You’ve received the wonderful news that a baby is on the way. It is your first (or second, or third) child and excitement abounds in the household and through your circle of friends. Since you are well loved, many people wish to through you a celebration of sorts. Traditionally baby showers are given for the expectant mother-to-be. An amazing alternative that focuses less on commercial items for the baby and more on the spiritual well-being of the mother is the Blessingway.
Originally a sacred ritual given to us by the Native American Navajo Tribe, the Blessingway has branched off to be something beyond the ritual. The sacred rite was a blessing for all the major passages one goes through in a lifetime. Since the Blessingway is the term used by the Navajo, and they do not support what it has become, the Blessingway is often referred to as a Mother Blessing so as not to offend the Native Peoples.
A Blessingway is now a way to celebrate the beginning of a new life, to honor the labors of birth, the sisterhood of women together, and honor the mother in her time of pregnancy and birth. Most often than not the ceremony is a quiet, spirit-filled time with the female relatives and friends of the mother-to-be gathering for a day of retreat and sharing. Choose the guest list with wisdom and insight into who would best support the mother in this ritual. The invitation can be a standard invitation whilst
mentioning the fact that the guests shouldn’t bring gifts or if you plan on an activity where you want them to bring something let them know that too. Gifts are not to be exchanged this day,nor are party games to be played.
There are a few activities that can be partaken of if you so desire. Just keep in mind that a Blessingway ceremony should be fine tuned to what the mother wishes for the gathering. Prayer flags are borrowed from the Tibetan prayer flag. Take strips of cloth and hand one to each guest so that they may write some words of praise or a blessing upon them. The mother will read these aloud to the group and later take them with her to the birthing. Necklaces can be made by using either beads brought by each guest that offers a special connection between them and the mother or by beads to give to each guest as they arrive. Heck, you could even have the guests make their own if you like. For the creatives in the group, perhaps a belly casting would be the activity. The casting can be left blank or painted.
No ritual is complete without some type of candle lighting. Have the guests bring a candle and set them up on a central table or put around the room. Light the candle as each offers a blessing. Later these same candles can be lit when the mother goes into labor whilst offering prayers for the family. Other options for the actual ritual include a cleansing and purification, a naming of all the female ancestors through the ages, or honoring the body with massage and the washing of the feet.
When the Blessingway is completed the women will all feel as if they are one together. The spirit will carry through the pregnancy and the birthing and bring a certain peaceful fullness to the mother and child. Bonds will be made, hopes will be fulfilled. Relax, share and love.