My ancestors are from the Celtic nations. Among their cultural traditions is a dedication to celebrating eight important days of the years, which they call high holy days. Most people are familiar with the four solar holidays—the summer and winter solstices and the spring and autumn equinoxes. The other four seasonal holidays fall on the cross-quarters between the solstices and equinoxes. Many cultures across the planet perform rituals and share seasonal feasts in their own unique and traditional ways for these holidays. My ancestors knew that these eight festivals were designed to draw one’s attention to what had been gained and lost in the never-ending turn of the year. Honoring these high holy days keeps me centered, helps me measure time as cyclical, and inspires gratitude for being part of the ever-changing cycles of life.
The cross-quarter that we celebrate at this time of year (around August 1) is called Lammas, or Lughnasadh in the old Celtic language. It is the high-summer Feast of the Harvest, a time for gathering and giving thanks for the fruits of our labor, and for the abundance in our lives.
It seemed fitting to launch my new book—The Midwife Matrix, Reclaiming Our Bodies, Our Births, Our Lives—on the Feast of Lammas. My book is, quite frankly, a personal harvest of a lifetime of fullness and fulfillment. For over forty years I have walked in the shoes of a midwife, as a practitioner, leader, author, and scholar. The Midwife Matrix is an offering, a basketful of observations and insights, a story told from the perspective of someone who has been inside the maternal and child healthcare world for over four decades. The Midwife Matrix is a series of cultural narratives about what I think we have gotten right, and also, the ways in which I believe we are failing miserably in caring for pregnant and birthing people, their babies, their families, and also shortchanging the professionals who serve people in the child-making year.
The Midwife Matrix is both the name of my book and a schematic I have created of 12 interconnected and interdependent qualities that create a paradigm. Midwives—past and present—customarily use these 12 essential qualities in their work. The Midwife Matrix illustrates how midwives and patients participate in a mutually satisfying energy exchange, within a healthcare relationship that is based on giving and receiving, for the benefit of all involved. How this relationship is structured, and enacted, makes all the difference, and the results are stunning for both givers and receivers of care.
It is with both pleasure and humility that I invite you to explore The Midwife Matrix, and see firsthand what I have discovered on my Earth Walk—about people, and systems, and the cosmos. I will share more about The Midwife Matrix in future blogs. But for today, the Lammas Feast, it is enough simply to celebrate. To contemplate the immense mysteries and miracles that continually unfold all around us. To be grateful for the riches of the harvest of our lives. To reimagine our world. And to find our own ways to manifest a ‘new normal’ in which all of us share equitably in the riches and resources that we each desire and deserve.
Lammas blessings to you and yours!