Blessingways or other rituals - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 69 Old 04-08-2003, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Certainly Christians can incorporate their own spiritual beliefs into a blessingway! That's exactly what I want to enable with my book, helping women of different spiritual paths to find rituals and readings that are meaningful to them ... as well as allow for guests of varied spiritualities to feel comfortable in one event.

For example, I can imagine that you could have a blessingway for yourself in which quotes from the Bible would be interspersed, maybe, with other inspirational sources that would be less Christian-focused, so people like your SIL would feel included and welcome.

It's especially important to focus on the needs of the mama being blessed, because she is, after all, the point of the event. So you wouldn't want to do a heavily-Bible-oriented event for a woman who doesn't self-identify as Christian -- the focus would be on more secular inspirations, but you might also include a gentle Bible verse or mention to help the Christian guests attending feel comfortable, too.

For me, I think it's really important that the ceremonies be both personal and at least have the opportunity of being ecumenical. I think that few of us have entire communities around us with exactly the same beliefs, and even those who do are also connected with people with differing beliefs: maybe our entire family and extended family goes to the same church, but our in-laws follow another path, or our neighbors who we feel especially close to. And because I believe women, especially birthing mamas, need as much support as they can get from a wide variety of sources, I like to create rituals that would make a wide variety of people feel comfortable and enriched.

I'd say the only "requirement" for a woman having a blessingway is a desire to have the support of women in her closest circle, to have one or more physical reminders that she can hold/look at while in labor, and to have the memory of a very specific, very special event that she can draw on when she needs it. It doesn't even have to be written as particularly "spiritual," but as emotionally supportive, instead.

Does that make sense?
Thanks for supporting the vision, and helping keep this thread going!

Oh, and about online blessingways? I've got some ideas about it, but no time to write right now ... but I'll come back to it soon, okay?

Luci
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#62 of 69 Old 04-08-2003, 06:55 PM
 
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Cool, THANKS!

See - for my SIL, I really want to start this tradition in our family.
She believes in God - but isn't sure about Jesus, she says.
MIL is a devout Catholic - and would probably think anything Pagan would be devil worshiping
Two SsIL are born again Christians
Another SIL was raised Methodist and doesn't practice any religion

You get the picture!
So, how can I do this? What should I do?
She has very short hair, and is very shy, so I don't think she'd be too thrilled with the grooming aspect.

I love the idea of a necklace. What do you typically string the beads on? We could definitely all share our birth stories. In fact, to make the necklace longer, I could ask that each person bring a bead for each of their children, to share each child's birth story.

I also like the idea of candles being lit. How do you incorporate that? So that we each have a candle to light when she's in labor?
Maybe then is when we could each say a wish or blessing or prayer for her and the baby?

What else can we do that is traditional?
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#63 of 69 Old 04-08-2003, 10:54 PM
 
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I'm finally getting a chance to post about my blessingway last weekend. It was a such a beautiful experience--I left there feeling very connected, loved and ready to birth this babe! I thought I'd share a few of the things we did, sorry if some of it has been posted about already--I didn't have a chance to look back through the thread.

-- The host bought a candle for everyone there, and as we all sat in a circle and began the ritual, we each lit our candle and introduced ourselves as daughters/mothers (I'm Amanda, daughter of __, grandaughter of __ , great grandaughter of ___ and mother to___). At the end of the ceremony, we all put them out in the same circle. When I go into labor, I'll call the first person, and they'll call the next one in the circle, etc, and everyone will light their candle at home while I'm in labor. I thought that was a really special part of the ceremony!

-- Everyone was asked to bring something from nature to share with my for a birth altar. So they all went around and gave me their gift, and told my what it represented to them...there were some beautiful things--rose quartz, rocks, earth from someones garden, shells, etc.

-- The yarn thing, I think has been mentioned before. We took a ball of yarn (very symbolic for me--a fanatic knitter!), and as we passed it around the circle, each person gave me a special "blessing" or thought to help with the birth, new parenting, etc. When the circle was complete, we cut the thread, and everyone is now wearing the yarn bracelet until I go into labor. It makes me feel so connected to everyone, and very strong whenever I look at it.

