For most of us women of modern society, when we want to get pregnant we simply stop our prevention methods for doing so. If that doesn’t create the desired effect, we ring up our OBGYN and trot ourselves into the sterile offices of reproductive health and baby making. There are many hours and dollars we can spend in our efforts to get a bun in the oven, aside from the good old fashioned act of love making. In today’s society we usually turn to medicine when our intentions don’t go as planned.
But, if that doesn’t appeal or doesn’t succeed, have you ever thought of travel as a means to an end? Cultures all around the globe view fertility and conception as a relatively public concern. Say goodbye to your toes in the air, strapped to stirrups, and hiding behind that perfectly pressed medical curtain. Office visits and rubber gloves won’t be necessary for these excursions! All you’ll need is a passport, a little faith, and perhaps a bit of pixie dust. Keep reading to choose your preferred ritual and destination:
14 Too Much To Handle
The statue of Victor Noir in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris is believed to increase fertility. The tomb of the French journalist, who died in the 1800’s has become a shrine to fertility. An actual size bronze replica of him adorns the top of the grave. It has become a ritual for women visitors to put a flower in his hat and to stroke his pants for improved fertility and sexual well being. Noir was not known for such grandeur upon women in his living years, although he was considered a martyr for his untimely death. He became most famous in his death, when the realistic effigy of his body was presented in reflection of the way he lay dying after being shot in a duel in 1870.
Although the cast was intended to show his elegance, one intimate detail was instantly noted by the public. Noir’s apparent sexual endowment sent heat waves through the female public. Who knows how it began, but at some point it became a cultural ritual for generations of women to rub the statue indecently, to kiss his lips, and even to leave gifts of flowers in his tossed aside hat. Today, nearly a century and half have passed since the debauchery began. The figure shows the superstition in fine detail, as the areas most rubbed by human hands shine silver in contrast to the patina bronze.
13 Take A Seat
In Italy, the Miracle Chair in Naples maybe just what childless women are looking for. Legend has it, that those wishing to become pregnant must sit on the chair to be blessed with fertility. Hopeful women perch on the magical seat among photos on the walls of babies conceived after the mother participated in the ritual. The obsession began over two hundred years ago after a nun spent her final days in the chair. It is believed that in lieu of her death she became blessed as Saint Maria Francesca of the Five Wounds of Jesus. Thus, she became a beacon of hope to childless women who pray in hopes of curing their infertility. While it can’t be a proven cure, women passing through Naples often take their chances. Those who find themselves pregnant soon after, often credit The Miracle Chair and return to post photos of their first born. The babies inspire hope and confidence in the eager women who visit there.
12 When In Rome
If you’re stopping in Italy just for the magic chair, perhaps you’d like to also engage in a culinary quest for pregnancy. As crazy as the chair concept might be, the rituals of the Romans just might trump the missing sanctity in Naples. Apparently, regular folks and aristocrats alike worshipped the Blister Beetle for its aphrodisiac properties. So much so that they were willing to ingest the squished up guts of this variety of the Spanish fly. The so-called “juice” is chockfull of poison that causes swelling of the genital areas upon consumption. The rush of blood to the nether regions might enhance the libido of some, but tread with caution as this method of stimulation may also lead to itching and scratching, and possibly convulsions or death. Since it is kind of impossible to get pregnant when you aren’t breathing, maybe the chances are a bit too risky even for the most desperate of childless women.
11 Conceive in England’s Famous Countryside
The Cerne Abbas Giant in Dorset boosts a woman’s fertility if she sleeps on a figure depicting a naked man. The outline of 180foot tall man is cut into the grass to the reveal chalk beneath. It is maintained by renewing the engraving every seven years. Lying upon the figure complete with an erection is said to reverse the barren womb of any woman who dares to challenge the legend by sleeping upon the etching of the man. Locals tell the story of a real life giant who took his final breaths on the hillside.
The art came to be when residents traced the outline of the body in remembrance of his oddity. Quite by accident, the conceptual magic was discovered by a woman who fell pregnant after lying there. Since then, fertility rituals and May Pole dancing have commenced on the site for centuries. But, if tales don’t convince you, maybe evidence will. According to national statistics, the immediate areas home to The Giant are indeed the most fertile in the land; claiming the highest rates of birth throughout all of England. So, whether led by legend or by proof let your heart and your feet lead you to Dorset to cure infertility.
