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Blessingway Baby Shower

Updated on May 14, 2010

The Native American Blessingway

The Blessingway Ceremony

"The blessingway ceremony helps a woman to prepare mentally, emotionally and spiritually for the work of birthing, and it opens her to the instinctive abilities, which will guide her as she steps into the role of mother." -Yana Cortlund, Barb Lucke and Donna Miller Watelet, Mother Rising

This book is one of the best one I found on this really beautiful ceremony! This lens will give you a lot of information on how to create a blessing ceremony for a mother-to-be, instead of a traditional baby shower.

Having a blessingway ritual doesn't mean getting rid of all that is traditional. You might still give gifts for the baby, or serve cupcakes, for example.

The basic process consists of four steps...

Creating Sacred Space

Shifting Negative Energy

Empowering & Opening to Guidance

Completing the Ritual

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Creating Sacred Space

The first part of the ritual involves creating sacred space.

Creating Sacred Space

As this part of the blessingway ritual begins, each person can clear and prepare her space and herself. There are a couple of methods they could use for preparing themselves and they could use them both for clearing their space, as well.

Clearing Themselves

You and each of the women present could do any or all of the following...

Rose Water: in a bowl, place filtered water and add rose petals or rose essential oil. Dip your hands inside and focus on releasing anything (thoughts, feelings, energies) you don't want to bring into the healing space.

Sea Salt Spray Bottle: after pouring in an ounce of sea salt and 10 drops of lemon or sage essential oil, fill a spray bottle with filtered water and roll the bottle back and forth in your hands to blend. Spray lightly around yourself to clear negative thoughts/feelings/energy from your energy field.

Clearing Their Space

Each woman also can use either one of those methods, or both, for clearing her space. First, designate an area for this motherhood work and create a healing space or circle (of space) to work in.

Rose Water: if you have used a bowl of rose water to clear your energy field, use your hand to fling several drops into the air around your healing circle.

Sea Salt Spray: if you chose the spray bottle, spray a wide circle around the area you have designated for healing.

Sacred Intention

Once you have cleared the space, begin the healing circle time with a statement of intention or a prayer. It can be said out loud or silently, in your heart.

But indicate in some way that you intend to release anything that might hold you back, and open your heart and soul to all that you need in that moment.

If you would like to intensify the spiritual energy of the moment, you can do a kind of invocation, asking for and opening yourself to Divine presence and influence.

The original inspiration for the multi-woman gathering for the mother-to-be called the blessingway comes from Native American Spirituality. To follow that inspiration, you might ask for the energy of each of the four directions: the East, which represents the element of fire; the South, which represents the element of Earth; the West, which represents the element of water and the North, which represents the element of air.

A sample invocation, using the four directions, might be...

May the fire of the East burn away all that needs to be released and lift it away from this healing circle. May the Earth energy of the South ground us and center us and empower us as I begin this work. May the water of the West wash away any negative energy in this space and help us open our hearts to whatever needs to happen in this moment. And may the North blow a healing wind over this healing circle, bringing us everything we need.

But feel free to use whatever form of spirituality works best for all of you or to use none at all.

Creating an Altar

In a traditional blessingway ceremony, the mother-to-be is sometimes left with mementos and reminders of the ritual experience and is encouraged to create an altar that will empower her during the remainder of her waiting period. If you are interested in creating one, there are a number of empowering possibilities.

Possibilities include...

A pregnancy altar - designed to honor this most important time in her life. You might have symbols and images that are related to motherhood, pregnancy, etc.

A mother within altar - designed to remind her that she has wisdom and strength within and can trust herself as she navigates through the challenges of this journey to motherhood.

A mother earth altar - designed to encourage her to draw strength and nurturing from the solid wisdom of the earth. Food or nature symbols would be used for this altar.

The next step in the blessing ritual is shifting negative energy.

"The blessingway ceremonies create a sacred and safe environment where a mother-to-be can explore the challenges and joys that lie before her as she approaches birthing and mothering."-- Yana Cortlund, Barb Lucke and Donna Miller Watelet, Mother Rising

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Shifting Negative Energy

In this part of the blessing ritual, you begin the process of helping the mother-to-be bond with her baby and release any fear or negativity that might get in the way of that connection.

"You fully commit yourself to being present to your purpose by releasing fears (or anything else that might distract you, cloud your efforts, or block your intentions). The process of letting go of fear is usually one of the most powerful parts of a blessingway ritual..."-Yana Cortlund, Barb Lucke and Donna Miller Watelet, Mother Rising

Bonding with Her Baby

Many people believe that we exist with God or the divine or the universe as spirit before we come to earth to be born into our families. Part of the traditional blessingway experience is to have the mother-to-be take a few moments to connect with the baby who is coming to her.

In this blessing ritual, she can make it fit her own belief system, keeping in mind that the idea is to increase her feeling of closeness to her little one. The other women can support her by taking a few moments to connect by spirit with the children they have already or just breathe deeply and send the energy of love to the mother-to-be.

So here, you might create a brief meditation where you have the mother-to-be place one hand on her heart and the other on her tummy and focus on the love that wells up within her, telling herself that her baby feels her love and is safe and warm within the circle of love she has created. You could read the following quote.