-- The host also made me a beautiful flower garland/crown to wear. It was so sweet!

There were a few other wonderful things that we did, but my very pregnant brain is too tired to recall right now....I will later. Just wanted to share these, though. After the ceremony, I strongly feel that every woman deserves a blessinway...whether for birth, menopause, or another life transition. It felt so sacred and special!
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#64 of 69 Old 04-10-2003, 07:54 AM
 
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In regards to the people who are attending that are christian: I think this is fine and workable. You do not even need to mention the word pagan as it may or may not be a pagan celebration. The blessingway that I attended, everyone brought a poem or quote to read aloud. Many of them brought passages from the bible. I think this is a way to incorporate what everyone believes, they can share what they feel is most important to them.

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#65 of 69 Old 04-11-2003, 02:44 AM
 
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Well, I've been a part of 2 blessingways since I first posted, so it is a topic close to home.

As far as what I would do differently if I ever did it again, actually i would continue the tradition that we seemed to have created in our women's circle, which is double blessingways, one for a wider group of family and friends, which is less "pagan" ritual based and more about the spirit of community, sisterhood and motherhood, and then a second circle blessingway that is more specifically ritual based.

I loved my blessingway (the surprise one, where I was kidnapped). One of the unique things about it, compared to all the rest that I have been to, is that it was outside, at night. I loved the fire, the moon, the circle of shining women, and all the candles.

At some blessingways we have a candle for each woman to light during the ceremony, and then again at home when the mama goes into labor. At the last blessingway we just had one candle that would be burned at the birth, and we all focused our good intentions on it during the ceremony.

The last blessingway also took place in the same room that the birth was planned to be in, which was really wonderful. I was just at that birth over the weekend and it was awesome to be in the exact spot where we had just been blessing this beautiful woman, it felt truly holy and like our energies and blessings were surrounding her. Ah, birth, there's nothing more miraculous!
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#66 of 69 Old 04-11-2003, 04:58 PM
 
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The response was awful - just awful

It is "too New Agey" and would "make the Christians uncomfortable" (HELLOO - IIIIII am a Christian too!). "The older generation just wouldn't get it" and "it could be fun, but it just isn't enough for a whole *event*".

I AM SO SICK AND TIRED OF BEING TREATED THIS WAY!!!!!!

Now I KNOW I'll NEVER have a Blessingway - unless I discover the hidden cult of natural mamas in this tiny rural town (ha!) - and I'll never get the chance to host one either

I should have listened to DH who gently tried to warn me not to even bring it up. I should have guessed that the family who threw my "baby shower" (while I was on bedrest and only TWO people attended - none of them being ME!) would never go for it.
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#67 of 69 Old 04-12-2003, 10:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If I'd have known you were going to go make a pitch for doing this, I'd have written you a little mini-script, a few suggestions for how to talk about it that MAYBE might've helped a little. Sorry!

And I'd post more now except my littlest is fussing for me ... but I didn't want to let any more time go bye before responding in some way. I'll write more later, and please, if you want to, write more about what happened and what you'd like to do.

L
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#68 of 69 Old 04-27-2003, 08:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've gotten busy with other projects (taking a homeopathy class, writing and designing some homeopathy brochures as a trade, cooking, cleaning, trying to get stuff together to sell on ebay....) and haven't spent any time on the blessingway book in awhile ... so I'm hoping some of you might boost my energy about this project again.

Any new stories or thoughts? Any newcomers reading this thread for the first time with stories to share? Those of you interested in online blessingways, when are you due again?

Luci
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#69 of 69 Old 06-10-2003, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Since someone recently posted a question related to this thread......

And I'm ALWAYS hoping for more responses!

At the moment, my computer is in the shop (I'm on my husband's computer right now), so I can't really save or write anything new.... (yeah yeah yeah, I know, what did they do BEFORE computers?!)

L
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