Last week on Valentines day 2016 I completed my year long training with The School of Shamanic Womancraft (previously known as The School of Shamanic Midwifery)
One of the most common questions I get asked is “so does that mean you can deliver babies?”
The question used to irritate me slightly, but then I realised it opened up a whole new conversation and opportunity to talk about my passion and work.
My response goes something like this.
“No I’m not a Midwife of babies, I’m a midwife of people, I assist people in birthing new parts of themselves. I assist them in shedding their old, ever tightening and restrictive skins”
“Wow” is the usual response.
“Yep, cool huh?” I say.
The School of Shamanic Midwifery was birthed by Jane Hardwick Collings in Australia 7 years ago.
With a background as a home birth midwife and many years witnessing women transform themselves through childbirth (the 3rd rite of passage in women’s life) she realised the power of each transition/rite and the importance of the feelings/energy present at the beginning of a cycle and how it affects the rest of the cycle. See previous blog post
An energy healer’s perspective of women’s blood mysteries
In December last year AHPRA, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency: https://www.ahpra.gov.au/ wrote to Jane and all other Australian Graduates from the school, to inform them they were committing criminal activity by using the term ‘Midwife’
In the UK since 1902 the term Midwife has belonged to the regulators and sits in the hands of the law.
“A woman could not call herself, nor practise as a midwife, unless she was certified under the Act. If she contravened this, she was liable to be fined by her local magistrates’ court up to £5. However, until 1 April 1910, there was a loophole — a woman could still practice midwifery, providing she didn’t call herself a ‘midwife’ or imply that she was one.
After that date, no woman (Parliament assumed men, unless doctors, would not be involved) could habitually or for financial reward attend a woman in childbirth unless certified”. Royal college of midwives
Jane chose not to challenge and waste resources on pushing against AHPRA, stating
“This is a fight we can never win on the stage that they (the authorities) have set”
Instead she changed the name of the school to
The Shamanic School of Womancraft and the term “shamanic midwife” to “shamanic craftswoman” as coined by Jeannine Parvati Baker.
One wonders whether the witch hunts are truly over? Perhaps we woman are reclaiming too much power? How dare we take back the words and status that once belonged in the domains’ of women?
Silvia Federici – Caliban and the Witch 2014 p88 & 89
Talking of the later part of 17th century Europe and the huge decline in population and thus the work force.
But the main initiative that the state took to restore the desired population ratio was the launching of a true war against women clearly aimed at breaking the control they had exercised over their bodies and reproduction. As we will see later in this volume,this war was waged primarily through the witch hunt that literally demonised any form of birth control and non-procreative sexuality, while charging women with sacrificing children to the devil. But it also relied on the redefinition of what constitutes a reproductive crime. All the European governments began to impose the severest penilties against contraception, abortion and infanticide.
Also the suspicion under which midwives came in this period – leading to the entrance of the male doctor into the delivery rooms – stemmed more from the authorities’ fear of infanticide than from any concern with the midwives’ alleged medical incompetence.
With the marginalisation of the midwife, the process began by which women lost the control they had exercised over procreation, and were reduced to a passive role in child delivery, while male doctors came to be seen as the “true givers of life”.
And so we navigate now to find our threads of wisdom and our medicine bags of herbs and spells that we buried in hedgerows, deep in our bones and in the ashes of our fires. We cannot at this time openly name ourselves ‘Midwife’ due to laws that presume we need protecting from each other and the premise, that we cannot make right decisions for ourselves. So perhaps it is not yet possible for the public naming of ‘Shamanic Midwife’ so for now we will use the word shamanic craftswomen, shamanic womancrafter, witch, helper, wise woman, shamanka, she, healer, priestess, mermaid, merwoman, to give a name to what we be and do.
The Four Seasons Journey has been a year of diving in deep, sitting in circle, crafting, singing, eating yummy food, sisterhood, perseverance, travelling, fires, moons, vision quests, power animals, cycles, friendships, learning, teaching, birthing, drumming and so so much more.
With an excited and open heart I’m looking forward to the next part of my adventure.
I am offering
Women’s circle work Energy Healing
1:1 healing Massage
Menarche ceremonies Closing the Bones Ritual
Shamanic healing Rituals
My next worksop is
Transforming Cycles 19th March 10-5.30pm see EVENTS PAGE and
contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details
The next UK Four Seasons Journey with Jane Hardwicke Collings begins February 2017.
Be Present All-ways x