Hi Luci, I just wrote a B'way ceremony for a local magazine. I give myself permission to post it here in full
At the bottom there are good references for other Blessingways too. Enjoy, hope it helps,
Honoring Mother and Baby Part 2- A Blessingway Ceremony-
By Mirine Dye
Last month I wrote some suggestions for honoring mother and baby with thoughtful, natural and spiritually inspired gifts. I wanted to take the idea further, but decided to make it a ‘part two’.
If you have never attended or heard of a Blessingway Ceremony, let me start with some background on the ceremony itself. A ceremony to bless the way is rooted in Navajo or more specifically Dine` culture. Traditional blessingway ceremonies are also done for other grand life changes such as new home, marriage and death.
A birth or new baby blessingway is centered around well wishes and blessings being given by family and friends on a single candle. The candle is lighted, passed around the circle, and blown out by the mother. The mother will re-light the candle during her labor or before the birth. The blessings that were cast upon the candle will be brought back to the mother as the warmth of the flame and scent of the candle calm her spirit. If laboring at home, the candle may stay lit and be allowed to burn during the entire birth. If mother is leaving for the hospital, she may blow it out before leaving and carry it with her for the journey.
A traditional baby shower is a great place to conduct a blessingway. If the invitees or situation is already set on a more traditional shower, then consider a small gathering before or after the party. To get started, you will need:
Shell bowl for smudging
Candle for the mother
When selecting the candle, think of the likes and tastes of the woman. Scented, or unscented, a color ( I recommend red) or a ceremonial type of candle such as the Goddess candles or New Baby candle at Mystic Isle.
Have the group gather in a circle, with the mother standing next to the giver of the ceremony. Smudge the group, or allow the incense to burn during the ceremony.
The giver will tell the mother and the group the intention of the Blessingway and invite everyone to participate by sharing a well wish or blessing for the birth and arrival of the new baby. After lighting the candle with a few words you could start with A beautiful poem about motherhood or birth or offering a chant. Here is a verse of Prayer Before Birth by Louis MacNiece that I like to start with:
I am not yet born; provide me
With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk
to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light
in the back of my mind to guide me
The lit candle then is passed around the circle, letting each guest say a poem or wish. As the mother receives the candle lastly, she can simply thank each guest or say a verse of her own. She then blows out the candle and the celebration continues! Nice touches can be added such as offering a flower crown to the mother and a decorative basket or holder for her candle.
Baby showers almost always seem to be centered on the ( perceived) material needs of the baby. In my past article I gave some thoughtful gift suggestions for the mother as well. Giving the gift of a Blessingway to the spirit of the mother/baby union is priceless beyond measure. Be prepared, the tears usually flow during a touching ceremony such as this, and the joyous sentiment is always the highlight of the baby shower.
The Smudging and Blessings Book- Inspirational Rituals to Cleanse and Heal by Jane Alexander
Circle Round- Raising Children in Goddess Traditions
by Starhawk, Diane Baker, Anne Hill
Mother’s Nature: timeless Wisdom for the Journey into Motherhood – by Gosline, Bossi, Beanland
About the author:
Mirine is a doula, childbirth teacher
and breastfeeding counselor.
Contact her at [email protected]