Eve and Mary, their sacrifices and their fruit.

December 7, 2017 in Atonement, Eve, Sheridan by enjoybirth

I love so much about this print with Eve and Mary.  It causes me to deeply reflect…

This is a picture I took of the print I bought, please click to go to link of the artist to see it better.

The sacrifice Eve made so we could all be mothers.

Eve carrying the fruit that caused the fall.

Eve twisted up with the serpent and her humility in the role she was sent to fulfill.

The sorrow and gratitude they have one for the other.

Mary crushing the serpents head and her humility in the role she was sent to fulfill.

Mary carrying the fruit that would help us overcome the fall.

The sacrifice Mary made so we could all be saved.

 

I wonder…

Were Eve and Mary friends before they came to the earth?

Did they both know the heavy burden they would bear?

Did Mary attend Eve as she birthed her babies?

Was Eve at Mary’s birth of Jesus?

Did they rejoiced as they were reunited, when Mary returned to heaven, having both done as God had asked them to?

 

Are we not a blend of Eve and Mary?

Carrying a heavy burden of the sacrifice we make as mothers

Often twisted up and tricked by Satan

So very humble as we try to raise these great blessings/challenges of the children we were given

Full of gratitude for the gift of repentance and how that allows us move forward with hope

Because we have the power to crush the serpents head

And will one day enjoy the fruit of eternal life.

How we will rejoice with Eve and Mary sharing our gratitude for the sacrifices they made for us!

*You can purchase the print here.

 

The Gift of Giving Life is on sale for the Holidays.

Buy at Amazon.

2015-christmas

Does Eve, the Mother of All Living attend births?

December 11, 2015 in Eve, home birth, Intuition, Sheridan, Veil by enjoybirth

I love attending births as a doula, especially over the past few years as I have grown closer to the spirit and I have been praying for my spiritual eyes to be opened.  I can now easily sense that there are spiritual beings at births too. Angels and ancestors are near. The veil is so thin as spirits pass through it, both as people are born and as they die.

I had the privilege of discussing Eve and her births with an artist friend, Katie Garner, who is in the middle of painting a series of Eve portraits. eve and adam

We were talking about Eve and what she may have experienced with her first pregnancy and birth.  She was probably unsure as to how this little baby growing in her was going to come out of her. There were no childbirth classes to take, no midwife to consult.  Then during the actual birth I imagine she and Adam were probably overwhelmed as to what was happening and how this was all going to resolve itself. They must have clung to one another and prayed for help.

I hope there were angels attending them during those moments.

Within a week after my discussion with Katie, I found myself at a homebirth. It was a first vaginal birth for this mom. There was this magical moment for me.  She, her husband and I were squeezed together in this tiny bathroom. She stared up at her husband with that look, “How in the heck are we going to do this?”

This was the look Katie and I had talked about.  That moment that must have passed between Adam and Eve as they realized, this was really happening, somehow this baby was going to come out of her.

I suddenly felt Eve’s presence there with us in the bathroom. I felt her watching with love and concern and reassurance.

“You can make it through, you can find the strength.

I did it, all mothers’ have.”

I was amazed, I had never noticed Eve at a birth before. Usually I just feel angels’ presences in general, not specific ones. I relished that sweet moment.  The mom and dad were in their own moment, maybe not enjoying theirs as much as I was enjoying mine.

Later at the birth I felt more and more angels surrounding us, offering protection and courage.  I reassured the Mom that they were there, cheering her on.  That she was doing a great job.  I felt them all rejoicing with us as this sweet baby was born.

I prayed about it driving home from the birth and came to realize it was a gift I was given. I had been pondering on Eve and her births, so I was open to “seeing” her specifically.

I asked in my prayer if she was at every birth. It made sense to me as she is “The Mother of All Living.” I received the answer that she is at the births she is welcomed to.

This is interesting to ponder.

  • Who do we welcome to our births?
  • Do we think to welcome specific angels, people from the scriptures or loved ones that have passed on?
  • Who would you want to invite to your birth?

The Gift of Giving Life is on sale for the Holidays.

Buy at Amazon.

