Join Date: May 2002
Location: Amazing Bloomington, Indiana
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As for mixed-sex blessingways ...
How about if, for part of the event, at least, the men are in a separate room, having a blessingway for the DAD? I mean, he deserves one, too, for the changes he'll be experiencing, the new path he'll be walking, the support he'll need.
I think that part of the power of the blessingway is feeling the connection with women, the link of the physical realities of childbirth ... that men, no matter how loving, cannot know. Which is not to say that the guest of honor shouldn't feel support from her husband/partner or her other close male friends ...
My "vote" would be to have separate simultaneous blessingways for each of them, and then to have them unite, maybe for the food part at the end, and do a united ceremony for the two of them.
As for combining different religious/spiritual traditions, you might want to do a search here on the Spirituality board for a thread on blessingways that I started a few months ago -- several people (including me, I think) had suggestions for doing precisely that. Again, my opinion is that, it's extremely valuable for a birthing woman to feel support from many, many sources, and if others have different spiritual backgrounds, they can/should provide spiritual support in ways that honor their backgrounds as well as the feelings of the birthing woman: I would ask that participants honor the birthing woman by bringing non-intrusive, non-evangelical gifts or messages, and that they honor their own spirituality by being centered within it as they give. Does that make sense?
In other words, I can imagine that a traditional Catholic woman might offer to say a rosary for me while I'm in labor: that would be a good way for her to keep within her tradition, support me in her way, and yet not push me to say a rosary myself, which would not feel comfortable or supporting to me.
When I led my friend's blessingway in January, knowing that her mom was pretty conservative in her Christianity and that the guest of honor wasn't especially "woo-woo", I was careful not to go overboard in any "alternative" descriptions, yet I included brief mentions of several traditions in the ceremony ... noting that the point was to connect with women not only in this room, but throughout history, throughout the world.
Baby crying ... gotta go. Write me for more if you want. I look forward to reading more here.