Tag Archives: Fertility

Crazy Train or Baby Train? How Stress Affects Fertility

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Stress is not our friend when it comes to good health, and that includes fertility.  As a mind + body coach helping women birth their dreams, I see all too often how smart, successful women are “killing themselves” pushing so hard trying for a baby and it breaks my heart. Let me tell you what I have learned: Mother Nature doesn’t like bullies and doesn’t offer short cuts. But she loves it when we are true to ourselves, and will freely give you all her secrets if you slow down enough to tune in.

If we are on crazy train we are going to miss baby train if we don’t soften our hard parts, dial down the crazy and get with the program.

Stress puts us in “fight or flight” mode which activates the fertility killing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, pulling all the blood to our limbs away from our womb and reproductive organs. The body says, “we are not about to make a baby while we are running from a bear!”

What we are facing is a present day dilemma that all of us must at some point have a “come to Jesus” with; and that is if we are trying to make babies we are going to need to stop running from (or in some cases chasing) that proverbial bear. Something’s got to give.

The great news about this is slowing down is not a luxury it is a necessity. No more guilt, ladies! By making a few simple choices in our daily lives, we can keep our heads from exploding and step off of crazy train and back onto peace train (or what I love to call baby train.) Here are a few tips to get you started. Continue reading

“HelloFlo”: The Viral Ad That Empowers Girls to Embrace Their Periods

“For these campers, I’m their Joan of Arc. It’s like I’m Joan, and their vag is the arc.”

These words come from the mouth of a young girl in a recent ad for HelloFlo, a new company that specializes in making menstruation as painless as possible. You can help but do a double take (did that girl seriously just say “vag”?), and that is perhaps exactly what the ad creators intended.

But neither the company nor the controversial ad were rooted in any “feminist agenda,” says HelloFlo founder Naama Bloom. The company functions by sending boxes of tampons, pads, and candy to women in alignment with their personal cycles, all for $14-18 a month.

As Bloom said in an interview with CNN, “I just wanted to talk the way women talked and the way I talk and talk the way I am teaching my daughter to talk.” But even that is remarkable. After all, how many girls really feel this way about their periods? For that matter, how many moms, teaching their daughters about menstruation, feel this way?

The onset of puberty is happening earlier and earlier for girls in the United States, a trend that does not bode well for future generations’ rates of ovarian and breast cancer. Poor diet, lack of exercise, and exposure to toxic chemicals can all affect the timing of puberty, and the increase in all three in this country has obviously contributed to an earlier onset of menstruation.

On top of that, menstruation has been a consistent point of embarrassment for girls and women, and this has unfortunately perpetuated a culture of body shame. Whenever menstruation begins, it is not something to be ashamed of nor fight against. Girls need all the information they can get to be prepared, both physically and emotionally, for this powerful rite of passage. In a way, periods are what makes the world go ’round. Right?

What’s your relationship with menstruation like? Tell us your stories in the comments section below!

5 Ways to Look and Feel Better Than You Did in High School!

Spa Treatment at Le Telfair Golf & Spa Resort - MauritiusIt’s been said that youth is wasted on the young. When we’re in our teens we can get away with bad habits because we have that natural, youthful energy anyway. As we get older, we find that energy is a commodity that we prize and need to be more diligent in our self-care so that we have plenty of it!

Luckily for us, Ayurveda, India’s 5,000 year old “Science of Life,” has some easy guidelines we can follow to look and feel healthier, sexier, and more energetic than we did in high school!

Here are 5 tips from Ayurveda on how to look and feel better:

1. Know your body type.

THEN: In high school you probably coveted the body types of the women in Charlie’s Angels, or wanted to look like Cheryl Tiegs. Now we know better! YOU are the best you, don’t try to be someone else.

NOW: Know your body type – Are you Vata, Pitta, or Kapha. This way you know what “normal” is for you. That way you don’t have unrealistic expectations of yourself. Every dosha is beautiful! Be your best self.

2. Eat for energy.

THEN: In high school you probably lived on pizza and leftovers, and ran through the drive-through after school.

NOW: Eat energizing foods. Fresh vegetables should constitute 40% of the meal. Green, leafy vegetables are especially high in minerals and fiber, so should be eaten often. Raisins are among the best of fruits because they enhance purity, pacify the mind and heart and increase the coordination between them. They are also a rich source of iron and vitamin B6, and provide magnesium, calcium, zinc, and potassium. Raisins aid digestion and elimination when they are soaked in water overnight. One handful per person is a good amount.