2015-christmas

by Lani

Preparing Our Daughters

September 30, 2013 in Atonement, Birthdays, blessingway, Divine nature, Eve, Faith, Lani, Menstruation, Motherhood, Parenting, Preparation, Puberty, Rites of passage, Symbolism, Temple, Young Women by Lani

Last week I celebrated the 10th anniversary of my birth into motherhood. It kind of boggles my mind that I’ve been a mother for a decade. It also boggles my mind that this baby…

126_7693141899_4545_n…just had her 10th birthday. Double digits?!

For the past couple of years, I’ve been pondering what I want to do to help her prepare as she nears the milestone of menarche. Over the years I’ve taught her little by little (through casual conversations) about her body, her reproductive organs, how they work, what will happen when she starts to bleed, how babies are made, etc. Being the daughter of a birth junkie has its perks! She knows more about women’s bodies than most girls her age, I’d wager, and certainly more than I ever knew before I reached menarche.

I wrote a bit about my own journey into the world of menstruation and my hopes for my daughters in my post “Red and Powerful” HERE. I’ve known for a long time that I wanted my daughters’ experiences to be more positive than mine was. So a month or two ago I started creating a book for my daughter.

It’s not so much a book about periods or vaginas. It’s a book that I hope will prepare her to be an empowered and courageous young woman with profound respect for her body and the beautiful things her body can do.

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It includes seven rainbow-color-coded sections (coordinated with the seven chakras) with values I hope my daughters will develop. The values may sound familiar to some of you…

  • Integrity
  • Virtue
  • Individual Worth
  • Good Works
  • Choice & Accountability
  • Faith & Knowledge
  • Divine Nature (white) 

With each section, I have given my daughter a…

  • Value and color
  • Symbol
  • Scripture
  • Description/definition of what the value means to me
  • Song/Mantra
  • Positive “I” statement affirmations (printed from this site)
  • Woman from the scriptures who exemplified the value (most of the text taken from Heather’s blog)

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(For those who are familiar with the LDS Young Women Values, in most cases the colors, symbols, scriptures, and descriptions I’ve chosen are different from those used in the Young Women Personal Progress program. I won’t go into all the reasons I did this, but I think this book will help my daughter to become familiar with the values and prime her for the Young Women’s program.)

Interspersed I have also included some poems I wrote about Eve and menstruation. At the end of the book I included a revised version of my “Red and Powerful” essay, diagrams of the menstrual cycle, and a print-out explaining the various menstrual product options so she can start thinking about which type she wants to start with. In addition to the binder/book, I am giving her a c.d. with all of the songs/mantras for each value on it. And I made her a charm bracelet containing charms of each symbol and the coordinating colors.

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My plan is to sit down with my daughter and go through each section of the book together a bit at a time (over the next several months) so we can discuss the topics and so she can ask any questions she may have. I think it will be a special bonding time for us, and by the time we get to the end of the book, my hope is that she will feel confident and prepared to face the coming adolescent milestones with grace and joy. Maybe she’ll still be awkward, embarrassed, and moody. Maybe that’s inevitable? But a mom can hope for the best, right?

If you’d like to do something similar for your daughter(s), I’m happy to share what I put together. Let me know in a comment below, and I’ll email you my file(s) and sources so you can make it your own.

by Lani

First Blood

August 9, 2013 in Adversity, Atonement, Death, Divine nature, Eve, Fear, Fertility, Lani, Menstruation, Motherhood, Old Testament Women, Pain, Preparation, Puberty, Rites of passage, Savior, Symbolism, Temple, Young Women by Lani

Photo on 2013-04-08 at 20.30For the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about preparing my oldest daughter for menstruation and puberty. She will be turning ten next month, so I know these milestones are quickly approaching us. This past week I started compiling a book I intend to give her for her birthday in September. I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning several nights ago, planning and writing. I can’t wait to share the book with her.

Included in her book will be some poetry. I’d like to share some of those short poems with you. “The Fall” and “Sacrifice” I wrote earlier this week. “Menarche” I wrote tonight. It was inspired, in part, by my visit to the temple today. I was able to see the new endowment film, and (as friends had told me I would) I loved the portrayal of Eve.

Dear First Parents, I honor you. Your courage is awe-inspiring.

 

The Fall
By Lani Axman

She fell from Eden-womb,
A sapling
From whom
All the temples on Earth
Would be built,
Their blueprints
Pulsing through her
Like songs
Waiting to be sung,
Whispered in the language
Of her Mother.

