Mexican Labyrinth of Birth was inspired by a story my friend Alberto told me. Two of his tias (aunties) are parteras (midwives) in Oaxaco, Mexico. One day he told me that in Mexico women who give birth are called warriors The midwives tell a pregnant woman that when she is in labor she will have to go to the underworld where spirits hold all the unborn babies. She will have to find her baby and to free him or her from the spirit, she will have to do battle with the spirit to bring her baby “home.” Only she can bring her baby to the family who is waiting, and into the world. Here is a description of the symbols in the painting:
- Gold line with dips represents waves of contractions in labor. Typically the contraction pattern is shown as “hills.” But from my own experience of contractions taking me down, deep down into myself or into a vast expanse that felt like an immersion into infinite love, I represent contractions a dips, dripping, dipping into the deep Mystery.
- Diving Mother (upper left) represents a pain-coping practice I teach called “Diving for your baby” and the mother’s ferocity and willingness to go into battle and to do whatever it takes to bring her baby home.
- Of the Seven Spirits in the Underworld, six are holding a baby, and one exhausted Spirit has “lost her battle” and baby.
- The beaded labyrinth with gold pathways representing the inner journey of the ordeal
- Ladder connects the upper and lower worlds, the conscious and unconscious mind. It allows for movement (with effort) between the two worlds.
- The llama and four elders (left side) and the Fire Keeper (bottom center) showed up on their own in the underpainting.
- Mother Swimming-Out-of-the-Underworld, getting a boost from her daimon or the holies who want to ensure her successful completion of this rite of passage (center).
- Two Hunter-Guardians (upper right), one in the upper world, one in the underworld, ensuring her Return.