Today we celebrate the first day of the summer season! One of joy and continued renewal as we shake ourselves free from what, for many, has been the longest thaw; the Sun awakening an inner confidence and togetherness we have not experienced for what seems like a very long time.
Here, at EBR we invite you to enjoy the deliciousness of the gorgeous nature outdoors and the awesome nature inside of yourself. They are not only reflections of one another but your honoring of each strengthens your relationship with the other. Thus, as rain cleanses and nourishes the Earth making possible for new life to sprout, our tears clean and nourish our souls, clearing space for healing and growth. And our smiles, like the warmth of the sun, feed and strengthen our inspired ideas, evolving us, wildly and unapologetically toward our highest selves. Inside this knowing, free yourself to feel it all, be fully present with yourself celebrating the light and the shadows, the joys and the sorrows. In truth, both the flowers and the fungi are powerful medicines that bring their wisdoms to aid in our divine healing.
We hope that you enjoy our offering this season. We are in deep gratitude for the share of one of our beautiful Mama’s, Nya, who reminds us of the Divine Journey, an excerpt from highly recommended author and some other brilliant reflections to meditate upon as you move through the season. If you are inspired to contribute to this offering, please send your written contribution to:
With love and immense gratitude,
Elemental Birth Rites
How do you describe awakening of the purest form? Heart-opening to the greatest degree? Other women in my life
who had passed through the gates of motherhood described giving birth in this way to me, and rarely – if at all –
during my labor did I feel this way. And yet, looking back in a reflective state, this is the only way I can begin to wrap
words around such a powerful experience. Why in the moment did it seem so simple, when looking back it is a
complex storm of emotion and spirit and God? Maybe it felt simple and un-layered because it was so close to God,
and the Creator is divine in her grace – not in her “mind”. Maybe I was present to a degree that did not allow for any
reflection or labeling my experience.
Regardless, I sit today with a 3-week-old love and simultaneously a life’s worth of emotion around such an event, and
I have come here to tell my story.
When asked about my labor, I am forced to ask, “which one?”. For I walked a treacherous path of laboring for weeks
before my body actually began contracting. I labored through deep emotional wounding surrounding my family –
specifically the Mother Wound. I yelled and cried, and I was yelled at and cried at. I was hurt and broken down and
abandoned and in my weakest moment with heavy bones and empty eyes I looked within to see a child begging for
love. I gave her all the love I could muster up and told her I’d always care for her, for I am her mother. I looked at my
inner-child, of whom I mothered and fathered on my own, and told her she was safe. I closed my eyes submerged in
hot water and surrounded by crystals and repeated out loud “I love you baby. I love you baby Nya. You are safe. I’ve
got you. I’ve got you”. I did not carry only one child. I carried also my own child-self who had not been held for many
years. I nursed her back to health when I felt I had nothing left to offer and no one to pull an offering from, in the
weeks leading up to the birth of my child.
On February 13th I sat in the shower and allowed a waterfall of tears to release from my body and run down the
drain. I cried for the losses of past loves and lives. I cried for my family and the distance between us. I cried for my
home of Hawai’i and the pain in her roots through generations of native suffering. I cried for death, and for life. I cried
in pride for how much I’ve grown and in grief for the child that I have had to grow out of. In that state of complete
emotional vulnerability with the universe, I received flashing third-eye visions of women, naked and heads tilted back,
howling as if at the moon. Tribal women, young and old, of all races and cultures, giving birth before my eyes,
moaning and yelling with voices of God. The images ceased and my tears were dried.
That evening as I walked up the stairs to my bed, I heard the Blue and Black Cohosh plants speaking to me. They
said sternly, “She will come tonight if you want her to”. Am I ready? Do I want her to come tonight? I did not have a
clear answer. I enjoyed a last night of sleep next to my partner with our dogs in the bed and our child in my womb,
kicking and stretching.
