A Sumerian Birth Prayer

now comes the final voyage,
the journey without.
from the center of the world,
from the land of the not-yet-born,
from the midst of the mother,
the journey begins.

the boat is full,
packed with treasure:
carnelian,
lapis lazuli,
perfume,
cedar wood.
greatest of all cargos,
full to stretching,
the child is ready.

I feel the ocean wind unfurl my sails
I stretch to heaven, stretch to earth,
my cries reach heaven, reach to earth,
I rise and fall like a roiling ocean,
I pitch and rock like a ship on the sea.

And in me the boat,
the processional boat,
the precious baby boat
continues its journey.

Open wide the great gate,
as the boat sails free to birth.
May the waters flow like rain,
may they flow like water from a pail,
may the boat find its mooring place
as it reaches the land of life.

(Note: The authenticity of this prayer has not been confirmed.)

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About John Halstead

John Halstead is a native of the southern Laurentian bioregion and lives in Northwest Indiana, near Chicago. He is one of the founders of 350 Indiana-Calumet, which works to organize resistance to the fossil fuel industry in the Region. John was the principal facilitator of “A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment” (ecopagan.com). He strives to live up to the challenge posed by the statement through his writing and activism. John has written for numerous online platforms, including Patheos, Huffington Post, PrayWithYourFeet.org, and here at Gods & Radicals. He is Editor-at-Large of HumanisticPaganism.com. John also edited the anthology, "Godless Paganism: Voices of Non-Theistic Pagans". He is also a Shaper of the Earthseed community which can be found at GodisChange.org. View all posts by John Halstead

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