Homebirth, Civil Rights and the Ritual Life of Childbirth- by Gregg LaHood (LW4)

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To write about home birth in depth is to write about

Western medicine and the de-medicalisation of childbirth.

The chequered history of medicalised childbirth in the Western

world is well beyond the scope of this article as it would

require several large volumes. Because my background is in

transpersonal psychology and social anthropology, I will limit

myself here to a theme current in transpersonal psychology

known as the participatory turn: the notion that spiritual events

are ‘conditioned’ by context, the participant’s intention, the

community and the ‘place’ where the spiritual event emerges.

In the Western world, the ‘place’ of childbirth has been at the

centre of political battles for some time and it is the context of

birth-giving that draws transpersonal psychology into the fray. Dr

Stanislav Grof, one of the original founders of transpersonalism,


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First printed in Living Wisdom #4