So maybe one day, when I have a little extra time (ha!) I will write a book with this title- but for now a short summary will have to do to capture my thoughts… Last night as I drove home the almost two hour drive from visiting my homebirth midwife’s office, I was inspired by the night sky to think about the moon and stars and reflect on a more traditional view of pregnancy. While we tend to think of a pregnancy’s duration as “nine months”, the more traditional idea would be “ten moons”. A pregnancy technially lasts 40 weeks- which is 40 x 7, or 280 days. A moon cycle is about 28 days- x 10, also 280 days. The moon certainly represents a symbol of femininity and in a perfect scenario, guides us through our monthly cycle. Before alarm clarks and LED’s and nightlights, many women found the light of the moon influenced them strongly. It is no secret that light and fertility are interconnected- as soon as the days lengthen a bit after winter solstice, no matter how cold it actually is, my chickens begin laying more (and many people put artificial light in coops just to increase egg production year round). Likewise, a full moon would be peak time for a woman to ovulate, and new moon, to bleed. We have a skylight in our bedroom, and I strategically placed our bed so that I lay right beneath the skylight, with the effect of the moon in mind. Like the moon, we expand and contract in our cycle each month- from our open, expanding, glowing fertile state to our closed, contracting, shedding state of menstruation. When my midwife and I tried to figure out my due date, I hadn’t been charting or paying attention to the calendar- but I knew I ovulated last with June’s full moon, and ten moons from then, at March’s full moon, my babe should arrive (unless other forces are at work- prehaps another time is destined and he or she will be early or late- but still, perfectly on time!). Even in this day and age when many women of our society are incredibly disconnected to the natural cycle of life and nature, it is reputed that more women give birth during full moons than any other time of the month. I’m sure the gravitational pull of the moon on water as seen on the tides also effects us when we are ready to deliver, with a small sea of waters inside safely enveloping our little one!
As I was reflecting on how little I actually get to reflect on my pregnancy with three little ones, a co-op to run, homesteading, and homeschooling, I imagined what I would love to reflect on if I did set aside more time to dwell on the growing baby. I thought of the correlation between what changes our bodies are experiencing each month and how the baby develops, and came up with a rough framework of meditations…
Moon One- Creation
We don’t usually find out that we are pregnant until, at least, the end of the first month- but for those of us who are actively trying to conceive, I think “creation” is a wonderful theme for a first month of pregnancy. A wise woman once told me “we are either birthing babies or ideas”. In other words, we all have such tremendous creative power in life, and we can harness this to manifest in outward creative acts, or store it up within and use that energy to build a baby. When I close my eyes, I can visualize the very world being formed and and every living thing coming into being. Since I believe in a Creator, whose image I reflect, I believe I have this common quality of bringing things into being, all originating in thought and will. One of my favorite mantras is “we create our own reality”. It reminds me to be slow to come to conclusions and not to run willy nilly into believing everything I hear- for what we believe often determines in large part what we create of our lives- or fail to create! When I was younger, I was easily swayed by people who seemed either more intelligent or more knowledgeable than what I believed myself to be, or who were just plain confident and convincing. This would result in crisis for me when I encountered two people who were both knowledgeable and convincing and had opposing views! I remember I hated “debate” because I would leave a debate feeling confused about what to believe in- but now, I truly enjoy it and love looking at an issue from every angle. I love the story of the ten blind men and the elephant- each grabbing hold of a different part of the elephant and arguing to each other about what the elephant is like- and yet, all of them were in part, correct- they just lacked a holistic perspective. We often cling to one way of looking at an issue instead of holding it like a ball in our hands and viewing it from all sides. Instead of one possible solution to a problem, there are often many potential ones if we allow ourselves to be “unlimited” by preconceived ideas or prejudices. Likewise, we can choose how we view the world around us and create a beautiful reality rather than swallow whatever ideas, opinions, and beliefs that are handed to us by everything we take in from others around us. To be in balance, we certainly must use past experience and knowledge obtained from logical processes along with awe, wonder, and open-mindedness as we draw conclusions and form our guiding beliefs.
We can also vow to protect our young children from too many of our own judgements, ideas, and potentially limiting beliefs- giving them the best chances for creating a beautiful reality of their own. In reflection, what have I been creating for myself, and what life have I been building? How can I free the little one I long for or know to be forming within from limiting beliefs or my own personal (perhaps even selfish) desires for who and what this new being will become- and in effect, offer that child the same free will to be a self determining, creative being that my Creator gifted me with? How can I find the balance between loving, careful guidance and the freedom this little one will need to incarnate into his or herself? How do I take responsibility for the creative manifestion of this baby’s physical body, and still honor the idea Khalil Gibran so eloquently expressed-
“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable”.
As I meditate on creation, I visualize a work of art being formed. I imagine the intent, the care, the individual expression of the artist. I watch the work unfold without judgement and focus on being at one with the process, letting it flow from me rather than be forced out by me- allowing it to become what it seeks to be in concert with the beauty I can offer to the process.
Steiner encouraged mothers/childcare givers to reflect on Raphael’s masterpiece “The Sistine Madonna.” What a beautiful way to honor the act of creating at this time while preparing for a new life. In his article “The Sistine Madonna: Thoughts and Experiences”, Waldorf kindergarten teacher Stephen Spitalny writes:
“An important element for me is the healing qualities of the painting, which Rene Querido described as a yantra. A yantra is an image that works on a person on many levels, even by its mere presence. Margret Meyerkort helped me to see the wonderful loving gesture with which the baby is held, an archetypal mother gesture. She pointed out the earlike, listening gesture of the painting itself, in the form and shape of the mother and her cloak. She especially helped me to see that the picture does not characterize a situation on the physical earth, but that the veils are pulled back and we get a glimpse beyond. Also, the colors of red and blue in her cloak and dress stand out as archetypal healing colors, especially helpful for the young child. The barefoot mother is carrying the child down through the clouds toward the material world as two saints look on, one looking away in deep reverence, and the other in sadness and resignation, pointing the way forward and downward to incarnation. The curtained veils are parted so that we can glimpse this holy moment. We can also see many faces in the clouds, awaiting their moment of becoming a child on their own path toward incarnation.
Raphael made this painting to depict Mary and her child Jesus, yet this is also a depiction of every child. Each comes from the heavenly world in a similar manner to this depiction, surrounded by angels and saints and the other spirits waiting to incarnate.”
To Be Continued…
(Shared on Annette’s Waldorf Wednesday Link Up)