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post #21 of 69
I had a beautiful blessingway, it was a surprise (I was kidnapped and blindfolded and everything!) planned less than 24 hours in advance when I was a week overdue and needing some extra inspiration and support. There were 21 women there, including my doulas (who planned it), my close friends and a wide selection of women family members, and my partner, who is also a woman. Most things that were done have already been mentioned. It was powerful and intimate, a full moon evening outside around a big fire. One of things I was really struck by was the diversity of women present, I never would have invited my mother or my partner's grandmother to any kind of "women's ritual", yet there they were, and everyone was so deeply moved by the experience that I felt I had provided some sort of community service.

I also helped give 2 blessingways to a friend whose birth I was attending as a doula. One was a general blessingway and one was specifically for the women's circle that we belonged to. In addition to many of the things already mentioned, we made prayer flags for her, using brightly colored squares of cloth, which we each decorated with an image, message or prayer and then strung on cord to hang in her house for the birth. We made a belly cast for her as well.

And, on a different note, our women's circle also held a "breastingway" for one of our members before she had a mastectomy. We all brought small items and made a medicine pouch for her, said prayers, sang songs and also did a plaster breast casting. It was a very intense and deeply heartfelt circle. I was honored to be able to help create that passage for my sister-friend.

Blessingways are such an important ritual to be reclaiming and recreating in our culture!
post #22 of 69
Thread Starter 

Sweetmama, those are fabulous stories!

Quote:
Originally posted by sweetmama
One of things I was really struck by was the diversity of women present, I never would have invited my mother or my partner's grandmother to any kind of "women's ritual", yet there they were, and everyone was so deeply moved by the experience that I felt I had provided some sort of community service.
YEAH! The value of these rituals extends far beyond the individual woman we're blessing: everyone in attendance takes something from the event, some more than others. I also believe that the value transfers from the mother to the baby: that sense of connectedness and belonging surely helps a woman avoid postpartum depression (I'd like to think so, anyway -- any thoughts, anyone?) and bond with her new baby.

I LOVE the idea of the prayer flags (I had Tibetan prayer flags hung in my room while laboring with my #1 son -- the mainstream nurses and docs thought I was a real freak!), a medicine bag, and of course the plaster castings. I think that your "breastingway" was especially touching, and having the plaster cast of your friend's breasts must've been extraordinarily powerful -- to be touched so lovingly, both literally and metaphorically!

Thank you for these wonderful ideas! (And women, keep 'em coming!)

Luci
post #23 of 69
That was one thing I noticed about the mom at the blessingway I attended. She looked so different from how I ever saw her previously. She had a glow, her face was soft, her eyes wide and a smile never left her face. She was beautiful.
post #24 of 69
Thread Starter 

Sweetmama ...

In re-reading your post, I wonder how it felt to be "kidnapped and blindfolded" in preparation for the blessingway. In retrospect, do you feel it enhanced or detracted from the event? How did you feel while the "kidnapping" was happening? Were you able to immediately and completely relax into your "captivity" because you knew and trusted the women who came to get you?

Frankly, given all the anxiety that I know many women feel near the end of their pregnancies, I'm kind of shocked at this aspect of your ceremony. So I really want to hear more from you about that aspect in particular.

Thanks,

Luci
post #25 of 69
Yes, I can understand the concern about the anxiety it would involve to be "kidnapped". In my case it absolutely fine. It was my little sister and best friend from childhood and done in a playful spirit. My partner was also blindfolded, although she was somewhat in on the plan. I never would have imagined my sister/friend at a women's ritual, I thought they were taking me to the local bar for one last "girls night out" (just so you don't think I'm completely nuts I'm talking about a non-smoking, gingerale serving, small hometown establishment!). So the "surprise" element of the blessingway really worked. I never would have guessed.

That being said, under usual circumstances, I would advocate for a planned in advance blessingway. I just hadn't planned one, and no-one knew I wanted one. So I was extremely grateful. I also never would have invited some of those women, out of uncertainty that they would be open to ritual, and was gifted by the experience of having someone else put together the guest list and invite all the women who they thought were important to me. I live in the small town that I grew in, so there are a lot of overlapping social circles. Now I belong to a women's circle and would do the whole thing differently, but hey, that was then, this is now!

