Category Archives: Rites of Passage

Crossing the Womb to Birth Threshold

This is an extract from Gail Burkett’s new book, Soul Stories: Nine Passages of Initiation, a guidebook, a gentle companion for your pilgrimage through life’s many stages using meaningful ritual. If you choose, your experience will culminate in an initiation to yourself.

Gail invites you to join her for a New Moon women’s call.

“I have planned 13 Moons and feel deeply committed to bringing women together around Rites of Passage on each New Moon. September 12, 10 A.M. Pacific Time, PDT.

For my teaching on this call, I will describe the developmental spiral from birth and talk about each passage, showing how a life is built through relationships, events, books, seasons, all kinds of things shape each one of us. Together we can learn to see the catalysts of change that serves as our special marker, a threshold past to be reclaimed.” www.ninepassages.com

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Begin here in the Soul place before your Birth. Focus on your story of origin, your Soul story. Consider the time in history and your ancestry; meditate on this view and access your reason for being. Why did your Soul come to Earth when it did? For you as the initiate, this liminal time connects your spirit trail back through your lineage. As your own storyteller, you will gain a spiritual understanding of how the past shapes the present and the future. Remembering these pieces of your Soul story now fulfills a longing of your whole life. Everyone begins inside our Mother’s womb.

Design a ceremony using the same ritual elements your Ancestors used—fire, water, earth, and air. Sit as quietly as possible for a few moments and go inside with your thoughts and feelings. On Earth where gravity rules, all we know is time. This pilgrimage will help you identify gifts that came in with your Soul.

May I suggest something otherworldly? Use your imagination to enter the womb, float around at the end of an umbilical cord in the liquid bubble of the womb. Imagine floating with the Womb of the Universe. I actually mean to return your imagination to your Mother’s womb. Claim a rebirth platform to remember your Soul story. Create an exalted connection with the storyline running when your conception was announced. What story did your parents create just before you came to be? How did neonatal care prepare for your Birth? You were needed and expected here on Earth. Soon you will know why.

Call forth your imagination; enter your wee oceanic body in your Mother’s womb. You spent eight or nine months in the ocean Soul Stories of your Mother’s womb, so spend time this month to call forth the intentions and instructions of your Soul. Go inside this warm and spacious ocean preceding your first threshold. Begin to know yourself as the sperm meets the egg. Somehow you became the intersection of your Father and your Mother.

Consider what gifts came through the environment of living with these two people. Other gifts came to you from this womb journey, gifts that were yours alone, gifts of your Soul. At some point your mind-body-spirit met your Soul, perhaps at Birth, perhaps before. This womb-time directs your Soul’s journey. Spend some time here and decide for yourself, what do you believe? How are Birth and Death related? Engage your heart-mind, dance like you were in the womb. Play ocean music. Every visual image you receive during this first month will ease all the rest of your journey. I advise releasing your right brain to the fine act of creating art!

Take time to breathe lots of air, very slowly. Use this time to learn how to quiet all the way down. Take long, warm baths, return to the womb in your mind. Review your developing body. Find the place of gratitude for your toenails, for your pancreas and liver and spleen, do some visual work for the miracle of your blood. While you are inside your Momma’s womb, imagine her as an egg inside of your Grandmother’s womb. That, in fact, is where we all begin.

Remember this is no exaggeration, every one of your Mother’s eggs, 400 or so, came through your Grandmother’s womb first. We are miracles inside of miracles inside of miracles and need quiet time to honor ourselves.

Questions for your quest. To inspire your timed writing and help return your focus to this Divine mystery, listen to what Coyote asks:

  • What story was already running outside the wombspace where you were born? While you did acrobatics at the end of your umbilical cord, what was the mood?
  • What were the circumstances in your family of origin?
  • What story do you know? Before you were born, did you come with an agreement about this lifetime on Earth? This womb-time spent in review is a perfect opportunity to challenge yourself to discover what you believe.
  • Do your beliefs mirror your parents’?
  • How did you form your beliefs?
  • Did you agree to be here for a certain number of years and learn certain lessons?
  • What state-of-the-world story can you piece together while you were inside that warm, wet womb space?
  • When you were born was there any agreement about when or how you would die?