 

Woman in Red, by Dina Argov (Source)

Woman in Red, by Dina Argov (Source)

Menarche
By Lani Axman

When the first blood appeared,
Did you scream,
Fearing that you would surely die,
That the fruit had opened your eyes
Only to close them for good?
Or did a familiar whisper
Call to you,
Embrace you with
Love, made audible:
“Fear not, Eve,
For I bring you tidings of great joy:
The Mother of All Living
Has emerged.”

 

Sacrifice
By Lani Axman

Adam spills blood
On holy altars
Where lambs and doves
Bleed hope of reconciliation
Again and again.
And he waits.

Eve spills blood
From the temple
Of her womb,
Where life and death
Mingle in sacrifice
Again and again.
And she waits.

"Empty Nest," by Bethany DuVall (Source)

“Empty Nest,” by Bethany DuVall (Source)

by Lani

Sacred Paths, Sacred Fruit

July 5, 2013 in Book, Conception, Dads, Eve, Lani, Missions, Motherhood, Pregnancy, Preparation, Rites of passage, Sexual intimacy, Symbolism by Lani

By Lani Axman

Recently, I started reading Windows to the Womb by David Chamberlain. As I read his beautiful description of the conception process, I couldn’t help but recognize some familiar archetypes and symbols within it. I found it so beautiful that, once again, the words of the family proclamation rang true: “We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed.” The journey that brings the seed of a man and the seed of a woman together as one flesh is sacred and symbolic of the divine missions of men and women on this earth.

As Heather has so beautifully outlined in her “Two Veils” essay in our book (along with other LDS writers), the primary mission of women is to bring premortal spirits through the first veil (by partaking of the first tree), opening the pathway into the progression provided by mortal life and separation from God. Likewise, the primary mission of men here in mortality is to guide us to partake of the second tree (the tree of life) and to pass through the second veil which brings us to eternal life and reunion with God.

Lehi described the mission of fathers and the journey to the tree of life this way:

And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies. And it came to pass after I had prayed unto the Lord I beheld a large and spacious field. And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy. And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen. And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit. (1 Nephi 8:8-12)

He also described the other souls journeying toward the tree of life:

And I also beheld a strait and narrow path, which came along by the rod of iron, even to the tree by which I stood; and it also led by the head of the fountain, unto a large and spacious field, as if it had been a world. And I saw numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain the path which led unto the tree by which I stood. And it came to pass that they did come forth, and commence in the path which led to the tree. And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost. (vs. 20-23)

The path Lehi (and others) walked to fulfill his divine mission sounds very much like the path taken by the millions of sperm entering a woman’s body in their effort to fulfill the measure of their creation.

David Chamberlain describes their difficult journey this way:

The epochal journey of sperm, once launched, stretches . . . from vagina to uterus to fallopian tubes. . . . Along that pathway sperm will face both barriers and blessings. . . . Only strong sperm can negotiate these narrow straits. Beyond the cervix, the uterus contains endless folds and recesses in which a sperm can become hopelessly lost. Weak or imperfect sperm tire and drop from the race. . . . Along this rigorous course in foreign territory, sperm are expected, perfected, and screened! The trip may take hours or days and require as many as twenty thousand tail strokes. (p. 18-19)

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Just as Lehi took a dark and difficult journey along a strait and narrow course with mists of darkness and many dangers threatening to tempt him off the path, the sperm entering a woman’s body must also traverse a narrow course through inhospitable terrain. These numberless concourses can also become lost in strange roads as they seek the “most desirable fruit” of the ripe ovum waiting for them at the end of their journey. Though the analogy is not perfect, I found the similarities beautiful and meaningful.

The ovum’s journey to that point is also beautifully symbolic. I particularly love this part: “Within the ovaries, a group of nurse cells surrounds female germ cells. Collectively they form a follicle that embraces a developing egg cell . . . and turns it into a nearly ripe ovum” (Chamberlain, Windows to the Womb, p. 20).

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What a beautiful object lesson. Just as the ovum is embraced, prepared, and ripened by a group of tender caregiving cells, ideally a young girl is embraced by a group of loving women who tenderly prepare her and assist her as she matures toward the threshold of motherhood. I rejoice when I see a new mother receiving this kind of sisterhood preparing her to partake of the first tree–as did Eve–and fulfill her mission to bring children through her body (the first veil) from premortal to mortal life.

