September 28, 2016
Today is Mothers Day. Feeling to tune into the many wonders that woman is,….this morning first thing i do is head to book self here in Planet Corroboree where i know i will find something special to honour mothers. Intuitively i am drawn to the book “Men’s business, Women’s business”, and open it to find perfectly what im seeking…and i’m warmed in my heart that it also beautifully honours the man in his way of support in the birth of his child. This is so powerful!
“In traditional culture, as a woman’s pregnancy becomes evident it is shared quietly, almost secretly with other women. This is Women’s business so it is considered indiscreet, even rude, for it to be referred to directly or discussed by men. They simply go about their business and prepare the father for parenthood and full status within the tribe. Older women extract oil to rub on the pregnant woman’s belly. They protect her, teach her what to eat, what to avoid, and prepare her for the birth of her child. She must not eat bandicoot with claws, nor goanna or turtle because these might make the baby “slow”. When her times comes, the women take her to their special place for birthing, dig a pit in the ground and place rocks on either side of it so the woman can kneel comfortably on the rocks. they prepare a fire, collect water, special leaves and herbs, and sing.
Far away in another camp, the men and adolescent girls with their older women guardians watch the children.
The father is taken to a special place some distance away where older men loosen all his restrictive clothing and tie a hair belt around his girth. He holds the ends of the belt in his hands and tightens it to support himself. He lies back with his legs wide open and pulls on the belt ends to assist his wife to give birth to their child with his energy. He opens himself up to breathe in the wind, creating an open channel through his body. His breathing stimulates the breath of labor, the breathing, birthing Earth. He transmits his energy and breath to his wife.
The women attend the birth, assisting its process with song, rubbing, chanting, warmth, medicines, and reassurance. As soon as the baby emerges he held by one of the women while the mother births the placenta. Women take the placenta and prepare for its burial, singing the song of completion, returning to the Earth that was born of the Earth, a celebration and acknowledgment of life’s cycle of birth, death and renewal. The umbilical cord, already detached from the mother , is not finally tied off for another week, after which it is hung around the mother’s neck where it stays until the baby can crawl. At birth, the child is named after its father’s skin group, ancestors, and country, his mother’s country, and its birthplace. Then he is taken back to the camp to be offered to the father and all of the kin. The father is ritually consecrated in the completion of manhood, assuming grater responsibility and stature within the tribe. A celebratory djumba, or song and dance ceremony, is then performed by all the kinsfolk, giving the newborn his song for life.” Hannah Rachel Bell – Men’s Business Women’s Business”
I feel deeply touched to learn this today. A beautiful union of tribe to birth the new spirit coming through. I honour all mothers, and the men who lovingly stand beside them in wholeness, unity and love.
Photo from the book “Aboriginal Australia – 40,000 years of Aboriginal history”
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