Browsing Tag

Ceremony

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Bringing The Womb Blessing to Adelaide

I have just arrived back in Adelaide after the Moon Mother training in Lausanne, Switzerland.  This training allows me to now offer The Womb Blessing for ladies in Adelaide!  Developed by Amanda Gray, author of Red Moon, the Womb Blessing is a beautiful, gentle and powerful female energetic awakening session.

This work supports women to be more authentic in their nature, awakening, energizing and healing the three main female energy centers, thereby increasing a woman’s ability to love.  As well as helping to clear old patterns and blocks, the Womb Blessing energizes the womb energy center, clearing depleted energy and bringing a sense of completeness.  The Womb Blessing also brings increased self -empowerment, a sense of peace, self acceptance and self love.

The Womb Blessing is performed in a chair and is similar to a Reiki initiation in its sequence, but is focused specifically on the awakening of dormant female energies.  Miranda Gray’s book Red Moon talks about these energies and how connecting to the menstrual cycle and bringing this awareness into our lives helps improve our relationship with ourselves and our cyclic nature.  Each time I see clients for Mayan Abdominal Therapy I am alerted to how much of a ‘taboo’ our menstrual cycle is seen and how this impacts our bodies…

Along with The Womb Blessing, I am also incorporating the Womb Healing into my work with women and their journey for healthy menstruation and fertility.  The Womb Healing is a shorter energy balance and is a beautiful way of supporting the female energy.  Both The Womb Blessing and Womb Healing will be available from July.  The Womb Blessing is a stand alone 45 min appointment, or it can be included into a 90 min appointment when connected to the Mayan Abdominal Therapy or a Holistic Massage.  The Womb healing will become a regular part of my Mayan Abdominal Therapy appointments and another tool I am able to use when needed in Holistic Massage sessions.

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A deeply personal account of pregnancy…

A few deeply personal thoughts on the process of my pregnancy.  Its taken me a few years to be open enough to share these.  I think all women need to know how pregnancy shifts the body not just physically, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually…

IMG_2093As soon as I found out that I was pregnant, I noticed a shift in the reality of my world.  The space in which I lived encompassed my work (to a large extent), my home and the land we live on, and also the topigraphical area from Victor Harbor to Houghton, in the Adelaide Hills, where my family lived.  Within these mapped areas, I lived the majority of my life.  As soon as the pregnancy took hold I felt my world shrink.  The barrier, or edge that my life was lived in was marked, and I could feel it slowly becoming smaller and smaller.  My work immediately was affected as my workload capacity immediately shrunk, and I saw less clients in a day to adjust to the decrease in energy levels and so I could have an afternoon siesta each day.  I also expereinced very painful sacroiliac pain all throughout my pregnancy, which limited my ability to exercise and keep fit.  As the weeks went past and they turned into months, my life became very much centered around my home and what I needed to do to prepare for this little being.

When I left work at 34 weeks I noticed another major shift in the world in which I lived.  This edge, or barrier shrunk again as my working focus dissipated completely and my life became focussed on the birth.  I lived each day in my Pj’s in the last weeks having restless nights and feeling like a swollen water buffalo.  I went out less and less, and each trip became harder and harder to achieve.  Even pushing around a shopping trolley in the supermarket became a hard task!  I slept a lot, and really relished in the nesting hormones and cleaned my house, and prepared my babies room.  I felt my world, as the weeks go on shrink to point that my life was only lived within the boundaries of my home.  In the last weeks, the only visitors I had were those who were to be present at the birth, and my family.  My world was getting smaller and smaller each week and each day.  When I did have to go out and get something I felt distinctly separated from the rest of society.  I felt like I was in a bubble, and the world was traveling too fast.  I let go of driving as I felt like I had to drive too slow to feel safe.  I could not turn to see my blind spot, and sitting in the car became uncomfortable as my belly rested on my legs.  My walk became a slow cumbersom waddle and my mind just wanted to rest, read and meditate.

This bubble around me seemed to cloud me, and put me in a different space from the rest of the world.  I was highly sensitive to the superficial aspects of society, and only really felt at ease when people came into my home, where my bubble felt less obvious.

The day I was in labor, this edge that I felt shrink my work had continued to shrink for so many weeks and days, that today, it was only me, and the space about 1 meter around me.  As my labor progressed more and more it continued to get smaller and smaller and smaller until it was just about me, and my breath.  It became so small that my mind could only be in the present moment.  There was not the space for me to jump ahead in my thoughts, or be in the past where we had come from.  To birth this baby, I was being held in the complete present moment.  Each contraction forced this focus, and this bubble became so small that it felt like I was in that space between the breath in, and the breath out.  I had to hold myself on this pin point of present time and feel relaxed in a world that had shrunk to a place smaller then I thought existed before.  What is ironic is that in the smallness of this point, was also the most expansion within my being….