The next morning, I woke at 5am and told my love on Valentine’s Day to have a good day at work and said to him “I
don’t think she will come today, it’s okay”. I continued praying with and taking the Blue and Black Cohosh for a few
hours. Around 7:30am, I noticed surges of tightness growing around my womb. They were not painful, but they grew
in strength and began to come alive even without the plant medicine to instigate them. At about 9am, I felt the first
genuine pain of physical labor. I had a contraction with pain – and I was joyful. I hoped desperately that I would
continue to have more like it, and that I would not need to continue taking the plant medicine for induction. I leaned
over the arm of the couch and texted Isaac about how our mornings have been, and noticed the contraction lasting
longer than I expected. The pain was similar to a mild period cramp – very bearable and familiar. I stood to walk from
the couch to the bathroom, and then it happened.
My water broke. I could not have been more excited! I smiled big as the gush of fluid poured out of me and onto the
floor, creating a path all the way to the restroom. I must have walked back and forth between the toilet and the couch
four times thinking it was done before I finally just stood naked in the shower, accepting and encouraging the flow. I
still doubted if I was in labor, because the contractions were so simple… so understandable and easy. I texted my
love (from the shower) to tell him the exciting news and let him know that he wouldn’t need to come home from work
early. He was scheduled to work from 7am-7pm that day at Bar Harbor Hospital, and I did not think I would progress
to very active labor until late at night. Nothing in my intellectual mind knew that I’d be giving birth in 12 hours, holding
my little one in my arms by 10pm.
Isaac’s mother and grandmother came over and brought me scones. I ate a toad-in-a-hole and two scones and I
remember them as the best tasting scones of my life. We drank tea and I sat in a rocking chair (a gift from Isaac’s
stepmother and father), panties stuffed full of pads and toilet paper, and wearing my birthing necklace. The three of
us chatted for about an hour, until 11:30am. I was having contractions every 10 minutes or so and talking through
them easily. No one could see the dance that my womb was doing at the time.
The time between the visit with Isaac’s family, and when Isaac came home, was my special space. I played music, I
ate, I sang, I danced, and I notified friends and family of the new world I was entering. I enjoyed preparing the space
for my labor and each contraction excited me. Around 1pm I noticed more pain and decided to sit in the shower as I
had done the day before, water pouring on my back and native Hawaiian music opening my heart. I remember
kneeling on all fours with the shower massaging my low-back and feeling heavenly. The slight presence of pain sent
waves of pleasure through my spirit as I focused on the beautiful sensation of water. I texted Isaac from the shower
and told him that my experience was becoming more intense. He told me he was going to come home, and I asked
him “Are you sure?”. I still did not believe I was having a baby. He affirmed me and went to the grocery store on his
way home. My sweet man, he spent the entire drive and grocery trip on the phone with me listening to my gentle
moans and heavy breathing, trying to understand what I might possibly want for lunch from the store. I don’t
remember what he got me, but I know that I described my nutritional needs as “something light, something sweet and
light and cooling. But not a salad. I don’t know. Fruit maybe. Lots of fruit, and maybe some meat”. I took probably two
bites of whatever he brought home. This was only the beginning of my journey in trying to understand what my
intuition – what God – was speaking to me within that Labor Land. It was a laughable journey as my comprehension
of the material world and my bodily wants decreased more and more with time. Isaac was patient and kind
I did not time my contractions until Isaac suggested that I write a log of them while he was driving home, and it was
only then that I realized they were 2-3 minutes apart. He arrived home around 2pm and instantly began preparing the
space. Isaac lit candles, cleaned up, burned incense and sage, and took care of the dogs (Our lab/mastiff Ruby, our
plot hound Sadie, and our foxhound Riley. Riley was in the process of dying and had to be carried outside each day).
