Responding to Ina May: Not a universal experience

Editor’s note: I asked some of our regular contributors to each respond to a quote from midwife and natural birth advocate Ina May Gaskin.  In her new book Birth Matters Gaskin wrote: Birth… matters because the journey through pregnancy and birth offers an irreplaceable way for women to explore their deepest selves – their minds, bodies, and nature… There is a sacred power in the innately feminine capacity of giving birth.  It is one of the elemental, continuing processes of nature that women ha … [Read more...]

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Responding to Ina May: I was The Goddess at that moment

Editor's note: This week we're trying something new.  I asked some of our regular contributors to each respond to a quote from midwife and natural birth advocate Ina May Gaskin.  In her new book Birth Matters Gaskin wrote: Birth… matters because the journey through pregnancy and birth offers an irreplaceable way for women to explore their deepest selves – their minds, bodies, and nature… There is a sacred power in the innately feminine capacity of giving birth.  It is one of the elemental, contin … [Read more...]

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It’s a Girl!: Gender and Pagan Birthing

Promote Acceptance Work for Justice

I just got the word that I'll be making a presentation at the Pagan Alliance's 1st Annual Conference on Earth-Based, Nature-Centered, Polytheistic & Indigenous Faiths, 2011 Theme: Gender & Earth-Based Spiritualities. The conference will be on Saturday, September 24 in San Francisco (the page linked to above has all the conference details, but the time of my presentation is going to change). My presentation will be It’s a Girl!: Gender and Pagan Birthing It’s a girl!  It’s … [Read more...]

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A Ritual for Childbirth and Naming

By SarahSpells for Childbirth and Naming Before my second son was born, I did these spells. At the time, I wanted my husband and son to feel that they were important parts of this journey that I was more obviously taking. When I started the ritual, I repeated the blessing, over and over, and felt moved to decorate my hands with henna. A few days later, my blessed and adorned hands caught my second son as he was birthed in the water. The Childbirth Blessing* Supplies: A green or white … [Read more...]

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A Birth Altar

Gold man green background

 Our son was conceived very deliberately in a ritual designed to bring forth the baby that visited my partner and myself in a series of dreams. So when the time came for birth preparation, of course we wanted to have him born that way-intentionally and in a sacred context. One of the ways we devised to make that happen is to design and build a birth altar. I have several different kinds of altars in my home- some are for specific deity or the dead, and some altars that hold “works in p … [Read more...]

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Review: Bless This Child

"Here, under my heart you'll keep till it's time for us to meet..." --Erica Mann Jong (33)Edward Searl is a Unitarian minister and the editor of Bless This Child: A Treasury of Poems, Quotations and Readings to Celebrate Birth.  He writes that the collection, "gives voice to the many hopes and wishes that accompany the arrival of a new child." (vii)These prayers, poems, and meditations are "culled from antiquity and from our contemporary world, written and spoken by parents, priests, … [Read more...]

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How to make birth art

photo courtesy of Amy Swagman

Note: Were you inspired by Amy Swagman's birth mandalas yesterday? Read this short essay in which she describes how to start making birth art of your own.The state of mind you're in when you create artwork is the same state of mind you are in when you labor and birth.  It is a fluid, intuitive, timeless space where you accept everything as the whole and have a harder time reasoning, rationalizing and compartmentalizing.  By making lots of art during pregnancy you are practicing being in that … [Read more...]

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Birth mandalas

journeys-intertwined-watermarked-1024x1024

  Pagan Families reader Sarah wrote to recommend Amy Swagman's Birth Art Mandalas.  I was stunned by them and immediately wrote Amy to ask if I could share them here.  She said yes! Making birth art can be a beautiful spiritual practice.  My partner and I made birth art when we took a Birthing From Within class to prepare for our daughter's birth and my God children got to paint all over my big round belly at our Blessing Way, but Amy takes birth art to a whole other level.Amy is a mo … [Read more...]

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