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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
has anyone ever had a blessingway ceremony? it is ritual affirming that a woman will have a natural and beautiful birth experience. (for those who have not heard of it)<br><br>
i am prego with dc #2 and i am not interested in having a traditional baby shower. i have read about this mother's blessing ceremony and it just sounds so perfect.<br><br>
do you think it is appropriate for me to request this type of gathering among my closest friends. there are actually 2 of us that are prego and i thought it would be nice to celebrate both upcoming births. common gifts that are given are those that are written (poem, chant, song, etc) and there are several rituals that can be performed that are symbolic.<br><br>
anyway, just looking for some input...<br><br>
tia
 

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I know this topic has been discussed here a lot.<br>
You might want to do a search. I'm sure you'll be able to pull up some old threads.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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I think it's absolutely appropriate and a great idea.<br><br>
I had one in my last preg and it was wonderful. They can be informal (like the one lunamegn described or more formal and ritual based- no right or wrong on "how to do it", it's really what you are comfortable with and what is your style. There is a description of mine on my website (<a href="http://www.birthbeads.com" target="_blank">www.birthbeads.com</a>) with the chants and rituals described in detail. I had also previously asked MDC posters to send me info on theirs and that is there too.<br><br>
I like the idea of having one for both you and your friend. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> I know alot of the women who came to mine were not familiar with the tradition and they were all very touched and moved by the experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mom2emerson</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think it's absolutely appropriate and a great idea.<br><br>
I had one in my last preg and it was wonderful. They can be informal (like the one lunamegn described or more formal and ritual based- no right or wrong on "how to do it", it's really what you are comfortable with and what is your style. There is a description of mine on my website (<a href="http://www.birthbeads.com" target="_blank">www.birthbeads.com</a>) with the chants and rituals described in detail. I had also previously asked MDC posters to send me info on theirs and that is there too.<br><br>
I like the idea of having one for both you and your friend. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> I know alot of the women who came to mine were not familiar with the tradition and they were all very touched and moved by the experience.</div>
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what a small world, it is your website that really got me excited! i had heard of them before but after reading your website i knew it was something that would be so meaningful for this pregnancy! thanks!
 

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I'm having my Mother's Blessing Monday night. I'm doing it with all women, but it is more focused on the birth, plus I'm a single women who had AI, so it is just more appropriate for me. I asked the friends I invited to bring an offering to put on a birthing altar. I plan to make it more of a ritual/ceremony.<br><br>
I will ask the women to go around the circle and introduce themselves (many don't know one another), then tell how they met me/got to know me, and what they are offering me for the birthing altar and the significance of the object being offered.<br><br>
Afterwards, I will have some snacks and things.<br><br>
I have actually seen this discussion on this forum and the birthbeads.com website and there are loads of wonderful ideas. You need to pick and choose what is right for you–degree of formality, women-only or co-ed, what activity you want to have. I'm sure you will come up with something that feels good to you.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>spsmom</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">has anyone ever had a blessingway ceremony? it is ritual affirming that a woman will have a natural and beautiful birth experience. (for those who have not heard of it)</div>
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Actually a BLESSINGWAY is a very specific Navajo ceremony conducted by a Navajo elder and attended by Navajos and perhaps their guests.<br><br>
It is disrespectful and inappropriate to call a generic pregnancy-blessing or birth-blessing ceremony, no matter how beautiful it is or how personally meaningful it is to you, a "blessingway".<br><br>
With that said, I think some of the ideas here are lovely for a birth blessing. I wish I had friends and family I could have shared a blessing with, without having them roll their eyes constantly and have it be awkward and end up cheesy.<br><br>
I love the bead idea, the circle idea and the wreath of flowers idea.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>spsmom</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">what a small world, it is your website that really got me excited! i had heard of them before but after reading your website i knew it was something that would be so meaningful for this pregnancy! thanks!</div>
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That's So cool! Thanks for giving me warm fuzzies inside!!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> Please PM me afterwards and tell me how it went! (and if you'd like I can add your story onto the page!!!!)
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>girlndocs</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Actually a BLESSINGWAY is a very specific Navajo ceremony conducted by a Navajo elder and attended by Navajos and perhaps their guests.<br><br>
It is disrespectful and inappropriate to call a generic pregnancy-blessing or birth-blessing ceremony, no matter how beautiful it is or how personally meaningful it is to you, a "blessingway".</div>
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Aren't many English words adopted from other languages? I mean, when I (an Irish/German gringa) make "tacos" for dinner, I'm sure they aren't perfectly authentic but I doubt I'm offending anyone by calling them "tacos" instead of "beans, cheese, and veggies in flat flour bread-like wrappers."<br><br>
Additionally, if someone is asking an honest question about something, it doesn't seem right to call them "disrespectful and inappropriate." How does one learn if not by asking? And how do you ask if you're not allowed to use the words?<br><br>
In any case, my mom hosted such a ceremony for me and it was beautiful. A women-only event held on winter solstice. Everyone brought a comfort food, something for the altar that reminded them of their mother, and a bead representing herself or each child she had. There were lots of poems, blessings, foot washing, adornment, flowers. It was lovely and really set the stage for me to cross into motherhood.<br><br>
Good luck to you!
 

