the cojones of wombs


What does God do all day long? God gives birth. From all eternity God lies on a maternity bed giving birth. -Meister Eckhart


It seems that for some time I have been giving wombs only partial credit.  Just look at the adjectives I’ve used to describe them…receptive, nurturing, soft, warm, expansive, embracing, protective, dark, safe. These adjectives have served me well along my journey of healing. Whether I was expressing them to understand myself in relation to another, or to understand myself in relation to myself, or to understand myself in relation to the Sacred One, or to Life itself, I have sought to claim and bless the receptive and incubating qualities of each.


I have imagined myself in the womb of God, deep in Her belly, swimming in her waters, being held and dreamt into being. I have imagined receiving God in my own womb, nurturing what longs to be made incarnate through and in me.  I have been a womb for others, a place of sanctuary and acceptance, of nourishment and embrace. And I have imagined Life itself to be a great womb that nurtures Love’s growth and new incarnations of Spirit.


What I have missed acknowledging is the great power of the womb to thrust forth, to exert massive force and expel into being.  Even as I envisioned life’s journey of growth as a series of concentric wombings, in which we are nurtured into growth in one womb until that space begins to feel constricting and then are birthed into the next, I missed this overwhelmingly muscular part. Certainly I understood the painful aspect of  labor, most especially during times of transition when contractions seem to be unceasing in intensity and ultimately necessary in order to break free from old spaces and move into the light of some new way of being ( and ironically, where we necessarily feel quite  frighteningly small again for a time). And yet, caught up in the pain, I missed the vast power behind that impulse to push through.


So maybe this then was the grief that was contained in the rage I experienced around my granddaughter’s births — a potent response to a very real loss. I had known that the rage that arose in me was too powerful to have been solely about the medicalization of birth. Much more than that, those experiences felt utterly disempowering and traumatic to me somehow, as if something crucial and essential had been oppressed, stripped and annihilated — a woman’s knowing and trusting of her deeper self and strength.  So saddened and angered was I that my daughters-in-law were not granted access to this hidden, yet profound feminine power, as I recalled in a flash that childbirth had been such a powerfilled time for me, a time when I’d glimpsed something of my spirit/body’s innate capacity and strength. This newest disempowerment felt, to me, a further domestication of Her wild power, a further suppression and silencing of Her innate wisdom, the last vestige of the wilder-ness of women tamed. Like a managed landscape stripped of  its trees, its creatures  were forced into either fleeing or hiding. That is, if they were not completely exterminated.


Of course, the loss of  this wild creature I was mourning, was me.


I think on some level I have associated the wielding of force-full power—the power of exertion, the power to make happen, the power to thrust forth, the power to assert and send out – with the masculine. As such, I have struggled mightily with extricating and redeeming ‘powerful’ from ‘violation’ and so have likely put my own power to sleep whenever I detected its pulse. Though I have come to know healthy men, who use their power ‘with’ (rather than ‘over’) in empowering and love-making ways, I still associate masculine power with controlling force and domination, and I haven’t been able to reconcile that kind of power in me.  I have been so afraid of violating another, or myself, with my strength that I haven’t allowed myself to be strong. But clearly here is a redeemed view of power for me,  a feminine power, something my own body in its wisdom and strength knows and does naturally.


So, what does this mean for me today?  Firstly, I see clearly that the way I have understood compassion (for self and for others) is also but a partial understanding…. the accepting, nurturing, embracing kind of compassionate understanding for all, which in truth often slips into indulgence and enabling.  But the word, ‘compassion’ means, ‘with PASSION’ for goodness sake!  How might that compassion be expressed by me equally through the energy of pushing forth—self or other– into the fullness of life?  How might I say ‘Yes, it is time,’ to this part that has been incubating, empower it to exert itself, to come forth into being? (Likewise, how might the Great Mother be expelling me into being?) This is perhaps the instinctual, wild self I have been seeking to reclaim…. assertive, empowered, expressive, pushing something into life because I know it is time for it to be free.


This is something of the yesthat I felt several months ago, when remembering and tapping into the courage, re-called and reclaimed from an earlier me, who had been thrust into life and had thrived.


Yet, I wonder if I will ever feel that power in me again. Is it even possible to choose and to harness such an energy, or will IT instead always possess and move through me in a wave of ‘NOW’, ‘THIS’, ‘HERE’!?  I have frequently noted that a woman’s experience of surrendering to what is happening to her, which then leads her to knowing her strength, seems to be quite different than a man’s, with less choice somehow.  Perhaps this is not a universal experience and has only been mine, but things seem to ‘happen to’ a woman that are often out of her ability to control (though medical technologies may be close changing that)…. her body changes and goes through its cycles, the embryo is impregnated and implanted beneath her awareness, labor begins and the urge to push overtakes, and one day the cycles end with or without her permission.  A child is born that is dependent upon her, a child is alarmingly ill or is threatened, a man leaves her alone with children to raise. She cannot say ‘no’ to these things.  These instinctual drives require and reveal her true strength.


Each time, something in her rises to some occasion, beyond her control, with power and wisdom and grace. Yet this  raw energy seems to go back inside to lie dormant, latent until it is needed again.  Is it possible then to open that door willingly? To tap into that passion and power and singular focus?  To feel that power for herself? Or must the impetus always come from something outside of or beyond herself?


My womb is no longer in the business of making babies. Does that mean its energy is available to me now in a new way, for a new purpose? Oh how I want to feel the power again of that  ‘NOW’ , ‘THIS’, ‘HERE’, to feel the unmistakable, instinctual, unstoppable power of my womb to bring something forth with sheer grace.  I want to be swept into that process, to participate with its raw energy, to feel its undeniable rightness, its undoubted insistence that now is the time, here is the place, and this is the thing I am here to do. 


Perhaps Goddess, in Her great compassion, will just have to give me a push.







2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Traildancer
    Apr 27, 2011 @ 22:51:00

    Wow! What a beautiful and unique way of expressing these thoughts! I can feel the contractions of the laboring masculine energy coming forth from your words!



  2. andie33
    Apr 28, 2011 @ 04:08:58

    I have to say ‘WOW’ as well. Beautifully written and so reflective and well thought out. This post is a gift to all women.



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