If you're exploring every avenue possible to conceive a baby, you may be asking, "What is a fertility ritual?" Commonly associated with pagan practice, fertility rites and ceremonies are ancient rituals that were believed to improve the chances of conceiving. Some believe that the practice can be effective today.
What Is a Fertility Ritual
So what is a fertility ritual? The answer depends on the beliefs of the individuals practicing the rites. Just as religions have different beliefs and practices, so do fertility rituals. Symbolism is a common theme across the board and the ceremonies are usually filled with symbolic materials, mantras, and practices.
The rites are supposed to promote the generative forces in the earth and ceremonies may be used in cultivating the land as well as creating a new life. The Columbia Encyclopedia states that the rites are practices that seek to control forces of nature that are beyond human control.
You may consider fertility rites and rituals to be an alternative to or a complement to mainstream medical interventions. Some women choose to see the practices as paying homage to feminine energy and reproduction, while others may see them as a way to improve the chances of conception.
Fertility Deities and Symbolism
Fertility deities are found in mythologies from different cultures. They are associated with areas of reproduction including conception, fertility, pregnancy, and birth. A fertility deity may have other associations, including creation, farming, the solar system, and weather. Sometimes, a fertility deity may also be associated with death, depending on the culture.
Symbolism is abundant in fertility rituals and practices may include sacred dramas that represent birth, life, and death. For example, in pagan mythology, the earth goddess searches for her lost child (or dead child) in a sacred drama about the cycle of life. Other symbols include:
- Fire (symbolizes the sun)
- Phallic symbols
Prayers and Meditation
During a fertility ritual, the participants may engage in prayer or meditation. The prayers may evoke a deity and they may be integral to the ceremony. Meditation and visualization practices are typically personal practices that can follow a standard meditation method. Focusing on breathing and on seeing the conception in your mind are commonly used during these activities.
Incantations, dances, and chants are often used in fertility rites. They are symbolic of the cycle of life or they ask a higher power for guidance.
Herbs may be used in some rituals for fertility. Although herbs are not considered to be medications, it is extremely important to ask your doctor about using them, especially since pregnancy is a factor. Herbal remedies are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and they can have serious side effects.
Fertility Moon lists the following as fertility herbs:
- Chaste tree berry
- Dong quai
- False unicorn root
- Green tea
- Ladies mantle
- Nettle leaf
- Red raspberry leaf
- Wild yam
Examples of Fertility Rituals
With the wide number of cultures, symbols, and centuries of practice, specific examples of fertility rituals can help answer the question of what they are. Praying to become pregnant is an example of a common practice that many couples use. Though less elaborate as other rituals, praying requests for help and guidance from a higher power can accompany mainstream medicine.
Other examples of fertility rituals include:
- The maypole dance (symbolic of the male and female, represented by the ribbons, contribution to creating life).
- Kissing under the mistletoe.
- Painting eggs.
- Cantonese funerals, in which the daughter-in-law of the deceased wear green around their waists and rub their abdomens on the coffins.
- Native American rain dance.
- Animal sacrifice.
- Harvest charms.
Effectiveness of Fertility Rituals
Are fertility rituals effective? Mainstream medicine does not support the idea of using spells and ceremonies as a way to treat infertility. It isn't likely, according to science, that such practice would improve the chances of becoming pregnant.
As with any practice that could affect your health, it is important to talk to your doctor about fertility rituals that you plan to use, especially if you are using them as an augmentation for infertility treatments or if you plan to use herbal supplements.
The practices may have little effect and they may be as reliable as gender prediction strategies, like the baby gender pencil test. If nothing else, the practices can have a calming effect, which can help improve the chances of conception, in some cases.