I don’t remember much from this transition time, between 2:00 and 3:00pm. The house was busy and bright and
Isaac and I laughed and joked in joy, in between contractions. I thought I would be in that space for 10-15 more
hours, as so many women before me described overnight and multiple-day labors. Isaac turned on the television and
the game console to play Star Wars Battlefront – a video game from the early 2000s that we found ourselves deeply
enjoying during pregnancy for its simplicity and laughable moments. I asked in a disoriented stutter that we not play
video games right now. Isaac didn’t seem to understand – we were having such a good time, why not do something
At this moment, the tide shifted. Isaac said, “are you sure?” and I said “ah, let’s just play a few rounds”. As soon as
the television and Xbox were on, my body sent a clear message – now is not the time for games. I was standing
behind the couch and a powerful surge of energy and womb-contracting sent my arms over the back of the couch for
support and I held on as the words stopped in my mouth. It seemed to last forever, and it hurt. I remember this
moment vividly as the first “real” contraction. This is when our friends and family lit their candles across the world, all
burning together for the safety and prayer of Aurelia and I. Isaac turned to me in confusion and I told him to call
Rachael, our beloved midwife. Rachael on the phone asked Isaac if I really wanted her to come over now.
Contractions flowing every 2 minutes, building in intensity with fire, I nodded.
Rachael arrived sometime around 3:30 or 3:45pm. I was sitting on my meditation pillow, leaning my chest over a
yoga ball and letting it gently sway and roll from side to side. After the sudden fiery message from the Universe that
this was a serious endeavor, I found lightness and smiled through contractions once again. I remember making a few
jokes between the surges of intensity and moving casually to different spots in the house. We started filling up the
birth pool not long after this, and Rachael kept herself busy for the first few hours setting things up. At one point I
looked over at our shelf full of pictures and mementos from my and Isaac’s individual lives and noticed a powerfully
abundant collection of essential oils staged there, for Rachael’s use during my labor. This was the medicine, the true
gifts from the earth that helped me along in labor. Essential oils were my only intervention during the entire process.
At this time, we were playing Enya songs and I was closing my eyes often during the contractions. I spent time on my
knees facing the couch covered in the softest and fluffiest white blanket, my elbows resting on the pillows. The dogs
sat beside me and Ruby licked my feet. They seemed interested in this magical realm I was fading in and out of, but
they kept their distance. Isaac started cooking in the kitchen and the smell of the food tantalized me, but all I wanted
to eat was cereal. He brought me the smallest bowl of Special K I had ever seen and spoon-fed me a few bites. I
could not finish it.
I got into the birth pool and labored there for a long time around sunset. I don’t remember seeing the sunset, but I
remember opening my eyes at one point and seeing the world outside now dark. The Christmas lights and candles
were our only light. I could not stop moving, each contraction filled my mind and body with pain and I could not find a
position that was comfortable. I flipped onto my hands and knees, I leaned against the back of the tub, I draped my
head over the edge, nothing seemed to relieve me. I began to feel sick and asked for a bucket a few times but never
did throw up. Rachael and Isaac tried to offer me water but I struggled to drink it. In the middle of my struggle,
Rachael asked if we needed to change the music. At this point, we were listening primarily to ancient tribal birthing
music full of intense drumming and chanting. We changed it to the Avett Brothers at her suggestion. She rubbed
some oils on my head and neck. The sweet sounds of my favorite folk band touched my heart and softened me. I
know that I got out of the tub and labored on the couch more, but I don’t remember much of it. At one point I looked at
my midwife, feeling a taste of the hopelessness that so many women describe at the crux of their labors and asked,
“Do you know how much longer this might be?”. She asked in return, “How much longer can you handle?”. It was
almost 6pm at the time. I said, “Maybe 3 more hours”.
When I got back in the tub, they added a bucket of hot water and my entire body relaxed. I leaned against the walls of
the tub and for 1-2 hours I entered a deep dream state. I could hear the peaceful music of my past, full of love and
emotion. Isaac sat in a chair by the pool reading a book, Rachael observed. I remember being pulled into another
reality, the spirit realm. I dreamt of memories and images of loved ones. I had wild fantasy dreams that don’t touch
my conscious memory anymore. A part of my mind was still very human, still in the birth pool, still experiencing
contractions. But the rest of me was sleeping, experiencing the dream world of the subconscious, messages from the
birthing gods and goddesses. At one point, my eyes opened and I was brought back to the material land of labor. I
felt the full intensity of a contraction and my vision fixated on 5 small canvas drawings made by powerful women from
my life here in Maine, encouraging me to trust in my body during birth. The image of these drawings was hazy as my
vision had not yet adapted, but the support and solidarity from these women allowed me to return to the dream world
a bit longer.
