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Winter Solstice Newsletter 2021

Nature is doing her deep work.

Energy turned inward, reaching deeper into herself,

Sending love down into the roots to self-nourish and strengthen.

Working in the longer shadows of shorter days

Tending to behind the scenes in preparation for a glorious reveal.

What behind the scenes work is calling you?

Expressing a deep need for attention and presence?

For Light?

Patiently, quietly, revealing the inner strength

To support the external beauty.

We are in a season of introspection.  A time to cultivate our core, using all the energy of harvest to deeply feed parts of ourselves that may be starved for focused attention. In our energetic fields, these parts pulse uncomfortably. Our thoughts may become snagged, and we feel pulled out of balance.  Or we may experience a heaver vibration of ill-ease in our guts.

 

Winter supports our work to balance these feelings, encouraging a slower pace; time to gaze more intently into persistent patterns in our lives. Sometimes what may have felt resolved returns to highlight the areas where deeper healing is needed. This is the cyclical nature of growth. Like seasons spiraling on axis, bringing with each shift opportunities to align with the highest iterations of oneself.

 

For many, the call this season is an outward one; filled with distractions that keep our precious attention on the surface. Creating responsibilities for the ego to attend we resist the call to look after our own, more subtle, needs even as we acknowledge the familiar appearance of seasonal disorientation. When we choose to gift ourselves with the same intensity and dedication we see fit for others, we receive the immeasurable gifts that are the result of self-consideration.

 

However, distraction is easier and appears more convenient. Inner work is work, generally doesn’t feel that great, and requires discipline and faith.  When daylight hours are short, the narrative that there is not enough time to get everything done is prominent and easy to hear.

 

Nature never rushes…yet everything gets done.

What Earth, our mother, shows us this season is that the internal work must not be discounted. For a truly fruitful yield, we must be willing to head into ourselves eagerly, taking time to slip behind the curtain on our fears and concerns.  This is the season to carefully examine and organize what is there.

 

Doing this requires actually facing the anxiety and stress, naming what is present, and being accountable to the feelings that arise.  Why are we choosing discomfort, to fear or worry in the face of these circumstances?  What vulnerability is being protected by our choice to be fearful?  What superpower is cleverly disguised by a perception of weakness, masquerading as apprehension or dread? What do we believe?  What do we know and what is the difference?

Through the clarifying process, we can begin to discover what is truly ours and what does not, in fact, belong to us; feelings that exist as a result of other’s projections, our failure to identify external agendas, or entering into agreements that do not support our higher selves. This is the work of the shadow, exposing the discomfort to identify what is there; debriding the wounds, and nourishing the healthy tissues so that necessary healing can happen. So that, as the days grow longer, we can bask in the majesty of our own new growth.

 

With Profound Reverence and Gratitude,

Elemental Birth Rites

 

The doors are open! We LOVE to hear from our community and welcome participation!

If you are inspired by what you read and feel moved to contribute to Elemental BirthWrites, please send your offering to janeyne@elementalbirthrites.com

FEATURED: Mystical Motherhood by Chelsea Wiley, FNP

Below is an insightful excerpt from the writing of Ms. Chelsea Wiley followed by reflection upon her work.  Here, she offers parents guidance that ultimately leads to increased emotional intelligence in ourselves and our children. Enjoy.

Put Yourself in Time Out

 

“You have no right to tell the Child what to do.  The Child has the right to know what is good and what is bad.  If you teach the Child good and bad, the Child will never leave you. There is no better student.  You have never accepted a Child as a God-given student.  You accept the Child as your possession.  That is your mistake.”

– Yogi Bhajan

 

Many parents accept that the time out is the best way to manage their children’s unwanted emotions and behaviors.  It is what the generations before did so why wouldn’t they?  Most families across the Western world use this type of enforcement and don’t think twice about it, but I am going to suggest that you begin to question the way your discipline your children. Have you ever wondered why we use time outs and where the concept came from? In desperate moments of not knowing better, we need something else to turn to that will teach our children love and compassion.

