Category Archives: Guestposts

Birth: an introduction to the Women’s Mysteries – Guest Post by Jane Hardwicke Collings

I am delighted to share our first post on birth today, by a woman whose work I fell in love with the moment I discovered it: Jane Hardwicke Collings. Her words speak deeply to my soul – and I hope they do to yours too! Be sure to take a few minutes to watch her video, below – to hear about birth on a whole other level than that which our culture currently admits.

And you, dear woman, how birth has impacted on your understanding of what it means to be a woman? I would love to hear from you in the comments section below.

Birth initiated me into the Women’s Mysteries and introduced me to Goddess, as it does for so many women. As a young midwife during my hospital training I was shocked by what was going on – institutionalised abuse on women masquerading as safety. I left the ‘system’, unable to participate in the unconscious perpetuation of violence at birth, and became a homebirth midwife, and my learning really started. First there was a lot of ‘un-learning’ and then there was learning the rest of the story, how birth is a reflection of a woman’s beliefs, attitudes and fears, and as if the culmination of her life so far. We have the births we need to have to teach us what we need to learn about ourselves and about life and the way of things, that then takes us to the next place on our life journey to wholeness. No failures, no mistakes, just opportunities for self awareness and choice.

My work with women over the last 28 years through pregnancy, birth and mothering, and their daughters at their menarche, has shown me over and over the power the patriarchy and the fear based medical system has over women. This has also shown me the power that our rites of passage have for us in reclaiming our feminine wisdom, our inner knowing, our strength, Goddess energy and our connection to each other and everyone and everything. Bringing consciousness to our rites of passage and consciousness to our menstrual cycle is of great value and huge healing potential.

What informs my work today is my deep understanding of birth from the physical, metaphysical/spiritual/shamanic and metaphoric perspectives. This combined with my awareness of the opportunities the experiences of our rites of passage (menarche, childbirth, menopause) give us to know ourselves through the lessons we have come to learn this life time and seeing these as the unfolding of our life journey, as well as the wonderful cycle of renewal our menstrual cycles gives us.
Jane Harwicke Collings is a mother and grandmother, and a homebirth midwife since 1984. She lives in NSW, Australia, south of Sydney with her husband, two of our four grown children, many animal friends, and with elderly parents on the same property.
Her role is as midwife, and teacher of the workshops and programs of the Women’s Mystery School she founded in 2009 – The School of Shamanic Midwifery. She is author of several books and shamanic journey CDs, which can be bought here www.moonsong.com.au. More of her work can be found here: www.placentalremedy.com

And her blogs are:

http://schoolofshamanicmidwifery.blogspot.com/

http://janehardwickecollings-moonsong.blogspot.com/

The Path of the Divine Feminine: Guest Post

My journey into the divine feminine began with a simple question, “What does it mean to be a woman?” This question surfaced from someplace deep inside me while I was in High School. At the time the only answer I received was an immense silence. But my question, not fully in the realm of consciousness, drove an underlying quest for something more. More of what I wasn’t sure. Through college and into the world of work I was restless. I knew that I wanted to hear more of women’s voices but I wasn’t sure why. Through starting a business and personal enrichment programs, I was moving forward but without a strong sense of being seated into myself. I was just doing. 

One day while at the local library I found a book on women’s health that was more than what the American Medical Association offered. It offered meaning. Dr. Christiane Northrup’s newly released Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom was speaking the language of women. It was here that I began my journey into the divine feminine.

With more visits to the library and finding more women speaking from a woman’s perspective, my question finally came into full consciousness. I finally understood that my underlying restlessness came from the silence in our culture about a woman’s experience of life. I understood that many women had felt this restlessness and that these women were finding their answers on a new path. 

Today, around the world there are women who are looking inside themselves, rejecting the cultural “male norm” standard, and instead are choosing to redefine their experiences for themselves. And they are looking outside of themselves, reconnecting with the ancient tradition of the goddess, and discovering what it looks like to have the divine feminine in balance with the divine masculine. 

The path of the divine feminine reconnects women to the innate wisdom of their bodies and the practices that honor a woman’s experience of life. It is learning to own the truth of our experience. And It is finding the courage to be seated in the power of our knowing.

I now know that my question, “What does it mean to be a woman?” was there to guide me Home. Home to my body, the path of the divine feminine is an embodied experience. Home to my mind, I no longer have to buy into a world of thought that I have no affinity for. And Home to my spirit, the divine feminine is the numinous presence in all of life. 

Embracing this path means continuing to open myself to the work of unearthing the divine feminine in my life, to deepen my understanding of the gifts of the feminine that are grounded into the elemental energies of Mother Earth, and to learn to own the power of the sacred feminine in my experience. I invite you to join me on this transformational journey. 
Linnette Dooley is the Founder of the WellSprings Women’s Program. WellSprings Women’s Program is a series of courses that speak to women in their core experiences in life, grounding them into the divine feminine, transforming a woman’s sense of self. The path of the divine feminine is for women who are seeking a deeper resonance in their lives. Website: http://wellspringswomensprogram.com, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WellSpringsWomen

Guest post: Seeing red – going with the flow

I have developed a fascination with red tents since researching my book Moon Time: a guide to celebrating your menstrual cycle, which it turns out, is the first book to document the emerging phenomenon of red tents.

