- Visiting caves,
- craving time “just being” in my home,
- feeling engulfed by a dark forest,
- the shroud of dark clouds making the new moon absent from the sky,
- wrapping the comforting waters of a warm bath around my body,
- a little “am I pregnant?” wondering (answer: no),
- aching for my upcoming visit to stay with my mum
… the past couple of weeks have held a lot of imagery for me that, like this time of year, speaks of the darkness of the womb. That hidden place of mystery, transformation, creation, growth, nurture and protection.
I see it that nature has released her fruit and leaves and so on – like a woman births her child, then the placenta, then the blood she releases for the few weeks after. The earth – and the womb – are now empty and rest to heal and to prepare for conception again. I see it as the space in between one life and another. The space of transformation, of the death that is necessary for new life. It’s a space that loss and grief can be held and felt in; I’ve heard many mothers say that, as much as they of course celebrated the birth of their baby, they mourned for the loss of their bump (of their full womb).
Before I had Dylan, I viewed the womb from pretty much a purely physiological reproductive perspective. I wondered how I would feel about my womb and cycle after we’d had all the children we wanted – and how women who don’t want children at all feel about their womb. Experiences I’ve since had and people I’ve since met have lead me to see the womb space (including where a woman no longer has a physical womb) as having a far greater purpose than growing babies. I agree that it is the powerful seat of a much broader creativity; a beautiful place where passions, ideas, healing, intuition and many more things – as well as babies – are birthed from. Many creative women feel changes in their flow of this energy in line with their monthly cycle too; surely deserving honour, care and gratitude to be lavished upon our amazing wombs. I know from experience that it can be hard to feel positively towards a womb that gives pain month on month. There are people far more expert than me in these matters; I’d recommend Dr Marilyn Glenville to start.
At this time of year, I take from nature the lesson that we – men and women – need to nurture ourselves to keep us fertile for what we want to invite into and to grow in our lives, that we need to allow ourselves to mourn for what we’ve lost and voluntarily let go of, that we need to rest or retreat when our bodies or hearts call us to. A few days before Samhain three years ago, I sat down in a Buddhist temple built in a cave in a forest in Thailand, shut my eyes and immediately felt as though I was in the womb, the womb of the earth; held safe and protected, being nourished with what I needed to grow and blossom. I shed a few tears and gave silent honour and thanks to this feeling, at this spot where people of a slightly different spiritual path had felt drawn to make a shrine to honour their teacher and express their gratitude. The caves that I stood in the small, dark mouths of recently – Somerset caves that Rob knows well from his uni caving club days – are a little different from those Thai ones pictured. Yet in speaking of the path to the great womb of the earth mother and the mystery, healing and nurture held there, they invited me to connect with that place within myself and with the healing, nurturing and transformations needed in my own life right now. ♥