Shamanic Midwifery

Posted on August 16, 2013 at 12:50 AM

Last month I had the most incredible time meeting and working with Jane Hardwicke Collings for three different events that she had travelled from Australia to teach.   The first one day workshop was held in Chalice Well Glastonbury and was called Amber Tears and Cleansing Flame.  A gorgeous group of women came together in circle, midwifes, doula's, birthworkers and those working with the Women's Mysteries.

I felt so excited to come and offer my service as Temple Keeper, bringing sacred objects for our altar and acting as Priestess to the Goddesses Freya and Brigid.  We worked at co-creating ceremony to heal the feminine, looking at sexuality, fear and women's rights during pregnancy and birth.  This was a day of releasing held beliefs around birth as a rite of passage, working to create a more loving, held environment for women to birth in the best possible way that their bodies innately know, and to bust the imperilling rhetoric that expecting mothers are fed. We journeyed with the drum, crafted healing amulets and symbols, working for all our relations.  The day ended with a beautiful gathering on the Tor where we grounded our prayers into the earth.

Several days later I joined Jane at Wild Ways in Shropshire, a truly magical venue which really held us for the full week we were there.  The space was so nourishing and healing, our classroom come temple was a decandently dressed, Red Tent style Yurt down near the edge of some woods.  Once again I was blessed to come and provide sacred and magical objects for our altar and help to create the energy for the coming week's unfolfdment.  The venue was very special with its very own stone circle down in a meadow by the river, a tradiitional round house high up in the woods for ceremony and ritual, and we were beautifully held in nature, with birds serenading us, in an environmentally conscious environment with scrummy home grown food cooked with love.

I came accross Jane's work several years ago and wished somehow to meet with her and glean some of her wisdom.  I have always seen Jane as one of the 'Foremothers of Menstruation and the Women's Mysteries' and knew immediately that I needed to be a part of the training that she was bringing to the UK.  Despite not actually working with the birth process itself in a proffesional capacity, my work has been around birth in manyways;  Preparing for conception, maintaining a healthy pregnancy and offering postnatal support where needed.  The call tapped into the 'Soul Midwifery' that I recognise as part of my calling, in supporting and holding women through an awakening of their deeper selves, through our natural rites of passge and the gifts of the menstrual cycle. 

I found Janes, grounded, embodied and incredibly generous approach to sharing this information to be so uplifting.  We discussed, debated, and flowed with topics around our own births and how the experience shapes our lives.  We honoured our experiences of our Menarche, that initiated us into the spiral of womanhood and acknowledged that the woman that shows up at the Birth Altar is one that has accumulated all her cyclical learning, conciously or unconciously!  The information was presented in a very profound way.  Much of the content was knowledge I have been working with for sometime, gathered from many, many books and through connecting with other great teachers such as Alexandra Pope, Miranda Gray, Jane Bennett and Lara Owen.  What was totally unique was the frame work and structure that Jane provided for this'remembering' to sit in.  For me it gave me the tools to see that each rite of passage builds upon the other, and that each birth experience is exactly what a woman needs to have for her contiuned learning and life journey. 

My belief that the womb is the Divine Gateway, the Doorway from the Otherworld, the Void of All Creation was really affirmed.  Each human experience of birth sets the tone for all of life's pattern, providing the limbic imprint for our day to day responses, until we choose to actively heal and move beyond any limitations that we may have experienced at birth and have been replying in our relationships.  Jane's work brings clear insight into our own patterns and trigger points.  The rituals created for awareness and release were truly potent and transformative.  Drumming through the woods down to the stone circle to engage with our Maiden selves to retrieve guidance and healing.  Working with power animals to support us in our life's work and gain insight into difficult situations that our work can sometimes place us.

The intrinsic elemments around the menstrual cycle were looked at in real depth, understanding the influence of the moon on our bleeding 'Moontime', where the four archetypes of women hold differnt energies for the cycle, and what that means on a practical level for women in all parts of their life cycle; at menarche, menstruation or menopause.  We recognised and held witness to our own cycles and the wisdom that is gifted to us in each phase.  How is our Maiden phase, the pre-ovulatory time; our Mother phase, the ovulatory time; our Maga or Enchantress phase, the pre-menstrual time; and our Crone phase, the menstrual time?.......what are our experinces here and how do we flow at these times?  Our experiences are all gifts, however interpreting our bodies messages can sometimes be difficult, but being present, turning within and slowing down completely so that we can hear the guidance is so rewarding and affirming.  This is the true gift of our Moontime, being able to release and recieve in such a plugged in and empowered way.

Despite not actually being a midwife, I found working with Jane to be accessible, powerful and transformative.  I feel that the time we spent together in circle is in me still to reflect and drink from.  We rooted deep healing into the land and into ourselves, rippling out in all ways to heal all our relations and through the red thread of past, present and future.  I envision the work we did on oursleves and the collective as a massive clearing for all, paving the way for a new paradigm.  Embodied prayers were crafted through Goddess symbols and tools which carry our intentions and heartfelt wishes out into the world in a very profound way.  I feel immensly grateful to Jane for trusting in the women here and travelling so far to share of herself so deeply.  Jane has such a fun, 'real' and loving way about her, I feel like I have always known her.  I am eager to support her coming back to the UK in 2014 with the sisters from this Shamanic Midwifery circle and thank LIzzie and Awen for their eagerness to get Jane to come and teach.  Jane's generosity of spirit and provider of resources is overwhelming.  We were gifted a full set of her books and given many handouts abundantly filled with useful wisdom and exercises for experiental learning.

As the Keeper of the Shamanic Midwidfery flame, I feel a strong need to weave the thread of this deep work out into the world.   It is part of my own personal crafting on my life's tapestry.  It feeds my passion to work with women in such a profoundly magical and awesome way.  I am witnessing my own continued journey of healing, on the path to wholeness and wish to share it with others with such love and enthusiasm.   I am blessed and grateful to all those I have the fortune to sit in circle and work with.  We are mirrors of each other and we are all teachers and students.  I open the ears of my heart to be fully present to the Goddess speaking to me and through me.

We are working eagerly and tenaciously to have Jane return to the UK in 2014 to bring more workshops and trainings. We hope to find away for her to share her year long four seasons journey with us too.  If you feel called or motivated to attend some events do get in touch.  If you are on facebook you can find more information on the" target="_blank">Shamanic Midwifery Uk page.

Bright Blessings x

Categories: Celebration of Rites of Passage, Birth Trauma, Miscarriage, Abortion, Ceremonial Menstruation

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