We have been on quite a journey learning about this thing called Closing the Bones.
It all started a few years ago in a beautiful place called Cae Mabon. Deep in the heart of Snowdonia, at a doula retreat, we met Rocio Alarcon, an Ethnobotanist from Ecuador. Rocio straddles two worlds; one of the forest, the ancient peoples and the shaman’s rituals, and the fast-paced world of science.
Under the gaze of the mountain, next to the babbling Welsh brook, Rocio taught us to honour a woman who has just given birth. She reminded us that her mind and body need and deserve to be nourished, nurtured and kneaded. Her gentle hands warmed us and her lilting words guided us in our learning as she modelled the movements to massage a mother’s body.
With her ‘manta’ or shawl, she showed us how to rock and relax a woman. As a baby in the womb we are rocked as our mother walks, as a baby we are rocked in arms or in our cradle, as old people we rock in our chairs. To be held and rocked is deeply relaxing and feels safe at a cellular level.
Rocio (left), Maddie and Sophie
Our hands and hearts learned to gently stroke her with warm oil and to wrap her with the shawl, leaving her feeling soft and warm. To honour her belly and hips, where she grew her baby, is a profound moment, for both giver and receiver.
And so we practiced. And women came. Many women. Knowing they needed this ceremony to close the circle of pregnancy and childbirth. It is rituals that are the punctuation of our lives; baptism, weddings, funerals. Yet we have nothing to mark the supreme achievement that is motherhood.
Through Closing the Bones, or ‘hipping’ as Rocio calls it, we aim to celebrate motherhood and draw attention to the perfection that is a mother’s body. However she birthed her child, this is a time to breath, reflect on her journey so far and feel loved and supported by her community.
Sophie and I began spreading the word. Many women have come to us to learn to close bones, some of whom are listed on this site. We feel driven to do this work for many reasons; mostly because mothers are asking us in greater numbers than we can support alone, but also because Rocio entreated us to spread the word. To:
‘give this back to your culture, because you have lost it. And you need it back.’
This website is for you if you want your bones closed, or know someone who would like their bones closed (we encourage the buying of this ritual as a gift for new mothers). You can find a bone closer on our list
This website is for you if you want to learn to close bones. You can book a workshop or enquire about us coming to your neck of the woods.
Our aim is to use a proportion of the proceeds from our workshops to benefit the people of Ecuador. Rocio has a number of projects supporting the peoples, flora and fauna of the country that we will be supporting.