Visualizing Birth through an Italian Prayer to Pachamama

Pachamama, an important Andean fertility goddess celebrated in cultures of the Amazon, has previously been discussed on Visualizing Birth here. Known as “Mother Earth” or “Mother of All,” Pachamama is a figure found mostly in the context of worship in the Andes. However, shown in the form of several small wooden figurines depicting pregnant women, Pachamama’s imagery recently made its way to the Vatican, where she appeared in an indigenous prayer service in the Vatican gardens. Pope Francis was in attendance during the service. The figurines were then moved and displayed close to the Vatican in Rome’s Church of Santa Maria in Traspontina.

The presence of these statues at the church was controversial and several men  stole them, throwing the figurines into Rome’s Tiber River. However, the objects were retrieved unharmed from the river.

In this image of Pachamama, the pregnant goddess is shown cradling her belly while seated on her knees. Smaller female figures holding small babies stand in a boat, watched over by the large figure of Pachamama. Pregnant women may find this image helpful in the visualization of pregnancy and birth, utilizing the figure of Pachamama to connect them to a lineage of birth occurring across culture and history, reminding them that birth is a normal process experienced by many women.