See how many perspectives you can entertain.

It’s important that you know what you believe for your origin story; Birth and Death have a relationship. Death walks with us through life and must be welcomed as a Soul choice, like Birth.

Allow your cosmic consciousness to awaken to these questions. If you are open and curious, your beliefs will be revealed. Ask your own questions and share a sketch of your beliefs with your sacred circle. Can you speak your origin story to your Soul Sisters? I experience joy and humility when I consider my origin story. What do you experience?

The whole design of our human experience is free will. Why would your Soul choose your Mother? Why did your Mother choose your Father to be her mate? How did all of that happen anyway, what chemicals were racing freely through the world? Testosterone, estradiol, what part do you understand? We are truly much more than miracles.

I want to introduce Soul as energy of the Divine, the Source energy. While you are still in your womb-space consider the concept of your Soul as the bringer of gifts from the Source, does this fit in your belief system? Take this opportunity to understand how Soul fits into your personal cosmology. If terms like past life, rebirth, life after life, or life between life, offer clues, solidify these beliefs also. When you step up to the Birth threshold, you will know what you see coming.

Starting in the womb-space before Birth provides time and opportunity to preview the agreements between your parents as they cradled you. How did they prepare to receive your gifts and hold them safe for you? Parents are only one of our Soul’s agreement; some of us have siblings who have been the closest confidants because of common origins. From the Cosmos your Soul agreed to also walk with your biological body and bring your cosmic mind into consciousness. Your cosmic consciousness wraps around mind-body-spirit at the peak moment of your Birth and then all that stardust seems to fold in on itself. Ask your sparkly cosmic consciousness to open beyond a rose bud to reveal more beautiful petals.

Consider why Soul is less talked about than other earthly experiences of human beings; we rarely share intimate meditations. If you begin a meditation practice just for this pilgrimage to review your life, more will be revealed and you will have an interesting perspective to share. Perhaps you could agree to an email drop to your circle of Soul Sisters and Mentors. Sharing your immersion will likely expand the vistas for every witness.

This time may be approached from many angles, try asking, what needs healing? Did you choose this warm and welcoming environment? Can you tell the story of why you made the choice of parents, of geography, and so many other details? What essential part of yourself came from your Father and what came from your Mother? For tender-hearts from divorced families, do you see and feel the difference between nurture and Nature? How can this reflective point of view expand your healing?

On the national and global historical timeline surrounding your Birth, what happened? Be curious. Wikipedia will help answer this curiosity for your origin story. Go there and plug in a date, like your birth year or conception year.

Your intuition is the best guide for this approach to review for healing. Remember you came with a purpose. Listening to your intuitive mind that delivers messages in subtle and complex ways will connect you to Source. Perhaps your purpose is already fulfilled or perhaps this pilgrimage will reveal the reason long known to your Soul-self. Look around to your friends now, how were their lives affected by history’s timeline?

The emotions stirred by questions, mine and those you ask yourself, become clues to follow and journal about because the origin of your joy or pain lies somewhere in those emotions, not necessarily in plain view. While you have your mind in the womb-space, your biological creation brings a renewed appreciation for your body as a remarkable miracle. It brings into stark focus the need to think about your Soul.

If I asked you to please write a sweet letter to your Mother, do you jump at the chance or cringe? Nearly everyone has some kind of mommy-wound. Your personal experience may be well reasoned and understood or the consideration begins here while you’re in reflection with her bulbous womb that became you. Your thoughts and feelings may fly back to this neonatal or postnatal birth time. Somehow mommy didn’t attend quite perfectly. My Mother didn’t nurse me, so at some point I decided she didn’t love me enough.

Here and now is where forgiveness rises in me and flows out. Each one of us has our own definition of perfection for Mother. Without her perfect attention, we decide our Mother has abandoned us. This dance of attention and abandonment is reinforced each time you felt alone or did not have your needs met, perfectly. This rock and a hard spot is an old story for Mothers without many Aunties around. I let Mothers off the hook for this unfortunate cultural wounding wheel this way, as daughters we must realize we cannot know all the facts.

