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We hope that you will find our content to be uplifting and educational. Please keep in mind that this is not a space for debate or criticism but rather a place for respect, curiosity and learning.

You are encouraged to take what you can from what we share here. If you want to know more, do not look to the contributors of this blog to teach anything beyond what we post. Seek out what feels right for you, trust the Spirit to guide you and have faith in our heavenly parents who are the givers of all pure knowledge.

February 27, 2011

Reclaiming my Womanhood (a ritual)

I recently had an experience where I felt that my womanhood had been lost--or at least lessened. The specifics aren't relevant, because I think a lot of women have experiences or situations where they feel that they are broken, or damaged, or suppressed in their womanhood. Perhaps infertility or a miscarriage; perhaps a traumatic birth experience or a cesarean-section or hysterectomy; perhaps some form of abuse, or mental illness, or physical disability...or maybe something else altogether. Whatever it is, I think most women have times when they feel that they are less of a woman than they wish to be.
When I had my experience, I was down for a couple of days before I realized that this one specific thing was the source of my grief. Once I identified it, I was able to talk with a couple of friends about it, and that helped at the time, but after the conversations ended I came back off the high and was grieving again. I realized that if I was going to feel like a whole woman again, I would need to take matters into my own hands.

So I did.

First I determined what it was that I felt my womanhood was missing, and then I tried to find a way to refill that hole. In my case, it related to my fertility and my potential for procreation. Since the womb is one of the things that makes a woman distinct and separate from a man, (and since many of our situations tend to be fertility/birth related), I think the womb is a reasonable point of focus for this ritual. Depending on your specific situation, you may choose another part of yourself.

I chose a time when most of my family was away from home so I could be alone.

I chose a song that resonated with me in the moment. It is on the angsty side, and unfortunately the title is a word that many find offensive, but the song felt appropriate to me in the moment so I went with it anyway. Perhaps you'll be able to think of something gentler...or perhaps not. But the song I pulled up on youtube to play during my ritual was Meredith Brooks' "Bi*ch" I chose it because it talks about many aspects of being a woman, and about being ok with all of them. The chorus says "I'm a little bit of everything all rolled into one. I'm a bi***. I'm a lover. I'm a child. I'm a mother. I'm a sinner. I'm a saint. I do not feel ashamed." Later lyrics also mention being a goddess and an angel. ☺

While the song played (on repeat), I sat in the sunshine, pulled up my shirt and rolled down my pants, and exposed my belly--my womb--to the light. I took deep breaths, drawing the clean air all the way deep into my uterus, and then exhaling all the negativity I had been feeling. I rubbed my belly, observing the roundness, sagging, and stretch marks that my pregnancies have left. After a little while of making peace with my body, I got out my henna and drew a goddess symbol below my navel, approximately over my uterus. (A pen or marker would have sufficed in the absence of henna.)

For those unfamiliar with the symbolism, the symbol for the Goddess shows the moon in its three phases (waxing, full, and waning) symbolizing the three stages of womanhood (maiden, mother, and wisewoman). It is a reminder that each aspect is as important as the others, and that all--especially all in combination--can define womanhood.

I continued to sit in the light while my henna set up. I made a mental list of the many womanly attributes that I maintain--in spite of the loss I had been feeling--and continued with my deep breathing until I felt better.

The henna will last a couple of weeks, so for that time I will have an ongoing physical reminder of my reclaimed womanhood.


  1. In fairness, I'll add here in the comments that my 15month old was with me. He refused to nap and instead throughout my ritual he kept bonking me with a little gravy ladle he had snagged when I was putting away dishes...but if you can do the ritual without the ladle-bonking baby I would recommend it!

    1. This detail is actually really helpful. As I was reading, I was thinking, wow, it must be nice to have the time alone to do something like this.

    2. Ha, yeah, alone time is pretty non-existent for me. :)

  2. Thank-you for this. This is something relevant to me right now. I appreciated your insight and ideas.

  3. This is the first time I've read this post, Jenni! I love it! Are you (or did you already) going to include it in the rituals section on the TAN site? Also, might I reprint it as a guest post on the Pagan Families blog? It would be a perfect addition to the content we've got going on there lately about miscarriage!


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