Death – 28/6/13

If you died tomorrow, how would you feel about the way your life is headed? Would you feel grateful for the people you surround yourself with? Would you feel content with the effort you made and the person you became? Is there anything you would change?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this since my friend Leah died in a car accident during the last year of High School. I think the reason why it battered a lot of people around so much was because it was so unexpected – a young girl of 18 dying while doing an innocent thing like getting a lift home from her friend.

Just think about that for a second though. Are you alive? Were you born?

Then you will die. It doesn’t matter how old you are or what you’re doing or how good/bad of a person you are.
Every.
Living.
Thing.
Dies.

You won’t know when or how old you’ll be when it happens or if it will be quick or painless. I kind of think this is a good thing that we don’t know how or when it will happen but why is it that in our culture it is so taboo to talk about? Why is it only old people that are expected to die and when do you even become old?

We have a lot of human rights issues happening right now regarding birth and pregnancy but death, and our rights regarding it, are just as important. If someone you lived with died and you were the only one in the house – would you know what to do? Do you know what the laws are, if any, regarding the dead body? Does your family have any specific rituals or rites of passage that need to be performed over the dying or dead person so that they leave this world peacefully?

I also find it coincidental that a woman’s period is also taboo (or even ‘frowned upon’). Any of you that have experienced a menstrual period can safely say that you have experienced a death of sorts. A feeling of being very withdrawn and down – maybe even mourning the lost opportunity of conception. Even miscarriages! Are women allowed a safe space to mourn for the loss of their fetus (if they so choose)? At that stage, in a metaphysical context, that fetus was apart of her. Did she feel the death herself?

These questions need to have answers because without death we can’t have life.

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Pagan Blog Project #4 – ‘D’ is for Doula

What is a Doula?

To me a doula is the wholistic version of a midwife. They offer non-medical support and information to parents in pregnancy, childbirth and the post natal period (the differences between Midwives and Doula’s is outlined here). The Australian Doula College says that a Doula “…believes it is a woman’s rite of passage to birth her baby where, with whom, and how she wishes. The Doula is knowledgeable in comfort measures such as relaxation breathing, massage and positioning, managing labour sensations using water, hot packs and aromas. Doula’s specialise in non-medical skills and do not perform clinical tasks, such as vaginal exams or foetal heart rate monitoring. Doula’s do not diagnose medical conditions, offer second opinions, or give medical advice. A Doula is skilled in supporting the birthing woman and her partner to meet the challenge of labour one contraction at a time.”

How is this Relevant to my Spirituality and Practice?

Well, everything I do in life somehow relates back to my spirituality but in particular, Doula-ing (I don’t think that’s an actual word but we’ll run with it) is something I see as a very spiritual act for me and the parents I’ll be caring for. I will be facilitating their rite of passage into parenthood, especially the mother who is giving birth. As well as becoming a Doula I will also be trained by the School of Shamanic Midwifery – which I believe will focus more on the spiritual side of pregnancy and childbirth as opposed to the emotional side (but both are important!).

“Midwifery is the practice, art and science of being a midwife. Midwife means ‘with woman’ and the classic role for a midwife is to be ‘with woman’ during and around her childbearing. To midwife is to facilitate, to assist someone’s learning [by guiding] the person to discover their own inner knowing through asking questions and ‘holding the space’ for them to travel within to do this.” – School of Shamanic Midwifery

In this respect along with my duties of midwifing the arrival of new life onto Earth I’ll also be trained in midwifing death and change within others eg. young girls beginning menarche, menopausal women and even those who are close to the void. I believe these skills and duties come hand in hand.

The Important of Women’s Spirituality

Under all this is the realisation that in our modern age we have neglected and to some extent tormented, the feminine in nearly all ways. Traits such as creativity, intuition, empathy, compassion, etc are seen as feminine qualities (but are not secluded to just women – remember ‘feminine’ =/= female) and are mocked as ‘weak’ ‘unnecessary’ or ‘illogical’ and therefore useless. If I may be so bold – I believe that this could be a lot of the reason why we have so many problems in our world. The domination of masculine energy within our species is, basically, initiating our ultimate downfall (extinction?). Masculine qualities such as competitiveness, independence, more logically focused and rebellious behaviours have, up until this point, been very successful methods for the survival of the species. At this juncture in our evolution however I believe that the feminine qualities need to be respected and nurtured to a point where they are valued just as much as what the masculine qualities are in our modern society.

