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. 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 learnt and commits to helping facilitate those who are interested on their journey toward being Shamanic Midwives.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

SSM1 Closing Gathering, December 2010

The Closing Gathering for the Virgin Journey of the School of Shamanic Midwifery was a blessed gathering of learned wise women, gathering to give and receive and give again, over and over.

Each woman gave a presentation relevant to the SSM work done this year, a sample of what the student is interested in developing and taking out into the world.

The Closing Gathering was both and ending and a beginning. A point of no return, a transformation. A death and a rebirth.

The final gathering in the year long program that holds as its intention:

To create the opportunity for women to find within themselves the skills and abilities needed to midwife transformation for themselves and others on their journey.
To offer education that honours menstruation, pregnancy, birth and menopause as the shamanic experiences they are in a women's life journey.
To offer education that serves to deepen women's understanding and connection with the natural cycles of the Earth, the moon and their bodies.
To midwife, mentor, support, guide and empower women to become leaders and facilitators of this education within their own communities.

And now there are 10 graduates of The School of Shamanic Midwifery - gatekeepers, way show-ers, Earthkeepers, Birthkeepers; hearing the whisperings of nature and responding.

When the SSM website is up there will be a Graduates page so you can meet them, see their special interests and contact them if you wish.

Blessed Be

Friday, November 26, 2010

Four Seasons Journey 2012

Enrolments are being taken for the next School of Shamanic Midwifery Four Seasons Journey starting in November 2011. This year long program will be based in the Southern Highlands of NSW, an hour and a half from Sydney. Numbers are limited to 15 women.

Please email for further information.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Opening Gathering, SSM2 Four Seasons Journey

The Opening Gathering of the 4 Seasons Journey of SSM2 was held in late October, deep in the forests, high on a hill, near Mullumbimby, NSW, under a full moon.

We sat in circle, created sacred space, were graced by many bats and owls, made drums and connected with our guides, teachers and power animals.

This year long program is graced by three apprentices from SSM1 and ten women from around Australia.

Following this Opening Gathering, the students now prepare for the Full Moon Gathering where they will meet the Shamanic Midwife as healer. This time will also include attending Pregnancy the Inner Journey and Moonsong Workshops to deepen their experience of the cycles of a woman's life and their own personal journey. Healer Heal Thyself is one of the fundamental aspects of the SSM, the guide must know the territory.

The next year long School of Shamanic Midwifery program (Four Seasons Journey 2012) starts in November 2011.

If you are interested please email for more information.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

SSM Birthkeeper Intensive Weekend Workshops planned for 2011

The School of Shamanic Midwifery is planning a series of SSM BirthKeeper Intensives. These will be for Birthkeepers - midwives and doulas, interested in learning shamanic midwifery practices and processes to augment their 'work'. The workshops will be held over a weekend and will be both personally experiential and skills training and will focus on providing a framework and processes to honour and support the shamanic journey of pregnancy, birth and mothering for the women you care for. These will be given in various locations in Australia 2011. Please email me if you want to be informed of the details and let me know your location for the planning.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

SSM1 Dark Moon Gathering, Victoria, July 9-11th

The Dark Moon Gathering for SSM1 was held in the country side north of Melbourne at a beautiful retreat centre.

By this time we have come to know ourselves as mermaids - mistresses of transformation - and have gathered to journey deep into the dark.

The Dark Moon Gathering is about mapping the inevitable yet often avoided descent. We experience the descent in the cycle of the Earth’s seasons, in the lunar cycle and in our menstrual cycle. Within these cycles and inherent in the descent and subsequent ascent process is - transformation. In a culture that values the 'up and on' position as opposed to the 'down and out', its not surprising that we do all we can to avoid what is not seen as, or supported as, a natural and necessary part of the journey.

Stories of descent abound from the Ancients. One such story we will use to experience the process of descent is Inanna's.

We had a huge day of processes leading up to a ceremony re-enacting Inanna's descent into the Underworld and ascent to a place of truer self knowing.