Write, dance, share and share more to heal those wounds for this reason if for no other: Culture has been far too hard on women; we bear so much unnecessary stress. This guilt and shame can be healed here and wherever it surfaces again. In Endnotes you will find Brené Brown, an authority on the topic of shame and vulnerability, how to recognize it, and what to do about it.

Perhaps it all started when Mother divided her focus while you were still an infant. Half of her attention went somewhere away from you and you couldn’t get it back. This wounding is natural, we all have it because we made mommy our only focus. She focused on baby for much of your deep dependence and then returned to herself. This is true for more than half of all mommy-wounds. What were your specific details?

Before your Birth threshold, while in the wet and warm womb space, you will be opened by my suggestions. Take what is useful and leave the rest. Please get comfortable with your routine as you flex and stretch to accommodate your new ritual habits. Write about everything in your heart and mind, write about your Ancestors who beckoned you to return to a body to complete your lessons. Then write about your parents, your siblings, and your earthly grandparents. Perhaps you hovered over the scene with your spirit guide. Once or twice each month, strengthen your circle with a call or a meeting. Your Soul circle needs you and you need them.

Be willing to examine your inner realm, to heal and grow. Be willing to listen to your intuition as the Divine Feminine, the Source, or perhaps the voice of God of your understanding.

How you do what you do deepens this experience your way and leads straight to the drumroll—the Birth Passage which marked your emergence into the Earth plane and the whole of your life? The first and most dramatic of all of the Passages happens when your Soul meets your body.

gailburkettGail Burkett, PhD, author of Soul Stories, and Gifts from the Elders.

www.ninepassages.com
https://www.facebook.com/authorgailburkett

 

 

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Moon Time is re-born

 

LucyMoonTime

The second edition of my book, Moon Time, has LANDED! And until Saturday, there is a FABULOUS LAUNCH BONUS… read on for details… and grab it whilst you can.

Moon Time shares a fully-embodied understanding of the menstrual cycle whether you’re struggling with PMS, coming off hormonal birth control, getting your periods back after pregnancy… or wanting to deepen your understanding of your body. It is packed full of practical insight, empowering resources, creative activities and passion. Including:

  • Guidance on living and working in sync with your cycle.
  • Natural approaches to healing PMS.
  • Self-care practices to nurture and support.
  • How the moon impacts our cycles.
  • How to celebrate a girl’s first period.
  • How to start your own red tent or moon lodge (it was the first book in print to document the rise of the red tent phenomenon!)

Originally self-published back in 2012, Moon Time was my first book. It has been recommended woman to woman, being hailed as ‘life-changing’ by readers around the world, consistently placing it #1 in Menstruation on Amazon.com.

We are thrilled to be bringing it into the growing Womancraft Publishing catalogue at last. Join the mailing list and get a FREE SAMPLE of Moon Time plus 10% off signed copies.

CoverMoonTimeGet it now from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk or a signed copy from the Womancraft Publishing store.

The second edition is YOUR book. I have read every email, Amazon and Goodreads review, every letter, card and Facebook comment and incorporated your valuable feedback. The Moon Launch has been supported by a wonderful Moon Team of doulas – authors, teachers, coaches, creatrixes in my field – around the world. (Be sure to read to the end to find out more about these generous hearted sisters.)

This new edition has been lovingly revised, with a beautiful new cover and subtitle… and contains over 45 pages of additional material including:

  • Fertility charting.
  • Much more on creating ceremonies: menarche, mother blessing, menopause…
  • Moon phases and celebrations.
  • Healing modalities for the womb.
  • More on the red, white and wise woman cycles.
  • A hugely expanded and fully-updated resource section.

In revising it I actually doubled it in size… but then thought some of that new content would be better off in a new book… so I took it out… but the new book has taken on a life of its own in quite a different direction… So long story short… for one day only… I’m giving it away!

You can get your hands on my favourite missing chapter: Welcome to your Womb… plus access to a live group call with me next week.