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OP: I think it's great you have folks who could provide support and sweet ritual for your non-trad. shower/ceremony. Go ahead and ask!<br><br>
However, like girlndocs so articulately posted, you can be inspired by something but not appropriate the blessingway ceremony from Navajos.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>because</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Aren't many English words adopted from other languages? I mean, when I (an Irish/German gringa) make "tacos" for dinner, I'm sure they aren't perfectly authentic but I doubt I'm offending anyone by calling them "tacos" instead of "beans, cheese, and veggies in flat flour bread-like wrappers."<br><br>
Additionally, if someone is asking an honest question about something, it doesn't seem right to call them "disrespectful and inappropriate." How does one learn if not by asking? And how do you ask if you're not allowed to use the words?</div>
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because - Two words for you: cultural appropriation.<br><br>
Comparing the appropriation of the spiritual practices of Navajos to making tacos is beyond absurd. girlndocs was indeed being kind. I'm sure you can find many links about the concept if you google "cultural appropriation", and if you are interested in learning a bit.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Skim</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Comparing the appropriation of the spiritual practices of Navajos to making tacos is beyond absurd.</div>
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Are we talking about the spiritual practice or the word, though? I'd bet that no one on this board could (<i>without</i> doing some research first) describe a real Navajo blessingway, its participants, its rituals, its significance.... I think we're talking about the word and the broad concept here.<br><br>
I'm just saying that as American mutts, our language and culture is made of lots of other parts. Food is only one example. I guess it's because American culture is rather devoid of unique ritual. Maybe because we're a young country? I don't know. This makes us shallow and quick to misappropriate other cultures? Probably. I tend to believe, though, that using a concept that honors passages in life (something Americans are terrible about) is a pretty honest thing. We're not calling it the Navajo word ("Blessingway" is English, no?) and following a script that we don't understand - we're designing ceremonies for our own families and our own needs. It seems hypocritical to bash someone for doing this in the birth scenario and not examine all of the other times we do it every day. Food, music, slang language, dress, decor, religion, pop culture...<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Skim</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">girlndocs was indeed being kind.</div>
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Maybe. I don't know - it's too hard to tell what text on a screen means without body language, voice inflection, etc. Calling the OP's honest question "disrespectful and inappropriate" seemed kind of harsh to me.<br><br>
Without those context clues, your post also seems a bit harsh, Skim. Maybe mine does too. I don't mean it that way at all. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br><br>
FWIW, I happen to have a dual BA in Honors Anthropology and Women's Studies so this is right up my alley and I am always interested in "learning a bit" although Google is probably not where I'd start. Thanks, though. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
I think that this whole conversation is worth while and interesting - although a bit of a hijack from the OP. Sorry about that, spsmom! If anyone wants to start a different thread to discuss this, I'd like to be part of it so let me know. Otherwise, I'm stepping away now so the original question can be answered. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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What are the native Navaho words for Blessing Way? Blessing and Way are English words. I am all for Pregnancy Blessing, though. I am curious to know the actual native words.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
wow, i somehow have missed all these replies regarding the appropriateness of what i was inquiring about. i have to say (and i am 6 months pg, so i seem to take everything personally anyway!) that i was first taken back by girlndocs response. i in no way was trying to be disrespectful. i actually posted here because i was hoping to get more info since a search on google doesn't always guide me in the right direction. and like the pp mentioned, without seeing body language and emphasis, i have no way of knowing if she was being helpful and informative or rude. i expect she was trying to be helpful.<br><br>
i do appreciate everyone's input and i will post how things went after the fact.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>UUMom</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">What are the native Navaho words for Blessing Way? Blessing and Way are English words. I am all for Pregnancy Blessing, though. I am curious to know the actual native words.</div>
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<a href="http://www.hanksville.org/voyage/navajo/BlessingWay.php3" target="_blank">http://www.hanksville.org/voyage/nav...essingWay.php3</a><br><br>
i am doing a little search on google and found this site.<br><br>
the translation for Blessingway, according to this site is Hózhójí<br><br><br>
girlndocs- are you native american? i am just curious to know how you know that calling what i would like to have, a birth blessing, for lack of knowing otherwise, is disrespectful.
 