It was like I was in a tunnel as soon as I became pregnant, and then it shrunk over the weeks, with different parts of my life dropping away.  I had to move through with my family and friends, and then eventually alone, just me walking through this tight space.  People there cheering me on, and yet alone at the same time.

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The day she was born, and having her on my belly, was the point when I reached the other side.  My world immediately began to expand again.  First it became about my new family, this beautiful baby, Tim and my midwife.  Then over the days my family, and my home again.  For weeks this bubble of my reality hovered around my bed and living room.  Soon the kitchen was included, and other friends came and visited.  It slowly expanded and opened up to a new life.  It was like I had entered a world in which I never knew existed.  All the rules were different and all the priorities I previously had had changed.  It reminded me of the scene in The Matrix when the choice is offered to take the blue or the red pill.  I feel like I took the pill at pregnancy, and now at the birth, I had arrived in this new world.

When my little girl was 6 weeks old, I felt another big shift in the space of my world.  These 6 weeks are the first 40 days.  Many old traditions speak of looking after the new mother fir the first 40 days and not letting her do anything around the home.  She is catered for, and taken through a healing journey.  Many would go into a cave or private hut with their new born, and only greet the rest of the village after this time period.  I really understood this.  After 6 weeks I felt that I was able to leave my cave of hibernation and begin to show my little girl to a select group of people.

I became very conscious of this time being what some call ‘The Fourth Trimester’.

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A Girls Rite of Passage – The Sri Lankan Way…

I have just arrived home after two weeks away in the gorgeous country of Sri Lanka.  While there, amongst many adventures and delicious meals, I learned of the way the Sri Lankan people celebrate the time of menstruation for a girl when she first becomes a woman.

I was going through a wonderful tour at a spice garden when I met Manju.  He was showing us around and was also a student at the local Ayurvedic college.  After the tour we dropped him back to his home and went in for a cup of tea and a meal of hoppers (the local pancake type dish often served with chilli paste or curry).  While we were sharing a meal, it somehow came up in conversation that he had two daughters and that they would be doing ceremonies for them when it came to their first bleed.

The eldest daughter of Manju with Tim.

I sat there in amazement as these two men, Manju and my fabulous driver Channa, both opened up and told me of the Rite of Passage that all girls go through during this time.  It was so wonderful to hear the respect and pride they had of their customs and ceremonies and their willingness to openly share it with me.  They went into explicit detail for me as I asked questions and probed with undivided attention to their stories and honoring that is involved for their women.

This is what they told me:

1. The first thing that happens is the girl tells her mum what is happening.  She is now having her first bleed.

2. She is taken to a special hut or room where only women are allowed to go.  She has other family with her, either an aunt, sister, cousin etc who will stay with her the whole time for this sacred process.  If she has to leave this place, (to go to the bathroom etc) she has a white cloth wrapped over her face so that the men will not see her.  This is important as it is a time of transition and she is becoming a women.

3.  An astrologer is contacted and advised about the best time for her for a celebration.  This would be in the following weeks  and will be specific in time and date for the girl to be embraced into her womanhood.

4. On the day that she is allowed out of the room before the ceremony, a special pot is bought into the room.  In this pot herbs are prepared and boiled.  These include saffron, jasmin, sandalwood powder, jungle jasmin amongst others.  The water is warmed and is then poured over her head in cleansing.

5.  After this, a new white cloth is wrapped around her face and head so she cannot see, and people cannot see her.  The pot is crashed to the ground in ceremonial way to ensure it is never to be used again.

6.  She is dressed in white clothing that has never been worn before and she is bought into the home.

7. On a special table in the home there is an array of ceremonial items.  These include a Kandian Oil lamp, rice, spices, flour and betal leaves all spread around the lamp.

8. At this point the white cloth is removed from the face of the girl.  The family and friends that have come to be part of the celebration all sing out to her words that translate to “Big Girl” in honor of her transition and rite of passage.  There is lots of clapping and they do a special type of clap which claps out the candles on the table so they go out.

9. Seven betal leaves are handed to the girl.  She then passes, with both hands, one of the leaves to the mother who then blesses her and gives her gifts of jewellery.  She then passes, with two hands,  one of the leaves to her father, who also blesses her and gifts her jewellery or fabric etc.

10.  The final leaves are then passed, one at a time and with both hands, to the remaining guests who also bless and give gifts to her.  This can include other sisters, aunts, cousins etc who are present.

11.  Finally there is a big feast and celebration before her final event of the evening which is to visit the local temple for prayers and blessings.

 

Manju and his wife with Tim and I. The man on the far left is Manju’s father.

