I recently returned from a trip to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala where I co-facilitated the Mystical Mama Prenatal YTT with Gabriella MarieLuo. What a gift to have the opportunity to travel to this sacred land, to swim in the waters of Mama Atitlan, to feel the quakes of the ancient volcanoes surrounding the oasis, and to hold space for the brilliant womyn who showed up for this deep training in awakening the divine feminine. The curriculum, developed and written by Mara Panacci and Gabriella, is a course in safely teaching yoga to mamas-to-be, but it's so much more than just that! In our flowy days we dove into sacred fertility and conscious conception, feminism and the patriarchy, holistic nutrition, herbal medicine, traditional midwifery, cleansing the womb-space...We practiced arriving with our sisters and holding space for womyn to be together, to be ourselves, and to be whole; becoming our own saviours, capable of healing ancient wounds and addressing current ailments of the body and spirit, for ourselves and the world as a whole.
Facilitating this training felt especially serendipitous as I was just arriving in my 17th week of pregnancy when I set foot on the boat which took me to the Mystical Yoga Farm, the location of the training. In my first days on Lake Atitlan I started to be able to feel my baby wiggling and whirling around in my belly, and this baby grew rapidly, nourished by the simple, whole-foods prepared by the kitchen staff at the Farm. What a treat to be with womyn from around the world, keen to awaken the goddess within themselves and take HER forth into their global communities.
Another long-held dream was realized while I was in Guatemala - we hosted four Mayan midwives at the Farm to share their practice with us, and learn the traditions of the land we were living and learning on. These three generations of midwives - grandmother, daughters, and granddaughter - were all called to the sacred practice of being with womyn in their dreams and by their communities. This mode of arriving into a vocation is familiar to me, I was deeply called to the work I do, over and over and over, in spite of many refusals on my part...but I hesitate to mention that part of my story to many people, since it's rarely seen as a "legitimate" path into work in this modern world. But by what more honest means could one arrive at their life's work?
Facilitated by a translator-extraordinaire who eloquently moved conversation from the midwives' indigenous Tz'utujil to English for me, we had the opportunity to connect after their session with our course participants. The midwives didn't waste a moment diving into questions they had about my practice, and I tossed as many inquiries back at them. The result was us giggling and revelling in a new-found sisterhood as our principles of practice and values revealed themselves as more and more similar the more we chatted. How incredible to be thousands of kilometres away from where my apprenticeships and trainings have taken place, with midwives I've dreamed of meeting, connecting on such a deep level of understanding, sharing a calling, seeing our parallel paths meeting for a brief time before spinning off into our own pockets of the world once again. Sisterhood is a community that knows no borders, no bounds, no language barriers. We are so similar, even in our unique complexities and variations of daily life. True intention is truth, no matter the tongue it is put forth in.
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Mad love and New Moon Blessings xo
Kate Varsava is a Halifax, NS based lover of wit, whimsy, and word-play. Late-nights, mid-morning coffee, quiet meditations, and the elements of nature inspire her sentiments and observations.