Flames dance from an orange sheet below one log and join with the tangerine glow around another. New life starts in the turmoil of birth as mothers transform earth energy into a new bundle of flesh and deliver it to the world.
The moon appears as a translucent silvery disk once huge on the horizon and appearing smaller as it climbs into the sky, reminding us of our cycles that prepare our bodies to carry a child.
And we sit in a circle of light honouring mothers, past present and future. We are mothers, daughters, sisters and aunties. Most people know one mother very intimately.
I am adopted. I have had many surrogate mothers. But the mother who carried me in her belly for the most significant part of my development is the woman who has influenced my life more than any other. The rest of my development occurred on top of a separation trauma. Other adoptive and surrogate mothers invested a lot of time and energy and money into my life; it could be said, much more than my birth mother. But even a good building on shaky foundations will always shake.
Aircraft descend to their landings at an airport I never thought was so close. They block out the moon for a moment; the clear silvery moon reflecting sunlight has no light of its own. Like earth, like my birth.
In my mother’s belly I developed my tastes in food, my hearing for her language, friends and her environment, and through the amniotic fluid I was surrounded in the smells she smelt. The first hormone soup I was exposed to was provided by her reactions to her environment. If only the people around her had surrounded her with love and comfort, I might not have been exposed to her stress hormones, and been born an adrenaline junkie. A birth mother is never a surrogate; she is foundational. The rest of the mothers are surrogates, regardless of where the DNA comes from. Ancestral connections matter; genetic connections matter; it is our connection with a distant past that lives in us, but medical research in epigenetics has already shown that genetic coding can be changed by environment. We have no idea of the issues that might be faced by children born through surrogate arrangements with a mixture of genetic material which may or may not be related to the mother growing the new baby.
The moon pulls the tides in the ocean and the water within us. Life is in the energy around us, moved by forces of the sun, the earth and the moon returning water from oceans to the mountain peaks in a continuous cyclical flow. And we are encompassed in that life; that love.
There is a gentle movement of breath yet almost no smoke in the cinders. For more years than we can imagine women of the tribe ‘smoked’ their new babies in to the life of their tribes. Smoked babies are earth mother spirits of their land.
We take some fire in an abalone shell and add some white sage bush to create healing smoke and we smoke ourselves and we drum to the beat of the heart, of the Earth. We celebrate life-givers.
I am that bundle of flesh given life by mother earth, but separated from my tribe. I was ‘Christened’ by a man appointed to anoint me to God the father. No smoke for me to join the tribe, just water to drown sorrows in the baptismal font, water that moves me to search for the hearth of my home; to roam and to search for my birthing tree.
I’m thankful for all my mothers who cared and comforted, nurtured and loved; Mother Earth and Father Sky. But I have a shield like that spherical moon to reflect your light away from my heart. A door closed and the fire went out without smoke to erase the hostile hospital smell; you have opened the door but I have the scar of not knowing a primal bond with the mother who birthed me, nor the one-ness of belonging at home.