A date-milk energy shake is a nourishing way to end the day because it promotes sleep and calms both Pitta and Vata sleep imbalances.

Date-Milk Energy Shake

  • 4-5 whole dates
  • 1 cup whole organic milk (may substitute soy or rice or almond milk)
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • Boil the milk until it creates a foam. Turn off the heat and cool until the temperature is comfortable for drinking. Combine the milk with the other ingredients and blend until the dates are ground up. Drink it warm in winter and at room temperature in summer.

By the way, the warm frothy milk can also be used as a face mask – wonderfully hydrating and leaves the skin super soft!

Herbs and spices are your friends! Cumin helps digestion, freshly crushed black pepper helps you assimilate food better, cilantro cools and nutmeg soothes. There are spice blends, or CHURNAS, specifically to pacify each dosha – you can buy them ready made or make them at home.

Also, avoid energy-draining foods. Any fast foods, canned, frozen, packaged, leftover, or old foods, or foods with preservatives, chemicals and additives, are difficult to digest and contain little nutritional content. They actually drain the body of energy. If you do have some of these foods and feel heavy afterwards, drink half a glass of warm water with ¼ of a lime squeezed into it.

3. Keep skincare simple.

THEN: In high school, you probably spent a ton of money on grooming products, soaps, perfumes, lotions, hairspray.

NOW: Keep it simple. Nourish the body with natural oils. Abhyanga is a daily self massage which is good for keeping all the doshas in balance. It helps moisturize the skin, helps to release toxins, helps to tone the muscles, and it soothes the nerves. Sesame oil is usually recommended in general and is very good for Vatas specifically. Almond oil is also good for Vata. Coconut and sunflower both work well for Pitta. Corn and olive oils are beneficial for balancing Kapha.

The massage can be done in the morning before your shower, or in the evening before bed. Start by warming the oil to skin temperature, and drizzle a small amount of oil into the palms of your hands. Massage the top of your scalp (on days when you wash your hair), pay particular attention to the circumference of your ears, and the soles of your feet. Massage with long strokes on your limbs, and round strokes on your joints. It’s best to leave the oil on the body for 20 minutes before washing it off in a warm shower or bath. This 20 minutes is a good time to do your morning meditation!

4. Maintain a regular routine.

THEN: In high school, you probably kept late nights studying and partying with friends, up early for school, activities – on the go all the time.

NOW: Regular routine can help prevent stress. Ayurveda says there are 3 types of fatigue. Mental fatigue is a Vata imbalance, emotional fatigue is a Pitta imbalance, and physical fatigue is a Kapha imbalance. For all three:

  • Meditation – Twice daily
  • Good sleep habits.
  • Regular meal times.
  • Regular exercise, morning walk in the sun, yoga.
  • Dosha balancing routines – and teas.

5. Support fertility naturally.

THEN: In high school, energy probably came easily. You were always ready for a date!

NOW: Some grains, such as quinoa, enhance estrogenic activity and support the hormonal activity of both men and women. Cook it with a little ghee, salt, and spices such as cumin. Fruits such as papaya and pineapple are also helpful in strengthening the ovum. Turmeric helps enhance the binding of estrogen and progesterone.

Take the Dosha Quiz to determine your Dosha and learn more about Ayurveda with my free 6 week e-course here.

 

Originally published April 2012

Wicca 101: Witches, Magic, and the Art of Intention

What is it with witches and wizards? We love them, hate them, persecute them for hundreds of years, and glorify them in wondrous stories of magical worlds and flying broomsticks. In this week’s episode of “Holy Facts” on The Chopra Well, Gotham Chopra explores the wizarding world of Wicca in the hopes of dispelling some common misconceptions about this rapidly growing religion.

We’ve come a long way since the witch trials of Renaissance Europe and the American colonies,  but prejudice lingers. In some parts of the world witch hunts are a daily reality, with individuals harassed, beaten, shunned and occasionally even murdered for bearing “witch-like” traits. Harry Potter is a fine and beloved fantasy around the world, but how would we treat him if he were real? Witchcraft is acceptable in the realm of fantasy, but could we make room for it in the muggle world, too?

The world has had centuries to work on religious tolerance for pagans and Wiccans, but we continue to fail in making an accommodation to their traditions. Ancient European paganism, Hebrew mysticism and Greek mythology are just some of the forebears cited by Wiccan texts and oral histories. The inclusion of a feminine divine also leads historians and archaeologists to draw a line of ancestry from ancient fertility cults to contemporary Neo-pagan traditions, of which Wicca is probably the most organized and certainly most widely recognized.