 

Through interviews with child specialists, I found that the time out was originally invented by a group of researchers in order to solve the growing problem of juvenile delinquents. The funny thing is, it was never made for the delinquents – it was produced for the parents.  When the adult brain is overwhelmed or flooded, the capacity for empathy is reduced.  During these moments, it is much easier to put a child in another room than to teach them [about] the emotions they are feeling. The time out should be a time for parents to take a moment and the family to cool down together.  Yet we have let our bull-headed ego get in the way and turned it onto the child, when it is actually us who needs the moment alone. The child is acting developmentally appropriate, and when the adult begins to control, he or she is the one regressing. When we put our child into a room alone, it is only telling them, “When you need me the most, you can’t come to me. I am emotionally unavailable.” This makes it difficult to raise conscious children, who are able to trust the world and the adult taking care of them.  When we put children alone to manage uncontrolled emotions and tell them that they are inherently bad, we are cutting them off from connecting their heads to their hearts.

 

We need to shift to the family time out, which is really the family putting time in for meditations or a calm break before any reactions occur.  We also need to begin to negotiate with our children before they can learn the rules of order. Let your child know how the world works before they can speak, and when they start to communicate, teach them how to explain their needs and comprehend that actions have consequences.  Children should learn to present their case to you and understand why they should or should not be punished from an early age on. Punishment does not mean neglect or abuse but the fact that every action leads to a sequence of events. Every household will have to decide for themselves the consequences to not following the rules, which may be reduced screen time or toy use. Set up a household system that coincides with the child’s level of development when it comes to rules and use adult language to discuss issues that arise with your child.

 

…Children have to learn boundaries and consequences, but it is better to do this in a way they can comprehend and develop intelligent emotions.  When we become overwhelmed, we have to slow down together.  It is time to let our children know there is nothing wrong with them- only something wrong with what they did, reducing the creation of shame.  By breathing deeply in front of them and disciplining from a non-reactive state, we can demonstrate presence and teach them patience.  If you yell at them, or make a mistake, make sure that you talk about it with them later.  Admit when you do something wrong and explain why you did it, so they do the same thing as they as they grow older.

 

Instead of Putting Your Children in Time Out, Try This Next Time

 

Meet your child where he or she is at energetically, and project that energy back. Let the child know that you feel their anger or sadness.  If your child is having a tantrum, wait a few minutes before trying to communicate. It takes a young child at least 90 seconds to get out of the fight-or-flight response.  They literally cannot understand you or respond in the first couple of minutes of a tantrum.  So, give them a moment, and then let the child know they are heard as their brain adjusts.  Get down on their level- physically kneel or sit so the child can see your eyes.  After eye contact, give your child a touch and a nod so that he or she knows that you are present.  Be clear that you see and feel them and that they are human beings having a normal experience that will pass. Speak to your children only in a language that has their backs so that they know you are always on their side.

 

 

For so many of us, disconnection from our own thoughts and feelings began before we truly came to know what they were. Depending on how our caregivers managed our development, we inadvertently became adepts at dissociating from our authentic emotional experiences to give focus to our caregiver’s response to us having those very same authentic emotional experiences.  Instead of learning, in these childhood moments, that crying from overwhelm is a natural human response, (and that there is nothing inherently bad in being overwhelmed) we learned that Mama becomes angry or goes away when we are overwhelmed; and that to keep Mama close, which is what we truly need and want, we would do well to redirect our expression of that overwhelm.  Few of us were encouraged to fully feel our emotions and supported in understanding them as healthy expressions of the human experience. Learning to, without shame, name them and to, most importantly, move through them, acknowledging their transience as we found our way back to balance.

 

How do we, then, begin to straighten the crossed wires that exist within our very blueprints, transforming our own emotional suppression to emotional freedom in our children?  Acknowledging that the child within us still exists.  And being willing to show up for our own emotions, as caregivers of ourselves, giving deference to the guidance and intelligence that surfaces.  We must know that it is possible to forge connection with our emotions, accepting the infallible wisdom and guidance they offer.   Because we have learned to detach from particularly uncomfortable emotions, it is imperative that we challenge ourselves to face the shadows of this darker side; here we have the opportunity to follow the trail of discomforts back to their origins, dismantling, piece by piece, the structures that scaffold the disconnection we feel in ourselves and with our children when their emotions take them “out of reach.”

