Pregnancy as a Rite of Passage: Liminality, Rituals & Communitas

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Publication Date: 
December 2009
Pregnancy, a major life transition, significantly impacts aspects of a woman?s physical, psychological and social self. Theoretical perspectives of pregnancy are compared in terms of their utility. Using the theoretical frameworks of anthropologists van Gennep and Turner pregnancy is viewed as liminal, a space between social structures. Passage through pregnancy to parenthood is explored in its social context as a rite of passage. Viewing pregnancy and birth as a liminal phase provides a valuable framework for understanding normative and non-normative pregnancy experiences.

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Mary the Dawn: Ancient European Symbols of Fertility and Pregnancy for Pedagogical Purposes

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Publication Date: 
December 2009
In this paper, I will trace Ancient European Symbols of Pregnancy and Fertility from pre-history to early Christian times. Whether ancient female images represented goddesses or not, is not under discussion here. I will explore the possibility that symbols of pregnancy and fertility take on a purpose beyond self-expression, art, or worship and suggest the plausibility of pedagogical purposes in a pre-literate world. By including symbols, I also hope to show how some the roots of our modern alphabet go back to pre-history, and speak of the sacred sciences of birth.

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