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I am not reading this entire thread because I've been too hurt in threads of this sort before. And I've no time for that this morning.<br><br>
Take a look at the link in my sig for some good information as to why cultural appropriation continues colonialism, imperialism and racism.<br><br>
I don't know why it matters if girlndocs is Indigenous or not. For the record, I *am* Indigenous, a full-on card-carrying voting tribal member, because it seems to matter here.<br><br>
And one more thing, a Blessingway is a Dine/Navajo ceremony. It's really inappropriate for anyone outside of that community and spirituality to try to reproduce it and call it a Blessingway, including other Indigenous women like myself. It's like a bunch of Baptists getting together in someone's yard to have a Catholic mass; you may know enough to go through the motions, but it's still not a mass.
 

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I do think it's good to know. While many cultures do some sort of event to celebrate a pregnancy, theymay have different names, or perhaps no name at all. Blessing is a word English speaking folks use in various ways. I was thinking of the word 'christening' in this context as well. Baptism is another word which means one thing in one context, and something else in another. One can christen or baptize people, but we also christen boats and buildings. Which seems odd, I suppose.<br><br>
I live near a New England fishing port where there is a yearly event called The Blessing Of The Fleet, where fisherman parade in their boats and a priest blesses the whole lot of them as they pass. So while we can 'bless' the pregnant women in our lives in a special, spiritual way, it's not an actual Blessing Way if we are not Navaho, and it's offensive to call it such. I get that. But if the Navaho people have somehow helped us non natives respect the spirituality of giving birth, that's a gift to the whole world, really.<br><br>
In this case, some folks are wanting to do something that is more spirtual in nature for a pregnant woman. Something that seems more about the coming life changing event and less about the stuff. That's not a wrong thing to do, and other cultures have this as well. Maybe Showers can become more about blessing the event and the woman and giving her an opportunity to be loved and see her power as a birthing woman. Maybe it's just a Blessing.
 

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There was a good thread about this<br><a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=125238&highlight=blessingway" target="_blank">http://www.mothering.com/discussions...ht=blessingway</a>
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Selu Gigage- i pm'ed you.<br><br>
the link on your sig was exactly what i was looking for!<br><br>
boy, this has been a learning experience! i need to remember to do a search on a topic on mdc before i go psoting myself about it!<br><br>
now that i have taken the time to really find out about what a blessingway is and the difference between that and a birth blessing or mother's blessing, i am really feeling good about having a birth celebration. with my family's lifestyle, it just makes more sense than a traditional shower. but we will be doing with without offending anyone's culture, which is the last thing i want to do.<br><br>
i guess for me, since "my culture" seems so commercialized and "trendy" that my family has taken our own beliefs and created our own celebrations and traditions and many of them are derived from other cultures, since neither dh nor i consider ourselves christian, especially. i will, however, be sure to do my homework the next time i come across something that sounds like ti would fit into our lifestyles and traditions.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> Jeannie!<br><br>
I totally didn't think you were trying to be disrespectful. That's why I pointed it out.<br><br>
I have some NA ancestry but I'm not part of NA culture in any appreciable way. I'm aware of the problem of cultural appropriation mostly because of the <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"> women here at MDC who lessoned me.
 
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