About and Contact

Anna Hennessey is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley, California.  She is the author of Imagery, Ritual, and Birth: Ontology Between the Sacred and the Secular (Rowman & Littlefield, December 2018), a detailed study of the artistic, philosophical, religious, and spiritual dimensions of birth. Anna is currently studying the role of mental imagery and visualization in the philosophy of mind, a project informed both by her dissertation research on the role of visualization in Chinese religions and by her examination of imagery used for mental and physiological transformation in birth as a rite of passage. She has used visualization during the births of both of her children (Kieran and Montserrat). Giving birth to her first child, Kieran, had a profound impact on her life, and she began this blog in 2010 when 3 months pregnant with her second child, Montserrat.

Anna holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies (UC Santa Barbara), an M.A. in Art History (UC Santa Barbara), and a B.A. with a double major in Philosophy and Romance Language (New York University).

To contact Anna with questions or comments, or to submit artwork for the website, please email her at: visualizingbirth [at] gmail [dot] com.

To read about Anna’s other work, see her website: https://annahennessey.com

Imagery, Ritual, and Birth: Ontology Between the Sacred and the Secular
Rowman & Littlefield, December 2018

15 Responses

  1. Rhian
    Rhian · July 26, 2015 at 21:58:25 ·

    Hi there,

    I really appreciate your site! My husband and I collected positive images to make a birth altar. I wish we had found your site then… I found it through pinterest. I trained as an Art Psychotherapist in the UK.

    I’n due to give birth in 2 weeks and often light candles in front of the images!

    Thanks and good luck,


    1. Visualizing Birth
      Visualizing Birth · September 27, 2016 at 11:11:59 ·

      Hello Rhian, I hope that this message finds you doing well and enjoying mothering!

      I am currently doing a project on birth altars. Did you take any pictures of yours? If so, I was hoping that I could look at the altar and discuss it with you. Let me know, and best wishes to you.


  2. David Iona
    David Iona · August 27, 2017 at 08:48:01 ·

    I came across your site by accident and wondered if you would care to look at a video I put together titled ‘My Birthing Pool’ on you tube. The poem is read by a British actor namely Lisa Grant who read my poem two days before she herself was due to give birth to her daughter.

  3. Stephanie
    Stephanie · February 6, 2018 at 18:03:13 ·

    Hi Anna,

    Thank you for your site. Do you happen to know the date of Sara Star’s The Crowning? I am a midwifery student and would like to include this work in a presentation but would like to reference it properly.

    Thank you!

  4. Tierra
    Tierra · August 9, 2018 at 10:40:50 ·

    Hello Anna,
    I was on the website looking for inspiration for my doula practice how to incorporate Yemoja and birth. Your picture was the first to come up, thank you for sharing. It moved me into a place of peace and joy. I’m new to being a business woman but I know one thing is that violating copyright is not a good thing. May I use your picture of Yemoja within my blog? Thank you in advance.

  5. Sabina Fella
    Sabina Fella · August 26, 2019 at 07:58:59 ·

    Dear Anna,
    My name is Sabina and I am a midwife in Toronto. I absolutely love your work. Would you be willing to talk to me about possibly giving you a space on our midwifery group’s website? We have a section that’s about Inspiration, Health, Art, Writing. We do a lot of prenatal education as well and the issue of fear is very prevalent in birthing women today.
    Please send me an email if you are interested. It wouldn’t be any work for you – as we would simply give you a space to post some interesting things about visualizing birth.
    With gratitude,
    Sabina Fella (Riverdale Community Midwives, Toronto)

  6. joanne leonard
    joanne leonard · September 23, 2019 at 14:39:52 ·

    Thank you for your website “visualizing childbirth.” I’m an artist who has been asked to comment for a podcast about my own birth image in an on-line collection. I came to your site to look at what you have collected. A really terrrific collection. I’m attempting to view a few videos on the subject of childbirth at your site and finding these have been removed. Might you tell me why these videos were (had to be?) removed? Many thanks, joanne leonard

  7. Margaret Ragen
    Margaret Ragen · November 6, 2023 at 11:42:02 ·

    Aloha, Anna.
    So inspired by your work. I’m a midwife in Hawai’i. I stumbled upon your blog as there is an exhibition at the NEW MUSEUM on Judy Chicago, and on an internet search, came to your work. Could you help me in finding if we could utilize any of Ms. Chicago’s images on our Hawai’i Affiliate of the American College of Nurse Midwives website?

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