I’m working my way through a class at Ocean Seminary College that is based on Karen Armstrong’s book Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. One early assignment was to find a reading articulating a spiritual perspective/teaching on compassion. I turned to one of my books, Sisters Singing, in which I marked a prayer called Midwife’s Invocation. As a birth educator and activist, I have been devoted to birthwork as a cause for many years, something that for me is rooted in social justice as well as women’s empowerment.
Midwife’s Invocation, by Cathy Moore
I call on Artemis, huntress, protector of animals and birthing.
Help me to trust birth.
I call upon Diana, keeper of the moon, and the cycles of women’s lives.
Help me to listen to women.
I call on Hecate, wise crone who stands at the crossroads.
Make me a guardian of the passage.
Great goddesses, fill this vessel with your wisdom.
Guide my hands. May they be gentle and strong.
Guide my heart. May I be open to giving and receiving love.
Guide my words. May they be kind and true.
Guide my thoughts. May they be compassionate and free of judgment.
Guide my spirit. May I be connected with the higher beings.
I put my roots deep into Mother Earth.
I draw her energy into my belly for gestation and creation.
I draw her energy into my solar plexus to fire my will.
I draw her energy into my heart for opening to love.
I draw her energy into my throat to awaken my authentic voice.
I draw her energy into my third eye to enliven my inner knowing.
I draw her energy into my crown for connection with spirit
I call on all the women ancestors who have given birth before us.I call upon my sister and brother midwives from past, present and future.
Come gather round. Support this woman.
Guide her to access her power, confront her fear, and find strength.
Encircle and embrace me with your loving intentions
For the sacred work we do.
As we ready ourselves to accept new life into our hands,
Let us be reminded of our place in the dance of creation.
Let us be protectors of courage.
Let us be observers of beauty.
Let us be guardians of the passage.
Let us be witnesses to the unfolding.
While originally written by a midwife for birthworkers, I really find this prayer to be inspirational for daily living regardless of my tasks. I wish to have a head, heart, and hands that are open in the spirit of compassion as I move through my daily round. And, I strive to cultivate the “witness,” both in relation to myself and my own life, but also to those around me—most people want to be seen, they want to be heard, to be witnessed. One of my favorite poetic reminders of this is:
Instructions for living a life:
Tell about it.