The next time I opened my eyes, I heard a message from the spirit plants guiding me again – it is time to push. I
didn’t know what this meant. At each contraction I allowed my body to bear down and felt the downward flow of
energy, but I did not engage any muscles. I told Rachael that I felt like I was pushing. She asked if I wanted to get out
of the tub. She and Isaac helped me out and as soon as I stood out of the water, I felt gravity pull Aurelia down and
the contractions became unbearable. I fell to my hands and knees and draped over the couch once more, deeply
moaning and sometimes yelling in agony. The pressure was building in all of my body, and Rachael reminded me not
to fight what I was going through, to keep my moans low and slow, to soften. She performed the only vaginal exam
through my entire labor and informed me that Aurelia’s head was low enough to push more. She instructed me on
how to engage and flex my muscles to push and noticed that I was struggling to find the energy to. Rachael asked if I
wanted to go to the toilet and labor there and I declined. I had told Isaac since the beginning of our pregnancy that I
would NOT give birth in the bathroom. We had put great effort into beautifying the living room birthing space and filled
it with so much positivity. Rachael gently reminded me that many women find it much easier to push while on the
toilet, and we could return to the tub when Aurelia is actually coming. I agreed, and Isaac helped me walk to the
bathroom. He carried almost 100% of my weight and we had to stop halfway there for a contraction. I knew that
changing the environment was helping me, but I was still resistant to the space.
Isaac sat me down on the toilet and both he and Rachael left the room. I don’t remember what they were doing, but
within seconds I felt Aurelia’s head with my hands at the bottom of my birth canal. I shouted “Isaac, she’s coming!”
and he rushed back into the room. One of them, I don’t remember which, helped me off the toilet, and the other
quickly slid a blanket under my hands and knees where I dropped onto the floor. Ironically, this blanket was the one I
had specifically asked not to be on any of the birthing couches/areas because it was Riley’s blanket, and in his old
dying age, he had destroyed its cleanliness with many accidents. But it was the blanket that was available. I got into a
frog position facing the bathroom window and in between fast and intense contractions, I noticed Isaac place a rose
quartz down on the bathtub, just in line with my eyesight. He knew what was important to me. Rachel sat on my left
and Isaac on my right. Neither of them touched me, I was bearing down with all my might, and I needed to do it alone.
I pushed for probably 30 minutes and as she was crowning, Rachael said to me that soon her head would come out
and it was extremely important that I did not push too fast through that part, but that I stopped and was present with
the fiery sensation of opening and stretching. I said okay. When it came time, she said, “Okay Nya, this is the ring of
fire” and I slowed my breathing and pushed with as much grace as I knew how in that moment. Slow and soft. I felt
her head move through me and into the world, and to our surprise, we heard her take a breath. Isaac’s hands cupped
her soft, small head and supported it there until the next contraction. Rachael instructed him on how to hold his hands
and when we were all ready, I pushed one last time, and my daughter’s body flowed into her daddy’s hands.
I turned over and leaned against the bathtub, and Isaac handed Aurelia into my arms. She did not cry, she simply
looked up into my eyes. I rubbed her back and felt her breathing steady, and watched her skin turn from white to pink.
She was the most gorgeous thing I had ever seen. I thought to myself, “I can’t wait to rest”. I looked at my midwife
and my partner and laughed, “This was the last place I wanted to give birth!”.
Aurelia was born with a very short umbilical cord, and I birthed the placenta within a few minutes. The placenta was
big and beautiful. We carried her and her life-force organ, still connected, to the couch. Rachael supported me as I
walked there, covered in blood and vernix just like my baby. Isaac introduced Aurelia to Riley and he licked her foot.