Historians in the 19th century began writing about the connection between earlier traditions and groups purportedly practicing underground magic at the time. In 1951 the United Kingdom joined the rest of Europe in repealing remaining anti-witchcraft laws, just in time for the publishing of civil servant and amateur anthropologist Gerald Gardner’s book Witchcraft Today. In his book, Gardner declared himself a practitioner of a heretofore unknown religion “Wicca,” which he dated back to the Stone Age. The religion swiftly gained momentum, with many neo-pagan traditions branching off from it in the decades that followed.

John William Waterhouse: Magic CircleThere is no single sacred text, governing body, or outlined doctrine in Wicca today, and beliefs and practices vary widely from practitioner to practitioner. But certain themes crop up repeatedly in rhetoric and at modern gatherings. Connection to the earth and nature’s rhythms is key, as is reverence for both the divine masculine and feminine, sometimes as the Goddess and God but often as a merging of creative forces in the Universe. Wiccans and pagans also tend to revere the directions (East, South, West, North and Center) and elements (Wind, Fire, Water, Earth, and Spirit), perform rituals that coincide with seasonal cycles (equinoxes, solstices, and moon phases), and believe in reincarnation.

Even more fundamental is adherence to a fundamental ethic called the Wiccan Rede: “An it harm none, do what ye will.” Essentially, the community trusts its members to make their own decisions, hold their own beliefs, and act in such a way as to harm none – self and environment included. Similar to The Golden Rule known to just about every religious tradition throughout history, The Threefold Law is prominent in Wicca, as well, and teaches that energy released into the world will return to the individual three times as powerful, for better or for worse.

Wiccan magic, often referred to as “the Craft,” is largely grounded in intention and ritual. The word “magic” stems from both the Old Persian term for “sorcerer” but also the ancient Greek word for “art.” Consider, then, that the artist, actor, or carpenter utilizes magic as much as the magician does in transforming natural resources into entirely new expressions of creativity. Just so, Wiccans harness energetic influences and elements in order to manifest certain intentions. Easier said than done, right? But at the end of the day isn’t it a lot like praying or repeating positive affirmations? More mainstream, but equally magical in essence.

What are your thoughts on Wicca and magic? Let us know in the comments section below!

Subscribe to The Chopra Well to receive updates about all our latest episodes, and have a magical day!

photo by: deflam

Can Birth Be a Spiritual Experience?

Pain, bloating, and nausea aside, birth can be a truly spiritual experience. For those who have witnessed the phenomenon, or been present in the precious moments after, the experience may rank in the holiest, most magical moments of their lives. Sure, for some it may include fear, anxiety, pain and adrenaline, but the cry of new life can usually dispel even the sharpest of concerns.

In this week’s episode of “Holy Facts” on The Chopra Well, Gotham Chopra explores the spiritual sides to birthing, from fertility rituals, to belly dancing, to placenta burial. With fertility rites and deities dating back to ancient times, reproduction has likely played a prominent role in religious traditions throughout human history.

Before the wisdom of midwives and modern science became the mainstream, pregnancy and birth were nothing short of miracles, explained only by the mystery of the universe. This same mystery made the sun rise, the rain fall, and the earth bear food to sustain life. But even knowing how the sperm fertilizes the egg, the fetus grows, and eventually the cervix dilates and the baby is born, does it change the magical quality of birth?

Harshitha...my angel..i love you...Many mothers, partners, midwives and other birth workers speak of the sacred atmosphere of the birthing room. For an unmedicated mother, the high levels of oxytocin and endorphins naturally secreted during labor can induce an almost ecstatic high (evolutionarily crafted, of course, to help her withstand the strain of contractions.) And for all in the room, regardless of medical intervention, witnessing a tiny human where previously there was only a big belly…well it’s something you just have to experience.

It is no wonder people have developed such elaborate rituals surrounding birth. Gotham describes some particularly interesting ones in the episode. Did you know belly dancing originated as a method for women to ease the pain of labor? That’s right, it wasn’t intended to be a sexy dance women do in front of men… Kind of puts things into perspective. And cultures around the world find fascinating uses for the placenta, or “afterbirth”, believed by many to hold both spiritual and nutritional properties. Some bury the placenta with a fruit tree, while others grind it up and put it in capsules as post-labor supplements for the mother. Do you know what your parents did with your placenta?

