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.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

4SJ Graduates Series continues with Jess Krop

My Journey with the School of Shamanic Midwifery began when I was heavily pregnant with my second baby.  When I heard about the course, something deep inside me knew that this was what I needed to be doing.  it ended up happening at the same time I was going to have my second baby, and while it was at times very challenging balancing the two, I knew the time was right.
When I came to the Opening Gathering I immediately felt connected to all the women in the circle.  It was like I had finally found my place, my tribe, my women.  It was so welcoming.  In my ripe state of 38 weeks pregnant, I felt supported and held and loved by women I had only just met.  Leaving the gathering with my newborn medicine drum, I knew that I was a part of something extremely special.  I travelled through the next few week feeling so much support from everyone as I prepared to birth my baby.

My daughters birth was an ecstatic and amazing experience.  she was born at home, into my own hands and loved and held by a circle of sisters who loved her even though they hadn't met her yet.   As I prepared to sit in our second gathering, I realised what a profound gift SSM2 (now known as The 4 Seasons Journey: 4SJ11) was not only for myself and my growth but for my daughter, who was being initiated into the women's mysteries through her magnificent birth and the circle of women who will always hold her.

Each gathering I went deeper into the work and felt my true self emerging.  I have done quite a lot of healing work in the past but nothing stripped away the illusions and brought about profound healing like this work has.  It was after Vision Quest, that I came home feeling like I had completely shed my skin and was ready as this initiated self, given the opportunity to bring this work into my community.
There soon became a need for women to gather and support each other.  I felt like it was time to step into my power as a woman and offer circles and workshops where I live.  It has been amazing to see the transformation of women when they are invited to sit in circle.  holding the space for their growth and healing leaves me with a profound sense of gratitude that I have the skills to offer this to women.
Currently I am offering a workshop to women where they have the opportunity to honour themselves as women and connect with their inner wisdom.  Every week it becomes more and more evident that the Goddess is indeed working her magick as the women share their stories, create art, journey deep into their bodies and create magnificent rituals.  Every week I come home more and more confident that the magick that weaves itself in circle around everywoman is surely something that is not only so important for each individual persons healing, but is surely something that can change the world.
I intend to continue my work with The School of Shamanic Midwifery and will begin apprenticing in a few years, when my baby is a bit older.  I am so looking forward to supporting a new circle of women and also deepening my experience and learning.  Jane's teaching is inspiring.  I am so honoured to be able to work with her and the other women and learn so much from their collective wisdom.  it is such an amazing gift.

One of the elements that I found particularity powerful was honouring our blood as sacred.  So much of the work in SSM is about our cycles, and as I was pregnant, then breastfeeding, my cycle did not return until close to the end of the course.  I wanted to deeply honour the return of my blood and my fertility so I wrote this ritual to honour that, although it can be used to honour your blood at any time.  I had had one cycle and was up to day 75 when I presented this at the closing gathering.  I was not expecting a bleed anytime as my daughter had been feeding lots, especially during the night.  On the conclusion of the ritual, my blood started flowing and I felt such gratitude for being tangibly shown how powerful ritual is in our lives.

R I T U A L   to   H O N O U R   our   S A C R E D   blood 

We sit in circle, it is our 5th week together and the threads between us weave a little closer, holding us together.  The laughter is a bit louder, the tears flow more freely, the stories are both deeper and raunchier as this circle of women grown closer and connects deeply with each other and themselves. 
We breathe together,  in the growing light of the moon.  We are here to honour the return of our blood, the return of our fertility.  We are here to step back into the red tent, the space of the creatrix
We connect with air, and give thanks for our insights
We connect with fire, and give thanks for keeping this magickal brew warm
We connect with earth, and give thanks for these plants
We connect with Water, and give thanks for this blood
The circle is cast and a quiet and stillness descends.  The women are new to ritual, but the magick is tangible.  Each woman leans forward and adds a spoonful of herbs to the pot.  Chamomile, Lavender, Calendula and Peppermint.  Herbs for physical healing, herbs for spiritual transformation.  We utter the incantations and stir the brew.
An act of deep love, we pour our sister a cup of tea
While sipping our brew, and munching on chocolate, we weave our magick in our hands, each woman making a bleeding charm to wear to mark her blood, to remind her of the power in her womb.  Thus occupied, the conversation spirals into our own stories of bleeding and the pure laughter that bubbles up and is infectious.
We remember our connection to birth, death and rebirth
Together we sit, connecting deeply to one another, but speaking a sacred blessing to our sister.  We are blessed in our connection to the great mother, the moon, the cycles, our sacred blood, and our sisters.  For in this connection, we know our true power.

a testimonial from a beautiful woman
"Jess has a natural affinity for making people feel loved, accepted and comfortable with expressing their deepest emotions. She is a woman who is deeply at peace with herself in her own skin and her inner peacefulness radiates to all of those who encounter her allowing for a natural exchange of empathy and healing energy. Through her dedication to her womens circle work she has enriched the lives of those women whom she has touched by guiding them on their personal and powerful journeys of healing and self discovery. Jess is a woman who truly incorpaorates the Divine Goddess into every aspect of her life!"

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