 

It is necessary to understand that the essential nature of what our children feel does not title itself; our babies learn through observation of our responses how to feel about what they feel, how to manage what they feel, and ultimately how to release what they feel, restore themselves, and carry on with life.  The likelihood is that if we are unable to sit with our own emotional challenges, unequipped to exercise compassion with ourselves, we will not be prepared to manage the, often non-verbal, expressions of our children as they are learning to navigate the human experience. Exercising the patience necessary to accurately identify what we feel and observing our personal management of those feelings defines our work as we seek to guide our children in the best way.  The effort is ongoing, but a clear mission to help our babies develop healthy emotional intelligence is worth every moment.

 

 

BEYOND THE RING OF FIRE

 

“We just celebrated his first birthday and I keep circling back to the Mother!” 

I was sitting and chatting with a lovely Mamababy over milestones and tea.

“And I suppose I’m wondering why we just can’t seem to get it together…?”

Sort of a question, sort of a statement, her eyes were in no way defeated but they assuredly asked for help with the seemingly endless task of pulling back layers on the relationship between she and her mother.

 

I thought about my own journey, realizing the ongoing nature of addressing, and redressing the mother wound. The shared stories of women I’d worked with, all reaching out from or back to their relationships with their mothers. This great community of women can share anecdotes, insights, tools, and stories, but the journey with The Mother is the journey into oneself.  And there will always be more to the voyage…

 

The day my mother decided that she was “cutting the cord,” I fell twice. I was in a different house than her, very much involved in the personal comings and goings of my day. And then, two times in a row, my feet, suddenly, were not underneath me. I am not a clumsy person so by the second time I was laying on the floor, mentally assessing my body for pain, the deeper part of my consciousness was scrambling to put pieces together.  It wasn’t until later in the day when my mother showed up with a van full of boxes, pictures and certificates from my grade school years, tempera colored hand-prints and macaroni-laced, glue-filled love-notes, team pennants and year-books all gathered for removal in the name of “decluttering,” that things began to make sense.

 

“All these things have your name on them. I figured they belonged to you.”

 

Umbilical cords are surprisingly tensile.  It makes sense, they have an insanely important job.  I have seen cords; hefty ones, pulsating with radiant life, and felt a visceral sense of that child’s connection to its mother. But even the cords that are thinner, that might leave one wondering “is the baby ok?,” are surprisingly resilient. Even well-designed cord-gathering scissors might need ‘a few chews to get through.’ This cord is the physical representative for the connection of Child to its Creatress.  And Life is serious about safeguarding that connection.  The severance of this energetic freeway is no small thing. And though the physical cord may be severed shortly after birth, it can take several decades for the energy of it to dissipate…if it ever even really does.

 

“You accept the Child as your possession. That is your mistake.  – Yogi Bhajan

“They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.”

– Khalil Gibran, The Prophet

 

I think a brief moment to consider the conundrum of ownership is warranted. What a challenge it is, indeed, to grow a tiny human, from an imperceptible cell in our bodies into a functional being, experiencing life as a satellite of our own awareness and sensitivities, and then to somehow, with all the responsibility inherent to this reality, not claim exclusive rights and control. But, in fact, when we think of children as our possessions, we have inextricably linked our value to them…And they are people, growing, changing, forging their own way in the world.  What’s more, our children, the ones we own, develop within a framework of being owned. Deeper than a sense of belonging to something; from the adage, “mother’s baby, papa’s maybe,” children understand that their very existence always and ultimately trickles back to their mother; presence or participation be damned, it is The Mother to whom we return.

 

Why is this important? Because this timeless link is what makes mother wounds possible. Because even as adults, moving in and through the world, having our own children, the link between ourselves and our mothers persists. For those of us who never knew our birth mothers, we look deeply into ourselves, seeking resonance with that archetypal energy that allows us to feel her presence even in her absence.  And for those of us whose mothers are present, we dance with them, wrapped tightly in their deepest hopes and dreams, throwing off their expectations and convictions. Only to find them expertly folded into our own beliefs and ways of seeing the world. We are our mothers.  Every effort we make to be all the things they never were is everything they prayed we would become. The joy of who they are is the pain we feel when we see them as reflections in the mirror. The pain of who we are is the pride that is felt but never spoken when they watch us as we sleep.

