Recently while doing a shamanic retreat weekend at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY I was privileged to be in the first group of people in the US to receive the Rite of the Womb. This is a tradition developed by medicine women in the jungles of South America, and passed along to us from an unbroken lineage of Q’ero Shamans from Peru. This is considered to be the 13th Rite of the Munay-Ki… and there are only nine others. Marcella Lobos, the wife of Alberto Villoldo and a medicine woman herself explained “Don’t worry about 10, 11, and 12- the Divine Feminine is not linear like that!” The number thirteen is a special number in terms of femininity to be sure: there are 13 full moons in a year, and the lunar cycle is exactly and inextricably linked to the female cycle of the womb. The rite is an energetic transmission of divine healing, tapping into the spirit of the Earth Mother to support this truth that is so needed: The womb is not a place to store fear or pain. The womb is to create, and give birth to all life. The intention of the rite is not only for personal healing of the physical and psychic center of the womb for individual women, but for the collective damage and oppression that women have felt for many generations around the world, and also to provide healing to the Earth herself. As I stood in front of this tiny Shaman Dona Juanita from Peru, towering over her, listening to her speak the invocations in the Quechua language, I was overwhelmed with a strange mix of awe, humility and empowerment. She placed her hands on my womb and I felt changed, disoriented. As my turn ended and I proceeded to the other side of the hall to continue sharing the rite with other newly attuned wombkeepers, I found myself face to face with another woman, a stranger. We locked eyes- hers were a vibrant jewel-toned green- and as we continued the transmission one to the other I saw many, many generations of women flash through her, connected, sharing pain and hidden mystery. All the while the men present at the workshop were holding the space, protecting the form of our womb-shaped room, and chanting, banging rattles and sticks to serve as guardians and ever important supporters of the deeper healing of the group energy of Woman. I sobbed for some time after I had finally returned to my seat. I felt like I was emptying out… releasing. Eventually I collected myself and had the vocal control to return to the group chanting until it was done. Oddly, I felt a few strange flutter sensations in my womb afterward, very similar to the feeling you get when you are pregnant, the fetus is smallish and you feel it’s first movements. In my case there is no actual chance of pregnancy, so this was purely some kind of energetic response manifesting in the body. So my job now is to pass this Rite on to as many more women as possible who would like to receive it. I am a wombkeeper, and every person that receives the Rite becomes one as well, with the same ability to continue passing it on…. until hopefully we will have spread this important energetic sentiment around the entire planet. Check out the video that is posted on http://www.theriteofthewomb.com to see Marcella explaining and passing this Rite on to others. I plan to hold occasional circles at my office space where women (and men if desired!) can come and participate in this Rite. Once you do, you can register on The Rite of the Womb website as a wombkeeper so that others near you who may be looking for this transmission can find you, if you like. In any case, this is work that is sorely needed for women, our collective consciousness, and the planet. Remember that the womb is not a place to store fear or pain. The womb is a place to create and give birth to life. Aho!