But hurry! To qualify you need to buy a paperback or ebook copy on FRIDAY JUNE 5!

LiveCallBannerHow to claim your bonus features:

1. Buy a copy of Moon Time: harness the ever-changing energy of your menstrual cycle on launch day FRIDAY June 5 2015. (Paperback or ebook format – it doesn’t matter which.) Get it now from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk or a signed copy from the Womancraft Publishing store.

2. Simply fill in your name, email address and your Amazon order code, or order number from the Womancraft store on this handy form.

3. We’ll look after the rest! You will receive a bonus e-chapter this weekend of the book plus an invite to a video call with me: Living in Flow – harnessing the power of your menstrual cycle will take place on Wednesday June 10 2015 at 8pm GMT.

(Don’t worry if you aren’t available – we’ll send everyone a link to a recording of the session that will be available for 7 days after the event.)

PRAISE FOR MOON TIMELucy your book is monumental. The wisdom in Moon Time sets a new course where we glimpse a future culture reshaped by honoring our womanhood journeys one woman at a time.
ALisa Starkweather, author and founder of the Red Tent Temple movement.

A beautiful, inspiring book full of practical information and ideas. Lucy not only guides us through the wisdom inherent in our wombs, our cycles and our hearts, but also encourages us to share, express, celebrate and enjoy what it means to be female.
Miranda Gray, author Red Moon and The Optimized Woman

This book could change your life!
Rachael Hertogs, compiling editor Thirteen Moons and author Menarche: A Journey to Womanhood

NativeAmericanQuote

Meet my wonderful Moon Team of doulas…

I have become acquainted with every single one of these women via my book – I honour their support and am deeply grateful for their willingness to stand shoulder to shoulder with me and share my work with their people. There are sisters here from Ireland, UK, US, France and Australia. Do take a moment to visit their wonderful businesses, and check out their fab books and programs.

Holly Grigg-Spall & Dana Michelle Gillespie co-created #RockYourRhythm awareness campaign. www.rockyourrhythm.com Find out more about their charting app from http://www.mymoontime.com which was in part inspired by Moon Time.

Molly Remer is a priestess, writer, teacher, and artist. Author of Womanrunes: A guide to their use and interpretation, she blogs at Talk Birth (http://talkbirth.me) and (http://goddesspriestess.com).

Rachael Hertogs, Creatress of Moon Times washable pads, author of Menarche a Journey into Womanhood, Doula, Reiki Teacher, Moon Mother, Red Tent facilitator, Beekeeper and Earthy lady! www.moontimes.co.uk

Lorraine Ferrier, Natural Fertility Expert and creator of the Fertility Joy Program—which blends ancient wisdom and scientific know-how to make your baby dreams a reality. www.lorraineferrier.com

Melia Keeton-Digby, sacred circle facilitator, transformational life coach, and author of the forthcoming book, The Heroine’s Club:  A Mother-Daughter Empowerment Circle  http://www.TheMotherDaughterNest.com

Giuliana Serena is a Ceremonialist, Rites-of-Passage Facilitator, Menstrual Cycle Educator, lover of Ritual and Magic and the Moon, and creator of the Moon Cycle Timepiece: a hands-on spiral calendar for lunar and fertility awareness. www.MoontimeRising.com

Karin Chandler ~ menstrual activist, writer and Druid celebrant; fusing feminism and spirituality with the blood mysteries.www@redwisdom.co.uk

Ruby Toad, a gifted intuitive, empath, healer and spiritual mentor bringing spirituality back to its roots as a powerful and practical tool for real life. www.rubytoadsoulfulenergies.com

Suzanne Thomas, Storyteller/weaver of the Red Thread, https://cranesfield.wordpress.com/

Corinne Andrews, Birthing Mama® Prenatal Yoga and Wellness ONLINE Holistic Pregnancy Program  www.birthingmama.org

Paula M. Youmell is an Holistic RN Healer, Health Educator, and Author in Potsdam, NY. www.PaulaYoumellRN.com

Avalon Darnesh’s calling is to support women reclaiming sexuality within motherhood, including sensual pregnancy and ecstatic birth, for a more blissful and beautiful family life. http://www.blossomingwoman.com.au

