Jackson’s Birth & the Meaning of the SSW symbol

I’m often asked what the origin story for the School of Shamanic Womancraft symbol is…

So here it is!

In 1992 after birthing my third baby, Jackson (my second HBAC – homebirth after caesarean section), I wrote a short story and drew a picture to describe where I went during the birthing process.  Little did I know that 19 years later I would start a Women’s Mysteries School and that my drawing would be the basis of the symbol to represent it.

Leia Sidery, who I have known since she was five years old and who was at Jackson’s birth, and my firstborn Sam Thompson worked to add the ouroborus and create the symbol for the School of Shamanic Womancraft.

The oroborus means the forever, never ending-ness of everything… Women’s Mysteries.

The symbol is multilayered with meaning.
The yoni
The dark moon, the void and the new moon
The void
The space in between
Death and rebirth

The space in between –
Where the magic happens
Where the healing happens
Where the integration happens
Where the insights come

…there in the forever, never ending-ness of everything… the place I went to when giving birth to my last baby …

Jackson’s Birth Story


I found myself slumped at the bottom of a deep well.

Slumped over, close to death, defeated, unable to take any more pain, I could go no further.

When I tried to get up I felt the frantic desperation of freshly caged wild animal mixed with a knowing that time was running out.

I felt the loving willing presence of my fellow chosen travellers but I could not speak to them.

My lover I was behind me, calm and strong.

I couldn’t reach him either.

Alone and dying I went into the pain, grabbed it, turned inside out, and became one with this almighty force that was killing me.

That was when my rational mind got out of the way.

My baby inside me, my inner wisdom and the birth force all joined together.

I was staring into a blue and green eye, into the other side, into the mystery.

Nothing else existed.

My only contact with the outside world was my hand on my vulva.

It was hard to differentiate the other parts – there was no light, no sound, I was pushing, I was the head, it was my head I was pushing, I was the push through my vagina.

I saw and felt the landmarks, I knew where I was every inch of the way.

I felt calm, sure, beyond pain, beyond fear.

I simply was, navigating my inner world with my awesome company, there was no other way.

As the baby started leaving my body, I could feel both inside and outside my body at the same time.m In both worlds and at the junction all at one moment.

The precious little person with whom I was flying through the dark was ready to go, to leave, to arrive, to be born.  There was a split second, an exquisite moment when we parted, my baby/myself/the force and I, to meet again outside.

Then my hands became the hands of a great power from within and above, excellent, calm birthing manoeuvres aiding, guiding the baby from my body through the warm soup that Paul and I simmered in, to greet those chosen to welcome him.

And there we all were, each of us having our own unique experience, and all bathed in the love and the wonder of that magical, mysterious ‘thing’ we call birth.

* * *

The Ouroboros or uroborus is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail. Originating in ancient Egyptian iconography, the ouroboros entered western tradition via Greek magical tradition and was adopted as a symbol in Gnosticism and Hermeticism and most notably in alchemy. The term derives from Ancient Greek: οὐροβόρος, from οὐρά (oura), “tail” + βορά (bora), “food”,mfrom βιβρώσκω (bibrōskō), “I eat”.

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