Re-birthing became something of a fad in the 1990’s and it seems as if it has fizzled out somewhat after a tragedy that occurred in Colorado. Candace Newmaker, a slight, 75 pound child, was supposed to fight her way out of a tightly wrapped flannel blanket and more than 600 pounds of adults presumable sitting on her. The “therapist” was unqualified and the techniques she employed amounted to child abuse. This bizarre story led to re-birthing being banned. (You may Google the story to find out more about it, there is plenty of commentary and condemnation on the internet.)
Re-birthing still occurs in other forms, in sweat-lodges, past-life regressions and rituals. The purpose is to heal, whether it be the immediate past or past lives, and to clear the way for new experiences and new beginnings. Many times in our lives we change direction: sometimes through a new job, a new place or a new relationship. We move on from the old and open ourselves to new adventures, sometimes a new way of thinking or being.
I recently visited the Cradle of Humankind in South Africa. The Sterkfontein Caves were first investigated in 1890, when miners explored the area in search of lime to be used in the extraction of gold. They discovered fossils which were shown to scientists but further excavations only started in the late 1930’s. In 1936 the first Austrolopethecine fossils were discovered and named by Professor Raymond Dart and Dr. Robert Broom (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sterkfontein for more information)
My daughter and I visited the caves with a group of tourists in September. It was a very hot, early Spring day .The landscape was dry and dusty; spring rains had not yet fallen to hydrate the parched landscape. I had some misgivings about the whole experience, such as issues with claustrophobia, and having to navigate through narrow passages in the caves. My back and body can no longer pretzel itself into uncomfortable positions, and I was afraid of getting stuck! I was determined, however, to have the experience, and I had wanted to visit the caves since my previous visit back “home”, five years ago.
We entered the caves and went down a series of steep steps. I held on tightly, afraid of falling down in the dimly lit cavern. I felt disoriented and dizzy from the lack of light and steep descent. It became cooler the deeper we went and we finally reached the bottom of the cave where there are some large stalactites. They were impressive but did not compare favorably with other caves I have visited in the past. That the caves were ancient, there is no doubt, but it must be remembered that South Africa is water poor and I guess this must be a reason the stalactites and stalagmites are not as impressive. T here was a clear water, shallow lake in the largest open part of the cave, which apparently extends further than is visible from our vantage point.
From there it was uphill, climbing step after step, winding through the darkened corridors of moist dank air until we reached the first narrow passage. I balked at the thought of going through it. But what to do? I had to squat down on my haunches and waddle through the first narrow aperture; so low I had to keep my head bowed. It was uncomfortable and slippery, but I could not,would not, succumb to my fear that I would get stuck thereby embarrassing myself and my daughter!
I made it through, the second last person to traverse the passage. Bolstered by encouragement from the gentleman behind me, I felt that he was physically worse off than I was, and I kept a steady commentary of complaint as I inched along, much to his amusement. There was more and worse to come. The last passage was like the neck of a womb, a similarity that I noticed straightaway as I purposefully sat myself down on my bottom and scooted inch by inch along the slippery floor. I was huffing and puffing in anguished discomfort; wriggling this way and that, through the dark, narrow tunnel. When I reached the other side I felt jubilant: I had done it!
From there it was a very hard, steep, upward climb that left me breathless and nauseated when we reached the light of day. Apart from becoming overheated, I had forgotten that jet-lag, and the altitude (It’s not called “The Highveld” for nothing…the altitude is the same as Denver, CO) were upsetting my equilibrium.
I sat and breathed heavily for a few moments, and had a few sips of water, then I recovered and felt fine. We re-emerged into the heat of day, the light dazzlingly white as it tends to be in Africa, washing out the color of the veld around us, but leaving the sky as blue and open as heaven itself.
In retrospect, I felt as if I had been reborn. Here, emerging from the cradle of mankind, in recognition of my lives in Africa in particular, and as a closure to an experience I had had with Raquel Spencer the previous year, in which two other women and I identified lives as River Keepers, shamans of the Nile River, as well as a very early life as a cave woman where I had given birth and died when the baby was cut from my womb with a flint knife, I felt the triumph of my Being, the deep incontrovertible knowledge that we emerge, time and again, from the Light to be born once again in a physical and spiritual struggle; to experiences that will enrich our souls and add to the Akasha, the Records of All Things that exist in a dimension of consciousness beyond the physical.
We are Beings of Light, and we choose to be here, to share the Love and Light with those who have forgotten who they are. We awaken them with our stories, our experiences and our Love, our forgiveness and our compassion.
My heartfelt thanks to my daughter Adrienne for her encouragement and love through this experience! We did it!