The New Return to the Great Mother: Birth, Initiation, and the Sacred Feminine by Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

The New Return to the Great Mother:
Birth, Initiation, and the Sacred Feminine
by Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

About The New Return to the Great Mother

Since publishing Return to the Great Mother in 2013, numerous mothers, partners, and birthing attendants have come forward to share with me their stories and to express gratitude for helping them connect with the power of the Great Mother. Some are continuing to strengthen their relationship with this ancient and ongoing source of power, calling upon her whenever they are faced with situations that require them to step outside of their comfort zone and into a new way of knowing themselves or life. Within this book, you will read about these and other stories and how the Great Mother was there, always supporting—sometimes sustaining—the women and children as they moved through the sacred initiation of childbirth.

In this updated edition, I have included information about the importance and power of initiations. While the focus of the book is on childbirth (the one initiation we can choose whether to participate in), it is just one of seven key steps we take on the path toward personal growth. Men have their own essential initiation processes, of course, but because this book highlights the uniquely female endeavor of giving birth, I have spoken only to the initiations of girls and women.

It is through the discussion of the seven initiations of birth, puberty, menses, first sexual encounter, childbirth, menopause, and death that I hope to shed light on the life-altering effects that initiatory experiences can have on us. Like rungs on a ladder, each initiation can serve as a sturdy step upon which we feel supported as we climb upward toward greater awareness and understanding of ourselves and our place in the world.

About the Author

isa gucciardiIsa Gucciardi is the Founding Director and lead teacher of the Foundation of the Sacred Stream. The workshops and training programs of the Foundation are part of her larger vision for helping people who are interested in stepping into greater consciousness and leading happier lives. Her primary focus is on teaching, writing, and curriculum development. Isa is also the creator of the groundbreaking therapeutic model Depth Hypnosis, and author of Coming to Peace.



“The exploration of life’s key initiatory moments, Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D. maps a healing journey in The New Return to the Great Mother. I highly recommend Isa’s book as a valuable guide for navigating both the physical and spiritual realms. It represents a life-enhancing prescription for self-healing and transformation that empowers women to gain sovereignty over their physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.” – Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D., Stem Cell Biologist, Epigenetic Science Pioneer, and bestselling author of The Biology Of Belief

“Flourishing societies and a thriving planet require the honoring of mothers and mothering. Isa Gucciardi brings us the stories and insights of a journeyed practice, millions of years old, and guides us into new-ancient ways of understanding ourselves as persons, women, mothers, and daughters.” – Darcia Narvaez, Professor of Psychology Emerita, University of Notre Dame, Host of

The New Return to the Great Mother: Birth, Initiation and the Sacred Feminine is undoubtedly the most profound book I’ve read on initiation. Isa Gucciardi takes us on a journey with the wisdom of the Great Mother and offers us a rare opportunity for personal and spiritual growth along the way. She weaves the art of storytelling with her intimate and professional experience to offer an important perspective to restore humanity’s faith in the power that lies deep within life itself.” – Brenda Feuerstein, Director of Traditional Yoga Studies, author of Yoga-Sutra from a Woman’s Perspective

“In contemporary society, sacred rites of passage have been sidelined and erased, leaving many of us bereft and lost along our spiritual path. The New Return to the Great Mother makes clear the importance of initiation, and offers stories, exercises, and rituals to bring them back into our lives. This book is a roadmap for deeper connection to divine feminine energy, that, regardless of a person’s gender, can heal and transform our bodies, spirits, and society at large.” – Lauren Markham, Educator and New York Times bestselling author of The Far Away Brothers

“In this complex world, Isa Gucciardi’s The New Return to the Great Mother is the gift we need to find our way back to ourselves, our strengths, and our connection. Her straightforward process, inspiring examples, and reminder that there is more to us than meets the eye is exactly what’s needed to fill our hearts, minds, and bodies with the power of healing.” – Sue Baelen, Licensed Homebirth Midwife, Sacred Body Midwifery


“Open. Open. Open. This is the clarion call of the midwife to the birthing mother as she is encouraged to surrender to the new life moving through her. Childbirth is a sacred initiation that requires our full participation—mind, body, and spirit. We will meet ourselves completely—the parts we like and those we try to hide away in the shadows. But we are far from powerless to this process. In fact, there is a deep and unbroken source of power we can align to for support: the power of the Great Mother.

The Great Mother is the essence of all generative and creative power. It is perhaps most evident in nature, where the cycle of life and death is constantly in motion. This is why the Great Mother is so often depicted as an Earth goddess. From Pachamama, the Earth and Time goddess of the Andes Mountains in South America to the ancient Australian Aboriginal mother goddesses Kunapipi and Eingana, and even the relatively modern Mother Mary from Christianity, we have been personifying and revering this great source of feminine power for centuries.

It was during childbirth when I first encountered the power of the Great Mother. I have two children, and the first was a very difficult birth. She and I were in grave danger at times. But it wasn’t until the labor of my second child began picking up speed that I started having flashbacks from the trauma of the first birth. Just as I was losing emotional and physical steam, I became acutely aware of a brilliant luminescent, mirage-like presence in the delivery room. This otherworldly light was exuding an enormous amount of power, which I felt directed toward me.

As this power flowed into me, it was like a warm, loving embrace. I quickly stabilized. And as I focused on what I perceived to be a tremendous female presence, she identified herself to me as “the Great Mother.” I kept my gaze on this presence for the rest of what turned out to be another challenging birth. “

The New Return to the Great Mother: Birth, Initiation, and the Sacred Feminine by Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.
ISBN 978-0-9898554-2-6
Available Spring 2021 from Sacred Stream Publishing

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