"As you talk and play music to your unborn baby, and massage her through your belly, you can make her feel calm, safe, tranquil and loved. When she's feeling this good, her brain is bathed in love hormones such as serotonin, which help her develop into a healthy, happy baby." -Miriam Stoppard, Bonding Before Birth

Releasing Fear

This is the part of the blessing ritual where each person gets to let go of all of their fear and negativity. You can use the following meditation idea I have provided or create your own for the women to experience.

Lead each woman to begin by taking several deep breaths, and focusing on sending relaxation to every part of their bodies. The more relaxed they are, the more deeply they will take in the meaning of this experience.

You might have them take a few minutes to imagine a golden light above them, showering them with warmth and relaxation, searching out any areas that are still tense, gently loosening up the tension and washing it away. Once they are fully relaxed, they can begin to identify their fears.

Each woman, but especially the mother-to-be, should take as much time as she needs to identify every worry and concern. Whatever they are, they can take them out, look them over, acknowledge them and then, consciously release them.

Each woman can picture them floating away and then, dissipating as they are absorbed into the loving energy that surrounds you all.

You might have each woman conclude the experience with a prayer or another statement of intention...

I now release all of these fears to the four winds, knowing that they will handle them with love and exchange them for peace.

Aromatic Blend

Lavender, chamomile and rose are nurturing, comforting essential oils that can help everyone release fear and worry.

Add 10 drops of each to a carrier oil, or lotion, roll the bottle from side to side to blend it, pass it around to each woman present to put into the palms of her hands, rub them together and lift them to inhale, and create a very nurturing experience that will help each one let go of negative feelings.

The Worry Jar

Another possibility that can help everyone release worry and fear is to create a worry jar. They can write out their concerns, fold them up and place them in the jar.

The jar, then, placed in a central place, serves as a powerful reminder, every time anyone sees it, that she is letting go of fear and indeed, has released it, already.

The next part of the blessing ritual involves empowering yourself and opening to guidance.

I now release all of these fears to the four winds, knowing that they will handle them with love and exchange them for peace.

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Empowering & Opening to Guidance

Nurturing the Mother-to-Be

In a blessingway ceremony, this is the yummy part where everyone focuses in on pampering the mother-to-be. They massage her shoulders, wash her feet, and all sorts of wonderful things.

You could place her in the center of the room in a comfy chair, and choose several ways to pamper her. You want to be careful not to overwhelm her, so don't let everyone jump on her at once, but have each person who will be nurturing her decide in which order each activity will take place.

In fact, for the blessingway experience, in general, you might want to gather together everyone who will be helping you before the big day and plan out how it will all go.

Empowering the Mother-to-Be

One of the features of the blessingway is empowerment through storytelling.

Mothers-to-be hear terrible stories about the horrors that could befall them during pregnancy, labor and delivery. Other mothers sometimes seemed to relish passing on fear as if it pays them back for whatever suffering they experienced.

The blessingway experience counters that by giving the mother stories that honor women and mothers, that increase the mother's trust in the process. Stories of love, of bonding, of motherhood.

Opening to Guidance

This is an ideal time for the mother-to-be to begin to seek intuitive guidance from the highest wisdom available. I believe that anyone can be guided to make the very best decisions for herself and her family if she chooses to ask for guidance.

In Bond with Your Baby Before Birth, author Kim O'Neill advises the mother-to-be to make contact with the energy of her unborn child and ask her baby to tell her what he or she needs.

To help her access that wisdom briefly during the blessing ritual, create a meditation sequence that involves deep breathing and relaxation, imagining a peaceful scene, and then, asking for Wisdom (God, an angel, Spirit, a guide, her baby or whatever fits her belief system) to meet her there.

Lead her to ask if there is anything she needs to know today and make plans to return in the days and weeks ahead to talk with this source of wisdom again.

In Bond with Your Baby Before Birth, author Kim O'Neill advises the mother-to-be to make contact with the energy of her unborn child and ask her baby to tell her what he or she needs.

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Completing the Ritual

Bringing the Ritual to a Close

As you begin the process of concluding the blessing ritual, have everyone take several moments to sit quietly and contemplate their experience. Encourage them to think about what shifted for them, to allow gratitude for every way in which they were empowered, inspired, blessed.

Suggest that they decide what they want to take with them into the days ahead. They can consider when they might repeat the part of the experience that meant the most for them (it's a blessing for them, too).

For closure, you might have each woman say a prayer or a few words of intention about what she is taking with her as you conclude the experience. Energetically re-open the healing circle you created and then, suggest that each woman imagine shrinking part of it into a tiny little heart-shaped memento she can press into her heart.

As the ceremony ends, have each woman step out of that space and back into the day. This ending leads to the less formal part of the gathering and is often followed by eating together and spending time just being with the mother-to-be.

The connection each woman has created to her and to each other lasts well beyond the experience itself and offers a source of strength and connection for the mother-to-be if she needs it in the weeks to come. Many women make a commitment to the mother-to-be to be there for her if she needs them and to remind her of any aspect of the powerful process she experienced when she needs it.

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"Looking for tomorrow across the blue jewel sea, I heard your soul whisper When?

And you hovered in the canopied mist, counting life lines crossing my salty, blushed palms,

expecting someday I would be your gate..."

-- Andrea Alban Gosline and Lisa Burnett Bossi,

Mother's Nature: Timeless Wisdom for the Journey into Motherhood

I'd love to hear from you!

Jeanine

What do you think of the blessingway ceremony?

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