Chinnamasta is a Hindu tantric goddess who symbolizes both life give and taker as she is depicted without a head. “She helps the devotee to transcend the mind (all the ideas, attachments, habits and preconceived ideas), into the Pure Divine Consciousness.” (‘Birth Mandala: The Power of Visioning For Childbirth”)
Chinnamasta is also the name of the yantra (Sanskrit for “mystical diagram”) of the second chakra (energy point centered in the lower abdomen, pelvis, and sex organs). This is the chakra of progeny and Chinnamasta is the representation of that.
Thus, Chinnamasta is an archetype of the collective unconscious – severing ones own head to mother and tap into the yantra of the second chakra – the womb – and allow her baby to be born. This is fascinating to me as it corresponds with a philosophy of birth, one that I happen to agree with, that so much of the labor process (especially for a first time mother giving birth) is the struggle to move out of the thinking brain and ego and drop into a more primal and ‘id’ state of existing.
When a woman remains in her ‘head’, analyzing her labor and trying to will her labor to go faster or control it because its getting too intense, she is moving away from that deeper place of the collective unconscious where she ‘descends into her labyrinth’ (as discussed in previous post). Instead, she may be prolonging the labor process, making the pain more intense and perhaps the experience more traumatic.
If a woman can find the tools to ‘cut off her head’ so to speak, it will allow her to be unattached to what’s happening and just experience the motions and sensations of labor for what they are versus the story, drama and thoughts her mind wants to tell that are associated with the actions of birth. She can be a vessel through which new life comes through her rather than a closed, tight and complex network of connective tissue and fear getting in the way of her body and baby.
Some of these tools and comfort techniques can include hypnosis, music, nature sounds, massage, visualizations, mantras, affirmations, aromatherapy, movement and most importantly an environment that makes one feel safe, loved and supported. This will help relax the mind and give it something else to focus on – like entering a deep state of meditation – to step out of the way of her body and allow her baby to come through her.
As the Queen of Hearts once famously said, “Off with their heads!”…