 

Healing happens in layers.  We can observe this watching the careful wound closing from that last spill off the skateboard. The bleeding stopped. The scab formed.  It fell away and new skin slowly, surely, grew in its place. Perhaps a scar was left. Every day the body tended a little more until that open place had closed. We move through our lives, surviving the “spills,” time tending to the open places until a new skin has formed…perhaps a scar is left. When we decide and commit to healing the deeper wounds, we have taken to the task of lifting that skin, digging into the scar tissues to get to the original injuries, using the tools of compassion and forgiveness to gently undo the severity of the impact. The wound becomes less about the weapon and more about the tissues; is their blood flow? Oxygen? Nutrients?  How are we feeding ourselves; caring for ourselves?  The work in deep healing belongs to us. And, as not to overwhelm, comes upon us in layers giving opportunity to fully heal so that as new skin develops, we become stronger and more flexible than we ever were.

 

My mother’s decision to release from her possession all that had my name on it, in a way, felt as though I was cluttering her life. Perhaps she had also felt that way, burdened by her attachment to every expression of my creative energy in the world. In an effort to honor me, her creation, she carefully packaged that energy and handed it to me as if to say, “Fly free. You decide what to do with yourself.”  I imagine what I might have felt had she invited me to her home, and if together, over tea, we would have sorted those items and mutually decided to gift or discard them.  The ‘self’ she handed me was a self that was fully committed to exaltation of, her, the mother.  It was debasing to be suddenly, and without warning, in charge of that self.  However, my time sorting through those mementos alone brought a powerful medicine of autonomy.  There was a subtle changing-of-the-guard in my life.  Our mothers possess a wisdom that never fails us if we are willing to hear its voice. Observe them carefully. We may have to watch them through the looking glass, but the magic is there.

 

This ongoing process, wounding, strengthening, healing is the ever present and continual work of navigating The Mother.  As with any relationship, the commitment each one makes that allows the other to be fully in their journey, accepting without judgement, the process of the other, may be as “together” as it gets. In any case, bringing our authentic hearts forward, clearly reflecting the beauty of who our mothers are as we learn ourselves again, and then again, is the gift that we bring to them. It’s the gift we bring to ourselves and the one we shall pass on to our daughters for evermore.

 

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.
And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

 

-Khalil Gibran

 

From the Hearth

I’m going to just go on ahead and jump right in.

L I V E R. (Collective screw face.)

No one wants to talk about it.
But we need to talk about it.
Because on a scale of 1-10, liver is like… a 13.

THEE (thank you Ms. Stallion) most nutrient dense food on the planet. Many a plant-based Mama I know, who otherwise would not dream of putting animal products in her mouth, makes the exception to supplement with desiccated liver.
Why?

Pound for pound liver and organ meat is unmatched; far surpassing the nutrient density of all known fruits and vegetables, particularly in its concentration of choline, folate, iron, vitamin A, vitamin K, and B vitamins.
And it’s a game changer for nourishing a postpartum mother, particularly after a tear, cut (read: surgical incision) or significant bleed.

We’re talking grass-fed, pasture-raised, hormone and antibiotic free, y’all. As with any animal-based product, the highest quality possible is of paramount importance. There are fancy ways to hide liver textures in heavier foods like lasagna or meatballs. But, since we like to keep it simple, below is a basic pate. Enjoy!

This recipe is so easy, it will only take you 30 minutes to make it.

Wash liver very well to remove any blood and pat dry it with paper towels. Cut in pieces (the size doesn’t matter so much) and set aside.

Heat high quality butter in a medium size pan. (A heavy bottom pan would be great if you have it.) Saute chopped onions and garlic for a few minutes and then add the liver to it. You want to cook it until it is no longer pink inside, but try not to overcook and dry it out.

Now is the fun part! Blend everything together in a small food processor or blender. Add more soft butter, truffle oil or olive oil to reach your desired consistency. Scrape the unprocessed pieces from the side down to blend.
The mixture should be smooth and not grainy. You can add more of your favorite spices or vegetables if you wish. It would taste wonderful with roasted jalapenos or red peppers. Or with chopped scallions or cilantro. Spread on Miltons or toast to enjoy.