10 Hole In One
If snoozing in the grass isn’t your cup of tea; perhaps passing frequently through a rock would suite you better. For England doesn’t boast of just one fertility legend, but two! The Cornish Bronze Age Monument also known as Men- An- Tol has a legend that states a woman who passes through the hole in the monument will soon become pregnant. Depending on what you read, passing through the hole either seven or nine times under a full moon, will mean success in a long desired pregnancy. Experienced participants might tell you that that fitting through the passage is far-fetched, unless you are relatively skinny or if perhaps your partner is willing to tug you through. The monument is believed to be between three and four thousand years old. No one is sure whether the hole in the rock was carved and positioned by man, or was by some chance a natural occurrence in nature. Either way, to some there is no coincidence for its purpose, as such depictions of holes in rocks are used in many cultures as symbols for fertility rituals.
9 Birds Nest
In China, grooms don’t just lift their brides through the threshold; they go a step further and carry their wives over burning coals when they enter their marital home. Apparently this helps to ensure the couples fertility. In addition, the art of Feng Shui teaches Chinese newlyweds not to have anything blocking the front door, and to never clean under the bed beyond removing clutter. For doing such forbidden acts could defy their attempts at pregnancy. But, just in case neither of those rituals helped them out, Chinese women might be encouraged to consume Bird Nest Soup. If they don’t love the taste at first bite, they needn't worry; for the broth is rumored to be an acquired taste. And by the way, not just any nest will do, for the soup must be made from the nest of the Swiftlet Bird. This species is prized for leaving sticks and mud aside and instead opt for constructing their nests from nothing but their own saliva. This delicacy is considered herbal medicine and is commonly consumed in the belief that is promotes libido and fertility.
8 An Easter Surprise
In Hungary the “Watering of the Girls” is part of a festival that encourages young men to throw buckets of water atop young girls in their community. This ancient custom is primarily practiced during festivals every Easter. Many people have no idea that Easter was historically sanctioned as a time to celebrate babies. The Pagans believed that Spring was the best time to reproduce, and their Easter celebrations heavily focused on fertility rituals. This celebration may indeed have such roots, as it’s been taking place as long ago as the 2nd century. Each year on Easter Monday, the residents dress in the traditional embroidered clothing of their ancestors before tossing buckets of water on the female bystanders. While it may very well be all fun and games, and just a good excuse for a one sided water fight…historically, the event was practiced as a cleansing ritual. The clean water was thought to cleanse the girls from impurity and to promote their fertility. Today the event is mostly in good fun to celebrate local folklore. But, some people do still swear by it for blessing them with pregnancy.
7 Wrecked With Envy
In Thailand a shrine at the Sea Godess Cave on Phra Nang Beach houses a shrine in honor of the fertility goddess. Phra Nang was an Indian princess that left two legends behind. One version tells the story of woman who was killed in a shipwreck. The other tells the tale of a woman who lives her days in a cave, waiting for her husband to return. Her beloved was a fisherman lost at sea. For many years, fishermen have been leaving gifts for her at the cave, of statues shaped like the male genitalia, to ensure their safety at sea. The belief is that in thanks for the gifts, Phra Nang will protect them from the same fate as her husband. But, it’s not just for men; women visit the shrine too, in hopes of being blessed with fertility. The cave is viewed as a sacred place and is filled with offerings that symbolize gifts meant for the Hindu god Shiva. As strange as it may seem, the location has religious merit and thick spiritual relevance. The cave is revered as holy grounds and is treated with the upmost respect. It is not a place for gallivanting and fraternizing, but instead is a serious tribute to prayer for all who visit there.
6 Tree Hugger
Chao Mae Tuptim is located inside the The Lingham Fertility Shrine in Bangkok. Chao is a female tree spirit that is believed to give fertility blessings to everyone who visits her. Women who wish to become pregnant, visit this shrine and leave offerings of Jasmine and Lotus. Countless women give testimony to the powers of the shrine, and people come from all over the country and even the world to offer gifts to the spirit with hopes of increasing their chances of conception. For those who deem it more than luck, they return later after conceiving to leave additions to the shrine. Most of these offerings are wooden carvings or stone sculptures that depict lifelike variations of man’s reproductive appendage. This particular shrine has been in place since 1920, is not widely publicized and can be a hard to find. Although near to tourist hotels, the spirit house is shrouded in secrecy and is not advertised to the unsuspecting eye. But, those who seek it are never led astray, and curious foreigners are welcome so long as they respect the shrine.
5 Parades With No Shame
In Japan, Hounen Matsuri is a fertility festival that happens every March 15th, quite literally, it is The Penis Festival. Participants eagerly hope to be chosen as at the one who gets to carry a giant wooden depiction of the ultimate symbol of masculinity…the external sex organ, if you know what we mean! The person who is granted the honor gets to carry the 2.5 meters long replica through the countryside and the town. The people believe it casts a blessing over the local crops at is passes by, and also ensures the fertility and reproduction among the inhabitants.