Karina Ladet is a soulful and creative mum, intuitive reader, coach, writer and teacher who helps people to trust and develop their own intuition. www.karinaladet.com

Becky Jaine, writer, mother, heARTist, joy activist in ever-rotating order. www.beckyjaine.com

Awen Clement, Virtual Assistant and Women’s Priestess working from the heart and womb. www.wildmagpie.co.uk www.connectedwomen.co.uk

Kathryn Cardinal – Herbalist, Fertility Awareness Educator & Moon Lodge Facilitator www.SpringMoonFertility.com www.Facebook.com/SpringMoonFertility

Christine Agro is the Founder and High Priestess of The Church of Nature and the Founder/Station Director for Nature’s Channel.FM. which offers all Nature based programming. www.Natureschannel.fm

Kirpal Joti Kaur is an International Bestselling Author / Healer / Teacher / Life Coach / Public Speaker / Priestess & Owner of “Lochcarron Retreat” www.lochcarronretreat.com

Becky Annison is a feminist and knitter who blogs about sustainable simple and sustainable living. https://westwickdreaming.wordpress.com/

Shirley Gain is a mindfulness and creativity coach and mother who is passionate about inspiring mothers to nurture their own needs and dreams amidst the ‘busy-ness’ of motherhood. www.sunflowermama.com

Lucinda Button works with Mothers as a Coach and Mentor, to help them go beyond what their parents didn’t give them, use their parenting triggers as mirrors, and helping them deepen their connection with themselves and their children. www.mamaspace.co.uk

Jackie Singer is a celebrant and healer, and author of Birthrites – Rituals and Celebrations for the Child Bearing Years. www.jackiesinger.co.uk

Fiona Morris is a medical herbalist, massage therapist, nature artist, astro-tarot reader, tutor and founder of Nourish and Flourish, empowering folk to heal with nature at her creative herbal workshops, wild remedy foraging walks, holistic clinics, and natural wellness blog. www.fionamorrisherbalist.co.uk
Lou Hayden –Wise Woman Well Woman – holistic health
Donna Raymond – Founder at Donna Raymond, Wise Wombman Dreaming
Jackie Stewart of FlowerSpirit and SoulSanctuary
Summer Thorp-Lancaster – Doula at Summer Birth Services
Wendy Cook -Artist/Owner at Mighty Girl Art

Eve Agee, Author – The Uterine Health Companion

Jane Hardwicke Collings – author and teacher of Shamanic Midwifery

Jane Bennett – teacher and co-author of The Pill:  Are you sure it’s for you?

Miranda Gray, founder Womb Blessings, author Red Moon and The Optimised Woman.

Katharine Krueger, creator of Occupy Menstruation and Journey of Young Women

Tree Sisters, Heidi Wyldewood, Anna McLoughlin, Anna Clapp, Deirdre Steele,
Amanda Krawczyk

And all the magazines that are currently considering it for review: SageWoman, Pagan Dawn, Green Parent, Holistic Parenting, Natural Parenting…

Let Your Daughter Find Her Song: Guest Post DeAnna L’Am

Art by Lucy Pearce, cards and prints available from Fine Art America and Slippery Jacks.

Art by Lucy Pearce, cards and prints available from Fine Art America and Slippery Jacks.

 

Sing daughter sing
Make a song
And sing
Beat out your own rhythms
The rhythms of your life
But make the song soulful
And make life
Sing

~ Micere Mugo
Zimbabwe, 1970’s
(From: “I’m on my way running”, editors: Lynn Reese, Sean Wilkinson, Phyllis Koppelman. Avon books, 1975)

Isn’t this the wish of every mother – for her daughter to find her own song, beat her own rhythms, make a soulful song of her life, and sing it?

Most would answer with a resounding Yes! But applying this may be easier said than done…

To begin with, there is nothing to apply here!

For our daughters to find their own rhythms we need to get out of the way, rather than teach, dispense, administer, or reinforce…

The only thing required of us is to model singing our own song, beating our own rhythms, making a soulful song of our life, and singing our hearts out!