Our doors are open! If you have a nourishing recipe to share with the Mamas and families in the Elemental Birth Rites community, please write janeyne@elementalbirthrites.com!

 

Welcome!

Elemental Birth Rites would like to officially welcome of the babies born in the last season into our community! We hold you up and uplift the Mamas and Papas that made you possible. And we pledge our support as a community of safety, presence, and wisdom to guide you into a beautiful future.

 

 

 

Seasonal Newsletter Autumn 2021

Happy Exquinox!
Can you believe we have come to the dawn of a new season?!
We are enjoying crisp weather and seeing signs Grandmother Gaia gives, reminding us that ours is a cyclical world.  She initiates the shifts that will change our focus from all that is external, inward, to the unseen, reminding us of our secret (read: sacred) processes. In a colorful display that bests the fireworks of midsummer, our tree allies explode in a breathtaking finale of dazzling regalia celebrating a timely change of pace. We are blessed with harvests, the ritual gathering of families, and an opportunity to reflect.
In the spirit of the equinox, we give honor to the balance of light and shadow. During this time the veils that separate realms grow thin and we are called to revere to our ancestors and descendants. No matter our lineage, we can, with clean hearts and pure intentions, lean into the wisdom of our great grandmothers; they will guide us through moments of uncertainty, gracing us with courage and a strengthened resolve.  Know that by taking time to honor yourself, you are honoring the mothers before you; their will and self-determination lives in you. What rituals will you engage this season that honor yourself as a Woman, a Mother, a Goddess?  How will you nourish and strengthen your commitment to yourself, your families, and your capacity to create?
This season’s newsletter includes some delicious excerpts, anecdotes, and considerations for you to digest, absorb, and enjoy.  With love, we intend that it inspire you to stand in your sovereignty. Naming yourselves, crowning yourselves, and most importantly, fully remembering yourselves and the divine self-love that brings you into full alignment with the majesty and magic of Nature.
With profound respect and gratitude,
Elemental Birth Rites
PS. The doors are open! We LOVE to hear from our community and welcome participation!
If you are inspired by what you read and feel moved to contribute to Elemental BirthWrites, please send your offering to janeyne@elementalbirthrites.com

 

Below is an excerpt from the book, Wild Feminine by Tammy Lynn Kent. This work invites us to dive deeply into our relationship with the unfettered feminine pole, reminding us of the personal power we can access and utilize when we come into right relationship with our wombs, pelvic floors, and reproductive organs. Whatever our personal decision regarding children; if we choose to have them, if we do not, or have not yet, if we are currently pregnant or recently birthed, our capacity to stand up fully in our creative energy is firmly rooted in claiming ourselves, finding our voices, and honoring the sacred feminine as it awakens in our lives.

Returning to the Mother Place

With five small bowls that fit neatly together, one inside the other I am teaching women about the power of the uterus. The largest bowl fits in the palm of my hand, and the smallest is the size of a pencil eraser. These bowls represent the way that the uterus holds energy and passes information from one generation to another. The women watch my hands as I align the bowls, one by one, according to their size.
I point to the smallest bowl, saying “This is you.” Slipping this tiny bowl into the next one I say, “You were held in your mother’s womb.” Placing the two bowls together into the next bowl I say, “Your mother’s eggs were fully formed while she was held in her mother’s body. In this way, you were also held in your grandmother’s womb.” I continue to join the bowls together, until the five are sitting in my palm, one inside the other. “Because your grandmother carries the energy of her mother’s and grandmother’s wombs, so you are linked to them as well.” The bowls rest neatly in my hand. The women sit squarely in front of me. I see each of them wrapped in layers of female energy from the women ancestors who came before them.
I set the bowls down. “Now this is you,” I tell them, pointing to the largest bowl. From the large bowl I lift the next bowl, which still holds three others. “This is one of your creations,” I say. One by one, I lift the smaller bowls and place each next to the bowl that served as its container. With each bowl, I tell the women, “This is the seed of one of your creations.” I continue until the five bowls, five generations, sit in a line. Each bowl is separate, but the action of lifting one bowl from the next illustrates their shared lineage, or line of descendants. “This is how your womb and the energy that you carry there influence all you create. That energy in your pelvic bowl is your mark on the future; this is your legacy of creation.” The room is silent as the women remember their mother place.

