Gestare Art Collective

Dark Moon MA 'dea gravida'

Standing with a hand on her belly to signify the life giving of the female body and the other hand pointing to the vulva the dea gravida covered in red ochre is from the Neolithic period 6400 - 5000 and comes from Ain Ghazal, Jordan.

Rooted in the earth each of these poses offer an opportunity for members of Gestare and collaborators in the practice to reconnect to life giving energies at each dark phase of the moons. As October moves into November the suggestion of the emergent life within in the womb of this venus image, holds us in an awareness of our regenerative time during these winter months.


 Nane - Oct 30, 2016 - Samhain Spiral Dance

I attend the spiral dance ritual with my oldest daughter and her friend. We sit at the edge of the centre of the circle of attendees, which is large this year. So many young people -  i ponder there being a renewal afoot for magical earth-based ways of life and ceremony, the hunger for this apparent in the creative group of young adults here tonight.

This eve - i am aware more then other years of the power of the elder witches. Ican feel their grounded power on the earth when they step into the centre of the ritual to lead and tell stories, how they carry their hard-won wisdom over time, transmitting this to younger generations here tonight.

The ritual moves on in its familiar ways, taking us through the release and remembrance of our dearly departed, and into the trance to meet the ancestors and others - what i recall as I write this on Jan 2, 2017 - is that I took this MA pose into the spiral dance walk, first holding my womb/belly in meditation, and then holding the hands of those next to me as we walked the spiral dance. So that the power of MA womb-wisdom enlightened my walk, reminding my steps of connection with others in this dance, and others on the earth, all of whom once gestated and lived in mothers' wombs, form the womb of MA to life and back again in death to womb of MA, as we celebrate and remembers cycles of life, death and birth again.

Barbara - Oct. 30, 2016 Dark Moon 'dea gravida' MA Pose & Walk

I take in the warmth and scents of the autumn morning as I walk to the labyrinth. When I arrive the labyrinth is partially covered by fallen leaves. I hear the leaves in the surrounding trees being rustled by the wind as I stand in the small brick circle just outside of the labyrinths' center. I move into the standing 'dea gravida' pose with my feet together and hands cupped holding my belly. I breathe consciously and words emerge:





Sounds emerge from my throat-- gentle soothing sounds like a repetitive mantra. When my sounds end I crouch down and touch the earth. Then I speak the words Falling
I notice how steady I feel, get up and step into the labyrinth path. I have to concentrate to follow the at times invisible pathway. I find myself caught in the inner circles of the path repeating my steps before finding myself in the center of the labyrinth. My inability to see the path has taken me quickly to the center. I tell myself this is okay. I stand in stillness and listen to the baseline sounds of the environment; the cicadas, birds,the wind, and watch a large leaf fall from the nearby tulip tree. I begin my return walk and wonder if I will be able to find the path out. I relish listening to the crunch of leaves beneath my feet as I walk a steady pace. Somehow I manage to follow the path in its completeness. I am surprised that leaving the labyrinth is easier than entering it. When I think about the year just passed and my struggles in it, I like that it is an easier walk out as it suggests an ability to make my way into the new cycle of the year with less struggle.

Click on the image below to hear a 6 minute arrangement of the sounds and words that emerged during my- 'dea gravida' MA pose.
Medwyn's Pose November 1, 2016

The timing of this pose paralleled the annual celebration of Samhain a time of honouring our ancestors, remembering our beloved dead who have passed in the last year, celebrating the lives of the newly born, and in the Reclaiming tradition, dancing the spiral into the new year of the witches.

While aware of the burgeoning life of the city I am blessed to stay close to Stanley Park where stillness and action co-exist.

 Vancouver West end reflected in Stanley Park lagoon
photography by Medwyn

We had planned to celebrate Samhain in the co-housing community that was my home in Courtenay. Before the ritual I spent some quiet time settling and relaxing into the Dea Gravida pose bringing hands to my belly calling in the spirits of those crossed over, the ancient ones and the newly arrived. Grounding into the womb of the earth and expanding to allow the power of this night to flow through and around me, I found my rhythm and walked contemplatively to the ritual place.

We gathered in the common house shared by all members of the co-housing community one room of which we transformed into a magical space where we stepped between the worlds and began our journey.

I led the group in trance through the damp, swirling mists toward the veil between this world and the otherworlds, and found myself in the verdant hills of Wales and Ireland seeking the opening into the land of my ancestors.

The long breath, the silence, the beat of the drum the atmosphere in the room settled as each found their place in the mystery and their way to visit with the old ones.

As the time came to let go of the journey, returning to the place we began the beat quickened and our feet moved in rhythm with each other, bodies swaying, voices raised stirring our spell of a new world as hearts expanded and energy rose to embrace the birthing of life and celebrating the first sparks of our new year.

The next day the ocean was flat and dark as I walked along the beach at Goose Spit the mouth of the K'ómoks estuary, unceded traditional territory of the K'ómoks first nation, I remembered a favorite Reclaiming tradition chant.

'The Beginning of the Earth' Delaney Johnson, Starhawk
The ocean is the beginning of the earth, all life comes from the sea.


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