Being able to share one’s story is therapeutic all by itself, but that was only the beginning of our womb-healing journeys. As we began to (re)connect to our wombs, it was also time for us to learn how to womb.
womb (woom) v. to create and cultivate safety and healing both inside your body and in your life
Using “womb” as a verb transforms it from simply a place, passive and easily forgotten, to a proactive process that women can (and should!) incorporate into their daily lives. Wombing allows us to release the pain and fear held within our wombs and begin radiating strength and joy instead so that we can be truly powerful wombyn!
I understood this right away on an intellectual level, but didn’t know how to make it real on the physical and emotional levels. For me, the only tangible associations for the word safety were things like “safety belts” in cars and long lists of safety hazards in college science labs. In these contexts, safety meant precautions against accidents and possible trauma. The idea of safety as a means to facilitate healing was new, and I never realized that I needed to actually make it safe for my womb to open up again—to healing, to love, to myself and others. Except –
what did safety feel like?
In a private session, Kiana guided each of us in finding our personal safe space, which could be real or imaginary. Since I couldn’t think of a real place in my life that had given me a feeling of safety, I allowed my imagination to create one for me.
I found myself in a cave, a beach cave, with a bit of morning sunlight streaming through its opening. I was deep enough into the cave that I could not really see outside of it, but impressions of an ocean, gently waving, soaring seagulls, and sunlit sand trailed the edge of my consciousness, as if I could almost see beyond the solid rock walls around me. No one else was on that beach – no one even knew of its existence. It was a secret place. I could have easily wandered along the shore without fear of any danger, but I felt most comfortable in the quiet dimness of my cave. The surrounding walls guarded me, yet there was still an outlet to the world if and when I was ready to go there.
In retrospect, it’s interesting that my mind latched on to the image of a cave. I’ve actually never been to a cave before, but somehow I knew exactly what it felt like to be inside one. Like an ancient memory. “If the Earth is our Mother,” says Rachel Pollack in The Body of the Goddess (which I only started reading a few days ago), “then a cave becomes an image of Her womb and a place to enter Her actual body.” Prehistoric peoples definitely felt the mystical allure of caves, filling them with painted and engraved images. Perhaps they too experienced safety and a sense of the sacred in these dark, protective, earthy womb-spaces.
It’s also interesting to note that later on, in recorded history, we see the sanctity of the cave distorted in Greek philosopher Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”:
Plato imagines a group of people who have lived chained in a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of the cave entrance, and begin to ascribe forms to these shadows. According to Plato, the shadows are as close as the prisoners get to seeing reality. He then explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall are not constitutive of reality at all, as he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows seen by the prisoners. (from Wikipedia)
Just as Western patriarchal society began its rapid ascent, even the womb of the Earth Goddess became a prison rather than a sanctuary, a place of illusions rather than divine inspiration and creativity. Is it too great a leap to say that this parallels the perpetuated idea of women as weak and in need of protection from men?
Without any contrivance, the womb is arguably the safest place in the animal body, and it is woman who possesses this extraordinary gift! Even though we’ve been convinced otherwise through centuries of mis- and non-education, that power resides within us, cannot be stripped away, and it is up to us to reclaim it. Wombing then is not only creating and cultivating safety and healing in our bodies and lives, but also remembering that it is indeed our birthright.