Our daughters (and our sons for that matter) learn first by imitation. The early childhood mode of operation is copying… We never “teach” our child how to walk, nor do we explain the concept of “one foot in front of the other”. Instead we simply walk… letting our children try, time and again, to do that which they see us do. Through trial and error, falling and getting up, they ultimately learn how to walk by themselves.

Similarly they watch us eat, get dressed, play ball… We model everything we want them to do. Why is it we stop modeling (and start talking) when it comes to Being?

As parents we have a huge investment in how our children turn out to be.

We don’t give much thought to how they walk, as long as they walk, yet we give a lot of thought to who we wish them to become.

Do you wish your daughter to become like you?
Take a moment to ponder this question…

It is likely that you’d answer Yes to some aspects, and No to others. Perhaps you would like her to be as dedicated as you are to your vocation, but not as procrastinating…. Maybe you wish her to be as loyal as you are, but not dislike her body as much… whatever it is, take a brave look at the aspects you wish her to be inspired by, and those you wish she wouldn’t even see… Take a break from reading this article, and write each of these lists in a separate column on a piece of paper.

Now, look at your two lists, and consider this: which behaviors do I model out of each list?

You may find that the things you like about yourself, and wish your girl to be inspired by, are the things you never “preach” nor spend any time “teaching,” but rather lead by example, without giving it much thought.
On the other hand, it is likely that you spend time thinking about (and talking to your girl at length about) the aspects you wish her to be different from how you currently are…

You already know how to model behaviors about which you have no “chip on your shoulder.” It’s time to implement this across the board!

Look at the list of things you dislike about yourself (or wish your girl would not follow) and make a plan (starting with the 1st item on the list) of transforming your Self…

This has nothing to do with your daughter!
It has everything to do with your own growth, and your own metamorphoses:
from low to high self esteem, from disliking your body to loving it unconditionally, from hating your period to finding solace and insights during “that time of the month”, or from whatever condition you are dissatisfied with, to one you embrace and grow from.

For now, make a commitment to stop talking with your daughter about any of these ideals you haven’t yet achieved in yourself. Instead, cultivate your own songs, and start singing them… discover the rhythms that make you dance, and start dancing.

Seeing you do this, over time, is the best inspiration a girl can have to finding her own song!

***

DeAnna L’am, (B.A.) speaker, coach, and trainer, is author of ‘Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood’ and ‘A Diva’s guide to Getting Your Period. She is founder of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women & Girls. Her pioneering work has been transforming women’s & girls’ lives around the world, for over 20 years.

DeAnna helps women & girls love themselves unconditionally! She specializes in helping women make peace with their cycle; Instructs Moms in the art of welcoming girls to empowered womanhood, supports parents in guiding their boys and girls through important rites of passagetrains women to hold RED TENTS in their communities. Visit her at: www.deannalam.com.

(NB These are affiliate links.)

Guest Post: Miscarriage as a Rite of Passage

At the time of writing, it is exactly 2 months to the day that I gave birth to my stillborn son. Perfectly formed, yet utterly helpless at just 21 1/2 weeks’ gestation. Even writing those words now brings the emotion of the whole event welling back up, but I am glad to say that it is a only a feeling of healing that washes over me with the tears. There is no blackness to my memory of that day and of the weeks that followed, no dread or fear or trauma.

Even before I ever thought of having children myself, I could not mentally compute how a woman could survive the ‘horrors’ of pregnancy/childbirth followed by an emptiness – nothing to hold and nurture, nothing to show for all of the effort, all the months of expectancy. Why would you not just fall apart completely with the grief, the torture? How could you be expected to go on living life as normal afterwards?

My son’s birth was neither one thing or the other in medical terms: too late to be deemed a ‘regular’ miscarriage; too early to be ‘viable’ as a living, breathing human baby boy. In my mind, this was absolutely the worst part. To me, he was my baby, and he was absolutely healthy and perfect – yet the matter of a few weeks meant he just wasn’t ready for the world either biologically or bureaucratically. If he had just held on for 3 more weeks, all might have been very different. Equally, if it had happened earlier, I may not even have noticed him slipping away and it would have been sad, yet understandable – it is thought that about 1 in 7 known pregnancies end in miscarriage, and 8 out of 10 of those happen during the first 13 weeks.

