Druidry while pregnant - questions

Hello all! I am thrilled to be a new member of AODA as of a few months ago :slight_smile: I’ve been working hard on all the practices, and the SOP quickly became a cornerstone of my day.

However, about 10 days ago I discovered that I am pregnant! Our family is looking forward to welcoming a new little one, but I read on the website of the former Archdruid John Michael Greer that rituals are not advised during pregnancy. (And truthfully, before I took a test, I had been feeling a lot of unusual exhaustion during my ritual practice.) So, I have sadly bid the SOP farewell for a little while.

My question: is there anything I might be able to replace the SOP with - sort of an SOP substitute, maybe a meditation? - that could fill the new SOP-shaped hole in my life? And has anyone else on the forum gone through pregnancy as an AODA Druid? I’d love to hear your stories on how you made your practices work!

7 Likes

Welcome to the AODA and to the forum, @shinjuki! My personal opinion is that doing the SOP during pregnancy should not be a problem at all. Especially since new members are spending most of their effort on personalizing the ritual. It sounds like the SOP had already become an important part of your day, so I believe continuing to do it would not be harmful in any way to your pregnancy. I don’t know exactly what JMG says on his website, but I do know he’s never been pregnant :wink:.

Performing the SOP is not like doing a full Grove ritual or a healing or divination practice. It should be a comforting, nurturing practice that I believe could actually be helpful during some of the more challenging times of pregnancy. If you pace yourself and be kind to yourself you should be fine.

I look forward to hearing what others have to say on this topic.

2 Likes

I’ve been pregnant while practising ritual. It’s not ritual itself that’s harmful - its the energy use. I noticed a definite impact, and stopped for the duration of my pregnancy, but meditations, observations, studies, etc really helped, and when I was able to return to it - I really didn’t feel as though I lacked anything.

Your body is doing amazing things, and using energy in a different way. I was taught that when we choose to be mother’s - our pregnancy itself was a magical, sacred, or divine event. When we’re pregnant our bodies are literally creating a new life. A magical thing in its own right :slight_smile:.

Sidenote: being a mother for me was a “choice”. Traditionally I am a woman who fills the role of a man. I have to choose motherhood. Once the child grows old enough I can also choose to return to my traditional role (which is a masculine role).

2 Likes

Hi Shinjuki, welcome to the forums.

I have nothing to add, but I did go look up what JMG says about it at The Magic Monday FAQ | Ecosophia for those who are curious. I hope it’s ok, I’ve posted it below.

If you’re pregnant or nursing, prayer, meditation, and maybe a little light divination is as much as you should do. You’re busy with one of the most powerful magical workings a human being can engage in—the rite that summons a human soul into physical incarnation—and that’s what you need to work on for now.

If your children are under the age of three, basic magical practices such as the Sphere of Protection, the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram, or the Middle Pillar exercise are fine, but don’t do them in any place where your children spend much of their time. Any more complex magical working? Leave it until later. Your kids come first.

3 Likes

Thanks for posting JMG’s words, and thank you, lilwolf, for adding your experience. I haven’t been pregnant so I can’t add personal experience, but I think the safest thing is to proceed along the lines JMG suggests.

3 Likes

This stuff is all very personal. I know people who have involved their toddlers in their Sphere of Protection and it worked for them :innocent:.

2 Likes

I’m no expert! It’s a fascinating question, and an important one. :sparkling_heart:

1 Like

Good point, @Babs! None of us here are experts. However, I do believe that a pregnant woman is the expert on what is going on in her own body and needs to be encouraged to listen to her instincts, checking with “experts” if she feels unsure. I don’t know how it is for men, but women repeatedly experience disregard for what they know and what they feel and sense. I experienced pregnancy 5 times: Numbers 1,2, and 4 ended in miscarriage, but 3 and 5 resulted in the birth of two amazing human beings (almost 30 years ago, but it isn’t something you ever forget). During my successful pregnancies I felt like a goddess, profoundly aware of the miracle occurring inside me. But it was scary (especially after losing pregnancies). I wasn’t practicing Druidry at the time, so I can’t say how I would have experienced performing the SOP.

The Sisterhood of Avalon suggest that, during practices that involve moving energy perhaps down and out of the body (possibly resulting in a woman’s flow starting if she still bleeds) to instead visualize the energy caressing and nurturing the baby. I’ve personally never heard of a spiritual group recommending that a pregnant woman stop practicing ritual, unless of course she feels that is the right thing to do. Even the “experts” can’t predict the reality of every individual person.

JMG taught me to trust my instincts during my Dolmen Arch training. Any time I would ask a question about doing something right he would direct the question back to me, telling me to study my own sense of the energies and how they were working within me. I hope he would respond the same in this situation - make a recommendation but also suggest @shinjuki listen to her gut and her heart.

Pregnancy isn’t an illness and shouldn’t limit a person unnecessarily. However, in the early stages of pregnancy, when you are so tired, perhaps you may want to just do the SOP as a meditation, perhaps contemplating each part discursively. Listen to your body - you are the expert there.

Many blessings on your miracle!

5 Likes

Congratulations on your pregnancy!

I will echo what others have said, that pregnancy isn’t an illness so don’t feel you can’t participate in something that brings you joy. I also encourage everyone not to take one person’s view on druidry and spirituality as gospel. The main premise of the AODA that I love so much is about adapting the practice to what feels right for you. JMG is just one person with one perspective on how to practice, he just happens to have written prolifically about it. Many others in this sphere who I know personally, most of them women and myself included, have not felt a need to modify their practices during pregnancy.

That said, if continuing with any part of your practice, the SOP included, is going to cause you anxiety or stress during your pregnancy, then DON’T. If you are worried about it going in, then it won’t be providing you with the calm and protection that you need from it. There are numerous scientific studies showing how important it is that pregnant women reduce stress for the health of their babies AND for the epigenetics of their grandchildren who are forming right now in the bodies of your baby girl as her future eggs (if it is a girl). side note: epigenetics are fascinating - please google if you aren’t familiar.

So bottom line my advice is that if the SOP brings you joy and you can go into it with the idea that you are creating it for you AND around your baby and that brings you comfort and calm, then I say go for it. But if you are worried about it, the world also will not end if you take a break for a while. :slight_smile: Best of luck on this journey!

5 Likes

AODA druids use the SOP for a variety of purposes. Some really do use it as ritual with energy work, others more as a visualisation exercise, attunement to the elements or something else entirely. Though I do value what JMG has to say on the topic, I keep in mind that he has most experience with and knowledge of traditional ritual and magickal workings with this energetic component in, I believe and don’t know for sure, male dominated traditions. And no personal experience with pregnancy, as Kathleen pointed out :slight_smile: So I can’t assess how much knowledge he has about the effect of energy work on a female body, especially in the fertile years when our bodies change during our cycle anyway, let alone the effect of energy work on the pregnant woman and the child she carries. So I might observe what the full SOP does for you now, how you feel doing it and what effect it has on you and decide based on that.

I have no experience with pregnancy as an AODA druid, though I started when my daughter was about a year old and was still nursing (as she still does at nearly 4 yo, but obviously way less frequently than the first 6 months). Sometimes I am very loyal in doing the SOP, other times I might go a month without doing it and feel very happy and refreshed when I do make time for it. Rituals are fairly infrequent and informal, though I have formally celebrated the festivals. Motherhood comes with its own challenges that require energy, making my energy (and time) for personal ritual more limited. Perfectionism aside, that’s ok, it is as it is and my druidry encompasses my motherhood as well.

3 Likes

Congratulations! Motherhood is such a wonderful gift!