A Placenta Gathering
One of the most profound ceremonies I have carried out has been to plant a tree in earth along with a placenta. It had been a homebirth and the new grandmother wanted to honour the life of both mother and baby through a tree planting ceremony - and I was asked to do this. What an honour. What an absolutely perfect opportunity to deepen shamanic relationship of working with my 'Mother' guides. You would think that they had had a hand in it!
It seems a lot easier to keep claim of one's placenta if its been a homebirth. I would imagine that after last year and all that came our way, hospitals will be even less likely to enable a woman to take home her placenta if that is her wish. Whilst this is a separation from our natural heritage it does come, at least in part, from well meaning practices to save lives.
The placenta stands on a pin between birth and death. Its an extraordinary organ which we take for granted and often is not even thought of. As a culture we disregard it as the foetus phase ends and the baby is birthed. Yet now, as adults, even in its absence we may honour it for what it has been and will always be for us - a cellular web of pulsing life with-in and with-out the threads of our being.
This organ of both mother and foetus is somehow more within its own right. Some indigenous cultures see the placenta as a guardian spirit of the growing child, others see it as a relative. Many rites and ceremonies have been and sometimes still are practiced. For many there is an absolute respect for this mother-organ of connection and nourishment. An energetic bond with our placenta ripples through the sea of our auric and ancestral fields.
For nine months it throbs as a womb-heart within the mystery of generation upon generation. Both breath and pulse of existence itself, embedded deep within the womb-cave, it is a - maybe the - nutrient rich pool of life.
If you have ever stood with a midwife after a birth you will likely have witnessed her wash the placenta; seeing with her hands and eyes the way it lies, the fatty deposits, the flow and colour of tissue. The health of all three - placenta, mother and baby - are encoded in this massive mammalian flower of life.
Yet the placenta is also a filter, a saviour protecting the one to be born from death. Entrapping toxins within its web it ensures that only that which will nourish and sustain this little budding one will be fed through the umbilical cord. Woven in as always, is a thread to remind us that the gift of life is not only to receive but sometimes not to. Here we are once more at the very core of being where death and birth as lovers embrace, falling in utter surrender to each other.
Within one of my 'Spirit of Mother' workshop gatherings we re-engaged with the placenta that nourished us when we too were a foetus so many years ago. Through drum journeying, creative activity and ceremony there was as much an opportunity to honour our own lives as to honour our mothers.
Now in the womb of creation with my 'Mother' spirit guides I am preparing gatherings for the coming months to share this work again. Even now you can work with me on a one-to-one basis. If this work appeals to you contact me.
Placenta honouring is beautiful work, rich with the ancestry of maternal lineage, full of the tapestry of that which feeds us as we step out into our lives in this moment, taking our first cautious breaths in this curious new world of our future.