Some women believe that the blessingway can be like a metaphorical blueprint for the labor and birth, the implication being that the labor and birth will reflect the patterns of the blessingway. Is the woman empowered to create her own meaningful ritual celebration or does she need (and receive) much support from her sisters in the creation of her beautiful ritual? Are there many present, or just a few? Is it a deeply felt emotional experience? Was it even her idea to have a blessingway or someone else's vision? Can she surrender to the power of the ritual or is there resistance? It can be uncomfortable being in the spotlight of such an intense community event.

So, yes it was fine but I know I have a pretty unique situation here!
post #26 of 69
Luci, you rock for doing this!! I am so happy to be here tonite, just what I needed.
I am preggo with no.4 and it will be my last one. I am trying again for a hbac in the water, last one ended in c section, so now I have had two. sighs*
I am working hard to deal with any of my stuff, reading Birthing from Within and I want a Blessingway so bad. I feel weird doing it for myself, it feels like it should be something gifted to me by someone else. I would love to hear what others think. I just don't know....Part of me says WTF, go for it, who cares! But it is an intimate, spiritual thing for me, I think a womyn would need to be committed some how to it to participate. Maybe I am just hormonal and feeling sorry for myself that no one would plan one for me!!
I will love your book and I would love to do them for womyn, feeling how I feel about it!! Hmm...
post #27 of 69
Thread Starter 

Earthmama, I hear you!

I'm pretty sure I've already had my last baby, and I was in your boat: I wanted a blessingway, bad, and didn't feel I could plan one for myself. So I didn't get one!

And of course, that's why I want to write this book, so nobody else goes without!

So keep up with this thread here, give me advice here or e-mail it to me at luci@onehotmama.zzn.com ... and now you've given me a good deadline to shoot for -- I'll aim to have a draft done, at least, before the last month of your pregnancy! If you like, you can be one of my "test cases" for the draft.

I'd love to read your birthstories, especially if you have some ideas about what a blessingway might be able to help you heal in them.

Birthing From Within is an outstanding book. If you can get into a class, or even develop a sort of study/playgroup around it, I think that'd be fabulous. The art therapy ideas they have in there are wonderful.

Do you have local c/s / vbac support? We've got a group that meets here monthly, and it's so helpful to regularly be with other women who truly understand the complex feelings we c/s survivors have.

Baby calling me, gotta go. Come back!

Luci
post #28 of 69
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by sweetmama
I thought they were taking me to the local bar for one last "girls night out"
That's great! You were prepped for a celebration, you just didn't have a clue what the tone of that celebration would be. What a wonderful surprise!

Quote:
I also never would have invited some of those women, out of uncertainty that they would be open to ritual, and was gifted by the experience ...
Isn't this especially wonderful? The mama of my friend for which I threw the b'way, a conservative woman who works at a hospital and who was really worried about her daughter doing all these "alternative" things (like prenatal yoga -- yegads! and hiring a CNM rather than an OB! and wanting to deliver a breech baby vaginally!), she told me the other day, when she was in town to meet her new grandbaby, that she'd told several friends the story of the b'way I threw for her daughter, and they all wound up in tears. Obviously, she felt moved, herself, or she wouldn't have been able to tell the story movingly. So that's a great gift, and an appreciation to me that I hold very dear.

Quote:
Now I belong to a women's circle and would do the whole thing differently, but hey, that was then, this is now!
So tell me more about what you'd do differently!


Quote:
Some women believe that the blessingway can be like a metaphorical blueprint for the labor and birth, the implication being that the labor and birth will reflect the patterns of the blessingway.
I've read just a bit about this, but I'm curious to hear more about your beliefs here. Did your blessingway affect your labor and birth, and how? Can you tell me other stories, maybe of other mamas, or introduce me to them (or them to me, via e-mail, perhaps)?
Thanks for your continued interactions in this thread. You're providing me with very "nutritious" food for thought!

Luci
post #29 of 69
What wonderful stories and ideas! It makes me sad, too, that I didn't get a blessingway (we are planning on not having any more.)

Here is a page I put together about blessingways:

http://home.earthlink.net/~eaglefalc...essingway.html
post #30 of 69
Thread Starter 

Blueviolet! How great to "meet" you!

Thanks for posting the link to your website, but I want to tell you that I already had found it, and used it pretty extensively to plan the b'way I hosted for my friend!

You've included lots of wonderful, wonderful ideas, and I'm so sorry to hear that you didn't get a b'way of your own!