They don’t call it “the miracle of life” for nothing, and clichéd at it may sound, we heartily agree with the sentiment. The human body can do some extraordinary things, and birth and reproduction certainly rank at the top of the list.

Was your child’s birth a holy experience? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

Subscribe to The Chopra Well for more “Holy Facts” every Monday!

In the Name of Love: A Brief History of Valentine’s Day

HF - Valentine'sLove is in the air. If you’re in a part of the world that celebrates Valentine’s Day then you most likely can feel it. Whether you anticipate the day with joy or dread, this yearly celebration marks the time for chocolate and roses and heart-shaped cards, all in the name of love. But where did the tradition come from?

In this week’s episode of “Holy Facts” on The Chopra Well, Gotham Chopra explores some unusual expressions of love across cultures, including the murky origins of the biggest contemporary love celebration in the west: Valentine’s Day. Named after at least one of three early Christian martyrs by the same name, this day has come to signify something very different than what it originally may have been.

The Saint Valentine most likely connected with the holiday was a priest in the 3rd century Roman Empire. Emperor Claudius II had outlawed marriage for young men, believing that unmarried men made better soldiers than those with wives and children. Valentine – still in the minority at this point as a Christian priest – felt the injustice of the decree and continued performing marriages for young lovers in secret. He was soon discovered, though, and executed for his disobedience. To add insult to injury, it was also rumored that he tried to convert Claudius to Christianity during his interrogation.

The placement of Valentine’s Day in the middle of February may be associated to the anniversary of Saint Valentine’s execution. But many believe the Christian church established Valentine’s Day in order to “Christianize” an early Roman pagan festival, Lupercalia, which was celebrated at the Ides of February. In this bloody fertility festival, men would sacrifice a dog and a goat, then strip the goats’ hides and use them to gently slap the women. Women apparently lined up for this yearly hide whipping, believing it would increase their fertility in the upcoming year. The day ended with a random pairing of couples to…well, test the magical strength of the goat hides.

Once “Christianized”, and with the help of authors like Chaucer and Shakespeare, Valentine’s Day became more of a celebration of romance, exchanging animal sacrifice for letter writing, whips for poetry and chocolate. Sounds like a healthy evolution. Today, Valentine’s Day sales approach close $20 billion, what with the candy, roses and a bit of expensive jewelry thrown in the mix.

Love itself, however, is free. And nothing says “I love you” better than a homemade card and a big hug.

How are you planning on celebrating Valentine’s Day? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Maya Massage: A Healing Practice Every Woman Should Know

World Class Spa, Health Facilitates in Riviera NayaritMy first experience with Maya Abdominal Massage left me feeling rested, connected, and curious about the origins of this unique treatment.

Known today as Arvigo Maya Massage, after Rosita Arvigo, Rosita developed the technique in part from her 10-year apprenticeship with Don Elijo Panti, heralded by the New York Times as “The last Maya master healer in Belize.”

Don Elijo taught the abdominal massage to Rosita Arvigo, who carried it into the modern world as a complete package of healing. She brought to it over 30 years of training and experience in massage, naprapathy, herbology, and spiritual healing, creating a holistic approach to healing that addresses a host of physical, emotional, and spiritual illnesses.

In her book, “Rainforest Home Remedies: The Maya Way to Heal Your Body & Replenish Your Soul,” she details numerous Mayan remedies applicable to our modern day. The exhaustive list includes menopause, migraines, asthma, warts, toothaches, infertility, diarrhea, to name a few. Many are extremely simple teas that can be made from fresh plants or dried herbs. Contraindications are listed as well, so you know when not to use it. Herbal baths and homemade poultices are outlined, as well as her personal stories of treating people with unique complaints.

A little-known benefit of Maya abdominal massage is its ability to enhance fertility and correct a prolapsed or tipped uterus.

Even if you’re not trying to conceive or don’t have a problem with fertility, you quite possibly could be among the 75 percent of women who have a prolapsed uterus [1].

Here’s why:

The uterus is held in position by muscles and ligaments that connect it to the pelvis. These uterine ligaments are designed to stretch as a baby begins to grow or as our bladders/bowels become full.

When these ligaments and muscles become weak and loose, they can no longer hold up the uterus correctly. The result is a prolapsed or tipped uterus. The uterus can fall into any number of incorrect positions.

