“I feel I actually encountered the Goddess most meaningfully during this time of personal suffering…I did not feel a truly personal experience of Goddess ‘energy’ until this pregnancy loss.” – This speaks to me and is so profound. I knew the Goddess, somehow, I’ve always known Her; but it wasn’t until my miscarriage in 2006, a few years after I formally dedicated myself to Her, that I too really truly felt Her and knew Her – it’s very difficult to explain. I grieved, I was at an all-time low, in pieces, an emotional mess – and yet I stood humbled and in awe of Her, Her power, and Her strong encircling presence – it had never felt so strong. It was She who helped me go through this transformation and bring me onto the path I’m on today. It was good to read this because I know that I’m not alone in feeling this and other women too have had a similar experience in really coming to know the Goddess through their miscarriages, trials and tribulations.
Of course, I also became familiar with Her in a totally different way and tuned into a different energy with the birth of my daughter in 2008. It is through these shamanic experiences that we come to know Her in our own ways.
“Childbirth is a rite of passage so intense physically, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, that most other events in a woman’s life pale next to it. In our modern lives, there are few remaining rituals of initiation, few events that challenge a person’s mettle down to the very core. Childbirth remains a primary initiatory rite for a woman.” –Maren Hansen (MotherMysteries)
When I was pregnant with my first baby, I read an article with the theme of “Birth as a Shamanic Experience.” I can no longer find the exact article (online or printed), but I distinctly remember my feeling upon reading it: I was entering into a mystery. Giving birth was big. Bigger than anything I’d ever done before and it went beyond the realm of a purely biological process and into something else. Like shamanic experiences, giving birth is often described as involving a sense of connection to the larger forces of the world as well as being in an altered state of consciousness or even a trance state. While shamanic experiences may involve “journeying” to other realms of reality, giving birth requires the most thoroughly embodied rootedness of being that I’ve ever experienced. It, too, is a journey, but it is a journey into one’s own deepest resources and strongest places. The sensation of being in a totally focused, state of trance and on a soul work mission is intense, defining, and pivotal.
Shamanic journeys may be embarked upon for the purpose of soul retrieval and I can’t help but think that this is the purpose of giving birth as well—the birthing woman travels into herself to bring forth the soul of her child.