It was an honor to hear the way this time in a girls life is celebrated.  I was a bit jealous that here in Australia this time is so often disregarded and suppressed.  I loved the mens passion and interest in honoring these transitions and respecting such a sacred time.  I also loved their willingness to talk about it and share it with me.  Thank you Channa and Manju!

 

Channa, Tim and I at our last night before coming home.

copyright © 2012 Fiona House

 

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Honouring the Sacred Process of Childbirth

As a massage therapist I come across women having experienced traumatic childbirth with their children, and with their own traumatic births as babies.  During a session they express to me their anger, guilt and grief over their personal experience when giving birth, or ‘gut feelings’ about the trauma they experienced being born.  These women hold in their bodies these memories, which for years into their adulthood impact their health and their decisions  – not to mention, their posture, digestive and reproductive health, emotional balance and personal confidence.

This sacred birth process, that is so often undervalued, needs to be supported in an elegant and empowering way, to reduce the potential for psychological and emotional trauma.  This rite of passage for mum and baby needs to open their life together in a positive and empowering way to carry them forwards, rather than hindering their path.

image credit : Christy Nielson

 

I wanted to help, not just with my clients expressed symptoms, but also in preventing these symptoms ever arising. I decided to become a certified doula.

‘Doula’ is a Greek word that means ‘woman’s servant’.  A doula is a woman offering non-medical support and information to parents in pregnancy, childbirth and the post-natal period.  She is there for you, ‘mothering the mother’, and taking care of the needs of parents during this time.  A doula is present while you give birth, and also in your preparation for birth and during the post-natal time. Doulas not only help women find the information you need, they also empower women to have the kind of birth they want.

Birth can be a chaotic and unpredictable process. A small birth team is a good approach and a doula can be a vital part of that team. A labour that extends into its twentieth hour (or more) will be taxing on all involved. At times like this the team can be stretched thin and, despite everyone’s best intentions, the focus on the mother’s birth plans and support of the practices she selected to help her—be it massage, aromatherapy, or just plain encouragement—can get lost. At that point the birthing mother may not be literally alone, but she may very well feel alone.

Doulas are equipped with the skills, techniques and resilience to support the mother and take the pressure off tired partners.   They do not take the place of a partner, but rather complement the partner’s role while upholding the integrity of the process and the birthing mother’s wishes.  Doulas appreciate that the birth process is a sacred time that impacts the mothering that follows.

Doulas are not medically trained and therefore are not responsible for any of the roles that midwives and obstetricians play. They are instead there to hold the psychological and physical space for the mother, allowing her to relax when she is in her most vulnerable state.  A trained doula is experienced in relaxation techniques, position options and natural and safe comfort measures to help pain management.  They are great listeners, nurturing companions and respectful of the mother’s needs and wishes. Doulas also recognise that birth is not simply a medical event but a time to honour the wisdom of the female body, and the memory and capacity it has to birth. A doula can also help with the decision making process if the birthing plan needs to change.  A doula will never make the decision, but can facilitate and clarify communication between staff and mother and take the pressure off the partner who would otherwise be the sole person to mediate this process.

copyright © 2012 Fiona House

 

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Autumn Equinox Ceremony

 Calling all Wemoon!: Its that time of year again for a Wemoon’s Circle to celebrate and recognise Autumn and the gifts that she brings.  The heat and long days of summer are over and we are now experiencing the wind down and shorter days of Autumn.  This time of year is perfect to take a look at what we have achieved over the last 6 months, and whether we are still going in the direction we want.  Have we created what we needed over the last few months?  Have we created excess of what we needed?  Are there things that are now outdated and need to be let go of?  Do we have gifts to share physically and also with our wisdom and learning’s over this last summer?  Autumn is a perfect time to let things go… clean out cupboards and give away clothes that we do not need anymore  – and to share the fruit from our trees and gardens!   It is also the time to let go of old emotions we do not need, and old ways of being with ourselves.  

Autumn is also a time of gratitude as we reap the rewards of our efforts, and we can now stop and take stock of where we have been and where we are going.

Come and join Samantha Miccallif and I in celebrating this time of year with a women’s circle.  This is the perfect time for you if you need some time out and some clarity on your life and your priorities.  Do you need a clearer vision on how to nourish yourself or how to direct yourself right now?  Do you need to let go of things holding you back, or needing to make space in your life for something new?  This might be the perfect thing.  A beautiful opportunity to connect with yourself and other women, learn about the cycles of life and Mother Nature, and go away with new space and clarity within yourself…

When –  Sunday 25th March
Time –  1.45 pm – 4pm sharp
Cost – $25
Where – Fiona’s Aldgate practice.  (Address given upon booking.)

Please note that this is a beautiful circle to bring daughters (above age 11/12), sisters, mothers and best friends!

Please RSVP ASAP as numbers are limited.