Many women are told that a tipped or prolapsed uterus is no big deal. In fact, it is a big deal.

When the uterus is incorrectly aligned, the normal flow of blood and lymph are constricted and can disrupt nerve connection. The circulation of blood to the uterus, ovaries, bladder, and bowel is blocked [1].

The Maya believe a woman’s center is her uterus. “If a woman’s uterus is out of balance, so is she,” says Don Elijo Panti.

Also called a “wandering womb,” a prolapsed or tipped uterus can be corrected by Maya abdominal massage. This external, noninvasive massage strengthens the ligaments and muscles that support the uterus and ovaries. It can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few months to get the uterus to slide back into place.

I was surprised to learn, not only that the majority of women are walking around with a prolapsed uterus and don’t even know it, but also that the causes of a prolapsed uterus are things modern women are doing all the time.

Here’s a list of just a few of the activities that can cause a prolapsed or tipped uterus:

  • falls
  • car accidents
  • overstretching during pregnancy/labor resulting in weakened ligaments
  • running on concrete
  • chronic constipation
  • high-impact activities like dancing, aerobics, horseback riding, or gymnastics
  • wearing heels

Maya massage is not just for fertility. It’s also beneficial to women who have had hysterectomies, men, and children. In men, the abdominal massage ensures a full blood supply to the prostate, preventing swelling and inflammation. It can help also help relieve premature ejaculation and the need to urinate frequently. It is a wonderful way to naturally regulate and improve painful periods.

That’s right. Periods are not supposed to be painful.

Maya massage also encourages self-care, which is a simple abdominal massage one performs at home to keep the muscles and ligaments in their new, healthy position. After years of being positioned incorrectly, muscles will naturally move back into their incorrect positions if not maintained.

The Mayans believe that many human emotions are stored in the abdomen. They aren’t alone in that belief, as many cultures focus on the abdomen as a source of healing and power. Thai massage and Chinese medicine have specific treatments for the abdomen. The abdomen is also home to three of the six main chakras in Kundalini Yoga; Mooladhara, Swadhisthana, and Manipura.

In addition to physically releasing deep tension and refreshing the blood flow to muscles and organs, Maya massage also reopens blocked energy paths and can release blocked chi, or life force, that has accumulated due to pent-up emotions.

The words of my Maya masseuse regarding a woman’s relationship to her uterus rang true to me:

“Love is made here. Life is made here.”

As women, and even as humans, we often reach outside of ourselves for fulfillment, connection, love, or contentment.

I’d suggest there is a powerhouse of energy stored in our abdomens, physically and emotionally. Reconnecting with the source of our being, of who we are, what we’re capable of, and the gift of being a woman can inform our lives on a grand scale.

When you go for your first Maya massage, you will likely receive a Vaginal Steam Bath. Unusual as this may sound, it’s noninvasive and involves merely sitting on a chair over a bowl of steaming herbs. The steam Grand Velas Ritualbath introduces healing heat to the uterus and is an effective treatment for many female complaints, as well as good preventative care.

Finding a local Maya masseuse will vary depending on your location. In my county there are only two. In other areas it’s a more popular treatment and is widely available.

If you’re interested in learning more, visit the website of Rosita Arvigo here or read one of her many books.

Please share any comments or questions below!

References: [1] Rainforest Home Remedies: The Maya Way to Heal Your Body & Replenish Your Soul, by Rosita Arvigo & Nadine Epstein

All About Moms (Mostly): 5 Articles on Stress, Babies, and Parenting

Deciding whether or not to become a parent is one of life’s big decisions. For some, it’s a no-brainer. For others, it entails months, even years, of agonizing doubt and hesitation. Parenting isn’t for everyone. And for those who do choose that path, it will undoubtedly become the hardest, if potentially most rewarding, experiences of their lives. But first, says the media, lose that pregnancy weight! (Just kidding.)

So many moms are overextended and often exhausted. How much do you really know about stress and how it affects your life?

What’s Your Stress IQ? (Care2)

When celebrities are down to a size 4 just weeks after giving birth, the media applauds their discipline. When they’re still curvy and soft like every other normal post-pregnancy woman, the media attacks them. Go figure.

Celebrities Who Don’t Lose Baby Fat Fast Enough Face Backlash (YahooShine)

After this weekend’s scandal surrounding certain politicians’ takes on rape and abortion, it’s good to reflect on how our country really feels about the issue, and what we can do as parents and citizens.

