Birth Altars – Sacred Space and the Visualization of Birth


Birth Altar, (October 14, 2014)

The birth altar is a sacred place created during a  woman’s pregnancy, constructed both to celebrate the approaching birth of her child, and to provide the woman with a physical space in her home where she can meditate on her pregnancy and visualize labor and birth.

Objects found in a birth altar vary, and can range from religious objects such as images of figures such as the Virgin Mary, the Buddha, or Guanyin, as well as non-religious items such as belly casts, pendants related to birth, and special objects from nature or from one’s own life.  In the case of the religious items, they are often appropriated in a non-religious context and appreciated for their humanistic characters.  The Virgin Mary, for example, is revered as part of the birth altar not necessarily because she is a religious figure, but because of her archetypal associations with birth and motherhood.

The birth altar is an important physical space that a pregnant woman (and her partner too) can use to visualize the upcoming birth in a peaceful way.  The collection of objects that are part of the birth altar can bring power or calmness to the woman as she envisions labor and prepares for birth.