But ya see, that's ANOTHER reason I want to write this book, to start out with b'ways for birthin' mamas, but also to form the groundwork for b'ways for women in other transitions ... so maybe you can have one when your youngest starts school full-time, or when you reach a milestone birthday ... or when you go through other important (but sadder) transitions, such as when your mother dies, or you go into menopause, or live through a spouse's death or divorce.

I think the ritual, the celebration, the honoring the spirit of the woman, that's what's really key: it's a profound help to a laboring woman, but it can also be profoundly helpful to women in a number of other important intersections in her life.

Uh-oh, I hear rumbling upstairs. Time to step away from the computer again!

L
post #31 of 69
Earthmama, do you have a friend that you could describe the blessingway to and would then pull it together for you? Many people do not even know what a blessingway is, so if you informed a friend and maybe give her links to different websites with info (like blueviolets) then maybe it would work out. That way you could have the blessingway, but not feel weird about putting in on.
post #32 of 69
Luci, you bring up something that I have been thinking about for awhile (and now even more so after reading "The Red Tent") that I really want to have a red party for Siva when she comes of age.
post #33 of 69
Thread Starter 

Wemoon, my midwife did that for her daughter

I don't know the details (yet!), but I know the daughter invited several of her friends ... and they did beads for her ... and feasted. But I'll get the details one of these days!

L
post #34 of 69
I feel so validated, luci, thanks so much!!

I think your book is inspired and will be a huge hit. I would be honored and adore being a "test" and will email you my birthstories.
You know, we have no vbac support groups here, but I know lots of womyn who are struggling too. hmmm... can I take on starting a group? I already plan to become a Birthing form within instructor and implement her birth art into my practice as a therapist!
wemoon....I have thought of that, I dont' really have any one very close girlfriend at this moment that i feel comfy asking, altho I have thought of some and am considering this option!!

I love the idea of the book expanding the concept of blessingways to include other life passages. My friend Amy who is an acupunturist and I always wanted to create a community moon hut like the red tent, but this was before the book. Imagine how healing this would be and how great to teach our daughters to honor their moontimes and not fear or hate them.
We had a lovely ritual when my dd had her first moon.
Thanks all
post #35 of 69
Thread Starter 

Earthmama?

Would you be willing to share with us the ritual you did for your daughter's first moon?

ETA: And since you don't have any local c/s support groups, you should look into ICAN: the International Cesarean Awareness Network. http://www.ican-online.org . They've got an e-mail discussion list that was REALLY helpful for me.
post #36 of 69
Earthmama, if you can't find a friend that would be willing to do a blessingway for you, lets do one online. Those who wanted to be involved, could mail you things for the blessingway, like candles, beads and such. We could all light our own candle at our homes together and tell birth stories or share poetry. It's not quite the same, but it would be very special and sacred anyways. Let us know if you would want to do that.
post #37 of 69
Thread Starter 

duhhh.... can't believe I forgot this!

Earthmama, there's also an HBAC e-mail list on Yahoogroups that's FABULOUS! I'm still on it, and my baby just turned 1! (Of course, I don't interact much there anymore.)

Wemoon's post about doing an online b'way reminded me: the HBAC list does online b'ways for every mama when it comes to their due month. It was a great joy and support to me when I was awaiting #2 son, especially since I didn't have a RL b'way.

And yeah, I think we could do an online b'way for you here at MDC. It'd be a new thread, and way fun, I think! But let's wait til closer to your due date, eh?

L
post #38 of 69
If you all use instant messaging we could do the blessingway that way too. I did an online baby shower once, and it was pretty cool, we all sent the mom gifts in the mail and then she saved them for the shower and then opened them while we were all online.
post #39 of 69

You are all so sweet! Can you give me the www to the hbac group on yahoo, luci? wemoon, thank you so much for the offer, of course it would be absolutely lovely and meaningful. And I agree, luci, its a long time til I'm due! :LOL

I have got a he**acious head cold and my eyes are watering, so I will come back in a day or two to share about dd's moon ritual and I will email you my birth stories, luci.

Thanks again ladies, for the wonderful understanding and loving energy. It is easy to get lost in the shuffle around here, it feels so good to connect.
wishing you all blessings
Deb
post #40 of 69
Thread Starter 
Earthmama, I'm not sure if you can go directly here because this is the link once I've logged in with my username, but here goes:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HBAC/

If that doesn't work, go to http://www.yahoogroups.com and get yourself a username and password, then search for hbac and sign up.

L
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