Technically, our son was a “late miscarriage”. On our postnatal notes the midwives have recorded his birth as “stillborn”. Both terms are correct, but having spent the day giving birth to him, I feel that the midwives’ description does more justice to the event as well as the perfect little creature who arrived. We got to meet him, to say hello and goodbye at the same time. And I had all the usual postnatal recovery to go through, including milky boobs and uterine contractions. Still, it was a miscarriage, and like every woman who goes through this, my heart and head could only keep coming back to the same bewildered question: WHY?

In my case, nobody had the answer. I was ultra low-risk, had just had a very healthy looking 20-week scan, and everything looked great and bang on track. If I’d been a smoker or a drinker; if I’d been overweight or had a particularly unhealthy diet, the authorities may have pinned those down as possible factors. But no, one morning I woke up and my placenta had detached itself. Baby had died probably during the night as a result. End of story.

And this is what makes us animals. This is what takes us back to our roots. Because, hard as we find the truth to swallow, we are not infallible. Humans, like any animal, simply don’t always function to perfection, for whatever reason. Miscarriage is one of those things that just happens sometimes. Having a cerebral cortex and living in a world with the incredible capabilities of medical science cannot alter that fact.

That is why there is no doubt in my mind that any woman – and indeed any family – who goes through a miscarriage should see it as a rite of passage. The more that miscarriage is seen as horrific, as something which somehow could have been preventable, and is therefore blamed on the woman’s health, fitness or diet, the more we are denying ourselves as fallible animals. We are making women responsible somehow for these acts of nature. We are instilling guilt and fear, layer upon layer. The result is a woman, and by extension her family, who no longer trusts her body to do what is right. It must be faulty – it miscarried. Her body was not healthy enough, not experienced enough or somehow not adequately formed to be able to carry the pregnancy to full term.

This is not a healthy attitude to have, and can only result in more negative birth outcomes. One of the reasons I do not have a black tinge around my memories of my son’s birth is that, through it all, I trusted in my body. I did what I could, and although I couldn’t understand WHY it had happened, I came to accept that this time was just not meant to be. I am an animal, and I am fallible. This time I fell into the statistics of 1 in 7 pregnancies failing. There’s really no more to it – no guilt, no shame, no fear for future pregnancies; it’s just not appropriate.

Having gone through this whole process I now feel more of a woman. Yes, really. Not only have I experienced the horror myself, but I have had countless other women suddenly willing to share their own story with me. In a sad way I feel as if I have entered a secret club, something taboo and a bit shameful. I’m not really sure why nobody wants to discuss miscarriage, when it affects so many of us. If it were accepted as a rite of passage for any woman, as much as childbirth itself, I feel we’d all have a more positive outlook on all births, whatever the outcome.

 Zoë Foster is a yoga teacher and real food ambassador, following her dreams in South Devon with her husband and two small children. Read more about her exploits, experiments and adventures at www.rawyogauk.com and giveanearthly.blogspot.co.uk, or find her on Facebook and Twitter under RawYogaUK.

 

Celebrating Menarche

Many of us wonder how to mark our daughter’s transition in to womanhood, how to celebrate her first bleeding. I loved this article by DeAnna Lam in her recent newsletter, and wanted to share it with you (with her permission). She is hosting her 2nd Annual Rites Of Passage Tele-Summit next week, which I will be glued to.

