80-90% in their first year of life.

Today, women are told that their babies have rights that override what ever they think is right for their baby, women are threatened and forced to do certain things and procedures they don’t agree with or face having their children taken from them. The legal profession is facilitating children suing their mothers for pregnancy related issues, insurance companies are offering mothers insurance against pregnancy and birth complications for the baby. All this serves only to further erode any trust in the birth process and the motherbaby, mamatoto, connection, which then undermines the most important relationship of all, mother and baby. When the mother and baby relationship is disturbed no one wins.

Mother Nature, the Goddess, can help women reclaim pregnancy, birth and mothering as the spiritual path that it is. It is our essential nature to be mothers. It is what we know at our core to do, to be. Do your research when you are pregnant and don’t get talked into things you don’t want to do. Stand together with other women and stand up for your rights during birth. Find a homebirth midwife. Call the Goddess to guide, protect, support and nurture you. Gather together with other mothers and talk about your spiritual path of motherhood. Help each other see the blessings. I facilitate a weekly mother’s circle, we sit in a circle with the children coming and going. A talking bowl is passed around and each woman answers the questions: Where am I in my cycle? How am I experiencing that? How have I been challenged this week? What do I have to be grateful for this week? Probably one of the most profound effects this experience continues to have is women noticing how shared the experiences of motherhood are and how they can help each other, mostly simply by listening.

I have observed, guided and participated in women becoming mothers many, many times. And what I have seen is that the supported woman, the one who is encouraged to access her spiritual path of motherhood, finds it, lives it and we all benefit. Just as it ‘takes a village to raise a child’ it takes a community to hold, honour and respect the mother so she can be all she can be, living the spiritual path of motherhood. As guardians of the spiritual path of motherhood supporting each other, we “save the earth, one birth at a time.”

A Midwife’s Musings
That night I watched you transform from maiden to mother
Your witness, your guide.
I saw the Earth split open and swallow you whole.
You became as if Her
All Her
Always Her.
The Mother Goddess, the One we all know.
The One we all came from.
Great Mother of us all.
The birth force moved through you
A primal energy
You were almighty
You Great Mother.
All One.
And She’s still there, always there, never gone.
She speaks in your ear,
She speaks through your mouth,
Always there.
You show us faith sweet Mother
You teach us trust
You are the spiritual path.

Faith and trust are fundamentals of a spiritual path so that you keep going when the going gets tough. Faith and trust in the feminine are the fundamentals of the spiritual path of motherhood and the religion of being female.
I give thanks for each woman giving birth from her highest potential.
I give thanks for the honouring of Motherhood as a spiritual path.
Blessed Be




Pip, Cassarne and Kylie

Recommendations

I’ve added a link on my website to Persia Wildwood’s “Astrology of the Moon”.
I thoroughly recommend her reading for a deeper look at your moon sign and the lunar phase you were born under.
http://www.astrologyofthemoon.com.au

If you haven’t already, read “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle

“The Secret Pleasures of Menopause” by Christiane Northrup MD
This is a great book, and would make a fabulous present!

“Nature, Nurture, and the Power of Love” a DVD of Bruce Lipton
I’ve loved hearing the wisdom of Bruce Lipton, its another coming together of science and spirituality, evidence!

Love and Blessings to you all and have a fun summer,
Jane

janecollings@bigpond.com
www.moonsong.com.au
www.placentalremedy.com

Friday, February 6, 2009

Reclaiming Motherhood As A Spiritual Path By Re-Sacralising Pregnancy And Birth

Reclaiming Motherhood As A Spiritual Path By Re-Sacralising Pregnancy And Birth
A Midwife’s Musings

A spiritual path is a journey concerned with the sacred, the spirit, the soul.
A spiritual path is a journey to wholeness.
A unique journey for each soul, each life time.
It is a journey of self discovery, trust and faith.
Whilst each person’s journey is unique, there are certain common experiences, specific events and particular times during our lives, that have profound effects on us, creating signposts on our spiritual path.
Pregnancy, birth and motherhood are such times.

Pregnancy is always the beginning of another phase of a woman’s spiritual journey.
During each pregnancy a woman has the opportunity to come to know her intuition, her inner wisdom, her inner strength, her connection with all women and her divine nature - all essential prerequisites for mothering.

“Since finding out I was pregnant I’ve had a blossoming of my heart. I feel more alive and heart centred, its really strong. I’m so much more sensitive, I saw a dead wombat on the side of the road, which I often see, and I couldn’t stop crying. In the usual situation of seeing a dead wombat I get out of my car, drag the wombat off the road and check the pouch for babies, this time I just sat in the car crying and crying.”
Patting her swelling belly she says “Motherhood is making me feel whole and connected to my spiritual responsibility which is mothering, being mother and knowing mother from the inside. Because there is another being here, that I am responsible for, I’m being more mindful, more careful. And I feel myself being so much more mindful and careful of all children. I feel a connection with the Goddess, the Earth, because I feel like I am becoming whole. It’s as if I have ‘stepped into myself’, it feels very strong..” Jaia

Pregnancy is often the first time that a woman, and a man, notice that there’s more going on than they can see! For many, pregnancy brings up the important spiritual questions – Where does life come from? Where does life go? Why do certain things happen? Pregnancy draws a woman inside herself. There is a compulsory shift from the rational, left brain, masculine approach to the non-rational, right brain, feminine way. This becomes an invitation into her inner world and a pathway to deeper knowing and understanding, part of her spiritual journey. Or as it is for some who don’t make the shift, evidence of a hormonally induced madness, an inconvenience.