I believe that in becoming a Doula and Shamanic Midwife, I’ll be able to help facilitate the integration of the Women’s Mysteries into our culture – creating a safe space for the feminine to emerge. In particular I hope to encourage women and girls to feel safe and important. To acknowledge the power of emotions and intuition more will, I believe, facilitate a new consciousness for humankind. One that is sustainable and fulfilling.

Happy New Year – Dark Moon

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This weekend was the Dark of the Moon and lucky for me I got the weekend off work. My fiance and I went camping in the middle of the Australian bush next to a beautiful river that flowed down from the mountains. I saw this as the opposite of the first full moon of 2013 as it marks the end or beginning of the first moon cycle of the year (depending on how you look at it I guess).

Not much conscious decision making or planning went into this trip. I’d only gotten the weekend off maybe two days beforehand, we started packing at 10.30pm the night before which led to us forgetting a bunch of stuff and we hadn’t even really decided where we were going until we started unpacking the car. I must say though, it was one of the best holidays I’ve had.

The purpose of the get away, for me, was to celebrate the new moon but I didn’t take any of my ritual items a part from my diary and some herbs. In hindsight though everything I needed was there – Brian and I, nature, a fire, some paper and a pen. This year is a big one for us as individuals and us as a couple. Big changes are coming, our personalities will be tested and we’ll be pushed to our limits. Lots of decisions need to be made, responsibilities need fulfilling and experiencing life needs to be made a priority. We talked, contemplated, laughed, made love, feared and comforted each other. We learnt about each other as we always do whilst camping – it always leaves us closer together than when we start unpacking the tent on the first day (a clear sign is how much we fight when we’re putting it up vs. taking it down).

Before we were about to leave we washed ourselves in the river and both wrote down our wishes and hopes for the coming year. We read them to each other and they both contained the same basic elements – then we sent them down the river.

Spiritual Menstruation – Introduction

Spiritual Menstruation

Personal Menstrual History
I got my period quite young, I was 11 at the time and still in primary school. I’d been raised in a household that had healthy sex education so I knew that it was coming and I knew what it was when it finally arrived. I didn’t have much of an opinion of it – it was just how it was and I just had to deal with it. A majority of the women in my family and those I spoke to had problems with their reproductive organs so I assumed pain was normal.
In high school I started getting really crippling cramps. One moment I would be at the shops with my friends having fun and the next I would be curled up on the floor waiting for the cramp to recede. My periods were quite heavy too. My hormones were all over the place – I had horrible mood swings, my anxiety was through the roof and I had really bad ACNE.
All of this seemed to level out when the doctor put me on The Pill. I was on it for 5-6 years before I actually knew what it was doing to me.
After the HSC had finished, I was adamant about going off the Pill and finding a more natural contraceptive solution. I hadn’t gotten my period for a month and a half after going off the Pill so I went to a Naturopath and Chinese Herbalist to help get my hormones leveled out and to avoid getting my ACNE back. She helped me with herbs and acupuncture.
Ever since then my periods have been fairly regular unless of course I’m under high amounts of stress. A lot of the reading I’ve done over the last few years has changed my attitude towards menstruation.

Spiritual Menstruation
“Your life is based around your menstrual cycle whether you realise it or not, whether you pay attention to it or not. And everyone who lives under the same roof is under the influence of the menstrual cycles of the women who live there. So, why not pay attention? So much more will make sense and you will make more sense to yourself!”Moonsong.com

At first I felt that menstruation was something that didn’t have much of a ‘purpose’ other than to allow us to conceive when the time came and other than that it was just a nuisance – I’ve discovered of late is that it’s so much more. There is a constant flow of energy; something akin to the energies we feel with the waxing and waning of the Moon, the turning of the wheel of the year and the different energies of night and day. I’ve noticed that it’s a more subtle and reasonably slow movement of energy, well for me it is – I assume different people would have different experiences.
Lately I’ve had the opportunity to listen to my cycle, to live within these energies and I must admit when I’m not fighting them my life seems to run a lot more smoothly. I’ve noticed 4 such energies each with it’s own merits and pitfalls and I use these energies in spell work or ritual and in my day to day life.

