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 that women ha … [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 that women ha … [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 girl!  It’s … [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

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...]

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...]

Walking the spiral

Walking the Labyrinth

Scenes from the labyrinthThe kids all banged on their drums and shook their rattles, following me on the snaking path into the center of the labyrinth and back out again.  It was a noisy, sloppy, joyful, sunny couple of minutes.Rewind one year to find the scene of me leading a group of adults in a slow, contemplative evening walk through the labyrinth's twists and turns.Having a baby has really changed my spiritual practice.Purgation, Illumination, IntegrationIn Walking A … [Read more...]


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