“I’ve always been a bit of a follower, wishy washy, drifting along. I didn’t step up and make the big decisions, I was never the instigator of things. Now that I am pregnant I recognise my inner power, its been a journey of discovery, finding faith in my own power and stepping up to that therefore taking responsibility for myself and my baby.
Pregnancy has awakened in me more faith in femininity and faith in myself as a woman. I’ve had faith in other things about myself for example my intellectual side, I know I can do that. Where as using my intuition instead of my intellect hasn’t been so comfortable, that’s been a big part of my journey. So now I am embracing this feminine way, its what I need to be right now. I challenge myself to use my left brain, but when I do, it doesn’t satisfy me. It does in a lot of ways but something is missing. I see the part of me that is right brained, doing university study, as the part of me seeking approval. Coming from my left brain, no one says well done, its different. So being pregnant has challenged my right brain focus. Will I be that again? maybe, but it will be totally different, more spiritually based, then something won’t be missing.” Mel

The spiritual potential of pregnancy, birth and motherhood challenges the dominant patriarchal paradigm. The spiritual aspects of the experience - finding one’s inner ‘all knowing’ wisdom, connecting with the divine essence of the baby, feeling the oneness of all life - don’t fit with the premise that pregnancy and birth are medical events. Today reproduction is mostly viewed as a medical speciality, with lots of technology and experts. The medical approach to pregnancy and birth, with its fear based beliefs and attitudes, with its multitude of tests and specialised technology has eroded away any trust a woman may have in her body and its natural biological processes for many generations. This has resulted in the dominance of the masculine way of thinking and being around pregnancy, birth and mothering. For most women today, pregnancy and the birth process, originally sacred women’s business, are feared, controlled and devoid of spirituality. Most women and men go along with this. This has and still weakens our link to the Earth, to Nature and to our inner nature. Since pregnancy and birth are the rite of passage into motherhood, what happens during pregnancy and birth choreographs a woman’s mothering and this of course affects her children, her children’s children, our future.

Mothering today for many children, often from six weeks of age, is outsourced. While the mother gets back to work, real work, paid work, and she is replaced by childcare workers who raise her children. Trapped on the materialistic, capitalist treadmill, we think we have to return to paid work after birthing our babies or we wouldn’t be able to have this, that or the other thing. The mothering instincts of many have been overridden by a yearning for the dollar. Already we are seeing the ramifications of institutionalised child care and the replaced mother and I dare say we shall for some time.

A group of 1364 children who had regular childcare from birth to school age were assessed through to their fifth grade year. Many of them were prone to disruptive classroom behaviour as they grew older. Astonishingly enough, these trends were present when any care was given for at least 10 hours per week by anybody but the mother, including the father, grandparents and other relatives! Types of disruptive behaviour observed included: bragging, arguing, cruelty, destruction of others property, disobedient at school, fighting, lying, cheating, screaming.

What happens in the early years of one’s life, how one is mothered, teaches one about love and determines the underlying attitudes one will have toward being loved and loving others. Animal mothers that are numbed at birth reject their babies and won’t care for them. Animal studies link maternal deprivation with abnormal brain development that leads to depression and violence.
Rates of postnatal depression and Attention Deficit Disorder grow alongside rates of intervention in pregnancy and childbirth. According to the WHO, 85% of births should be natural, in Australia, a typical example of the modern world, around 25% are and yet most of these actually aren’t because almost every woman has her placenta unnaturally taken from her.

“The future destiny of the child is always the work of the mother” Napoleon Boneparte

Pregnancy and birth have many layers of very specific biological purpose that are intended to ensure survival of our species. A pregnancy is meant to show a woman how amazing she is to be able to grow another human being, her own baby, inside her, without even having to think about how to, so she can trust in life and her ability to create life, the feminine. Birth is meant to switch on and awaken the instinctual mammalian mothering characteristics that will ensure that the mother will protect and care for her baby.
Mess with this and we see for example, women willingly handing over their babies at their most vulnerable ages to others for their care, whilst they pursue the dollar or a career or whatever.

