The Greek Goddess Maia is the Goddess of Midwifery, and one of the Seven Sisters, represented by the stars of the Pleiades, who are also known as the Seven Midwives. Maia was was said to be the grandmother of magic as she was the mother of Hermes, the winged messenger and Greek god of magic. Maia lived in a cave, on the top of a mountain, reserved from civilization, where she midwifed and healed those who came to her. Maia is an ancient archetype of the shamanic midwife and the female shaman.
The shaman traditionally lives on the edge of civilization, where spirit and nature touch. The shaman seeks wisdom and healing from nature, the cosmos, and the more-than-human world. Healing comes from our soul, and medicine come from nature and spirit through dreams, visions, art, song, and divine transformation.
Shamanic midwifery is the ancient healing art of soul birthing. It is traditional midwifery in the deepest sense. The tools of the shamanic midwife are spiritual counseling, transformational ritual, drumming, dance, song, toning, chanting, massage, hands-on healing, herbs, bathing, and prayer. Through theses healing arts that blend traditional medicine with indigenous spirituality, the midwife supports the balance of the body, heart, and soul with nature, spirit, and the planet.
Through education, self-empowerment, and natural healing, and spiritual awakening women and men are guided to midwife themselves - to bring to light the healing and creative power within.
In childbirth, the women midwife themselves, while supported physically, psychological, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and socially by their loved ones and the shamanic midwives who are called by spirit to clear the path and hold the circle for souls to be born in whole health, peacefully, gracefully, and aware.
The hands of the shamanic midwife and the divine love of Source, are always available for the laboring and ill, but the focus is upon supporting the individual through the self-actualization of their soul’s higher purpose, guidance, and divine journey.
The midwife sits in the corner singing, drumming, or doing handiwork while the birthing women moans with the expansive rushes of labor. She waits patiently, honored the baby’s gentle passage, holding the sacred circle for the women to transform into mother and the baby’s soul to become deeply rooted in the baby’s body and extremely sensitive nervous system.
With a deep understanding of birth ecology, and using the five elements to balance and ease labor, the midwife prepares the warm water bath for the mother. The alchemical transformation of fire and water create the warm bath to ease the mama’s pains. She massages herbal oil on the mothers back, transforming her muscles from tense to relaxed. She tones, sings, and breathes with the mama nurturing her with ancient wisdom and effective healing techniques while she cooperates in the intimate dance of life with her baby.
The shamanic midwife provides care for women in all the cycles of sexuality - menstrual health, fertility, pregnancy and birth, and menopause, as well as providing massage, herbs, and spiritual healing for community health, and easing the discomfort of the dying. Traditional midwives and wise women healers provided care throughout the whole cycle of life, through birth, childhood, adolescence, maturity, procreation, and death.
Shamanism is a practice founded upon ecological philosophy in which seekers open to wisdom of the natural living world. Trance journeying enables a shaman to cross the threshold into transpersonal consciousness to learn healing, divination, or sacred knowledge. Trance states are induced through dance, drumming, psychotropic plants, breathwork, and meditation, as well as naturally achieved by women through the blood mysteries. In matrifocal cultures, there was no distinction between midwives and shamans. It was in later times that male healers became known as shamans or physicians, while women healers were given the title of witch or midwife.
Shamanic healers travel between the fabric of the physical world and the spiritual and psychic worlds that are interwoven within our living existence.
The shamanic midwife is a doorkeeper. The wise woman midwife taught the other women the mystery of their blood. She taught the younger women of herbs and how to heal. She rubbed their bellies while pregnant, and held their hands while dying. A doorkeeper is a healer and visionary. A doorkeeper mediates the balance between the human community and the greater living earth. She teaches and guides so that others may be guides, healers, and storytellers.
Vicki Noble, a teacher of female shamanism, writes in Shakti Woman that the earliest human paintings found depict pregnant women in states of ecstasy and spirit journeying. Circa 30,000 B.C., they are sheltered deep within an underground maze, in the caverns of Pech-Merle in Spain. The pregnant female figures are bird-headed and headless. The headless woman represents ecstasy, while the bird headed woman represents spirit journeying. The figures embody shamanic consciousness through their divine connection between the earth and spirit. The full belly and pendulous breasts of the figures illustrate the life giving power of the Goddess.
The Goddess - God-us - God - Source - Spirit - Matrix - Universe - Nature - Energy - this divine force exists within our bodies, heart, spirit, and infinite space - it is the field that connects us to everything else in the universe.