Blessingway Ceremony

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Two weeks ago, I was privileged to co-officiate a Blessingway, a baby-shower of sorts, with a twist.

A Blessingway is traditionally a Navajo Ritual created to spiritually support and empower the new mother for her journey of birthing and motherhood. However, the couple we had wished to celebrate more of a Parenting Rite of Passage for both parents.

We incorporated key components of typical Blessingways:

Bead Ceremony; Flowers; Candle-lighting Ceremony; Belly Casting; Poetry; Personal Blessings from friends, family, and others in our community; Feasting, feasting, and more Feasting; Music; Mothering the Mother (Foot Washing); and Fathering the Father (Hand Washing).

The following is the ceremony we used and created, which can be used as a template for your own ceremony if you plan on one.

If you are expecting parent, much luck and many blessings on this, your own rite of passage into parenthood!

Namaste~

OTHER RESOURCES:

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Parenting Rite of Passage
Blessing Way Ceremony

Opening Words

We gather today to celebrate in the rite of passage that is parenthood. A day to relish in the sacred moment of leaving childhood behind in order to bring another.

Kahlil Gibran said,

‘Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.”

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Officiant’s Welcome

Welcome family and friends to this most sacred recognition of Kristen and Allan’s love made manifest. Welcome to this momentous and blessed occasion. May we all be witness to this day when the sounds of love and music, poetry and happiness abound.

Invoker of nature spirits:

So now, let us join hands and invite the spirits of nature, the spirits of this land, the Divine, and the Ancestors to this place.

[All join hands in a circle]

We invite the spirits of the ground, spirits of the soil.
We invite the spirits of the plants and the standing people.
We invite the spirits of the elementals, the little people.
We invite the spirits of the animals, the furred and four-legged.
We invite the spirits of the insects, the many-legged.
We invite the spirits of the birds, the winged ones.
We invite the spirits of all living creatures in the web of life to be here with us, to bless this place.

Invoker of the Divine:

Yemaya is the Goddess of Creation. She governs the household and intervenes in women’s affairs. She is a merciful goddess, invoked by women for aid in childbirth, love, and healing. She rules over the conception and birth of children and ensures their safety during childhood.  In the Christian tradition her name is Mary.

Holy Mary Mother of God protect this mother and child with your vigilance, let them breathe in your fresh air of the forest. Let them be strong, free and independent as you are. Guide them to hunt for their own path. Protect them through the darkest of nights, and them ponder the infinity of the deep blue sea.

We ask the Holy Ones, the Nameless Ones called by a thousand names to speak and act through us, to bless this place.

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Invoker of the Ancestors:

We call forth from space and time
Matriarchs and Patriarchs of the Schenkel and Williams Line
Mothers, Fathers, Daughters, Sons, Sisters, Brothers, and Friends
Our family spirit without end.
To gather now, in this sacred place
and help us bring us all to grace.

Will the families please come forward.

We pledge to be with this mother, father, and child. This beautiful souls always. Apart but never separate. Free but never alone. She is one of us and because of that we will bless her with all of the goodness that we are.   Please offer each other your gift.  This is another step in becoming one family.  Families offer each other flowers.

Each of these blessings emphasize the natural gifts that surround this land. May we all continue to see the beauty all around us.

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Reading #3. What makes a Parent?

To be a parent is to love and nurture,
to lead a child to be a good person.
It is to guide them along the right path
and to both teach them and learn from them.
It is to rein them in, and to give them wings.
It is to smile at their joy, and weep at their pain.
It is to walk beside them, and then one day allow them to walk alone.
To be a parent is a great gift we have given ourselves.
and the greatest responsibility we shall ever have.

Reading #3.5 “The Makings of a Parent” written by Derek J. Healey

Holding Life in your hands –
Loving it with giving counsel.
Guardians, Ancestors in the making.

You will prepare the way for descendants yet to come.

Brother, Son, Husband, Friend, and now Father;
Fathers show how “when passions are shared and combined they can create a bonfire big enough to light up the entire sky.”
They show how to be nurturing, creative, productive, and being fulfilled in the explorations of self.
They set an example of a life well-lived and well-loved.

A Father teaches how to pay attention to what has true meaning where only the heart resides.
With a warm heart, a Father guards and nurtures personal power, passion, and transformation.
A Father knows how to channel the life force silently but powerfully, seeing and hearing clearly in the dark.

This is what you will do.

Sister, Daughter, Wife, Friend, and now Mother;
Mothers show how to “open our hearts to compassion, intuition, and deep love.”
They show how to be nurturing, creative, productive, and being fulfilled in the explorations of self.
They set an example of a life well-lived and well-loved.
A Mother teaches how to see straight through to the core of things where only truth remains.
With a natural radiance, a Mother guards and nurtures forgiveness, peace, dreams, and healing.
A Mother knows how to encourage harmony silently but powerfully, seeing and hearing clearly in the dark.

This is what you will do.

The Guardian’s time is a scary but fulfilling time.
The time in between adulthood and elderhood.
Between youth and old age.
Between valley and mountain.
Waterfall and sky.
Their time is the evening,
When sun holds the horizon.

A wise parent, Joyce Maynard has said, “It’s not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself.”

In seeking these wild and liminal times and places in Nature, we gain deep peacefulness of soul and find the strength to keep calm in the midst of a storm.
The Parent teaches us to “seek out these wild and magical places that fill our hearts with gratitude.”