All this is no surprise when you know the effects of institutionalised pregnancy and birth care. The way women are treated during pregnancy and birth subconsciously brainwashes them to believe that others, trained others, will be better able to care for their babies than they would, just like they - the trained ones – were able to understand her pregnant and birthing body better than she was. Dictated to by the clock and specific homogenised routines, external methods of measurement and control, she rarely has the chance to find or notice her inner wisdom, her own rhythm. Hospital midwives and doctors rely on the machines more than a woman’s intuition or feelings. When no time is made to read the signposts on her spiritual journey through pregnancy and birth, she may not notice the psychological obstacles that come up for her, presenting in various ways to get her attention (eg emotions, physical symptoms) and so she doesn’t get the chance to acknowledge, heal and then let them go. Pregnancy and birth are meant to take you into your depths, because that’s where you find who you really are. This is one of the key spiritual opportunities. In the process of shedding the outer layers of patterned behaviour, socialised and culturally accepted behaviours and the belief systems that support them, a woman finds out the raw real stuff of which she is made, what she’s capable of and what her purpose is. This is the spiritual journey of pregnancy and birth, preparation for motherhood. When birth isn’t considered sacred and the hugely influential pathway to motherhood, then the spiritual journey is missed and motherhood becomes the expression of this, one way or another. And the state of the Earth and our culture’s future will also reflect this.

“Motherhood started me on my conscious life journey – I thought, there’s more than just me now, I need to ‘step up’ “ Pip

If we see motherhood as a spiritual path, knowing that our babies have chosen us as their mother, that we made deals in ‘heaven’ with each other, then trust and deep respect are more likely to prevail for all aspects of the journey and those on it.
As I said in a speech at my recent 50th birthday party, specifically to my children who had each just spoken beautiful words to me: “Thank you for helping me be the best mother I can be. Being a mother is a very special thing, it’s a life, it’s a devotional practice, it’s an honour. And I thank each of you – Sam, Ella, Ellie and Jackson, for choosing me.”

History tells us of another time when the mother baby relationship was messed with.
By the 1700’s in England and Europe, most of the wise women and midwives had either gone into hiding or been burnt at the stake as witches. Women’s knowledge of the cycles and the reproductive freedom this gave her had been labelled as witchcraft, a killable offence. Women were told that they must use no contraception, and never deny their husband’s sexual urges. Many families had many children. ‘Women were taught that their children belonged not to them but to God, this eroded the instinctual maternal possessiveness that best fosters good childcare and mothers often left their unwanted babies in God’s care. With so many unwanted children there was the advent of Foundling Hospitals where the nurses, nicknamed the “killing nurses” were expected to do the State’s dirty work and make sure the unwanted children didn’t survive long. The first Foundling Hospital in London admitted 15,000 infants in the four years of 1756-60. In Europe the death rate for infants in Foundling Hospitals was 80-90% in their first year of life.

Today, women are told that their babies have rights that override what ever they think is right for their baby, women are threatened and forced to do certain things and procedures they don’t agree with or face having their children taken from them. The legal profession is facilitating children suing their mothers for pregnancy related issues, insurance companies are offering mothers insurance against pregnancy and birth complications for the baby. All this serves only to further erode any trust in the birth process and the motherbaby, mamatoto, connection, which then undermines the most important relationship of all, mother and baby. When the mother and baby relationship is disturbed no one wins.

Mother Nature, the Goddess, can help women reclaim pregnancy, birth and mothering as the spiritual path that it is. It is our essential nature to be mothers. It is what we know at our core to do, to be. Do your research when you are pregnant and don’t get talked into things you don’t want to do. Stand together with other women and stand up for your rights during birth. Find a homebirth midwife. Call the Goddess to guide, protect, support and nurture you. Gather together with other mothers and talk about your spiritual path of motherhood. Help each other see the blessings. I facilitate a weekly mother’s circle, we sit in a circle with the children coming and going. A talking bowl is passed around and each woman answers the questions: Where am I in my cycle? How am I experiencing that? How have I been challenged this week? What do I have to be grateful for this week? Probably one of the most profound effects this experience continues to have is women noticing how shared the experiences of motherhood are and how they can help each other, mostly simply by listening.

I have observed, guided and participated in women becoming mothers many, many times. And what I have seen is that the supported woman, the one who is encouraged to access her spiritual path of motherhood, finds it, lives it and we all benefit. Just as it ‘takes a village to raise a child’ it takes a community to hold, honour and respect the mother so she can be all she can be, living the spiritual path of motherhood. As guardians of the spiritual path of motherhood supporting each other, we “save the earth, one birth at a time.”



A Midwife’s Musings
That night I watched you transform from maiden to mother
Your witness, your guide.
I saw the Earth split open and swallow you whole.
You became as if Her
All Her
Always Her.
The Mother Goddess, the One we all know.
The One we all came from.
Great Mother of us all.
The birth force moved through you
A primal energy
You were almighty
You Great Mother.
All One.
And She’s still there, always there, never gone.
She speaks in your ear,
She speaks through your mouth,
Always there.
You show us faith sweet Mother
You teach us trust
You are the spiritual path.



Faith and trust are fundamentals of a spiritual path so that you keep going when the going gets tough. Faith and trust in the feminine are the fundamentals of the spiritual path of motherhood and the religion of being female.
I give thanks for each woman giving birth from her highest potential.
I give thanks for the honouring of Motherhood as a spiritual path.
Blessed Be