Thursday, March 1, 2012

Coming and Goings

I remember distinctly the very last time I officiated at an initiation into the Reclaiming tradition. Well - who wouldn't remember that initiation, since it was held within the stone circle of Avebury in Wiltshire County, England, one of my favorite landscapes on the planet? Mars was blazing in the sky alongside a sliver of moon and the Milky Way as we enacted the ancient sacred drama of shamanic death and rebirth. C'mon, I'll never forget that!

Likewise I remember the last initiation into Feri tradition that I officiated, on the benches outside my beloved Summerhouse on the Capitol grounds. It was May and the gardens were lush, the trees freshly filled out with green, the flowers bursting everywhere. In both this situation and the Reclaiming initiation at Avebury I knew the moment I agreed to officiate that these were my final experiences of those dramatic rites.

Today - that is, all of last night, and all of yesterday until 10:38 a.m. this morning to be exact - I was busy with my final experience attending a birth. The very long labor gave me a lot of time to think, to notice clearly how completely wrong this work is for me. What the hell do I know 'bout birthin' babies? Well? I've never had a baby, never been pregnant past 8 weeks, never even wanted children. I fell into the role by accident (very different from my ex-life as a high priestess).

I've had a good run as birth attendant, picking and choosing to attend the births only of those nearest and dearest to me. It has been incredible, beautiful, awesome work. I mean awesome in the truest sense of that word. Women are so mighty! When I think about the fact that someone went through labor and delivery of one type or another for EVERY ONE OF US, my jaw drops to the ground. Whoa, or should I say wow? Think of it: seven billion moms laboring away hour after hour. Wow!

By the way, that old cliche about peasants giving birth then going back to the fields? Pure crap. No way.

It's time for a nap, followed by an early dinner with perhaps a rather overfull glass of wine, and a very early bedtime. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything, just as I would never have traded away the opportunity to do an initiation inside Avebury. But everything has a lifespan, everything. Reya as Doula has definitely passed its expiration date and is beginning to go a little sour. Onwards and upwards!


nerima roberts said...

Woooooooo, like you, I've never given birth.
But I don't think I could ever witness a real birth. The sight of blood makes me faint and drop like a rock.

Jo said...

Yes, everything has a natural lifespan. Better to bow out when you feel it's over than to continue on for too long.

After my third childbirth, I could have gone "back to the fields" immediately. It was a VERY easy delivery! Unfortunately, the fields were covered with snow!

After my fourth childbirth, I rested a few hours and then entertained a houseful of people for the rest of Labor Day weekend. It sometimes works tht way! :-)

You've provided a great service to many grateful women, and you should feel very satisfied about that. Thank you, Mama Gaia Reya! ♥

Kerry said...

Hey Reya. don't you just love Jo? She's right, right, and right.

It's unfortunately true that some women do go back to the fields. (But not me. I was not that way. I let John baby me as long as possible, soaked it all up and let the babies cry every time.)

Just because you haven't given birth doesn't me that you don't get it, because you really do. You totally get it.

Kerry said...

doesn't "mean". (sticky keys.)

Reya Mellicker said...

It actually isn't that bloody, Nerima. It's miraculous, even though we all arrived on earth the same way. Seeing how mighty women are, the miracle of birth - that's what's overwhelming, not the blood. Really!

Reya Mellicker said...

I do love Jo, and I know her personally, too. Her strength is very unusual, and too, she was built for birthin' babes.

May I also say that Jo can cook in a frilly blouse without getting a drop of whatever she's cooking on her clothes, and can make pie crust with one hand tied behind her back. So of course you, Jo, could get back into the fields to work, but most women can not and should not even try.