I’m Doing My Best Not To Raise Rapists (Mommyish)

What do you do if you’re reaching the end of your fertility, don’t have a partner, and haven’t had kids? This woman’s friend tells her to forget about love and have a baby on her own. But maybe love is worth waiting for, after all.

Childless So Far: Why I Choose Love Over Motherhood (HuffPost)

And we know we said this would be all about moms, but here is a dad’s cute reflection on the two years since his daughter’s birth.

The 5 Dumbest Things I Did in My First Two Years as a Father (HuffPost)

photo by: christyscherrer

Love, Dating, and Loneliness: 5 Articles to Meditate On This Weekend

The desire for love and connection is pretty universal. But let’s face it – relationships are hard! And being single is hard, too! Here are a few articles that take a slightly different approach to the “happily ever after” conundrum. Whether you’re dating, married, or spending some quality time with a book and a glass of wine this weekend, you can meditate on what you really want your love life to look like, moving forward.

Let’s jump right in with a look at an alternative relationship. It’s not for everyone, but… to each her own?

Confession: How I (Still) Make My Open Relationship Work (HuffPost)

Before you start jumping up and down and clapping at the idea of having multiple boyfriends, consider the qualities that make up a ‘real’ man.

5 Signs You Are Dating a Real Man (YahooShine)

But if Mr. Right(s) takes a while showing up, what do you do about the whole ‘having babies’ thing?

I’m Seriously Considering Freezing My Eggs (The Gloss)

Ultimately, try not to be afraid of being alone. Be the soul mate for yourself! (And anyone else who wanders into your life will just be bonus.)

25 Ways to Be Alone, But Not Lonely (MindBodyGreen)

When you are ready to start getting frisky again, make full use of these natural aphrodisiacs!

7 Libido Boosters from Around the World (Care2)

Eggs, Bunnies, and the World’s Biggest Phallus

As Spring thaws the Winter freeze and the days lengthen and warm, sprouts peak eagerly through earthen shell. Life quickens with a renewed instinct to create, reproduce, and grow. This is planting season, the blossom months, the verdant playground. Spring is the lover’s specialty.

What better way to celebrate new beginnings than with a fertility festival?

Episode three of The Chopra Well’s Holy Facts, hosted by Gotham Chopra, explores such festivals in different parts of the world. The show is witty and playful as always, and just a bit sexier than usual this time.

The March 15 Hounen Matsuri festival, a Japanese tradition dating back 1,500 years, celebrates fertility, renewal, and prosperity. It is sacred as an affirmation both of human reproduction and of the year’s bountiful harvests. The largest and best known of these festivals takes place in Komaki, a city of roughly 150,000 people. Despite the festival’s holy foundations, Hounen Matsuri has become famous (or infamous) for featuring a 2.5-meter, 600 pound wooden phallus, which participants enthusiastically parade through the streets.

Woody the Giant Phallus isn’t alone in this festival. Smaller statues, candies, and costume pieces also pay tribute to the reproductive member, and, to be honest, it looks like quite the party. A far cry from the tamer springtime barbecue of middle American suburbia…

Prior to the phallus festival, a neighboring city celebrates the companion vagina festival, Hime-no-miya. During this festival, parents dress up their children, who carry small vagina statues to a nearby shrine. Later, adult men haul a massive vagina through the streets, all the while praying for healthy children, a bountiful harvest, and a cold glass of sake at the end of the parade. Before you jump to accuse the country of penis/vagina fixation, keep in mind that Japan has one of the lowest birth rates in the world… Let’s cut them some slack.

And anyways, Japan is far from the only country in the world to practice fertility rites and celebrations. Such practices exist throughout the globe and throughout time. In fact, Easter, a beloved springtime ritual of Western cultures, may trace its lineage to the ancient European fertility festival, Ostara.

In the northern hemisphere, Ostara marks the Spring equinox and celebrates the goddess of springtime. It traces ancient Pagan roots and is now the highlight of many a neo-Pagan’s year.  But despite its magical beginnings, the holiday was actually fairly practical. Celebrations featured eggs, babies, and seed planting – all typical markers of fertility, life, and growth. And, as Gotham points out, the secular Easter is basically Ostara with new packaging.

Giant phalluses. Eggs. Bunnies. Have you ever been to a fertility festival? We bet you have. Tell us about it in the comments below!

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and tune in every Wednesday for more Holy Facts – because the world is stranger than you can imagine.

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