The Guardian is also known for kindness and has as skill for deep talking,
Deep listening too.
They open sacred space
Wherever they are, because they know that any place, any time, can be a container for the Sacred
With right vision and intention.
Gentle and strong, a Parent spins and weaves
Harmony
In the tapestry of home and community
To one day, with a prayer and many tears, be the one to let go and watch their child fly.
The Guardian knows most of all how to say “Fly free, I will always love you.”

In all of these actions, the Parent and Guardian knows,
The Deep Truth that these are all riches beyond measure.

The Guardians:
The Protectors.
The Tired Keepers of the Crib.
The Creators of Life and Innocence,
Sing songs, and shout prayers to the four winds.

The Makings of a Parent are simple:
They are living life through,
And they are determined to see that life
Continues, generation to generation.
Until the end and beginning again of
Life’s Great Poetry.
Until the end and beginning again of
Life’s Great Mystery.

Will the god-parents, Skylar and Damira please come forward.

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Reading #4: What makes a Guardian?

In times past, children were not the sole responsibility of the biological parents. This responsibility is too great for any one or two people to bear alone. I hope that all in the community would help a child in need. As a reminder that children need many sources of support, the tradition of the goddess and god parents arose. These chosen people will have a special relationship with this will be there should she need someone outside the home to talk to. To share experiences, and to be a ‘neutral’ and loving third party should the family need help. To be a Guardian is to love and nurture,
to show guidance and counsel. It is to help the child make choices should she need assistance, and to be there when called upon.

Damira and Skylar go up to Kay and place a hand on her belly.

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{DAMIRA & SKYLAR} will you participate in the upbringing of this child. Will you be there to listen to her, and help and advise Kristen and Allan for her welfare if necessary?”

THEY answer: “We will. Bless and keep you. We will be here for you.”

Family Community Blessing.

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We would now like the community to participate in the ancient tradition of foot washing.  Please come up and offer your blessing by placing your bead in the bowl and washing the feet of the mother to be.

We will begin with Kristen’s parents.

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Beads of Blessing

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I swear my dear daughter,
no one in the entire world
is as precious as you are.
Look at that mirror.
Take a good look at yourself.
Who else is there above and beyond you?
Now give yourself a kiss
and with sweet whispers
fill your ears to the brim.
Watch for all that beauty
reflecting from you
and sing a love song to your existence.
You can never overdo
praising your own soul.
You can never over-pamper your heart.
You are both
the father and the mother,
the sugar and the sugar cane.
Who else but you?
Please tell me who else
can ever take your place?
Now give yourself a smile.
What is the worth of a diamond
if it doesn’t shine?
How can I ever put a price
on the diamond that you are?
You are the entire treasure of the house.You and your shadow
are forever present in this world.
You’re that glorious bird of paradise.

-Ghazal 2148 as translated by Nader Khalili

Allan plays the cello during the foot washing ceremony.

Now will the father to be come forward for the washing of his hands and receive a blessing from the community.

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Kristen plays the keyboard while Allan receives the hand washing blessing.

Reading #5: Finnian Asher’s Grandmother’s Reading

Untitled, Author Unknown

“What shall we call you, ,one who comes across a vast distance
bearing secrets of the future,
your father’s hidden wishing,
and the remembrance of beauty that hung diffusely in the air
all those long years without you?
We call you the awaited one,
the dreamt of one, the sung one,
for we sing to you now a symphony of welcomes,
and wish for your smooth passage to the world.
As if you were sweet basil,
as if you were mountain rosemary,
as if you were the golden sweetness of the apple
and the pear at harvest time.
You sweeten your mother’s innermost heart
and ripen her for every greater mystery-
For she has kissed the hem of the most Beloved
in calling you forth,
sheltering a wild faith in life.
Like a rose folded inward, hiding great fragrance,
like a host watching over the sheep
of the most cherished guest,
You were so tenderly awaited.
Little one, we sing to you now,
calling you joy,
calling you promise fulfilled,
calling you sheer vastness and little drop of honey.
You joined us here.
May your earthly journey be cloaked
with songs and praises evermore.
Your mother and father’s vast hearts,
deepening as they awaited you;
Every tear they’ve ever shed for joy gathering and intensifying-
For you, little drop of honey,
coming across great distances
just to see their faces at last,
just to gaze upon the face of Love at last.”

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Closing the Circle

Now, as we close this sacred rite of passage, would you all again please join hands?  Would any like to speak?

Thank you great Goddess Yemaya, thank you Mary, for your presence here today. Thank you for your love, your healing, your protection of children, and your never ending blessings. Stay if you will, go if you must, go in peace.

Thank-you Ancestors for your presence here today. Thank-you for your blessings, your love, your protection, and your guidance. Stay if you will, go if you must, go in peace.

Thank you Elementals of the North for your solid powers and joining us today. Go if you will, and do not tarry along your way.

Thank you Elementals of the West for your flowing powers and joining us today. Go if you will, and do not tarry along your way.

Thank you Elementals of the South for your burning powers and joining us today. Go if you will, and do not tarry along your way.

Thank you Elementals of the East for your airborne powers and joining us today. Go if you will, and do not tarry along your way.

Thank-you all for coming and sharing your blessings with this family.

Our Circle is open but unbroken. Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again!

It is now tradition that we hug one another as a sign of connection, of light, and of love.

Namaste, we are all one.

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Feasting

We were delighted to have the day catered by an amazing Chef~!

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