Isaac and I sat on the couch and held her, and I asked him to kiss me. We were parents. She was an angel.
My daughter, Aurelia Pueo-Rise Boucher, was born with no interventions or complications, with 10 fingers and 10
toes, a full head of blonde hair, and dark blue eyes, at 9:10pm on 02/14/2021. She weighed 6 pounds 15 ounces and
was 19.5 inches long. She was our biggest blessing and our biggest teacher. I did not cry; I did not explode with
emotion or praises for God. I simply held her close and examined her beauty.
Featured: Maternity Coming face to face with your own shadow
by Laura Gutman
This excerpt from the above-mentioned text sheds particularly relevant light onto the emergence of the
shadow during childbirth and how honoring it invites us to engage parenting with full presence. From this
perspective, we can truly acknowledge our children as Divine Master Teachers, unencumbered by ego,
unapologetically showing us ourselves. Here exists the opportunity to make quantum leaps in our healing
journeys, resolving spiritual and emotional fractures in the lineages that exist both behind and in front of
us. In harmony with our children, we unlock our greatest potentials through the simplest acts of
presence, authenticity, and self-awareness.
CHILDBIRTH AS SPIRITUAL DESTRUCTURING
“Childbirth requires a mother’s physical body to “unlock” in order to let the baby’s
body come through; this leads to a “breakage.” At an emotional level we are able
to perceive another kind of breakage or separation which takes place on a subtle
plane. There is “something” which breaks or becomes “de-structured” in order to
achieve the transition from “being one to being two.”
It is unfortunate that most women endure childbirth with little awareness of their
own powers and limitations, for if we were fully able to appreciate them we would
manage to break earnestly. Childbirth is about severance, a forced opening, like
the eruption of a volcano roaring from the bowels of the earth, expelling its
deepest aspects, disrupting its apparent substance and creating a renewed
Today’s routine childbirth, with anesthesia and painkillers, in addition to the entire
system’s haste to bring the business (in other words, childbirth!) to an end as
quickly as possible hardly provide an atmosphere likely to foster true enjoyment at
such a pivotal moment in a woman’s sexual life. Childbirth is the starting point of
becoming aware of our emotional structure, which is what we need to strengthen.
Nonetheless, whether we are aware of it or not, whether asleep or awake, alone
or accompanied, our child comes into this world.
After the volcano’s eruption (childbirth), we suddenly find ourselves with a child in our arms, surrounded by bits of
emotion (rocks and stones that were hurled from inside the volcano) scattered here and there, shattered and rolling
away toward infinity and ablaze; we are afraid of destroying anything we touch. These tattered shreds of emotion
collapse wherever they can, generally becoming manifest in the body of the baby or toddler where they can manage
to settle. Infants are emotionally and spiritually impressionable, like a green field which embraces the rocks and
stones spurting forth from the volcano. They have no thoughts or ideas which might lead them to be reluctant to
accept these emotions. When de-structured emotions are not acknowledged, they ‘manifest’ in the body of our child.
Like a volcano, once we release our fire, our emotions spread out into the valleys below.
This is the shadow released from the body.
Experiencing childbirth today is considered purely a physical and medical event, a formality with a certain amount of
manipulation: the woman in labor receives anesthesia so she doesn’t become a hindrance, drugs are administered
that let the physicians decide when and how to schedule an operation and a coordinated team of professionals who
pride themselves in bringing a physically healthy infant into the world. This process has become so rooted in our
society that women don’t even wonder whether they are protagonists during the birth of their children or more
spectators, whether it is an intimate act experienced from the depths of their primal instinct or whether they should
behave as expected.
As long as we live through essential events involving spiritual breakage while in a state of unawareness, under
anesthesia, asleep, fearful, and treated as children, we will be bereft of the emotional tools required to gather the
“flaming pieces” that would allow the experience of childbirth to become a passage of the soul.”
