A Birth Altar

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 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...]

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...]

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...]

Birth mandalas

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  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...]

What’s in a Name?

by Kira NuitImagine one of your kid's friends at the door asking “can Floribunda come out to play?” Or, when young Floribunda gets into trouble, imagine how you might feel barking out, “Floribunda Oregano Sunbeam!” I've heard some names on the playground that I would not want to holler out my back door at suppertime.One of the first things confronting pregnant couples is what to name their baby. Throughout history we have bequeathed the names of our ancestors, named our children to honor … [Read more...]

To my daughter on the occasion of her mother’s birth

Note: This poem by Sierra Black is a reprint from July 22, 2004 on ChildWild.Tiny goddess of my body I’m twenty-six today, and you have Two months and two days even In the world.The tail end of our nap this afternoon found you curled Against my skin as if you Did not care if we were one or two.Startled by the beauty of your eyes, I (inadvertently) dropped a book on your head. A slim paperback volume Titled simply “desire”A gift from your father, A memory bridge to a life Before yours when … [Read more...]

Welcome Serena Rose!

Baby Girl

Note: This birth story by Sierra Black is a reprint from July 15, 2007 on ChildWild.  The story of her first child's birth is here.Serena Rose Hunter Black was born at 10 pm EST on July 9 at The Birth Cottage, as planned. She was born in the birth tub and caught by her dad. Her sister cut the cord like she’d been wanting to. Serena Rose weighed 10 pounds 7 ounces, is 23 inches long and has very soft golden hair and dark blue eyes.The birth was attended by my wonderful and beloved ca … [Read more...]

On Being a Holy Mother

‘Holy Mother,In whom we live, move and have our being,From you all things emerge and unto you all things return…’ This is the beginning of a prayer I learned from T Thorn Coyle just before becoming pregnant with my first child. It is only a slight twist on a biblical verse Acts 17:28 with which I was already familiar. As a religious studies scholar, whose work focused on women in religion and Mariology (the study of the Virgin Mary) theories of the divine feminine were important to m … [Read more...]


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