The Mother Place

The uterus is our direct connection to the sacred; the womb is a woman’s place for co-creating with spirit and mothering her creations. I have sat with many women as they rediscovered the mother place in their bodies and I have witnessed the grief and joy they associate with their creative essence. Every woman has a place in herself to mother from, regardless of whether or not she has given birth to a child. But many women close the door to their womb if they are unable to own the word mother.

To understand our collective ambivalence about ourselves as mothers, we need to look at those who come to inhabit that role by having a child. For example, when women come to my office, they fill out intake forms with a variety of medical and personal information, including their occupation. Sometimes mothers, who remain in the home as the primary caretakers for their children, but have no official work title, scoff at the notion of occupation and question what they could possibly write in that space. I was initially taken aback by this, and I have spent time thinking about why women who are mothers hesitate to claim the word/identity mother. Clearly, the predominant culture has not placed value on the role of mother. Still, each of these clients is keenly aware of how much they do each day in the name of motherhood. Each cherishes her child and their relationship. Yet, when putting pen to paper, mother is still not enough. In our reactions to the notion of mother, we see the work that remains to be done to reclaim the true essence of mothering.

Until women themselves value and honor mothering in all its forms, there is little chance that the cultural paradigms will change. Many women with children have come to respect the art of mothering, but they still need to internalize its value in order to be able to advocate for their needs when faced with external expectations and pressures to feel professional success. Likewise, mothers who work outside the home must hold their professional and mothering roles in equal measure. Mothering is a profoundly spiritual and creative process, yet remains unclaimed as such. I attended a women’s celebration where the female speakers listed their vocations: storyteller, healer, doctor, lawyer, teacher, musician, artist, and so on. Many of them were mothers, but the word mother never appeared.
I have often found that women who have not given birth or raised children typically disown their mothering capacity altogether. Some of these women hold unprocessed grief from a sense of unrealized potential, yet working with the grief in their center will ultimately restore full connection to their creative essence. Other women have chosen to direct their creative energies into other capacities besides having children, but typically still have deep conflicts about their mothering essence that will remain unresolved unless addressed with intention. For each woman, it is essential to recognize that her body craves the creative flow and sense of her soul unfolding that comes from working with this internal mothering capacity.

Women want to be valued for all aspects of our feminine selves and to live in ways that encourage us to nourish ourselves and the home fire, whether or not we have children. To accomplish this, we must reclaim the power of the word mother, and every woman must negotiate this mother-place terrain in order to fully cherish her creative essence. Unless she learns to celebrate her own potential for mothering, a woman will compromise her ability to gestate or sustain creations, perhaps settling for less than she truly is capable of creating.

*****

Those of you who have participated in the Holistic Pregnancy course have explored some of the themes of this excerpt through exploration of the mother wound and Divine Mother archetype. What Ms. Kent shares in her work about the mother place is so significant because it illuminates how we each connect, though our lineages, into the seamless hole we experience as life.

There is an aphorism in the cultural community that speaks of us wearing the skins of our ancestors.

In truth, we are but the dust of the Earth, our bones draped with the skins of our ancestors.

And, as we live our lives, our children and their descendants will, ultimately, wear us. This deep knowing is quite important in this time because we are experiencing so much change so rapidly. It is imperative that we be able to lift ourselves up in celebration of our resiliency; our determination to be, to have maintained, to have persevered and reached this point in history (or her-story as it were.) It is vital for our continuance that we are able to access the wisdom of our great-grandmothers; we are them. They have, in essence folded in on themselves, recycling and reinventing themselves into the personalities that we experience as ourselves.

Our involvement in this community of women and families, through conversation, coursework, and birthing, demonstrates a commitment to honor ourselves and our lineages by doing bits of the cleanup work needing to be done. In this way, the traumas that our great-grandmothers, grandmothers, and mothers have experienced begin to break down and heal. As we project ourselves forward into our continued lineages, our children are not carrying these traumas and pains suffered by generations before. The work that we do in this community is to renew, strengthen, and share the wisdoms that have been gifted us by our ancestors. That is definitely worth celebrating as we take the best of ourselves, and gift wrap it for our children.