NOTE: As I’ve said in a previous post, I believe males, females and everyone in between and beyond can experience these energies. I believe that some people experience them physically but they can also be experienced mentally, emotionally and/or spiritually. But just so everyone is aware I will be referring to the physical aspect of the expression of these energies which, for me, include a menstrual period. That does not mean that if you do not experience a physical menstrual period that you are incapable of experiencing this – it’s just made it easier for me to categorize them. I hope to in no way exclude or offend anyone so please contact me if this is so.

Practicing Moon Lodge

I have a lot of free time because I’ve taken a break from study to organise our wedding however at the end of last year it was just an excuse for me to be lazy. I’ve since picked up my act – and some Bach Flowers (Clematis and Wild Rose). But there is just so many things I want to accomplish during my spare time that I feel like I need to manage it a little better – kind of like working from home.

I’m usually pretty big on timetables as I create a new one what seems like every few months or so – the only problem being that I never stick to them. So, I had this idea that maybe instead of drawing up a timetable that goes over a weekly basis I could do one on a monthly basis and fit it in to my cycle. The week just before my period is always the deal breaker when I’m studying or being at all productive in any way so I thought that if I could budget my time wisely in the first 3 weeks that it wouldn’t be such a big deal if all I felt like doing during that fourth week was drink tea and watch movies – I mean we all should be honouring that part of ourselves and it’s just unfortunate that in this day and age it’s seen as weakness.

My reasoning behind it is that I’ve been fighting with this part of myself for well, since as long as I can remember (obviously since I began puberty). There always feels like a battle going on inside my head, inside my heart between more than one woman. And you know what? I’m tired of it. I don’t want to do this for the rest of my life – she is also a part of me and I’m a part of her. I’m essentially fighting against myself. So, I’m choosing to work with her – she needs some time during that week to cry and to do art and to stare at the sky for 2 hours and I will let her no matter how much time I think I’m wasting. I will not feel guilty and I will not feel weak and I will not feel stupid.

As it is, I usually have my most profound moments during this time – but I always shove them away because I should be doing this or that. NO MORE I SAY!

I encourage other people to do this – even people who don’t experience a menstrual cycle. Everyone has a flow of energy and there are always highs and lows, I think I’m just lucky to experience them physically so it’s easier to keep track. For example; my fiance Brian experiences the same energies as I just in a shorter amount of time – so mine is over one turning of the moon whilst his may be over 2 weeks.

I’ll keep track of my feelings during the first month and then base my timetable on that – I’m kind of excited because that means I can do whatever I want, whenever I want and not feel guilty about it!
I will also post my final timetable if you are interested.

Happy Blogging )O(

A Shamanic Drum Journey

So, I was just cruising around the internet when I ended up on the Australian Doula College website and the Shamanic Midwifery website (I was browsing longingly through all their courses and intensives). In my travels I found a free download section which led me to this wonderful drum journey. To be completely honest I wasn’t entirely sure what traveling into my womb would actually accomplish but I enjoy people playing drums so I thought ‘Why not?’
Here’s the link if you wanted to give it a go yourself.

My Experience:
I sat on my balcony that has a great view of the lake and where the wind has some fantastic access (I wanted to be in the middle of all this). I set up a little mini altar, basically just for protection – a ‘safe space’ so to speak. The ‘altar’ consisted of my statues of the god and goddess and a daffodil pin that my late great grandmother found a way to give to me. I then did the usual clearing my mind, deep breaths, a drink of water and took some meditation flower essences. I then got comfortable and played the track.

At first, while the lady was explaining what to do, I saw waves of energy (on opening my eyes at the end of the vision I related this to the waves on the lake that the wind was making). I journeyed to my womb to the beat of the drum where I met my inner Goddess. I’d dreamt about her before but never realised who she was – all I knew were the feelings of awe that I had for her. She held out her hand and gave me a gift – it was a fertilised egg. I cried as soon as I realised what it was – I have had the urge to conceive on many occasions but both my partner and I have decided to wait until we’re married however the longer I wait the harder it becomes and the more upset I become at not being able to fulfill what’s in my heart.
At this point I asked “Are you for my highest good?” She was surprised, maybe a little hurt and withdrew a little bit. I told her I was afraid – I confided my fears in her. She told me that my destiny won’t begin until I accept this responsibility.
We danced then; we spun through the wind and tiptoed over the lake. It seemed she was trying to comfort me. She explained to me that the gift is there if I choose to receive it. I finally understood and appreciated that she was me; an older and wiser version. I told her that I would love to accept such a gift especially if it came from her.
Then my vision filled with red – a bright red. Then it slowly changed into the most brilliant blue. I thanked her and said farewell. On returning to my body I opened my eyes to see the sky – I realised how beautiful that hue of blue was and that it was the same blue that was in my vision.

