Birth as a Spiritual Initiation: Australian women’s experiences of transformation

Moloney, Sharon (2009) Birth as a Spiritual Initiation: Australian women’s experiences of transformation. Australian Religion Studies Review, 22 (2). pp. 190-213.

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Abstract

In Western, industrialised culture, menstruation and birth are generally seen as medical concerns. Women learn to detach from their menstrual rhythms which become associated with shame, pathology and the profane. Obstetric medicine, which is widely accepted as the norm for our birth practices, does not regard spirituality as its remit. Yet pre-patriarchal and non-patriarchal cultures have revered both menstruation and childbirth as spiritual phenomena. My doctoral research examined the links between Western cultural attitudes to menstruation and spirituality, and women’s experiences of birth. Using the Organic Inquiry methodology, I conducted ten interviews and seven groups with Australian women to explore the spirituality of their female body experiences. My findings reveal that despite the presence of patriarchal constraints, some women transcended the cultural givens and discovered the ecstatic potential of their embodied spirituality. This article focuses chiefly on the birthing aspects of my findings birth and shows that for some women, birth is a transformative opening to Spirit.

Item ID: 10753
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
ISSN: 1744-9014
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2010 04:59
FoR Codes: 22 PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES > 2299 Other Philosophy and Religious Studies > 229999 Philosophy and Religious Studies not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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