Poetry for Birthing New Being

This is one of my favourite poems to contemplate at the Seasonal Moment of Winter Solstice: it expresses so much for me of the journey into new being, and continues to at this time. Birthing is a shamanic act – it is frought with challenge and often takes one to the limits, yet eventually the joy of the new being overtakes the pain required to bring the new one forth, and all is well again … we hope that we will step into the power of being. As Starhawk says in Truth or Dare[1]:

We tell ourselves

   the cries we hear may be those of labor

  the pain we feel may yet be that of birth


camped on the frontier
of my life, pregnant with the future
I am comforted by you
star fixed in my sky
think of your courage
a knife being born in your belly
you fear a painful birth

Carol HiltnerFem
Heart Opening: Re-Emergence of the Sacred Feminine No.1″ (c) 2008 Carol Hiltner

for the world does not yet contain

the contours of our sharp new selves

we had known this behind our minds

for years when over coffee one quiet dawn

we discussed the journeys that we must make

each to create a world that can receive us

thru new birth canals that will not strangle

the erupting self, nor rupture the body in birth

I have come past outposts warning

not to forsake a history written

in advance – into light that scrapes

my eyes clear of learned cataracts

seeking fresh eyes that can see new

bone forming in flesh

but never suspending my gravity

for another’s, for tho clumsy

with my weight, I must trust it

always watching for those who thrust

into the light

at the same deep angle

their refractions echoing
in the well of the future
forming constellations
to chart our depth by

Cynthia Cook
New York City
(published in WOMANSPIRIT March 1980)


[1] Starhawk. Truth or Dare. SF: Harper and Row, 1990, p. 3.

[2] image: the work of the late Carol Hiltner, found online at http://altaimir.org/gallerystore.htm 

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Naturalistic Paganism

A community of Naturalistic & Humanistic Pagans

Celebration of Gaia

Marking Our Time on Earth

Stuart McHardy

A Lad o Pairts Speaks

Feral Words

Blog posts/essays & photos by William A. Young, linking travel, hiking, mythology, and some associated odds-and-ends

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