Wise Woman Ezine with herbalist Susun Weed
August 2006
Volume 6 Number 8
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What's Inside Wise Woman Herbal Ezine this Month...


Childbearing & Mothering ...
Shamanic Midwifery
Hands That Heal Birth
by Jeannine Parvati Baker
Author of Conscious Conception

Shamanic Midwifery part 1
Hands That Heal Birth

Copyright © Jeannine Parvati Baker

I am a spiritual midwife, called by the God-Us to heal the Earth by healing birth. I first heard my call to assist women becoming mothers, to realize birth as a spiritual as well as a natural rite-of-passage, by birthing my own babies consciously. My initiation in giving natural birth was in January of 1970. It was the first time an obstetrician had seen a woman squat on the delivery table to give birth. Postpartum, when I wouldn't be separated from my newborn Loi Caitlin (as they had no rooming-in arrangement), they put me back in the labor room with my baby. A laboring mother in the next bed was screaming, "Ah Dios, Dios!" How she suffered: My heart went out to her and I soothed her from my bed, my first experience as a spiritual midwife.

About this time in my life, I began to teach childbirth education and prenatal yoga classes. My goal was to help more babies be born consciously ~thus, creating a sustainable future for my own child ~ and future grandchildren. I had a significant dream during these years. In my dream two brilliant white doves flew to me. I watched them land on my hands, and when they walked from my hands, now tingling with energy, up my arms, to my heart, I was filled with radiant light. I understood at that time that my hands and heart were agents of the healing light. It was awhile later that I met this archetype in the Greek myth of the two midwives who flew to the birth of the twins Artemis and Apollo in the form of doves. By then I was well known as the "baby lady" of my community and preparing for my next challenge in reclaiming birth.

My second and third births were twins and when I was in the hospital, they x-rayed me and announced that my pelvis may be too small and I would need a cesarean section. I checked myself out of the hospital and went home to give ecstatic birth to my footling breech baby, Oceana Violet and her head first twin, Cheyenne Coral. From that point on, 1974, I have only birthed and midwifed at home. I clearly saw what a distraction hospitals can be when giving birth.

After my third birth, I understood that I needn't hire anyone to be paranoid for me when laboring to bring forth my young. In 1975 I became a spiritual midwife whose main tools are my faith in the naturalness of birth, my healing hands and word medicine. My community made me a midwife by asking me to attend births. Rather than getting trained by an institution, and learning a medical set of rituals to take women through birth, I apprenticed directly to birth itself. My promise as spiritual midwife is to honor the journey, be attentive to what presents itself, and remind a mother by my presence that she already knows how to give birth. I trust that if a woman consciously conceives her baby without the help of experts, she is able to give birth unassisted by the medical experts. My "back-up is whatever God-Us is "on call" that night ~ in over a generation of attending births, every woman I have midwifed has given spontaneous birth.

Once I was called to a birth and forgot to bring my birthing kit. Then I realised that I am my midwifery kit ~ I had my ears through which I could hear the baby's heart, I had my hands through which I could feel the baby, and I had my heart ~ which loves the baby earthside. After that experience in 1980, I founded HYGIEIA COLLEGE, a mystery school in womancraft and lay midwifery I teach the "inward skills" ~ how to cultivate intuition and know our embodied perception is the medicine bundle, or midwifery kit par excellence.

At this writing, mid-90's, there are over 600 students currently enrolled in Hygieia College, studying an essential midwifery which locates the power to give birth in the God-Us ~ a divine life-force which brings our babies to the light. It is an international mystery school which, I am proud to say, graduates midwives who practice differently than I. Each midwife serves her own community, and is responsive to what is best-for-life in the moment. Rather than a method, or a training course, Hygieia College is a journey to the sources of healing and an un-training of erroneous beliefs and actions which interfere with spontaneous childbirth. I see this un-training process akin to removing the mind swaddling of the prevailing technocratic culture.

From attending birth mindfully, I recognized that there is a lot of work to be done to heal fertility, specifically the abortion epidemic and on the other extreme, infertility. Women who had abortions as well as women who had difficulty conceiving, are more likely to have difficulties surrendering to the power of the birth-force. In 1986, my partner Frederick Baker and I published the tome CONSCIOUS CONCEPTION: ELEMENTAL JOURNEY THROUGH THE LABYRINTH OF SEXUALITY. In this book we articulate the practice of fertility awareness as an opportunity for Self-realization, in the specific focus of fertility. My work in spiritual midwifery includes conscious conception and I often connect with a family before they conceive their baby in capacity of midwife.

to be continued....

by Jeannine Parvati Baker
Author of Conscious Conception

Conscious Conception by Jeannine Parvati BakerConscious Conception by Jeannine Parvati Baker is the comprehensive reference for fertility awareness. All natural methods of family planning, both ancient and current, are presented within the larger context of sexuality and an evolving spirituality, which embraces the religious wisdom traditions and goes beyond.

"This book is a beautiful, breath of fresh air! Ms. Baker is a goddess, and will thoroughly help you to see the goddess within yourself. What can I say about this lovely work of art? As you meditate through the words of this "bible", you will begin to cultivate a fertile self you never knew you had. I bought this book to help with my fertility problems, and it is wonderful in this aspect, but it is oh, so much more! Please read this book."

other articles by Jeannine Parvati Baker
~Shamanic Midwifery, Hands That Heal Birth part 1
~Shamanic Midwifery, Hands That Heal Birth part 2

Order Jeannine Parvati Baker's book at our bookshop
Or order via mail: Ash Tree Publishing PO Box 64 Woodstock, NY 12498 include a check or money order for $29.95 (CONSCIOUS CONCEPTION retails for $25.00 plus $4.95 shipping)

Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year
by Susun S. Weed

Foreword by Jeannine Parvati Baker.
192 pages, index, lovely illustrations.
Now in its 24th printing. A confirmed favorite with pregnant women, midwives, childbirth educators, and new parents. Packed with clear, comforting, and superbly helpful information.

Retails for $14.95

Read a review
Read an excerpt Herbal Birth Control



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