Fragment 0, Turning the Ear Within & Trusting the Soul Voice
Every morning I choose two tarot cards from the MotherPeace deck I’ve used for almost thirty years. Three decades passing through maiden, mother, to crone, MotherPeace has been my companion, guiding me during seminal life events as well giving insight for the everyday. Self and Crossing cards. What’s my purpose for today, I usually ask. The Self card shows the heart, the Inner me. The Crossing shows what needs assimilating. It might be an obstacle that requires working through or an area I need to bring in to balance.
It’s my way of channelling information from my Higher Self that I can’t always grasp in other ways. They work beautifully with intuition. Using them, gets ‘me’ out of the way. One must shut the ego up to be able to truly listen.
Designed by Vicki Noble and Karen Vogel, the MotherPeace is a round and matrifocal deck. Aged twenty-one, and already exploring a spiritual path, MotherPeace spoke to me on several levels. In terms of consciousness raising, I experienced it as a rooted-in-the-body feminism; a taking back ownership of my body and engaging in its mysteries. Maiden was also becoming Mother. I sought out the work of Sheila Kitzinger and Janet Balaskas, pioneers in positive birthing and mothering. I practised meditation and yoga, took supplements, and looked after my body, fully engaging consciously with carrying my unborn child. I viewed the whole process of being a vessel for an incarnating soul as a deeply spiritual experience, not to be medicalised. All being well, I chose a homebirth. I wrote an in-depth birth plan covering every possible aspect and complication of a birth including if the need arise to be transferred to hospital. So even if things were taken out of my hands, I was still empowered. Ask me first. Don't just do things to me as if I have no control over my own mind and body.
I could fill several blog posts with my homebirth experiences. But here is a brief recount of my first. Birmingham, 1989, homebirths were uncommon, and certainly not recommended for a first child, which was my situation. I was deemed an ‘unknown quantity.’ The Oxford English Dictionary definition of such is “ a person or thing whose nature, value, or significance cannot be determined or is not yet known.” I found this labelling passive aggressive. The medical profession implied danger up ahead, that I couldn’t possibly know what was going on in my body because I was ignorant. Their attempt to be on the ‘same side’ was to say they didn’t know either. But the insinuation was that they knew more than I ever could. I found the term disempowering and belittling. Nevertheless, birth plan in place, I insisted on my right to a homebirth. What has this to do with tarot cards, you may wonder. This is a fragment around trusting One's Self.
My son was due on Bonfire night. He didn’t arrive until five weeks later.
Before his birth, my healthy body, doing what it’s supposed to be doing, was now regarded by the medical profession as a ‘risky vehicle.’ Up until that time, the midwives visited me at home. Once past term, I was required to catch a bus (I didn’t drive in my 20s) all the way out to a hospital for weekly CTGs. The appointments were usually during rush hour times. Often dark and rainy, I would be stood on a bus if I couldn’t get a seat. And all the while told I’m putting my unborn at risk. My up to then normal urine tests were coming back protein laced. Suddenly, the indication signified pre- Pre- eclampsia. I had no other symptoms. My intuition smelt a rat. But, oh the weight of the medical establishment! The verbal battering from some of the midwives! In my diary, I’d written that one of the midwives put down in her notes that I had oedema (I didn’t). She also clucked her tongue, shook her head, and referred to me by married name instead of Galadriel. Weekly CTGs increased to every couple of days. I felt torn. But I complied, as if I had to give them something. When did it happen that women surrendered their bodies in this way? When did we lose contact with our inner voices, our higher selves, our souls? Then, I turned up for one appointment to find I’d been booked into hospital immediately for an induction. I refused and went home, outraged. During another appointment a doctor informed me that directly, that if I left now, I would probably haemorrhage and die. I was made to sign a disclaimer even though I had not been admitted.
They looked at me, primigravida, young, long blonde hair, dressed in flowing Monsoon dresses, quiet-spoken and thought I was a pushover. Intimidation and bullying were their tactics to try and break me. And to repeat myself, I was torn, shit-scared, vulnerable. Authority (usually male) is telling me, they’ve had women and babies die; that they know best. They drip-fed their opinions and threats, and I played my cracked record, No, no, no.
I recalled a time before this when I refused hospital treatment. The consultant’s response was I’ll never have children. The same consultant guffawed in my face, in front of his colleagues, over my GPs prescription of the homeopathic remedy Sepia 6 (used by the Royal horses to help them conceive). I left.
At the end of my first pregnancy and at the zenith of stress I go home. I neither haemorrhaged nor died. I sat in meditation, then shuffled and cut the deck twice. Then repeated, but this time blew energy into the cards, and chose one card. One card to guide me through, to tell me I was doing the right thing. Seeing the 7 of Discs, I knew instinctually that I was. Look at the picture. Things move in their own time. It is the value of waiting in not-waiting. It’s about trusting one’s own hidden processes.
First child wants Scorpio
In dreams I run wild over hills with centaur
Knowing Sagittarius emerging raptor (us)
Long hot-fly drones in summer days
where the wheat is tall against the belly
in the meadows that cast sulphurous eyes
And owl feathers gleaned
along leaf-shadowed lanes
Fanned cooling hot cheeks
Chick flapping on my inside.
Later the migraine that torched dead sticks
where a tawny owl broke through
wintered trees and spoke
And I was not free at all.
Closed my lips
Swallowed Golden Seal
My dream of a centaur told me my child would be Sagittarius. I knew I had made the right decision because the answer had come from deep within. I literally felt light. And that is a sure way of knowing that you are aligned with your Self. Though the situation was still stressful, I felt a certain peace. The outer situation was no longer driving me in a direction I didn’t want to go. I told the midwife that I would be making no more bus journeys; I would be staying home and having a homebirth. And I did. I gave birth at home to a healthy vernix-covered baby boy weighing 8lb 9 1/2oz. Vernix showed that he wasn't past term and 'dry.' I was right to wait, and let things happen of their own accord.