Many women have not heard of them – and so when I discovered Ayla Mellani‘s beautiful post, I knew it would be a great evocative introduction to them for women who do not have a red tent near them and might want to create their own at home.

***

It’s been two days of pure bliss.  No distractions.  No interruptions.  Rain and wind outside. Warm woodstove fire inside.  The flicker of candlelight, casting a delicate red hue throughout the room.  Food brought to me on a tray.  Art supplies surrounding my bed.  Red foods, red drink.  Red bliss.

Welcome to my Red Room.

There are red flannel sheets, red pillowcases and a cozy red comforter.  Red candles, red curtains and a red altar cloth.  Even, delicious ruby red beet kvass juice.

My Red Room.  My own private Red Tent.

A place of soulful retreat, exquisite release and deep rejuvenation.  A place of Moon Time.

“Moon Time” is a phrase that now rolls off my tongue with ease, spoken with reverence, like a mantra.  It represents my time of monthly retreat and I greet its arrival as I would a long lost friend… with sweet remembrance.  It is an experience of connecting deeply with what makes me a Woman.  It is a time of the most ancient and sacred.  It is a time of communion with my Blood.

It wasn’t always this way.

I, like most women, grew up not being initiated into the Great Mystery of Woman’s Wisdom. My mother, her mother, and her mother before that, had long forgotten these ways.  Many, many, many generations ago, this transmission of wisdom had been lost.  With it, the belief of Woman as Sacred and her Blood as a Gift.

I don’t remember exactly when it began for me.

This feeling that something wasn’t right.  That the pain and emotional rollercoaster I felt each month was more a signal that something was off, rather than a normal occurrence of my body’s biology.  Whatever triggered it, I had been called.  And nothing was going to change in my monthly experience of my Blood until I answered.

It has taken me many years of journeying on the path toward remembering and reclaiming the ancient wisdom and truth of my Blood.  With each month/moon the relationship deepens and new levels of spiritual insight are experienced.  In the beginning, there were many layers of untruth that needed to be cleansed and released.  Month after month, moon after moon, layers of shame were shed.

There was shame of bleeding.  Shame of my body.  Shame of being born Woman.

Generations and generations of shame, denigration and denial.  It was as if the flowing of my blood each month carried with it the pain of generations of women in my ancestral line.  As more and more healing was experienced, I opened to a new relationship with my Blood, my Self and the world around me.

I built altars and sacred shrines to my bleeding time.  I stopped wearing tampons, (desiring to feel my flow and not impede the release of blood/emotions).  I changed from using toxic pads that fill our landfills to wearing soft and earth honoring handcrafted cloth.  I began looking at my Blood as life giving and nourishing and collected it each moon to give back to the earth… wisdom taught by many native traditions.

I learned how to move through the guilt of taking time for myself and enjoyed being nurtured by my family.  It challenged our beliefs and the way in which I had created my relationships with them.  The all giving, all loving, never ending mother/woman dynamic shifted.  A new paradigm was born.  I became a woman who had needs, desires and was entitled to rest and experience deep rejuvenation.  My womb and her bleeding demanded it… and so did my family… little did they know.

I devoured books from women who had journeyed before me ~

“Sister Moon Lodge” by Kisma K. Stepanich;

“Blood, Bread and Roses – How Menstruation Created the World” by Judy Grahn;

“The Wise Wound” by Penelope Shuttle and Peter Redgrove;

“Dragontime – Magic and Mytery of Menstruation” by Luisa Francis;

“Moon Lodge” tapes and teachings by Brooke Medicine Eagle

and many, many others.  Each taking me deeper into the mystery of the Blood that was Woman’s birthrite.

I began the process of taking my blood from the realm of the hidden and profane to the visible and most sacred.  I made necklaces to wear that revealed to my family and friends I was in my “Moon Time”.  I charted my cycle and arranged my life to provide down time when my bleeding arrived.  I became mindful of my language and how I spoke of this sacred experience and consciously chose words that expressed what I was feeling internally.  No more being on the “rag”; or experiencing “the curse”.  I was now “in my power” or on my “moon time”, connecting with the powerful relationship between women and the moon.

When hearing other sisters were in their Moon Time, I spoke softly and bowed deeply to the sacred space they were in.

I reclaimed the ancient practices honored in native cultures for monthly retreats.  Giving my Self permission to empty my cup each month… a cup that held all of the emotions and responsibilities of carrying for all the others in my life.

As my blood flowed, I opened to spontaneous release of emotions, artistic urges, much need sleep, or whatever called from within for expression and replenishment.

I began to notice changes prior to my moon’s arrival.  The messages from within to begin withdrawing from others and start in preparations toward nourishing my Self.  Each “Moon Time” wanted something different and I was remembering how to listen.