Ready for the 'Dance of the Seven Veils", preparing to let go of the wounded ways that we express ourselves in the various roles in our lives for the journey ahead.

Integration time after the ceremony, making beautiful artefacts.

And so the Virgin Journey of The School of Shamanic Midwifery approaches it's completion.

So much has been learned, discovered, re-membered, let go of, and birthed, including (by the Closing Gathering) three babies! Several of the SSM1 women will continue the journey as Apprentices with SSM2 and SSM3. The others will take 'the work' into their own worlds and practices to 'spread the word'. Such brave courageous women paving the way for their sistars - reclaiming feminine power through reconnection with the women's mysteries - as simple as that!
For all our relations.
Blessed Be and Blessed Do.

Monday, July 5, 2010

SSM1 Dark Moon Gathering 2010

As the moon wanes, SSM1 prepares to go on retreat to journey deeply into the dark. We will gather this weekend and as Shamanic Midwives will ceremonially re-enact the descent and ascent of Inanna to and from the Underworld. This will be a personal as well as a collective experience, as we do our magick for all our relations.
Blessings to the brave and courageous women that pave the way reclaiming their true selves.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Shamanic Midwifery Vision Quest 2010 - Video Montage from Melody

It is with great thanks to Jane that I offer a sharing of the Shamanic Midwifery Vision Quest 2010. After this deeply profound, fortifying and beautiful experience, I felt called to collate for our circle, images and sound of meaning. My intent was and is to shine back to this year's Shamanic Midwifery sisterhood the love and gratitude I feel for the journey we are taking, carving this new way in the road together. The montage below is an imagery interpretation of the Vision Quest week. Each image used to communicate the core of the Quest was chosen for its potency in reflecting both the individual and collective Shamanic Midwifery experience thus far. My hope is that those intending upon joining the Shamanic Midwifery circle in the future, as well as other interested folk, will also have a window into the magic that was the Quest.
Blessed Be.

Shamanic Midwifery Vision Quest 2010 from Artemis Awake on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

SSM1 Vision Quest May 2010

So, here we are, halfway through the SSM1 program, the
Virgin Journey.
Winter time, deep within and embarking on a Vision Quest.
And the SSM1 Vision Quest was wonder-ful.
"Shamanic Midwifery is the facilitation of finding the purpose of everything in terms of personal evolution and consciousness raising. On Vision Quest - an exercise in 'knowing thy self' and experiencing the mystical laws in action - you are your own Shamanic Midwife.

What does it take for me to truly know myself?
What does it take for me to be She Who I Am?

This and much more you will find as you sit quietly on the Earth, in the lap of the Goddess.
Come sit for a while,
You are safe and protected by all you believe in.
Choose wisely for that which you believe will hold you."

"As the Questor seeks retreat into nature in solitude, shifts in consciousness begin to occur. Old memories come to the surface to be resolved. Fear is confronted. A sense of purpose emerges. In the heightened state of awareness that a quest elicits, archetypal images can appear. A tree becomes a sage. A cloud becomes an angel. A power song is received, a soul name comes. A voice speaks out of the darkness. The unexplained and mysterious occur. Understanding of Self deepens and often remarkable transformations take place"
Denise Linn, The Quest

One's Vision Quest is something remembered forever. It will mark the start of a new journey, the beginning of a new way of Being, a new way of co-responding with Mother Nature, the Earth our Mother, The Goddess. Introspection and self-evaluation take place, and a simplification occurs helping one to discover or remember what is truly important in life. One can begin to reach the source of any pain so it can be healed. It is a time of symbolic death and rebirth into a new way of being in your world.

It's an underworld journey. Some things will fall away, others will grow in strength and all will make sense to the journey of one's life. It's about your authentic self getting in the driver's seat. It's about cultivating a relationship between your ego and your soul.

"True solitude - alert aloneness without diversions - can be challenging, it is often the necessary gateway to our deepest passions, and the discovery of what we must do to live them. Earth so effectively mirrors our soul powers simply because our souls are elements of earth's soul"
Bill Plotkin, Soulcraft

It rained 75% of the time.

