Review: Birthrites

Birthrites

Birth is the archetypal rite of passage for a woman, containing the essential elements of any ritual: separation from normal life, a profound transition during which the participants occupy a timeless time, followed by re-entry into society in a changed state.  It can also be seen as a holy sacrament; the entry of a soul from another plane into this earthly dimension. -- Jackie Singer, Birthrites Birthrites: Rituals and Celebrations for the Child-bearing Years was a fortuitous find for me, a … [Read more...]

The first Spirit Babies ceremony in San Francisco

Candles and rememberances

By Silverwing On the night of the Winter Solstice this year, between fifty and sixty people gathered in the chapel at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in San Francisco.  Women and their loved ones came to honor their ‘spirit babies’ - those who had been lost due to a miscarriage, abortion and stillbirth.  It was standing room only. As people entered the chapel, we invited them to write out thoughts and prayers and place them on the altar.  For those who couldn’t make it to … [Read more...]

How to get involved

Pagan Families has been growing as a resource on Pagan pregnancy and birth because of its many readers and contributors.  We're up past 540 likes on Facebook, and the writers who've contributed to the blog number in the double digits.  That's pretty exciting! Are you a writer who's been thinking about making a contribution?  Now's a great time to have a look at our contributor guidelines and send us that post. Here are some topics it would be great to see addressed here at Pagan … [Read more...]

How the Spirit Babies Interfaith Ceremony came to be

Candle Lotus

By Silverwing Many years ago, a friend told me about the Mizuko Jizo, a Japanese deity that watches over the spirits of those who were miscarried, aborted or stillborn.  There are temples with gardens of hundreds of these jizo statues.  There is a place in Japanese society for women to grieve openly about their pregnancy losses.  There are ceremonies in Japanese temples for this, called Mizuko Kuyo.  The spirits of the unborn are called ‘mizuko’ or ‘water babies’ and they may come … [Read more...]

Meditations during pregnancy

Birthrites

By Jackie Singer Greetings to all of you from the UK.  Sarah Whedon contacted me recently when she found a copy of my book, Birthrites, in a bookshop in San Francisco.  I'm touched that it was an actual physical book in a real life bookshop!  I imagine the pages in her hands, and feel a connection across acres of land and Atlantic waves to our little island, and me in my attic on a grey November morning.  Birthrites is not a book for Pagans per se, but it does deal with matters of … [Read more...]

The Pagan Health Survey on Pagan pregnancies

demographic

Did you take The Pagan Health Survey last year?  The results of this survey were interesting for many reasons, including the little bit they tell us about how Pagans approach pregnancy and birth. Cultural anthropologist Kimberly Hedrick conducted the research using participant-observation, interviews, and an internet survey with 1,598 respondents.  She presented her results at the American Public Health Association conference in Denver, Colorado in fall of 2010 and the Pagan Studies … [Read more...]

Responding to Ina May: The sacred is multiple

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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]