My family shifted in priorities during this time to accomodate my time away.  They began to experience first hand what happened when I returned rested and deeply renewed.  I was glowing, sparkly, happy, joyful and so overflowing with the love I had for each of them.  I had so much more energy and vitality.  They also experienced what happened when I did not take this necessary time away.  How angry I was, how frustrated I became, how little I had to give and how resentful I was to be giving it.  It wasn’t long before they were helping me to remember it was time for the Red Room and my Moon Time.

Reclaiming the Wisdom of the Blood is an individual journey for each woman… but one that is collective in need.  It is not only imperative for the releasing of all that we hold for others each month; for the cleansing of what we no longer need; for our rejuvenation at a deep level and for the development of our own spiritual wisdom and insight… but for the healing of the world around us.

There was a time when life revolved around the cycles of Women’s Blood.

When our monthly time was held as sacred.  When the tribe understood the need for our replenishment and honored the spiritual wisdom that was available to us during our retreat.

Community danced in rhythm to women’s rhythms. Life spiraled around the cycles of Moon, Womb and Blood.

The journey with my Blood has brought up deep memories of this wisdom and a longing to share what is possible for each of us, our families and Tribe if… once again… life spiraled around our rhythms.

Sisters… listen to the yearnings of your Blood.  

Hear the call every month to retreat in some way.  Create ways to honor and hold sacred once again the monthly dance of your Moon.  Retreat, build altars, dance, sway, trance, drum, draw, paint, sleep.

The way you see your Self will change. The way you dance in life will change… and because of this… you… dear sister… will change the world.

Blessings of the Blood to you all ~ Ayla

Ayla Mellani, (Founding Mother and Director of Chrysalis Woman) is an ordained Dianic High Priestess, community herbwyfe and CW WomanCraft Practitioner. 

She has been facilitating sacred space for women to gather and remember the Sacred Feminine, Feminist Theory and Wise Woman Ways for over a decade and is completely devoted to helping women awaken to their Sacred Divinity by remembering HER story, experiencing ritual and honoring their Sacred Womb Wisdom and Rites. 

 She guides Women along the Red Thread of Remembrance through her year long WomanCraft and Priestess programs and monthly Goddess Circles and corresponding Goddess Studies.

She is currently working on creating the online Chrysalis Woman School of WomanCraft ~ where all of the CW programs will be available and where Sisters who feel the call to lead in their own communities can become a Certified CW WomanCraft Practitioner and  High Priestess.  Stop by for a visit!  www.chrysaliswoman.com

Personally, she loves growing flower/veggie & herb gardens, belly dancing, yoga, making herbals with the green allies, devouring books, and continues to deepen in her practice of self sufficient, sustainable, cyclical and goddess centered living.

www.facebook.com/chrysaliswoman

www.twitter.com/chrysaliswoman

 To contribute a guest post please see guidelines above. Contact me at lucy@thehappywomb.com

 

 

 

Poem: To my daughter

You gave ground to my longing,

balance to my hope.

You smoothed out all the spaces

that made me doubt

and wish for something different.

You gave me belief

in myself

and of a higher power.

You gave me the strength,

the courage,

and the will to carry on.

 

I waited for you for so long

lessons broke through the sidelines

and I learned that gifts are granted

when they are also received.

 

Guest post courtesy of Ida Koller. 

Ida lives with her two young daughters and husband in a small mid-coast Maine town.  In college she decided all she wanted to do in life was to write and have babies, and thus far she’s loving it all. Ida can be found at http//:onceuponatime-ida.blogspot.com  or  http//:stellas-star.blogspot.com .


Womb Blessing

An invitation from Miranda Gray

To all wonderful women everywhere,

I would like invite you to – a free distant Womb Blessing Attunement.

on the next Full Moon on 7th February 2012

at four different times to suit world time zones.

06.00 GMT
12.00 GMT
18.00 GMT
24.00 GMT

2012 is a year where the divine feminine energies are starting to ground deeply within Mother Earth and in our energies and minds. As someone with 15 years experience in energy work, writing women’s books and facilitating workshops, it has come as no surprise to me to be drawn towards combining my energy work with my women’s work.

This Womb Blessing attunement is a simple gift – a gift to every woman of any age and experience who would like to receive it – of energy to bring healing to our femininity, to our womb and its cycle, to our creativity and fertility, to our sexuality and spirituality.

The attunement restores our natural purity and beauty, abundance and love, creativity and magic, and our wisdom and strength. It frees us from the past, from limiting expectations, and guilt and hurt, and releases the soul-felt joy and expression of women’s power and beauty. It is a beautiful blessing and restoration of light for women’s souls in a harsh and masculine world.

To book the attunement and receive pre and post attunement exercises please email miranda.gray@optimizedwoman.com the following:

Full name:
Email:
Country:
Requested attunement time (GMT):

Please share this with as many female friends and colleagues as you wish. It is my heartfelt hope that this energy goes out into the world to help support as many women as possible in the challenging times of 2012.

Love and light

Miranda

Miranda Gray is an author, artist, healer, teacher and workshop facilitator.

www.mirandagray.co.uk
www.optimizedwoman.com
www.redmoonthebook.com