Thirteen Month Year
excerpt from: Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year
The childbearing year is a thirteen month year: the two months before conception, the nine months of pregnant, and two months following the birth. The childbearing year is a time of change and an opportunity to grow, filled with rapid physical adjustments and fierce emotions. The childbearing year touches every season. This book [Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year] is about herbs for the childbearing year.
In Europe, five hundred years ago, men tortured and burned the Wise Women who healed with herbs, the midwives, the ones who celebrated the cyclical ways. Calling them witches, they burned them in millions and broke the flow of mother to daughter transmission. In the Americas, their sons down the way killed the medicine women and curanderas, the Wise Women of the New World. Then they denied the existence of Wise Women in history.
Without our connections to each other and the earth, without our mothers' wisdom, we forgot our power. When we were told that we had no souls, and no minds, and no sisters, we believed it was true. When they told us that childbearing was too dangerous and difficult for women, midwives, and herbs, we believed it was true.
But the Wise Women live in our dreams, our visions, our deepest memories. We hear their whispers and we listen.
Wise Woman healing works in cycles and seasons, with the turning of the planets, and the pulsation of life. Wise Women gather each herb at its time and use it to nourish and build the sixty million cells we each create every second. They understand the attunement built into our cells after thousands of generations nourished on wild foods, the special kinship our bodies have with the vital elements condensed in herbs.
Wise Women herbalists see the whole herb, the physical forces and the subtle forces, and respect this wholeness. Wise Women make use of the color, form spirit, and substance of a plant, using it as a whole, not dividing it into parts and seeing power only in the "active" principle. Wise Women know that we are each whole and unique, in an individual, everchanging, symbiotic relationship with herbs.
Wise Woman healing is grounded, earthed, rooted. The Wise Woman accepts herself and her changes, her moods and her bleedings. She tends to birthing and dying without alienation from herself or the ones she helps. She is open to the life song surrounding her; devas bless her. All that she needs for health and well being grows within the fall of her foot. She prepares the nourishment, she concocts the medicines. She is filled with creativity. Her life, her children, her art, her healing are shaped by her understanding of color, tone, harmony, and balance. She is wise in the ways of heart, body, and spirit.