The School of Shamanic Midwifery (SSM) is a Women’s Mysteries School for midwives and doulas, a gathering of wise women, a year long Earth based ‘religious’ experience. It will awaken in you a deeper connection to the cycles - the way of life - and enable in you a range of ancient and traditional skills and tools to serve women and the birth process.
Commencing in the Southern Spring of 2009, SSM will offer a program run over a year or so.
The aim of the program is:
* to awaken the Shamaness in you so that you may take this to your practice as midwife or doula and serve the women, their process and the birth process at a deeper, healing level.
* to learn ways of ‘being with woman’ that best facilitates the transformation possible for women, and their families, during pregnancy and birth.
This is a program designed to develop shamanic skills, a connection with the Earth, the Goddess and self-awareness. Besides offering you further tools for your practice, the program aims to provide you with the opportunity to see who you really are and why you do the things you do the way you do them.
The School of Shamanic Midwifery is based in Australia and is given and co-ordinated by Jane Hardwicke Collings, Homebirth Midwife, Mother, Grandmother. Jane has apprenticed with many great teachers – Maggie Lecky Thompson, Blackbear James Harvey and the late Jeannine Parvati Baker. She brings the experience of 25 years of homebirths and shamanic practice together and, as requested, presents what she has learned and commits to helping facilitate those who are interested on their journey toward being Shamanic Midwives.
SSM1 October 2009 - November 2010, will be held in a combination of Southern Highlands, NSW and Melbourne venues and is fully booked (15 women) with a waiting list. Fee: $2000
SSM2 October 2010 – November 2011, to be held in a combination of Southern Highlands, NSW and Northern NSW/Queensland venues. Taking bookings now. Fee: $3500
What is Shamanic Midwifery?
Shamanism is humanity’s oldest 'religion' and healing art. It is universal across cultures. It involves working with the cycles, in alternate dimensions of reality with guides and powerful subtle energies, episodes of visionary states and serving others as a gatekeeper and a guide. It is about facilitating transformation and healing. Shamanic midwifery is midwifery working with the energy of healing and transformation. Childbirth is a transformational experience what ever happens.
The practice of shamanic midwifery facilitates for the mother - personal growth and development, self awareness and positive change. This happens by asking the appropriate questions, accessing inner wisdom, practicing intuitive listening and mindfulness. What arises for a pregnant woman in her relationships, in her day to day life, as her fears, her concerns, are not random occurrences. In the same way that her cravings for various foods are her body calling for a specific vitamin, mineral or nutritional content - what arises are the ‘tips of the icebergs' of the issues she has the opportunity to be with and deal with at that time, as she travels toward wholeness and balance in her being. Pregnancy and childbirth provide this opportunity, shamanic midwifery is the art of facilitating that.
The time commitment required for the program is attendance of the following:
Opening gathering - 2 days plus overnight camping
Moonsong workshops – weekend workshop, attendance at a second Moonsong workshop later in the year as well if possible. Attendance at two preferred.
Pregnancy Workshops - 3 days. Attendance at each scheduled Pregnancy Workshop over the year is encouraged, but at least two.
Vision Quest - 5 days away, 3 days and 3 nights solo,
2 x 1-2 day camping retreats around particular moon phases (not necessarily on weekends)Closing gathering - 2 days plus overnight camping
Besides these gatherings together you will be required to stay in email contact with me and do specific reading and research and engage in a meditation practice.
For inquiries and to enrol please contact Jane.
Jane Hardwicke Collings
Shamanic Midwifery (GAIA newsletter Feb ‘08)
Shamanism in the modern day serves to remind us of the ‘web of life’, the interconnectedness and interrelationship of everything. A woman who lives in accordance with the natural cycles of her life accessing all the power and magic of her menstrual cycle, the potential of childbirth and menopause is herself a shamaness.
My homebirth midwifery career, spanning more than 2 decades, has been of itself quite a shamanic journey. Birthing my own three children and travelling betwixt and beyond the ordinary and non-ordinary realms as a shamanic midwife has taught me much to say the least.
I started my shamanic training with Black Bear aka James Harvey back in the early 1990’s and it was the blending of midwifery and shamanism that I learned from Jeannine Parvati Baker that helped me marry my passions and find my true purpose, my way to serve.
I use shamanic techniques in my Pregnancy Workshops to help the women access information from within and without. We do drum journeys to our wombs, we invoke the ancient Birth Goddesses, we do powerful fire rituals to burn away our fears and we delve deep to see the patterns and themes that configure our experiences of life.
Following is an excerpt from my (nearly finished) book Birthing With The Goddess that details an example of shamanic midwifery.
Artemis, friend of the animals, reminds us of our connection with our four legged, winged and scaled animal allies. Animal allies have long been worked with by Shamans and Shamanesses. We each have special animals, alive or in spirit that we can communicate with and work with in the spiritual or physical realm.
“Nearly all shamanic cultures believe in Animal Allies or helpers. These creatures have the appearance and many of the characteristics and behavior patterns of ordinary animals, birds, and fish, but they can communicate with the shaman. Sometimes these animals become protectors and guides for the shaman, both while she/he is journeying in the Otherworlds and in the physical realm ”
I had long been familiar with my animal allies and was always excited to see an Owl fly ahead of me in the night on my way driving to a birth. One night before a birth, I was sitting alone in the dark on my verandah contemplating the pending birth, the mother and her circumstances. I felt a fear rise in me, complete with very uncomfortable physical symptoms. I got very scared thinking about the birth that the baby would die. I remembered what my shamanic training had taught me about taking on other people’s feelings and issues literally, to help them process them. An Owl flew into my vicinity and was hooting loudly. Owls are around our property but I had never encountered one so close to the house. I heard in my mind, words from the Owl. “Wrap up all the fears in a bundle and give it to me, I’ll take care of it.”I imagined all the fears of the baby dying at the birth, all the feelings associated with that, the words, the faces, the pain, the panic and wrapped it in a bundle as the Owl had said. In my imagination I reached forward to where the Owl was and gave her the bundle. I gave great thanks to the Owl for taking the bundle. Sitting still with all my senses open I heard the Owl fly off. With my eyes shut there in the dark I went inside myself to see if that had worked. I couldn’t rouse any feelings of fear what so ever. The fear that had been overwhelming me was gone. Thank you Owl.
The next day I had an antenatal appointment with that very pregnant mother and she talked about how she had been feeling really scared about her baby dying at the birth. She said, as she sat then with the fear, that actually it wasn’t there anymore. I told her about my experience with the Owl the night before and we both gave great thanks to the Owl.
Call Artemis and give thanks for her assistance and guidance for you with finding your animal allies. Awaken the Shamaness in you and feel the magical connection between yourself and the animals.
It is my vision (one of them!) to create the School of Shamanic Midwifery – The Midwifery of Transformation (SSM).