“And the end of all our exploring/ will be to arrive where we started/ And know the place for the first time.” ~ T.S. Eliot
I received my calling to midwifery nearly a decade ago, when on a spiritual pilgrimage to India. There I was given the ancient vedic teachings of the Four Baskets, which refer to the timeframes of conception, gestation, birth, and the immediate postpartum. These sacred teachings were given as an experience which ushered through a transformational healing for me and my life. I knew then that this is my soul’s purpose… to protect this timeframe of The Four Baskets for the babies that come into my care. In order for us to birth a connected world that is filled with peace, understanding and compassion, we must weave those experiences into The Four Baskets of our children.
The Four Baskets hold our primal experiences. These experiences become the foundation upon which the rest of our life will be built. They are the lens through which we perceive every other experience of our lives. Trauma or unresolved events in any one of these baskets can become an energetic kink, where we may find ourselves getting stuck or snagged in our relationships or motivations throughout life. A kink in one of our baskets may create a stagnancy where we find ourselves over and over again experiencing an undesirable pattern of behavior. Every disease and disorder of humanity has it’s roots in The Four Baskets.
From the very first moments of life, we are designed to take in the environment we are being born into. The relatively recent science of epigenetics shows us that the genes in every cell of our bodies do nothing on their own, they rely on the information in their environment to determine what they will become. As cell biologist and epigeneticist Dr. Bruce Lipton says, “Genes do not control our biology.” The switch that can either turn a gene on or turn a gene off is our Perception- awareness and beliefs about our world. (1) The environment of a baby in the womb is it’s mother. The mother’s perceptions of her world become the environment for the child within.
The First Basket: Conception through 2nd month gestation
From the first thought… a secret wish…a glimmer in the eye… hopes & dreams not for someday, but for now! … a song created to sing the child into existence… an intention spoken and shared… a whisper in the night between two lovers…
To the Spark of Life itself- the moment of conception… the union where two become one, and the child’s physical life begins…
The First Basket holds space for it all, from the first thought of creating a baby, the First Basket is beginning to form. All thoughts, feelings and circumstances of both parents during this time are woven in.
In the ancient Vedic tradition, the First Basket extends from conception through the first two months of gestation. During this time, the egg and sperm have united to form what modern science calls an embryo, and make the journey into the womb, burrowing in and creating the baby’s first home- the placenta and amniotic sac. Generally, this is the time when the woman discovers, or confirms, that she is pregnant. So woven into the First Basket is this experience- How is this news received by the mother? By the father? By the rest of the family? Is it a joyous occasion? Or one filled with fear, doubt and uncertainty?
Within the fiery First Basket, neurons are forming- connecting- firing, to create the neural tube which becomes the baby’s spinal cord and lifelong communication channel. The heart is also formed at this time, and so it is no surprise that scientists are now discovering that our hearts have neurons, thinking cells, of their own. In fact the relatively new field of cardio-neurology tells us that more messages are sent from the heart to the brain than the other way around. (2) By the end of the First Basket, 90% of the baby’s physical anatomical structures are formed including eyelids, ears and olfactory nerve fibers. (3) Everything that the mother takes into her body is imprinted within the baby- food, sights, sounds, smells, thoughts, feelings, emotions.
Personal First Basket reflection
We don’t need to have vivid memories of an event in order for those experiences to affect our lives. The Four Baskets are a pre-verbal time, and so our memories are not stored verbally, but rather as felt senses. Think about what you know, have heard or intuit about your First Basket….. How were you conceived? What were the thoughts, feelings, emotions of your parents during your conception and first weeks in the womb? Was it a conscious conception? or unplanned? How was the news of your conception received by the mother? father? by the rest of the family?
How have the experiences in your First Basket affected the rest of your life?
This post is an excerpt from Catherine Lightfoot’s upcoming book on The Four Baskets.
(2) SCIENCE OF THE HEART: Exploring the Role of the Heart in Human Performance, Vol 2; Authored by Rollin McCraty, Ph.D., Director of Research, HeartMath Research Center