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Peace on Earth Begins with Birth! Goddess Mandala Greeting Card Bundle

November 2015 042Happy Holidays from Brigid’s Grove! We’ve created a fun, free bundle of Goddess Greeting Cards for you to use this year. Your download includes:

  • Black and white and color versions of two different card designs
  • A black and white Celtic Roots card specifically for winter (this is my favorite!)
  • Three coloring pages to offer you a sacred pause in the midst of holiday hubbub.
  • You can also download a goddess mandala desktop background

The cards are laid out to print two to a sheet. Simply cut the pages in half and then fold and, voilà, you have nifty greeting cards ready to send or give to friends. You may color the designs or leave them in simple black and white. Or, print out the already colored versions.

DOWNLOAD YOUR BUNDLE

Other ideas:

  • Cut out the circles on the cards, color them, and make them into bookmarks for your women’s circle or to have an easily mailable, simple, cost-effective tiny present for the holidays. After coloring, mount the circle onto a bookmark length piece of cardstock and laminate (or, simply cover on both sides with clear conNovember 2015 086tact paper). You can also embellish with stickers, affirming messages, and additional drawing, doodling, or collage. Gel pens are amazing for coloring these, but regular markers or colored pencils also work. I incorporated Womanrunes into some of my bookmarks.
  • Have coloring pages or cards available at your holiday event and encourage people to take some time to relax and enjoy coloring together.
  • Print a batch of cards out in black and white and have them available for quick notes of affirmation, greeting, or inspiration, and tuck them in with other mail that goes out for the holidays.
  • A doula friend is printing the “Peace on Earth” birth goddess mandala cards to send out to local hospital staff as her holiday greeting this year. If you’re a doula or childbirth educator, you may wish to do this too!12291710_10208257978597138_8682294194396026468_o
  • Let your kids color pages or cards to give to others as simple gifts (my daughter has been making bookmarks with me).
  • Feel free to share your finished designs with us on Instagram using #brigidsgrove or #creativespiritcircle

Membership in our Creative Spirit Circle is FREE and packed with beautiful, bountiful resources, including a free Womanrunes e-course, a private Facebook group, Red Tent materials, birth blessing posters, access to Divine Imperfections sculptures at up to 50% off, and more. It also includes our weekly newsletter filled with tidbits from our shop, family, and life as well as ceremony outlines, articles, sneak peeks, coupons, and special freebies.

Guest Post: Holiday Coping: Dealing With Infertility or Adoption Process During The Festive Season

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I distinctly remember sitting through Thanksgiving and Christmas after the loss of my third baby. The sense of hollowness. The sense of having to put on a happy face. Guilt for laughing. Guilt for not laughing. Going through the motions. Pretending to be okay. When I received this short guest post on coping with infertility during the holidays, it brought back those memories of tension, strain, and grief.

Executive Director of The Adoption Consultancy and BeyondInfertility.com Nicole Witt–remembers a personal story of “holiday coping” years ago during the festive holidays:

Early on in Nicole’s marriage, before anyone knew that she and her husband were having fertility struggles, Nicole was at a family holiday gathering.  A family member started showing her pictures of a recent get-together she had had with her college girlfriends.  As she showed Nicole each picture, the only information she gave to her about each woman was what children she had.  Such as, “Here’s Susie. She has a 6 year old boy and a 4 year old girl.”  “And here’s Jodie who’s a stay-at-home mom to her 5 year old twin girls….”  It seemed to be how she defined each woman and it left Nicole wondering how this family member would define her to others.  Was Nicole nothing without kids?  This is just one scenario that someone may have to cope with this holiday season.

We all have that crazy cousin, drunk uncle, overly-concerned parent or blunt friend who might say or do something this holiday that will make us cringe, but here are some tips on how to cope from Nicole Witt:

  1. Think Ahead: Make a plan ahead of time.  This can include practicing responses to probing questions that you know you’ll be asked.  Or it can be a signal to your partner that it’s time to fake a sickness and leave.  It can also be recruiting and educating trusted family members on how & when to redirect inappropriate dinner table conversations so that you don’t have to.
  2. Take “Me” Time: Step away.  This was the most effective tip for me.  I would just take a few minutes in the bathroom to myself for some deep breaths and refocusing.  Once I had gathered myself, I would have the strength to rejoin the group, at least for a little while.
  3. It is OK to Say “No!”: Say ‘no’ to invitations that will be too difficult for you.  It’s OK to not accept every invitation you get.  Even if it’s for your family’s traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  Maybe create an urgent trip that you need to go on that week.  Although it may be difficult to do, if it’s easier than attending the event, don’t hesitate.