When we have taken up the work of facing our shadow as in preparation for the “grand eruption” of
childbirth, we can meet our restructuring with a gentle awareness that we might not otherwise access. It
is imperative that, as parents, we give ourselves permission to sit with and acknowledge the thoughts and
emotions that arise as we get to know the new being that has emerged from us. This new being is
reflecting the deepest parts of ourselves with no attachment to how comfortable or uncomfortable the
feelings may be.
What we resist, persists.
Our children will undoubtedly act out those parts of ourselves that we expertly avoid or are unwilling to
acknowledge because of our engrained views of how appropriate those parts are. This forces us to get
very real with ourselves about our perceptions, priorities, etc. lest we find ourselves spending much of our
time dissatisfied and fed-up. Releasing external expectations of what we have been conditioned to
think should be and allowing our authentic emotions and responses to exist without judgement is a tall
order but is worth the joy we experience in sharing a harmonious reflection of ourselves with our children
who show up in service to our growth and development with uncompromising loyalty.
Ultimately, the more we have revealed and practiced releasing before the volcano erupts, the more
familiar we will have become with our own patterns of avoidance and the practice of meeting emotional
discomforts head on so that we can forge through them. This frees us, fueling our parenting from the
very beginning with clarity and recognition; creating a foundation of transparent communication with our
children that models for them a present and authentic relationship with all parts of ourselves. Our
commitment to self-awareness is mindfulness of our children when we realize, in truth, that our children
are mirrors without distortion, showing us, in essence, who we are.
Beyond the Ring Of Fire
I was sitting with a client who was a week post-partum, and we were chatting, recounting her birth
experience. She’d labored for two days before victoriously pushing her nine-pound two-ounce baby out. As we talked through her process, she mentioned a feeling of guilt that had surfaced just a few hours
after having given birth and lingered for several days. Of course, we couldn’t let the opportunity to unpack
that guilt slip by…
What judgement was she exacting upon herself?
What process of comparison was she involved in?
As we sat there reflecting on her glorious experience, how did she think things SHOULD have gone?
Taking the time to unpack the birth experience, we discovered that she, in fact, felt as though labor was
tortuous. She was deeply offended by the process of childbirth; that it should be as painful as it was for such a length of time. She shared that upon having the baby, the attentions of most everyone who was present to witness the birth went toward her child. She wasn’t in any way faulting them for giving attention to the baby but she desired acknowledgement for having survived the gauntlet.
Her guilt was attached to
feeling like she needed time and space to acknowledge that she felt tortured. That she shouldn’t be completely and totally overwhelmed with the joy of having had the baby (as everyone else seemed to
be.) Feeling familiar? It is likely that, however odd your emotions may seem, many women have experienced (and will experience) something similar.
What unexpected feelings have surfaced for you during or shortly after your birth? Were you able to
acknowledge those feelings or recognize their origins?
If you feel so moved, please share your story of an emotion from your birth or early postpartum days that
may have surprised you.
You can send your written experiences to: firstname.lastname@example.org
From the Hearth
This very simple recipe for a drink called Telba comes by way of an Ethiopian client of mine whose
mother has traveled across the globe to welcome her granddaughter into the world.
She tells me this drink is prepared traditionally in the postpartum and taken by mothers several times a
day to support their bodies as they transition from pregnancy but continue to nurture their growing
Flax is full of nutrients; phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty
acids to boot. It supports a healthy milk supply and is just generally soothing.
We hope you find this both comforting and nourishing.
You will need a coffee grinder or something to grind the flax
2 tablespoons of organic flax seeds
1 teaspoon of raw honey
Bring 12 oz of water to a boil.
Place 2 tablespoons of flax seeds into the coffee grinder and pulse it until it is crudely chopped.
Add the chopped flax to the boiling water turn the water down and stir.
As the flax simmers, it will thicken. Continue to stir.
After 3-4 minutes it is ready to transfer to a mug. Add honey to taste.
The Welcome Mat!
Elemental Birth Rites would like to officially welcome all 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!