Birthrites: Birth as a Rite of Passage

cropMolly 211“Woman-to-woman help through the rites of passage that are important in every birth has significance not only for the individuals directly involved, but for the whole community. The task in which the women are engaged is political. It forms the warp and weft of society.”

–Sheila Kitzinger (Rediscovering Birth)

“I love and respect birth. The body is a temple, it creates its own rites, its own prayers…all we must do is listen. With the labor and birth of my daughter I went so deep down, so far into the underworld that I had to crawl my way out. I did this only by surrendering. I did this by trusting the goddess in my bones. She moved through me and has left her power in me.”

~Lea B., Fairfax, CA (via Mama Birth)

I have long held that birth is a rite of passage worthy of acknowledgement, care, and deep respect. This post is third in a series of short posts based on the book Birthrites by Jackie Singer. Singer writes powerful about birth as a rite of passage here:

Birth is the archetypal rite of passage for a woman, containing the essential elements of any ritual: separation from normal life, a profound transition during which the participants occupy a timeless time, followed by re-entry into society in a changed state. It can also be seen as a holy sacrament; the entry of a soul from another plan into this earthly dimension. Birth has always been, and still is, a momentous event, attended by great hopes as well as genuine risks, and one in which people call on a variety of powers for support and protection…


…such a calling in of the spirit is still possible today, whether the birth is at home in a candle-lit pool, or by Caesarean in a brightly lit hospital…

Some collected quotes from past posts on this theme…

‘All cultures believe that women become better and more generous through the process of giving birth. That is why some cultures use words such as ‘sacrifice,’ ‘suffering’ and ‘labour.’ These terms can seem overwhelming and to be avoided’ however, seen from a different viewpoint, childbirth helps us to become strong, resourceful and determined.’ (The Pink Kit)


via Birth as a Rite of Passage & ‘Digging Deeper’ | Talk Birth.


‘Birthing is also a rite of passage–into parenthood–and like any other passage, it comes upon us and we just have to deal with it. It’s an awe-inspiring experience, and it would be perfectly natural to want to prepare in some way. And you can do that. But to some extent the experience is still out of your control.’ (The Pink Kit)


via Birth as a Rite of Passage | Talk Birth.


“Childbirth is a rite of passage so intense physically, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, that most other events in a woman’s life pale next to it. In our modern lives, there are few remaining rituals of initiation, few events that challenge a person’s mettle down to the very core. Childbirth remains a primary initiatory rite for a woman.” –from the book MotherMysteries


via Thesis Tidbits: Birth as a Shamanic Experience | Talk Birth.


‘So how can today’s modern goddesses, and in particular mammas-to-be, prepare themselves for life’s many transitions? A good starting point is to create your own rite of passage for whatever transition you may be going through. Pregnant women could change their planned baby shower to a Mother Shower (also known as a Blessingway). Mother Showers celebrate and nurture the mother rather than focusing exclusively on the child and are a growing trend amongst women. They offer pregnant women a chance to honour their pregnancy journey, to enjoy symbolic rituals of preparation for the labour and birthing ahead and indulge in an afternoon of loving, nourishing attention from their closest friends and family. And yes, there are still cupcakes!’


–Kat Skarbek


via Rites of Passage… Celebrating Real Women’s Wisdom | Talk Birth.


Mother Blessing Complete Facilitator's Kit (complete blessingway ceremony guide & resource: birth goddess sculpture, and more)Related resources:

Mother Blessing Complete Facilitator’s Kit by BrigidsGrove on Etsy

Birth Blessing Chakra Attunement Pocket Altar mini by BrigidsGrove

Ritual Recipe Kit for Women’s Ceremonies digital by BrigidsGrove

Earthprayer Birthprayer Lifeprayer Womanprayer by BrigidsGrove

This post is part of a short series of posts from the book Birthrites by Jackie Singer. The first was about ritual and the second was a meditation for before a cesarean birth.

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One thought

  1. I so appreciate how you didn’t focus on the birth itself, because so much of giving birth can be out of our control. Instead, you focused on how we prepare for and look at birth as more of the rite of passage. I am so grateful for that. Too many leaders focus on the birth, and as a woman whose first birth was a stillbirth, no matter my intention-setting or attempting to be empowered, my subsequent births were still fraught with fear and trauma, and those who focus on the birth leave me feeling guilty and disempowered. Not so with this — thank you! And I totally agree. I loved my mama blessing ceremony that I had with my last little one. And yes to cupcakes! 😀

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