If you view the conception process through the lens of the two trees and the two veils, the ovum within a woman’s body can be recognized as symbolic of both of the trees. The ovum is the fruit of the tree of life for the sperm seeking that most desirable above all other fruits. And the ovum is the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil for the daughters of Eve who beckon for the sons of Adam to partake and thereby become one with them.

David Chamberlain writes: “Generation after human generation, we have been participating in this passionate reproductive drama . . . based on largely invisible and unexplainable physical processes–and with scarcely a conscious thought of what it might have been like for us to enter, dwell, and exit that incomparable inner sanctum” (p. 2). In our modern world, we have the rare opportunity to see photographs and ultrasounds of the procreative process. We know more about how life is formed than any generation before us. And the more I study and ponder that procreative process, the more awe and reverence I feel for it, all the way from preconception to postpartum. The entire process is sacred, symbolic, and stunningly beautiful in every detail. What an honor to be among those given the gift of housing within my body that “incomparable inner sanctum” where the entire creation of human souls occurs. What a gift.

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Opposition in Childbearing by Susana Fierro-Baig

April 30, 2012 in Adversity, Atonement, Eve, Fear, Guest Post by Heatherlady

Today’s guest post is by Susana Fierro-Baig who writes the blog Spirit-led Birth and who is in the process of writing her own spiritual birth book called ” Spirit-Led Childbearing: Applying Principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Pregnancy and Motherhood”.  I think it is so wonderful that there are more and more people bringing awareness to the spiritual dimensions of birth and have loved reading the sneak-peeks I’ve gotten into Susana’s book. Today she is sharing with us an excerpt from one of the chapters in her book!

Throughout my life, and especially as a new convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I was taught to turn to Christ for strength and meaning during trials. However,it wasn’t until after my second birth that I began to realize that the Father was waiting for me to turn to Him and His Son for help during the greatest and most physically, spiritually,emotionally and mentally demanding experiences of my life: childbirth.

At that point I noticed that most of the books I had read about pregnancy, birth, nutrition, and parenting were missing an important element of information; while physical and emotional benefits were discussed, spirituality was not in most cases. There was a particular dearth of LDS based information. Therefore, I found myself making mental connections between the secular information I had read and the scriptures and principles of the gospel.

In doing so it became clear to me that the gospel truth that there, “must needs be… an opposition in all things” includes childbearing – a term which I use to encompass conceiving, growing, birthing, nursing, nurturing, teaching and raising children.

In the very beginning of time it was set forth that Satan would be an adversary to Eve and her family. The Lord said:

I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed…

The Atonement made by Christ “bruises” Satan’s head, but the consequential opposition after the Fall of Adam and Eve remains in this life. Due to her unique role of being the bearer of all living, which is a divine process, throughout history Satan has acted in
opposition to woman and particularly the “measure of her creation… motherhood.”

Understanding this principle transformed my approach to childbearing. I began to see that the greatest obstacles that I faced were actually rooted in spiritual warfare and the key to success in all areas of mothering, like the rest of life, was over coming fear, pride, and rebelliousness by aligning my will with the Father’s and learning to trust Him.

My births were greatly affected. I went from being scared, crying, and helpless, to having confidence, strength and direction. Breastfeeding and mothering became more meaningful as I realized that nurturing my children positively affected their minds, bodies, and their spirits. In short, mothering became a temporal and spiritual work.

The book of Revelations further illustrates the concept of Satan being in opposition to
womankind during childbearing and shows why vital information for childbearing women comes from the scriptures.

While the woman and child described in the following passage of scripture have been
interpreted to mean many things, including representing the church of God, it also can be understood in terms of all women and their experience in childbearing.

And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.

 14And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

 15And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

 16And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.

 17And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VIEW ILLUSTRATION

As this passage illustrates, God has put everything here on earth that we need to be
victorious over Satan. We are protected in a multitude of ways. We are provided with real help and refuge that allows us to rise up and turn away from earthly turmoil and come into our own feminine, powerful, sacred, and love-filled place where we are nourished by our Heavenly Father.

As daughters of God we are assured that during our most meaningful, memorable,
vulnerable, yet powerful and challenging moments, God is aware of our needs and assists us. We can consider the two wings of a great eagle mentioned in the above verses as being the Holy Spirit and Holy Scripture. These are two forms of God’s assistance in the battle against Satan’s opposition.

