Chapter 4 – Constructing Natality
In Chapter 2, I deconstructed Necrophilia. In Chapter 3, I cleared a space for opening our consciousness to change our way of thinking and being. In Chapter 4, I accept the challenge of imagining a Paradigm of Natality as a new way of thinking and being. Natality takes birth as the centre and connects us through maternal continuums with all beings that have been born.
The Paradigm of Natality values life and this gives it the potential to disrupt the dominant Western paradigm that valorizes death. The Paradigm of Natality generates hope for cultural continuity in the midst of the current climate crisis (Chapter 1). I posit that matriculture, food sovereignty and reciprocal relationality with land may be preconditions for as well as indicators of cultural continuity.
Natality opens possibilities for new beginnings. In practising Natality, we midwife hope by bringing to light an alternative way of being. I tentatively define eight cornerstones of Natality here:
- Regeneration refers to the cyclical view of life in which birth, death and regeneration are natural phenomena that connects all natals. Regeneration describes not only our physical process but also the process of continuous creativity. The Paradigm of Natality is a culture of creativity and beauty.
- Matricultures refers to non-hierarchical cultural paradigms that values the maternal, in its literal & metaphoric meanings, and elevates mothering for its contribution to culture and continuity. Indigenous women are leading the way to reclaiming the matricultures that existed before patriarchy and colonialism attempted to erase them.
- Relationality with land and all beings involves nondual participation in the world. Reciprocal relationality with nature maintains balance and harmony. Relationality, particularly empathy, disrupts necrophilia’s systems of dominance.
- Cosmology contributes stability and groundedness by evoking a shared symbology to express the sacredness of the whole. Cosmology deals with concepts of time, space and place. A culture’s ethical codes are embedded in its origin stories, performed in ceremonies and represented in signs and symbols.
- Personhood refers to the process of becoming. In this process, identity is formed. Mothers give us the gift of language so that we can acquire a voice. Colonization, racism and sexism silence many voices and impose an identity; however, the Paradigm of Natality empowers natals to recover their voice and identity.
- Diversity is an indicator of biocultural continuity. It respects and welcomes difference and pluralism. Food sovereignty is reliant on biodiversity and is critical to climate change adaptation. Biocultural diversity values the preservation of languages, because ecological intelligence is embedded in language.
- Sharing communities develop practises of caring that help all beings flourish by designing ways to practise a sharing economy, generosity and hospitality, thus disrupting the greed which prevails in the dominant paradigm.
- Governance and political agency animate communities through respectful intra-action. Governance circles radiate justice. Decision-making by consensus engages the voices of all beings, including the land and the climate. All genders exercise responsibilities as protectors, defenders and warriors. Decolonization is a political task shared by settler folks and indigenous folks.
In researching Natality, I discover that my vision is not innovative; it is, in fact, a living reality in many indigenous cultures. Consequently I do not wish to mislead by calling Natality a ‘new’ paradigm; it is a reclamation and renovation of indigenous philosophy. I found that cultures engaged in reciprocal relationship with nature are more likely to venerate mothers and ancestors.
I call on women to lead the way in theorizing, developing and practising Natality Together, we midwife a way of thinking about birthings and beginnings as an organic whole. Cultura de Natalidad, a culture of Natality, celebrates imagination and creativity.
Note: I often capitalize Natality to designate it as a proper noun. In the spirit of Natality, I often include the date and place of birth of the scholars who influence this work.
See Reference page for details on citations.