Last night I attended a friends' blessingway ceremony. I believe this was my 5th or so, but each and every time that I attend one, I am again amazed at the deep connection and affirmation that they provide. Blessingways originate in the Navajo tradition where they were used to "bless the one sung over", but have been gaining popularity among women seeking an alternative to the traditional baby shower, and looking for more meaning and ritual around the journey of birth. There are lots of great resources available now for people looking for blessinway info...including the new book Mother Rising, and here's a great FAQ about blessingways. Of course, now there are lots of "kits" and companies that will put a blessingway together for you, but I think the best way to give one is to read a bit about what other people do, and add a bit of your own to create something just right for the Mama to Be.
In honor of a blessingway last night, and thinking about my own blessingway, which took place two years ago this week, I thought I'd share some images from a few different blessingways--mostly from my own, some from one I held for a friend last summer, and a few images from last night. (And apologies in advance for the wacky formatting: I'm still feeling slightly feverish, and not so patient with my html this morning!)
Blessed Be! And Happy Birthing!
At my blessingway, with the beautiful floral "crown" a friend made!
Our friend chose a birth necklace (instead of a birth altar), so we all brought a bead for her. Here it is before being strung together.
I chose a birth altar for mine. Each person brought something from nature reminding them of me, or birth.
This is the altar cloth I made for a birth altar.
Henna the morning after. ;) And the yarn bracelet--we all will wear one until the birth, serving as a reminder of our friend, her baby and their community of support.