Airing live every weekday, from October 22 to November 2, this  Online Event has inspiring new speakers that will focus on PRACTICAL WISDOM from various traditions to help you navigate your daughter’s or son’s journey to adulthood. This event is absolutley Free! Sign up here: www.deannalam.com

Leah’s First Period Ceremony

Leah called me to let me know she has just got her period! Being a heart-auntie to her I was delighted, and deeply touched that she chose to share this with me… Leah excitedly relaid the experience over the phone, told me of her Moms special attentions, and her bounty of gifts that included a red ruby necklace, a journal, fragrant bath salts, a red candle, a box of soothing teas, and many beautifully printed cloth pads. Leah continued to say that she chose to have a ceremony with only her Mom and myself present! I was lost for words…

The date was set, and Leah’s Mom & I were busy planning. We knew we wanted the ceremony to take place in nature, and chose a special grove of Redwoods, which we both love, as our designated spot. We explored what we would want to convey to Leah, and planned ceremonial activities to reflect each of the points we discussed. This was exciting!

The grove welcomed us with warm sunshine, a slight breeze, and deep quiet. We walked softly on the forest floor: a veteran cycling woman, a woman who stopped bleeding, and a girl who just started her first cycle…

We draped red fabrics over lower branches to create an entrance to our sacred place: a cave-like hollow at the base of a huge Grandma Redwood tree. Leah explored the surrounding while we prepared the womb-like tree hollow. We placed a large red fabric on the ground, and created an altar in the center, honoring each of the 4 directions and elements: Feathers in the East to represent Air; A red candle in the South to represent Fire; Sea shells in the West represented Water, and crystals in the North brought Earth to complete the circle, while red flowers graced the center.

Everything was ready. We called Leah to the opening of the tree hollow, smudged each other with pungent sage to clear the old and welcome the new, and asked each other: ‘How do you enter the circle?’ To which we each answered: “In perfect love and perfect trust!”

Inside our cozy womb space we started with a song, and then Leah’s Mom and I each shared with her the story of our first period. Leah then told her fresh new story for the first time in sacred circle.

Each of us adult women shared some of the confusions or questions we had as girls about menstruation and what we learned over the years, which in turn allowed Leah to ask us some of her own questions and receive answers.

We then each presented Leah with a gift. Her Mom gifted her with a Moon Calendar that shows all phases of the moon, for an entire year, on one beautiful poster. Leah marked her first MoonTime by filling in the full moon image with a red pen, as her flow started on the day of the full moon! I presented Leah with a red bracelet and a red rose.

To symbolize Leah’s transition from girlhood to womanhood, her Mom and I created a gateway with arms stretched up and hands clasped together. We invited Leah to ponder what she would like to leave behind as she moves through the gate, and what was she hoping to move toward.

When she was ready, we asked Leah to say Goodbye to an object she brought to represent her childhood, and to discard of it anywhere she chooses. Leah placed a stuffed animal, which she had since she was a baby, in a small cavity inside a nearby redwood, and stood there a moment, saying Goodbye to it…

She then turned toward the open gateway, which her mom and I were embodying, and regally walked through to ‘The Other Side’ representing Womanhood. Our cheers and hugs lasted for a long time…

The time for blessings arrived! We opened a pomegranate juice bottle and poured a few drops on Mother Earth, speaking words of blessing for Her well being. Filling our own glasses with beautiful crimson liquid, we each spoke heartfelt blessing to Leah, honoring her as a newly cycling sister. We shared yummy dark chocolate to enrich and sweeten the moment, which we dipped into our juice and devoured!

It was time to close the circle by thanking and releasing the four directions & four elements whom we welcomed at the opening. While we gathered and packed our altar, Leah was quietly communing with a redwood tree. A shift seemed to have taken place in her. She was still a girl, but a sense of depth seems to have settled in and around her, that will only deepen and grow through her many years of cycling.

(* Leah is a pseudo-name I gave my young friend to protect her privacy)


© 2012, DeAnna L’am, Red Moon – Cycles of Women’s Wisdom™

DeAnna L’am, (B.A.) speaker, coach, and trainer, is author of ‘Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood’ and ‘A Diva’s guide to Getting Your Period’. She is founder of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women & Girls. Her pioneering work has been transforming women’s & girls’ lives around the world, for over 20 years.

DeAnna helps women & girls love themselves unconditionally! She specializes in helping women make peace with their cycle; Instructs Moms in the art of welcoming girls to empowered womanhood, and trains women to hold RED TENTS in their communities. Visit her at: www.deannalam.com