Saturday, July 21, 2012

Change #34 The Birth Huntress-Gatherer

Good Morning  Birth Peeps,

I have been away but think of you often. I have tunnel vision right now for finishing the new book, Birth as a Hero's Journey: An Ancient Map for a Modern Birth. My muse is with me, putting fire under my feet--or my writing hand. Today there was a Conference Call on Birth as a Hero's Journey. 140 people came. Thank you... and if you missed the call, you can hear the recording at

Here is one idea presented on the call in the new book:

Drawing from the ancient, archetypal images of the "Huntress-Gatherer," we can develop a more sophisticated and meaningful approach to childbirth preparation.  Presently, our birth culture promotes the "Gatherer" archetype: parents and birth peeps are encouraged to gather lots of information, anecdotal stories, opinions,  statistics, and things we might need to carry with us to Laborland. It's easy to roam about carrying our big basket, filling it up and up, even trading bits while we visit and gather with other women or groups. We can fill our baskets fairly mindlessly as we talk and laugh and gossip, maybe not even notice what fell into our basket. It's easy to become very attached to what's in our basket, and not want to let bits go.

In line with the study of Masculine and Feminine energies and polarity, the Gatherer is in her feminine aspect. It's what women  do (or the feminine aspect of men, too), we gather, store, save bits and pieces that might come in handy in the future. When we are in our Gatherer, and we talk with others, we don't want single word answers, we want to get the whole scoop, the why, when, where, who details, the berries, the leaves and the roots... put them all in our basket... for future use. So this is the part of modern woman that responds to evidence-based preparation: this approach fills our baskets and we feel full and ready for the future.

What is missing in present-day preparation for the ordeals that may present during the childbearing year and the emergence of the new role as parent is the qualities and skills of the Huntress.

While the Gatherer gathers in groups as part of a social activity, the Huntress requires introspective attention, patience, deliberate focus and solitude to study patterns of thought and behavior in herself  and "out there."  A Huntress first must learn to hunt; for humans it is not innate but a skill that must be learned through discipline and from lots of trial and error, or more efficiently from an experienced hunter. Hunger for something in particular awakens the Huntress archetype-- but without the skills she will scare away her prey and remain hungry; she may even give herself away and become the prey!

Cultivating the Huntress develops the masculine aspects of herself. The Huntress has a kind of internal intelligence; a primal instinct and a sharp intuition; keen awareness of the space around her,; she notices small changes early and the habits of others (lest she become their prey); she conserves energy so that every act counts (rather than hit and miss, or reactive).  The Huntress is the Master of Awareness.

As you can see, this model does not preserve or promote magical, idealistic, rebellious, or outcome-focused birth preparation. It is designed to help the Child-Mother, Child-Father (or new Child-Birth Peep) "grow up" and develop adult thinking and skills that may be necessary to negotiate the uncertainties and Ordeal of labor and postpartum.

How do we develop both aspects of the Huntress-Gatherer in childbirth preparation? If one aspect is already strong in an initiate (or in your classes), how can you (the Mentor) help cultivate the less developed aspect so parents'  preparation is well-rounded before the Ordeal?

The first step is to study and know the Huntress-Gatherer within you. If one is undeveloped, make an effort to bring those qualities forward and see what happens in your life. Birthing From Within processes and classes are designed to do this... but it is important for each of us to explore the possibilities completely to become Masters of Awareness in our own lives.




Birthing From Within has been teaching this model, as it is being developed, since 2007. Our lawyers just applied for registered trademark. A new website will be up soon.