The solo time was an experience of the Great Mother's offering of the weather conditions for an inward and reflective time and one with many challenges - rain.

The vigil night was clear, the moon was full and the Questors were held in the 'lap of the Goddess'.

Base Camp was an experience of living on the simplicity, with two babies, their mothers and me 'holding the space'.

Blessings and great thanks to all our relations - the beings - human, animal, plant and 'other' - who supported, guided, nurtured and protected us on our journey.

And as Vision Quests do, it wove its magic.

I give thanks for all that was.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

SSM1 Full Moon Gathering, Feb 26th - 28th

....and the journey continues.

To this point, most of the SSM1 students have participated in a few Moonsong and Pregnancy The Inner Journey workshops, deepening their experience and knowledge. Their knowledge of the cycles - lunar, menstrual, Earth season, life season and the inner journey of pregnancy with all its transformative opportunities, as well as the experience of being with women in circle. Several of the SSM1 women have done this work - or play - for many years, and for some its new, but for all its 'old' and very, very familar. I opened the Full Moon Gathering with the following words that came to me one night.....

We have been here before. That time, those times, there have been many, were different, are different. This time is more different again. This time as we gather together, finding each other again, we are free. This time we need not fear being seen or found, this time we may be openly who we are, in fact we must be. That's the point, you know what to do, but now this time do it openly, proudly and share it with whomever is interested.

We come this time as well with many more gifts, talents and connections, we come each in our power. Each in our power and ready for the tasks ahead. Individually we shall each have a major influence in our communities and together we will combine our forces and make the prayers and actions required of us. I don't know what those are, but we will know when we know. The Goddess as I call her, She to whom I have dedicated my life, over and over, will speak to me and I will know. She, in whatever shape and form you recognise her this time, will do the same to you.

All this is.

The School of Shamanic Midwifery is a school, as in a school of fish - together, feeling the 'at-one-ness', we move.

We felt this at-one-ness this weekend as we sat around our central altar, positioned according to where we each were in our menstrual cycle or for those pregnant or breastfeeding, in alignment with the moon phase - one day off Full. This was the most populated as we had two women breastfeeding, two women pregnant and two in sync with the moon. Hearing each other speak we could easily sense the ''many faces of the Goddess', the energy across the circle was both where we had been and where we were headed.

One of the focuses of the Gathering was journeying to meet our power animals, making masks of them, sharing their medicine, invoking them and beneath the full She Moon, dancing them. Power animals or totem animals or familiars, have long been worked with in various traditions. They are known as the messengers of Great Spirit, a connection with the essence of Nature as guide, advisor, healer and another opportunity to feel the interconnectedness of all things and beings in all realms, a way to tap into a deeper sense of knowing.

We danced the 'Long Dance' described by Elizabeth Cogburn. Winding into the ceremony, dancing the Yang circle then the Yin circle, we arrived at the centre. One by one, together in the dark, dressed in our masks and accoutrement, we called our power animals in. Scaled, winged, four legged and all of the above, the many She's expressed themselves with sound, movement and in relationship to each other. Held by four drummers, in turn at the directions, maintaining the beat that pulsed through and around us. Clouds reflecting the energies swirled above us, the full moon bursting through lighting us, the drums carrying us, we journeyed on, through and within the animals medicine. Many of the women had profound and deep experiences of their power animal's gifts and teachings that helped make sense of their connection and filled them with meaning and answers much needed for life.

Either side of our ceremony in the daylight hours we had two dialogues. One on 'ways to protect self and others' and 'ways to use the breath to raise energy and power'. Such wisdom we hold. As scribe I wrote quickly, catching the wise words of the experiences of twelve lifetimes. Blessed we are to now have these manuals.

In closing, we planned for our next gathering - the Vision Quest. And we dreamed of what we're to do together beyond our school, how we can serve the greater good, how we can share the wealth we're accumulating in our blessed experiences together.

And dreamed we did, dreamed big. So stand by!