- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 10, 2008

Chocolate, flowers and cards for Mother’s Day? Never in a million years, say members of the national New Age group Holistic Moms Network.

Instead, they are planting placentas under trees, observing silence for peace, painting collages to highlight global warming and reciting Oprah for inspiration.

Take Kendrya Close, a mother of three, in rural Blairstown, N.J.

“We’re planning an Intentions Ceremony with about 20 to 25 other moms,” said Ms. Close.

A what?

“We’ll have candles, a circle ceremony, a meditative walk, henna tattoos and readings,” said Ms. Close, who is part of the Holistic Moms Network, a nonprofit group started in 2002 with 130 chapters nationwide that aims to promote green living and holistic medicine.

“It’s a ceremony celebrating the feminine.”

But why not just breakfast in bed surrounded by loving family?

“My argument is that, as a stay-at-home mom, I see my kids 24/7,” Ms. Close said. “I want to celebrate motherhood with other moms.”

Not to be outdone, Christina Kinzel of the network’s Fremont, Calif., chapter plans to plant her daughter Juliana’s placenta under a tree in her garden. (Try commercializing that.) Based on a pagan European tradition, the idea is to create a permanent and good-for-the-environment reminder of a child’s life on this planet.

“It will be known as Juliana’s tree, and we will watch it grow right along with her,” said Ms. Kinzel.

In Middle America, Molly Remer of Rolla, Mo., is organizing a park picnic for the local chapter and family members. At 1 p.m., she and other mothers are planning to participate in “Standing Women” (www.standing women.org), whereby members will stand together in silence for five minutes. The goal: peace on Earth.

“We did it last year, and it was surprisingly poignant,” said Ms. Remer, a mother of two and a La Leche League leader.

And traditional cards and flowers wouldn’t be?

“They feel flat,” Ms. Remer said. “A card with flowery language? A card that is mass-produced? It’s hollow.”

In other words, Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother’s Day, which celebrates 100 years tomorrow, would have been proud of these mothers’ refusal to take part in the $15.8 billion, highly commercial quasi-holiday, said Nancy Massotto, the group’s executive director.

“Like Anna Jarvis, we don’t feed into the consumer culture, which we feel sometimes co-opts major holidays and celebrations,” she said.

But the observance of the day with the placenta, circle ceremony and henna tattoos might have been a tad too pagan and out there for Miss Jarvis, a pious Christian and (ironically) single.

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