On Turning 60

Here’s a fun photo of me, in my pyjamas, as usual!, with my magnificent new headpiece 60th birthday gift from Kristan, made by Smith Witch ErikaEvecomplete with our black cat Merlin!

It’s a big one, turning 60, I was actually a little bit surprised by the effect.

I feel an increased awareness of my mortality and with that the call for a reality check.

Where I am on the ‘wheel’, the map of the wisdom of the cycles, is equivalent to the Autumn Equinox and the Third-Quarter Moon (which is actually my natal lunar phase return, which adds a whole other extra power to now).

It’s also equivalent to the midway point of the Maga life phase.

And in terms of the wisdom of the cycles, which is the basic foundation of everything that I teach and live (as we all do whether we realise that or not!), this place midway through Autumn, and midway through the post menopausal Maga life phase is the time of the harvest, reflection, contemplation, letting go, decay and composting.

It’s also equivalent to sunset.

And when I say equivalent, I mean the same energies are represented in each of these phases of the cycle, and when you know that, so much more makes sense…

Turning 60, the midway point of the Maga life phase (after Mother before Crone) is ‘like’ sunset, the Third-Quarter Moon and the Autumn Equinox.

The reality check, the questions I am now asking myself, which aren’t actually new questions, but they have a heavier weight now, are:

Am I doing what I want to be doing?
Am I being who I want to be?

And, of course, this is a time for much gratitude and celebration of the harvest of my life, so far!

I’m pretty much doing what I want to be doing…
…I do want to get back up on the slackline (see image above!),
and ride our pony Tiny, and ski back country.
And, I want to learn to play the harp and be proficient at the sword.

My daughter asked me during my 60th birthday party speech when I said I want to be proficient at the sword – why?

And I said that I wanted to have the body strength and agility that wielding a sword would require. And I’d like to wield a sword!

And that makes sense since part of the story I tell myself I’m living is: I am a Warrior Queen.

I am a Warrior Queen of the Witch Tribe
and my practice is as Midwife.

I am on a mission.

I’m doing what I can to help shift a paradigm, by helping women awaken to their innate knowledge and wisdom and power.

Practically what that looks like is teaching teachers of the women’s mysteries,  honouring and celebrating rites of passage and healing from traumatic ones in our past, caring for the Earth and honouring the seasons and lunar cycles, welcoming girls to womanhood and teaching them the magic of the menstrual cycle, teaching the spiritual practice of menstruation, helping women prepare for birth by unravelling the fears that hold them hostage, helping women negotiate menopause with understanding and courage, bringing menstrual and menopause workplace policies to life and reclaiming death from medicine and hospitals.

I am part of the revolution.

I have a grand plan that I am headed towards, and everything, one way or another, is leading towards that.

My grandest vision is creating Global Sanctuaries for our Great Great Great Grandchildren.  On my death bed, I really, really want to know that I have done everything I could to make sure that the things that I think really matter are secured for the generations to come.

This includes birth, and I mean women giving birth under their own steam, fully supported, basically natural vaginal birth. Because that’s the ‘best’ start for babies and mothers… and obstetric help is essential when you need it, but obstructive and complicating when you don’t.

I read a quote from an obstetrician just this morning saying that the vaginal birth was outdated and overrated.[1] For fucks sake!

The other things I really care about are our other rites of passage, and I mean this for men and women – menarche for girls, puberty for boys, childbirth, menopause and death, and the menstrual cycle, and how we treat the Earth and the other animals.

The thing about rites of passage, is that they happen whether we pay attention to them or not.  Whatever happens is the rite of passage.

Here at 60, I’m living on the edge, far from the mainstream, in a bubble with other like-minded folk, and I know my job is actually pretty easy, because I mostly ‘preach to the converted.’

So, in this check-in with myself, I’m asking whether what I’m doing is actually really contributing to my mission… to help, however I can, to heal the wounded feminine and the wounded masculine of our patriarchal culture.

I know this must always start within – as within so without – and I’m doing my inner work and encouraging others to do the same.

That’s really what the School of Shamanic Womancraft is all about – the inner work we need to do to shift the paradigm, midwifing the women to do that and at the same time teaching them how to do that with others.

The gathering of the current School of Shamanic Womancraft Mullumbimby Four Seasons Journey that I am co-teaching with graduate teacher Sequoia Krop, that preceded my 60th birthday, was our Full Moon Gathering.  At this gathering the focus is on our ‘sacred wound’, known as an experience of trauma or wounding that happens in our childhood that we in turn unconsciously shape our lives around.

Our sacred wounds play out everyday and the strategies we developed to survive our trauma or wound turn out to be some of our greatest strengths.

My sacred wound has been very present recently, in perfect timing for this gathering.

I wrote about this traumatic childhood experience in my book Ten Moons: the Inner Journey of Pregnancy, about how it affected my first experience of giving birth nearly 33 years ago.  I did not realise it then, but of course, I have been holding that childhood trauma in my body.