During the holiday season this year, The Adoption Consultancy and BeyondInfertilty.com along with Nicole are inviting others to share their holiday coping stories via @AdoptConsultant and @BeyondIF with the hashtag #holidaycoping.  We would love to hear from your readers this holiday season to share their stories, whether they are funny, sad, frustrating or heartwarming.  Everybody needs a place to vent to an audience that truly understands.

Happy “Coping” Holidays.

Tuesday Tidbits: Childbirth, Happiness, and The Sacred Feminine

November 2015 040Three articles to read this week:

  • 10 Unexpected Things To LOVE About Childbirth – Mothering. A lovely quote amidst several lovely quotes: “Contractions are beautiful in their own right. The peaks. The valleys. The steady, increasing rhythm of this glorious natural function. They are reflected countless times in the world around us, from the lapping of the ocean waves to the hills and valleys of nature, to the endless rhythm of the seasons. They come and go involuntarily, but unlike many other uncontrollable body functions, in the end you get a baby. Awesome.”
  • I’ve been heard to say: “maybe nothing really needs to change, just how I think needs to change.” And, my beloved Wayne Dyer always used to say: “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. So, I appreciated this article about why complaining is bad for your health: “Therefore, your first mystical scientific evidence: your thoughts reshape your brain, and thus are changing a physical construct of reality.”

Source: The Science of Happiness: Why complaining is literally killing you. | Curious Apes

  • And, wow! A treasure-trove of links within this article:

But virtually every world religion has some revered mother figure — Durga (Hinduism), Tara (Buddhism), Rachel (Judaism), Mary (Christianity), Khadijah (Islam) — and even some newer religions have strong female mother figures, such as the Heavenly Mother in Mormonism. Scholars say many are linked to the prehistorical idea of the “sacred” or “divine feminine” — the worship and reverence of the female.

Is there something intrinsically spiritual or religious in motherhood? In the feminine? How might this be a bridge between different faiths? What role does the ancient concept of the sacred feminine continue to play in contemporary religions? In the religious and spiritual lives of contemporary women who are — and are not — mothers?

Source: Spiritual motherhood: Finding common ground in the ‘sacred feminine’ | ReligionLink

Other news:

We are participating in a fun pay-in-forward giveaway on Instagram via Mother From the Heart.

We’re also part of the Holiday Goddess Gift Guide | The Motherhouse of the Goddess:

12208600_765905926889347_5019755900831306084_nOur Christmas ornament sales have been beyond what we imagined, so we’ve had to stop accepting orders until later this week to give us time to catch up!

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National Fertility Awareness Week

October 2015 010In the UK, it is National Fertility Awareness Week, bringing attention and support to the #1in6 couples who experience challenges with their fertility.

We’ve created a series of images for use on social media and they’re available via the Brigid’s Grove blog: National Fertility Awareness Week (#1in6) – Brigid’s Grove

Talk Books: Earthprayer, Birthprayer, Lifeprayer, Womanprayer

Looking for readings for women’s programs or mother blessings? My newest book might be just the collection you need!Earthprayer_Birthpr_Cover_for_KindleThis the wisdom
of woodspaces
this is the meditation
of Earthplaces…

Earthprayer, Birthprayer, Lifeprayer, Womanprayer is a 114 page book of earth-based poetry containing four thematic sections all cropSeptember 2015 025rooted in connection to the land and to the cycles of life. This poetry collection is one of the results of my committed, devotional year-long “woodspriestess” practice. I maintained this practice throughout 2013, eventually spending approximately 330 days during the year in the same place in the woods listening to what they had to tell me about life, myself, and the Earth.

In late December 2012, I decided to begin a year-long spiritual practice of checking in every day at rocks in the woods behind my house. I committed to spending at least a few minutes there every day, rain or sleet or shine, with children or without, and whether day or night throughout 2013. My idea was to really, really get to know the space deeply. To notice that which changed and evolved on a daily basis, to see what shared the space with me, to watch and listen and learn from and interact with the same patch of ground every day and discover what I could learn about it and about myself. I wanted to really come into a relationship with the land I live on, rather than remain caught up in my head and my ideas and also the sometimes-frantic feeling hum of everyday life as a parent and professor. cropSeptember 2015 021

I tend towards a Goddess-oriented, panentheistic, spiritual naturalism. When I enter the woods, I often experience what I have termed “theapoetics”–-spontaneous, spoken aloud poetry that brings me into direct connection with that source of life I call the Goddess. These theapoetical explorations form the heart of the book.