Kanamara Matsuri is another similar version that takes place at the Kanayama Shrine in Kawasaki. Throbs of locals and tourists fill the streets to pray for virility, happy matrimony, and overall prosperity. Celebrators often appear in costume, dressed like giant phallacs while parading through the festival. Large wooden depictions of the like are also displayed and danced through the streets to offer good luck and fertility to the onlookers. This ritual has been happening since the 17th Century and originally began when prostitutes prayed to the shrine to ensure the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. Today, the festival uses the opportunity to spread awareness about venereal diseases and safe sex practices. The celebrations also help to fund HIV research.
4 Falling For Celebrities
The Kununurra Waterfalls of Western Australia were recently made famous as a landmark of fertility after Nicole Kidman announced her pregnancy in 2008. She and 7 other crew members that were on the set of the movie ”Australia” fell pregnant after swimming in the lagoons of the waterfall. Kidman has told reporters that she believes her unexpected; miracle pregnancy may have been influenced by the time she spent in the mystical pools. The actress’s previous children were adopted between her and her ex, Tom Cruise. Her only baby by birth, Sunday Rose, was conceived with her now husband Keith Urban, when Nicole was 41 years old. The couple tells of a “blessed” conception, pregnancy, and delivery with nothing to complain about. The parent’s even say that Sunday is a particularly “good” baby. They can’t help but wonder if there were some unforeseen benefits to Nicole’s swim at Kununurra. Of the other six women from the set, only one of them had a boy, suggesting to them, a strong presence of the maternal kind.
3 Frowned On By The Church
On the first day of Lent, you can participate in ancient festival held in Greece that celebrates Dionysus, the Greek God of Fertility and Wine. In Greek Mythology, Dionysus is the offspring of Zeus and Semele. His mother Semele was said to have died in her 6th or 7th month of pregnancy, but that Zeus saved the infant by keeping him in his thigh until the full term was up. The centuries old festival celebrating fertility and the life of Dionysus is now disapproved of by the Greek Orthodox Church. It’s really not too surprising that they feel the celebrations have gotten out of hand. Thanks to publicity, this ancient ritual is now widely commercialized and is one of Greek’s most popular tourist attractions. As part of this modernization, the festival goes a bit overboard serving inappropriately shaped bread, singing songs about sexuality, and even sending a ceramic penis around to be kissed by the crowds. To some the event is over-the-top lewd, but for others it’s all in the name of fun and fertility. Like many other fertility festivals, this one is held in the Spring season, a time associated with virility and birth. Most of the events are centered near Athens.
2 Thumbs Up!
In Turkey, the Weeping Column is a sacred monument located in the Hagia Sophia Museum in Instanbul. As the story goes, if you don’t want to be blessed with children…Don’t stick your finger in the hole! The Column is host to holy water that is accessed when whoever dares to do so, places their thumb inside certain hole and rotates it as close to a full circle as possible. If the thumb comes out wet, it is said to have been blessed with the holy water. The holy water is believed to having healing powers to cure any ailment, to increase fertility, and to your luck on your side. So, if you want a baby, are in need of healing, or simply seem to be down on your luck, stick your thumb in this special hole and hope for the desired outcome!
1 Throw One Back
Some tribal villages in the African country of Zimbabwe practice the strange custom of gulping down baboon urine in efforts to conceive their first child. This delicacy is not reserved just for women, but is encouraged for the men as well. The tribes mix the excrement with beer to create a strange traditional fertility tincture. As odd at is sounds, the methods may hold some merit. After all, it is well known in conception circles that certain fertility treatments contain particles from human urine to stimulate fruitfulness in both sexes. But, that being said, there is no proof that this particular method with baboon pee warrants the same effects. Midwives with more modern views on medicine issue warnings against this primitive practice. Still, some couples ignore reason and opt to try anything that might help them conceive the baby of their dreams. As unappetizing as it sounds, desperation often trumps hesitation when it comes to conception in these parts of the world.
So, whether you wish to dance, or pray, or consume odd concoctions; have some fun with these ancient traditions and cultural customs. Or take a more modern view to celebrate with the antics of tourists and party goers while you take a moment to travel the world. Get creative and inspired, and fill a book of memories to boot. Fall in love with the world and your partner of choice while you explore the beautiful world of underground fertility. All in good efforts to hopefully share with your coming bundle of joy in the years to come. After all, what better way to make a baby than through rich cultural experiences, centuries deep traditions, and the happiness and fulfillment of exploring the fabulous unknown. Stop hiding behind shame, embarrassment and frustration..and proudly shout to the globe, “Let’s make a Baby..no matter how!!”