A few years ago, actually just days before APHRA demanded that I change the name of the School of Shamanic Midwifery, I injured my hip.  It wasn’t a new thing, but it was the worst experience of an old thing.  I was doing interval training up a steep hill in the forest behind where we live and I pushed myself to keep going but this time doing that, as I had done that many, many times before, by the time I got home I could hardly walk.

What resulted was a journey of deep inner work that continues today and has resulted in me being fitter and stronger than I ever have been, and developing a core strength I’d never actually had before.  I was a bit sporty but not actually very strong.

I didn’t realise that at the time but the core strength I needed to have for my whole body to work and move properly, was the inner strength I needed to have to handle the threat from APHRA that they would impose $30,000 – $60,000 fines every time they saw shamanic midwifery written anywhere and everything I had to do and change within 30 days to avoid that.  And so, prepared with my new core strength, I was more able to take this news in my stride rather than be bowled over by it.  Clever timing!

It took another couple of years before I realised the connection between what was happening with my hip, my sacred wound and my menopause experience.

To cut a long story short, through the guidance of a Mermaid Sister, a brilliant bodyworker, I have been having regular internal, vaginal physiotherapy, with the a divine woman physiotherapist in Sydney, to release the held tension on the inside of my hip joint that was causing pain and limiting my physical abilities.

Of course this is been a shamanic experience, with memories, visions and emotions arising with each treatment.  I realised that I was holding my sacred wound trauma in my body, deep in my pelvis, and this had changed the structure of my hip, how I walked, created a bunion on my foot, and all that was arising for me in my menopause journey. I also found that this was a place I was storing shame.

Blessed be a conscious menopause!

“Menopause is designed to heal all the unhealed parts of you.”
Dr C. Northrup

So am I doing what I want to be doing?

Well, with my grandest vision of the Global Sanctuaries for our great-great-grandchildren, what that looks like right now is an international women’s mystery school, and finding the other people who want to work on the same vision.

I’m on my mission to help heal birth, continuing the lineage of my teacher Jeannine Parvati Baker… healing the earth …one birth at a time

And as a midwife I can see so many places that need attention, healing, for this to take place.

At a recent Becoming a Woman workshop with a group of girls who were pre-menarche and their mothers, one of the mothers asked me, as a midwife, why I was doing this work.  And I explained to her that menarche, and puberty for boys, is a place where we can do positive intervention to shift the paradigm.

If girls are welcomed into womanhood in an empowering way, then due to the connection between our menarche and our experiences of giving birth, they won’t ‘roll over’ and submit when an expert tells them they know their bodies better than them at birth.

I am on a mission.

I’m doing what I can to help shift a paradigm.

I have created an official healing modality – Shamanic Womancraft – and I have a school that teaches how to do that.

I am part of the revolution

Am I being who I want to be?

Sometimes not, but mostly yes.
I have a very high bar for myself…
‘choosing growth over comfort’ to quote my husband.

And after a recent fabulous webinar series with one of my Teachers Cedar Barstow from the Right Use Of Power Institute put on by FitT on Leadership Styles, Shame, and Resolving Difficulties in Relationship, I look forward now to being the best leader I can be, letting go of shame and being braver in conflict situations.

And of course, turning 60 is a time for much gratitude…

I am so grateful for my family – my children and grandchildren, for my beloved Paul.
I’m grateful for our wellness, our connection, our love.
I’m grateful for my extended family.
I am so grateful to live where I do, in the country.

My parents are both dead, I am the matriarch of our family, the oldest living female.

I am the Mother of four adults, the Grandmother of two boys, and as I say in my Instagram profile

I am a visionary, revolutionary Agent of the Goddess.

I’m grateful to have the opportunity to do the work I do.  I probably work too hard, but it is very important and urgent work – so I have to!

I am a Warrior Queen of the Witch Tribe
and my practice is as Midwife.

And at 60, either I’ve got better at explaining what I’m on about, or people are taking me more seriously, probably a bit of both.

I choose to live the Magical Life
and trust in the Good Reality…

 

 

[1]

Whynothome.com

“We need to reach OB/GYNs earlier too. I recently attended the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist annual meeting. A well respected OB there was arguing on the main convention stage that we cannot safely lower the c-section rate. Among other things he said,

“Vaginal birth is outdated and overrated.””

 

2 Comments

  1. Esther July 6, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Oh dear Jane this is so beautiful you are so beautiful amazing and strong so much love for you and what you do and stand for your work is incredible and sooo needed and worthwhile thankyou 💜
    Yours Esther 💗

  2. Natasha July 10, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    Axe!
    I am so deeply grateful that you are in the world, doing what you do, walking your talk… inspiring us all to do the same, to re-member, and re-write the story.
    Looking forward to learning from you again in August!
    Deepest bow to you xox

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