A digital version is also available in print-ready pdf. If you previously purchased the 60 page digital version, we are happy to offer you a 20% discount on the newly expanded version of the book. Please contact us for the discount code to use.

The book is also easily available with free Prime shipping from Amazon US and Amazon UK.

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Be Your Own Publisher Author Interview Series

BYOPInterviewSeriesFall2015I’m excited to be a part of the author interview series leading up to the next session of Lucy Pearce’s Be Your Own Publisher e-course. We signed up for this course last year and it is a treasure trove of information (so much that I haven’t finished it yet!). My interview will air on October 1.

Everyone who signs up for the free author interview series will have access to it as well as Module 1 of the Course FREE as a thank you.

I love the opportunity to connect with people around the world thanks to the internet. Lucy and I chatted away via Skype like old friends even though she is in Ireland and I am here in Missouri!

Disclosure: affiliate link included.

Talk Books: A Passion for Birth

Sheila

“We are only now beginning to discover the long term destructive effects on human beings and families of treated women as if they were containers to be opened and relieved of their contents.”

–Sheila Kitzinger

Sheila Kitzinger’s new autobiography, A Passion for Birth, is an absolute treasure. One of the most long-term and pivotal influences in the world of birth activism, I have quoted her work more times than I can count. In fact, I judge the quality of a book by the number of pages I dog-ear to return to. I turned down the corners of so many pages in A Passion for Birth, that it will take me a year’s worth of blog posts to share all the provocative quotes that caught my attention! While Sheila always included a personal flavor in her other books, this book is truly about her, her life, her passions, her family, her activism, her work. Interwoven throughout is the social justice oriented thread of her absolutely devoted dedication to women, feminism, and childbirth activism. Her book is very real, relatable, and readable as well as often charming. She doesn’t hold back from treading into controversial waters, however, and she is straightforward and unapologetic even when writing about topics that can be divisive in the birth world.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover the full-color series of photos in the center insert to the book, they range from Kitzinger’s childhood, a homebirth picture of the birth of one of her daughters, and ending with a poignant photo of Sheila’s casket, decorated by her family, resting easily on some chairs in the dining room of home she so loved.

An internationally recognized author and expert, Kitzinger was an anthropologist and one of the first professional people to acknowledge that women’s birth wisdom, stories, and experiences are worthy of study and attention. Spanning an impressive career of more than fifty years, Kitzinger’s anthropological and activist work was undertaken at a global level and her clear and unwavering commitment to social justice work and activism is a thread running strongly throughout her entire autobiography. The book takes us from Sheila writing and studying while sitting in a playpen in her yard (an effort to have a work area undisturbed by her five children!) to traveling with her family to Jamaica to study the birth customs and stories of the women there. Her identity as an anthropologist is clearly reflected in the cross-cultural birth experiences she surveys and describes and the autobiography includes lots of travel! It also includes homey touches like favorite recipes and descriptions of family traditions as well as stories of her own four homebirths, including that of twin daughters. I found myself wanting more content about her life with children, her life as a mother, which, while acknowledged and integrated through the text, was curiously absent from much of the narrative’s exploration. I was also curious to know more about the accident and serious brain injury experienced by her daughter Polly, which was mentioned somewhat incidentally (though it clearly had a significant impact on the family), as was the passing mention in a photo caption referencing her husband Uwe’s eye removal surgery.

Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in birth work, birth activism, feminist studies, women’s health, or anthropology, A Passion for Birth was compelling, inspirational, funny, straightforward, assertive, honest, candid, wry and dedicated.

“The way we give birth is an expression of culture. It can be spontaneous and instinctual, but it is still patterned by the society in which we live.”

–Sheila Kitzinger

Stay tuned for an ongoing series of themed posts based on additional content and thought-provoking quotes!

In a pioneering career spanning more than 50 years she campaigned for and oversaw a radical change in maternity care, placing women’s rights and choices at the very heart of childbirth. Her passion, research and knowledge of childbirth have had enormous impact on millions of women worldwide.

A Passion for Birth | Sheila Kitzinger | Pinter & Martin Publishers.

Publishing and purchasing details: 

Author: Sheila KitzingerSheila
Published: 7 May 2015
Binding: hardback
Format: 240 x 160 mm
Pages: 384
Illustrations: colour and b/w photographs
Pinter & Martin edition available: worldwide
Translation rights: Pinter & Martin

Also available from: Amazon.co.uk | Wordery | The Hive | Waterstones | Foyles | Mail Bookshop | Amazon.com

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.

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