After Thoughts
I had this dream a few years back about this lady (I will try and find my journal entry of it and write it down more accurately) – at the time I saw her as a witch. I was in love with this person but she cruelly kept us a part by way of our age meaning we would be at different ages in each life so we couldn’t be together (eg. I would be a teenager, he would be baby etc). Towards the end of the dream we were finally the same age and able to be together – we were so happy but quickly realised the responsibilities involved. I believe this dream was about my current situation with my partner and I – even though I feel ready for a child I probably am not and my partner is far from ready.
I accepted the gift but I believe I’ll get to choose when to use it – possibly she finally saw that I am ready for the responsibility of choosing my own fate in that area as opposed to her keeping control over it.
Either way I’m very pleasantly surprised by the results this drum journey gave me. I’d been struggling with this issue quite a bit recently and this gave me exactly what I needed.

Moontime – Intro

snakemoon

I’m studying to be a Naturopath and have always been really interested in Women’s Health – in the future I hope to specialise in that area and focus on preconception care, homebirth and new mum and baby care. Somewhat recently in my study of this subject I’ve come across a number of websites, books and people who have spoken about the Women’s Mysteries.

What are the Women’s Mysteries?

The shamanic journeys of our rites of passage of menarche, childbirth, and menopause; the spiritual practice of menstruation; the inner, spiritual and shamanic journey of pregnancy, birth and mothering; and menopause as rebirth.” – Moonsong
A lot of my sources talk about the oppression of women and how misogyny, sexism and discrimination in the past (and I daresay the present) have led to the disconnection of women from the mysteries.

Spiritual Menstruation

I have just begun to connect and work with the mysteries so I hope to document my working with them here. At the moment I’ve mostly been working with spiritual menstruation as I have not experienced pregnancy, childbirth, or menopause. I have also begun to work with the menstrual cycle in my craft – using the different energies of my cycle in rituals, spells, prayer, etc and I’ve found that it really does give a bit of edge to whatever it is I’m doing.

Doula and Shamanic Midwife

I hope to one day have a successful home-birth practice. I would love to be a doula and shamanic midwife – the only thing stopping me doing the course is the financial aspect. So expect to see talk of these things there too.

Note: I hope not to offend anyone who does identify as a woman but who may not have a menstrual cycle as such (or vice versa). I will try my hardest to include everyone but I must admit I’m a little ignorant in that area – if I overstep the line please say something (nicely!). In saying that I hope that everyone learns something from my writing about menstruation as everyone experiences this energy whether or not you actually experience the physical bleeding and/or ovulation.

My Tattoo – No, Really.

At the risk of sounding like a complete wank, I want to rant about the tattoo I’ve been planning to close on maybe 4 years now.
I’ve always wanted a tattoo and it’s not for the reasons you think. There seems to be a deep yearning in me; almost like my instincts are telling me that it’s the only way to ‘grow up’ or to fulfill whatever it is that I’m on Earth to do.
So for a few years I’ve been drawing image after image trying to find the tattoo. Finally, after just browsing mindlessly on tumblr I stumbled upon this beautiful image.

Illustration by justmyartwork.tumblr.com

 

The whole thing is beautiful but what really caught my eye was the Moon cycle in the middle – that was the beginning. I’d always wanted a Southern Cross tattoo because of my Australian heritage but there are a lot of people out there who have ruined it (just Google Southern Cross tattoo srsly).

Finally, I’d found a way to incorporate the Southern Cross in a way that wasn’t douche-baggy – it was a legit representation of the constellation for which the tattoo had been originally created.

I’ve also considered incorporating the Libra constellation as well because I’m a Libran but all this depends on the tattoo artist.
While I know the basics of what I want it to look like, I still want it to be a genuine piece of artwork by a genuine artist. This makes the process of finding the right artist very daunting – where do I even begin?! I guess I would need to make appointments and interview each one.

But wait there’s more, I’m getting married in July and my husband to be doesn’t want me to get it done. Well, that’s more than disappointing!

Whilst I search for the perfect artist I must try to make him understand the significance of the tattoo – maybe then he’ll be a little more willing to accept me no matter what I look like.