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.

Monday, March 12, 2012

4SJ Graduates Series: First up, Introducing, Talulah Gough

I began with the School of Shamanic Midwifery in her virgin year, the very first circle. And though I had really no idea what I was showing up for, as soon as I heard the term Shamanic Midwifery something inside me knew immediately that this was my home.
I sat in that circle, surrounded by women I had never met, yet I felt so safe to share all that I was and be truly known.
The work that we did at our gatherings brought me to the core of who I am. To understand these things has helped me in every aspect of my life, as a Mother, Wife and Doula.
I conceived and birthed my fourth child during our year together. The support of my Shamanic Midwifery Sisters was a shining light for me, and my baby gave me the opportunity to be my own Shamanic Midwife. Such an amazing gift is my little Mermaid!
Before I finished my SSM year, I knew that I was not finished with the school, and there was so much more to learn. So we dreamed up the apprenticeship arrangement for women wishing to continue with the school, and perhaps one day facilitate the Four Seasons Journey (as it is now called).

My first year apprenticeship was again an awakening round of the wheel, going that layer deeper with the knowledge and also learning to hold a group in that space. 
I travelled the year with my baby, which was wonderful and challenging! She kept it real for me, and helped me be very efficient with getting the information I needed, and tending to her needs as well. Mothering is honoured and supported greatly in these circles, there were always willing, loving arms to hold her if we needed them.
At the closing gathering of my apprenticeship year, there was an incredible sense in me, that my energy field had expanded, I could feel the potential of this work in my life, how far I could reach, a peace in my soul that this tribe would continue to be and grow, and the potential for each of us to expand and reach far and wide.
It was during this year of my apprenticeship that I began to work as a Shamanic Midwife for birthing women. Doing the work of a doula, and also doing drum journey's through pregnancy, creating a sacred space, and then holding that sacred space for them in hospital, in whatever way the couple wanted me to do so. 
I also ran a women's circle during this year, which contributed so much to my learning.

I am now in my third year with the School of Shamanic Midwifery, as a second year apprentice. Sitting in the opening circle of this years Four Seasons Journey, I saw myself and how I had changed from the opening gathering of my first, second and now third year. 
To everyone else it would be invisible, but to me a sense of knowing i don't have to be or know more, I just have to be. To listen, reflect, honour and hold what is occurring in the space. A sense of peace came with that information.
Each circle has been filled with the most wonderful women, my people! I have found my tribe after all these years!
My commitment to the school is deep, I hope to be involved with the school always, one day as a facilitator of the Four Season's journey and forever in some capacity.
Jane is the most wonderful, wise, visionary, inspiring, humble and fun teacher. I learn from her in every communication what it is to be a Shamanic midwife and what it is to work for the Goddess.
It is her energy and ability to teach, without ego, that has created this vital space for women to awaken to their power and purpose, to be their own Shamanic Midwives and then be there for other women to do the same.
Talulah xxx

Dance as a Shamanic Experience

I made this little film 

one and a half years ago, 
I was 40 weeks pregnant with my fourth baby, 
and two weeks away from giving birth.
I have studied dance since I was seven years old, and this was really just mucking around in my lounge room, but I am so glad I thought to record it at the time.
My only footage of me dancing while pregnant, and since I am pretty sure I won't be having any more babies, it's very special.
I am just now fresh home from the Four Seasons Journey 2012 Full Moon Gathering, as a second year apprentice.
It is the gathering where, among other things, we dance in our power animals.
As we circle around the fire, calling in our animals, I feel the qualities of that animal becoming part of me, the senses, how it feels to be that animal and the gifts they can bring.
I became Snake.
Reflecting the following day I thought about how it is such a comfortable place for me to be, channelling the energy of an animal or character.
Since dancing the Gumnut Fairy at seven years old it has been a place of transformation and trance. Whether on stage, in private, or in a muddy paddock (as it was at the Full Moon Gathering) dance is a way for me to access the shamanic realms, and a place where I am a clear channel to receive information.
In the case of the dance in this film, I am connecting deeply with my beautiful baby, sensing that all is well, and rejoicing in the miracle of my body.
In total love and trust.

Medicine Drum Workshop
On the first day of March I held my first medicine drum making workshop in the Northern beaches.
It was born from the women attending the Birth Keeper Intensive Workshop in Sydney last year, wanting to make their own drums.
I had made my drum when I did my Four Seasons Journey in 2010, and have assisted Jane as her apprentice with the two drum making workshops since, so I felt confident we could make it happen!
I had the assistance of the wonderful Shamanic Midwife, Leia Sidery, who is also a musician, artist and all round crafty wiz.
The women prepared for the workshop by looking into their birth stories and how that plays out in their creative process.
We gathered together, created sacred space and shared our stories.
Each woman chose a deer hide that called to her, and headed out into the beautiful bushland that surrounds my house to make her drum.
We were blessed with an amazing day of sunshine after weeks of rain!
Making a medicine drum is a solitary process, that gives opportunity to hear, see and feel all that is going on within you and around you.
Each woman created at her own pace, working with her deer to make the perfect drum for her.
At the end of the day we had 5 beautiful new drums birthed and five proud Mama's ready to take their drums home.
It was a day of truly being held, heard and healed through this process of creation.
Blessed be!
I have many more women wanting to make their own medicine drums, so Leia and I will be doing another workshop this year.


to read more on talulah go here 
her graduates work is here 

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