The Gift of Eve by Jeanna Stay

January 16, 2012 in Eve, Fear, Guest Post by Heatherlady

“The Mother of all Living” by Al Young

It has been nearly two years, but I still remember distinctly a series of nights when I lay awake deep in the night thinking about the new life growing inside me, wondering how I was going to manage two children when I sometimes felt I could barely manage one. I was miserable, uncomfortable, and the nausea had begun. I was on a beautiful Hawaiian vacation, and all I could think about was how the smell of sand made me want to vomit. There was also a part of me that was afraid something was wrong, and even though I have pretty much come to accept that just about any weird symptom qualifies as “normal” for pregnancy, I couldn’t escape my worry.

I lay awake feeling worried and afraid and alone and a little pathetic.

I don’t remember how the thought came to me, but I began to think of Eve. I imagined her beginning her life in the Garden of Eden, without a worry or a pain. I imagined her cast from the Garden of Eden, learning to take care of the animals and the fields. I imagined her experiencing her first period, getting pregnant, going into labor, giving birth. Who could she have relied on to tell her what was normal, what to expect? What little she knew I imagine she must have learned from taking care of the sheep or the rabbits or the goats.

And which of those animals could have given her any idea of how long her own pregnancy would last? Which could have explained to her that the nasty, metallic taste she got in her mouth was, indeed, completely normal? Or her sudden aversion to lilacs? Who would comfort her that millions of women had done this before her (no one had) and that—despite how it feels—everyone does go into labor eventually? No one is pregnant forever.

She must have been courageous. Any fear or doubt she may have felt—for that matter, simply all the questions she couldn’t possibly have answers to yet—she overcame them all. With her husband to attend her, she went through it all. Periods, pregnancy, labor, healing, nursing, raising children, and doing it all over again.

Lying in bed, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for all I had. Starting, quite frankly, with knowing what was going on, why I was feeling so horrible. Sudden, terrible disease? (I imagine Eve briefly wondering this.) Nope; little test I took says I’m pregnant. How long? Longer than sheep (who are pregnant four to five months—imagine how overdue you would feel at nine!). Along with such basic knowledge, I had healthcare providers like (later) my wonderful midwife Susan and birth attendant Lori, who had much knowledge and skill. I had their shiny, technologically advanced instruments in case of unlikely complications. I had the comfort of a warm home, a furnace, a good hot water heater for that really long shower during labor. I had the internet so that every time I felt a new weird symptom, I could join the rest of the world in wondering if a sore throat was an early sign of pregnancy (yes), and I could research it ad nauseam.

I was surrounded by information and support and help, but I felt scared and alone. Eve, on the other hand, despite having only one man there to help her, knew she wasn’t alone. She knew she would have God’s help.

Eve began her life in the Garden of Eden. She knew what it was to have no pain, no hunger, no struggle. And then she left that Garden to bear children and to bless the earth with her seed. At first glance, I would think, “Wow, I bet she missed Eden (especially during hour #16 of labor).” I think we often believe the state in the Garden was better, nicer, happier. And yet, do you know what she testified?

And Eve, [Adam’s] wife … was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient. And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and their daughters. (Moses 5:11–12)
She knew them both. She knew the Garden and she knew mortality. And she preferred mortality. She blessed God for giving it to her. And in doing so, she blessed all of us. Eve’s gift is more than just the life she gave her posterity. Eve’s gift is the joy she found in doing so. It is her example of courage in the face of the unknown. It is a testimony that, even when life is hard (and it so often is), mortality is a gift so great that she rejoiced in it and praised God.

This knowledge—well, it doesn’t solve everything. It doesn’t suddenly make it easier to find the patience to tell the same story for the seventeenth time that day or clean up another spill. It isn’t always easy to remember that these things are blessings, not curses. But in quiet moments, I think the gift of Eve can give us the strength to journey forward.

Jeanna Stay is a full-time mom of two beautiful daughters who keep her busy, barely sane, and always learning something (like how to get peanut butter out of hair and silly putty out of sweaters). She is sure she has the most fantastic husband in the world. He is a great support in the ups and downs of parenting, and he reminds her that, like Eve, we are never alone. In their “spare” time, they keep an exceedingly random blog at stayfoo.blogspot.com. Jeanna’s not-so-secret ambition is to someday publish young adult novels.