The Elements are your Birth Right
Finally, it is our desire to connect with the wisdom of our bloodlines that permissions us to access to that wisdom. Far too often we have stepped down from our thrones, swayed by the idea that we do not know enough, we have not been trained, or we are not ordained to engage in the rituals that allow recall of our own ancient practices. If this describes you, let this moment be the one where you throw off the shackles of external validation for, in truth, that is one of the monsters that sits behind much of the imbalance we are experiencing in the world today. Your clean heart, honest intention, and authentic request in the presence of Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth is not something you need an external nod for. These elements exist within you, and you are in constant, divine co-creation with them, unfolding your experience of life. Acknowledging what feels loving and peaceful around you and constructing ways to enhance, duplicate, or increase those feelings is a wonderful place to begin. Making certain you take time to mindfully step outside each day and create a moment of gratitude for the warmth of the sun, or the colors of the earth will stoke the fires of your Creatress. Learn the names of your grandmothers. Uncover their stories. They are not so different from the you that exists now. Your courage to hear their voices of wisdom speak to you uncovers the path of healing that extends into the future. imperative and to awaken to the task of ushering in a new time starting with healing our relationship to self. Our prayer for this offering is that it may support the evolution of consciousness on this planet and contribute to creating beauty and wholeness for the future generations.

Beyond The Ring of Fire:

In session with a newborn Mama who was nearing 6 weeks postpartum, the topic of sex came up. After having had a rather large baby and a repair she felt (very appropriately) cautious about reengaging her partner and was seeking some input around how to best do that. Through our conversation we explored not only intimacy, but comfort, creativity, obligation, power, and self-determination.  It seems the question around when it was “safe” to have sex again was an overlay for deeply rooted dynamics in the relationship that this Mama was called to face and sort before feeling fully invested in allowing entrance into her postpartum body.

Below is a reflection, inspired by that conversation, that may feel helpful or relevant for those of you navigating a similar space.

Enjoy!

If you have recently given birth then you have engaged your root in intense, multifaceted, and productive work that resulted in miraculous change. In addition to establishing the care taking relationship you now have with your baby, it is vital to establish the relationship you have with yourself…but not the self you knew.  This is a new woman whose old needs and desires have been transmutated.  How we integrate our updated selves into our established relationships takes patience and grace; not unlike the energy we extend to our newborn babes as they discover themselves in the world.

Regardless of whether we are having our first or fifth baby, the unavoidable truth is that pregnancy is a period of change and transformation.  We live in an overculture that is grossly opposed to change and thus, receive constant messaging about making “speedy returns to our pre-pregnant bodies.” Without question, aesthetics and media driven social norms are valued over actual core wellness, fitness, and health.  This can present major challenges when it comes to Mama’s ability to accept change in her body. Media may show us celebrity moms who tummy tuck or have personal trainers working with them in their first weeks postpartum, but they fail to show the underbelly of these same behaviors; long term damage to the pelvic floor, subsequent physical and physiological challenges, as well as psycho-emotional interruptions in the bonding process.

How we observe and appreciate ourselves through the expansion and transformation of pregnancy lays a foundation for how we accept continuing changes during the time of postpartum.  Framing birth as an event that takes place in the middle of a period that lasts roughly 18 months instead of the climactic end of nine months, gives time after the baby is born to move gradually from our full-moon bodies forward into our post-pregnancy form; as much time as it took to transform our pre-pregnant selves into birthing a baby. Acknowledging this can relieve us from the pressure to snap back days after pushing our babies out.

Feeling confidence in our bodies as they are (recognizing that they are AMAZING and have accomplished so much) can be hard when we hold rigid ideas of “what female bodies should be.” Often it is women themselves who hold fast to expectations established long before their pregnancies. What expectations can we have for our partners to honor and celebrate our Goddess bodies if we only find flaw in them?  Taking personal time to acquaint oneself with our new contours, where new sensitivities have presented, and what is ‘good’ or ‘bad touch’ before engaging our partners uncovers valuable information we need to connect with self-confidence.

What does this mean? Begin by experiencing touch from an intentional space.  Take a moment to notice where your feet touch the ground; where your bottom touches the surface you are seated on. When you hold your children, feel where your hands are placed on their bodies and how their bodies feel to your hands.  Feel your hands when you wash them. Even becoming more aware of smells, and the sounds around you help to engage the sensory of your root. It is the root that has served as the anchor and generator of so much energy throughout the course of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, and it is this energy center that organizes our capacity to create our future experiences.

Even if it is just a few minutes a day, take time to fully connect with what you are feeling, allowing the feeling to cascade over and through you so that it permeates your body. As you assess the needs of your child/children and families, be certain to include yourself; get into the habit of checking in with yourself about what you need, what you are inspired to create, or what you are drawn to. Again, these questions help to clarify what is necessary for our own balance and experience of satisfaction and joy. Once you are clear about your needs, you can source yourself AND communicate your needs more effectively.

How does this enhance intimacy?  Self- love and confidence are sexy! Many women express concern about the length of time they have been sexually unavailable to their partners and will push themselves to engage in penetrative sex before they truly feel ready. This can exacerbate feelings of imbalance, “i’ve lost ownership of my body” or “I’m all touched out”; common concerns after having a child. Most of us have framed sexual encounters through a masculine lens that discounts sex if it is not penetrative and does not lead to male climax. For many, postpartum presents an opportunity to rethink what lovemaking actually is.  Most of us came to our partners having some ideas and desires about what we liked and what we wanted.  Those ideas, in combination with our partners ideas and desires, created a culture around sensuality and sexuality that brought us to pregnancy.  Redefining intimacy with your partner can be an empowering and satisfying journey that the two of you take together.

Feeling familiar? 

What thoughts and/or feelings come up as you read this piece? Have you experienced something similar? Perhaps you are navigating these thoughts and conversations with your beloved, or with yourself right now. You are not alone.

If you feel moved, please share your thoughts, questions, or any inspiration you may have regarding this topic with the EBR community. Email your responses to janeyne@elementalbirthrites

Support for one another strengthens us all!

 

Tapioca pudding seems like the ultimate throwback, doesn’t it? The image of grandma doling out small Tupperware containers of tapioca pudding so thick the ‘good’ spoons would stand straight up and down.  While the Tupperware may have been suspect, the pudding in it was a strong indicator of grandma’s wisdom. Tapioca is a fantastic dietary choice for new Mama’s because of its capacity to boost the microbiome.

Fun facts about the microbiome: We know that every day, science reveals greater links between gut health (read: the health of your microbiome) and the body’s capacity to decrease inflammation and maintain vibrant mental health. We also know that vaginally born babies have intestinal microbiota that closely resemble the microbiota of their mother’s birth canal. These babies have been inoculated with maternal intestinal bacteria. The richness of this microbiotic cocktail is contingent upon how the mothers, themselves, were born. And Mama’s microbial diversity is fortified or diminished through (drumroll………..) her diet!

Our commitment to eating a diverse, well-balanced diet affects the health of our children AND our grandchildren! (Thanks Grandma!!)

Tapioca is the root of the tropical cassava plant that produces a fleshy, edible root stock. The root stock is collected and formed into “pearls”. Tapioca is naturally gelatinous and thus is soothing to the digestive tract and nervous system and has the added benefit of being an excellent PREBIOTIC for a healthy microbiome.

Not Your Grandma’s Tapioca Pudding

Ingredients:

2 cups spring water OR oat milk OR raw organic milk

1/3 cup small or medium tapioca pearls

1 tsp Bliss Alchemy sweet spice mix

OR

1/4 tsp cardamom powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

1/4 tsp clove powder

dash of vanilla

honey, OR maple syrup to taste (Add after cooling)

Instructions

Boil water/milk, turn to simmer and add tapioca pearls and spices. Simmer for 10-15 min or until soft. Cool and drizzle the desired amount of honey or add maple syrup. Enjoy!

Welcome Mat:

Elemental Birth Rites would like to officially welcome the babies born in the last season into our community! We hold you up and uplift the Mamas and Papas that made you possible. And we pledge our support as a community of safety, presence, and wisdom to guide you into a beautiful future.