Good Morning All!
Today we’re going to discuss Blessing Ways; what are they, who can have one, when should you plan it, where do you host one, and why would anyone want one? Most of my information is coming from the book Mother Rising: The Blessingway Journey into Motherhood by Yana Cortland, Barb Lucke, Donna Miller Watelet.
The name Blessing Way originates from the Native American Navajo song ceremonial complex. The Navajo song ceremonial complex is a spiritual practice used by certain Navajo ceremonial people to restore and maintain balance and harmony in the lives of the people. One half of the ceremonial complex is the Blessing Way, while the other half is the Enemy Way (Anaʼí Ndááʼ). The rites and prayers in the Blessing Way are concerned with healing, creation, harmony and peace. The song cycles recount the elaborate Navajo creation story (Diné Bahaneʼ).One of most important Blessing Way rites is the Kinaaldá ceremony, in which a young girl makes the transition to womanhood upon her menarche. During the course of the ceremony, the girl enacts the part of Changing Woman (Asdzą́ą́ Nádleehé),the powerful spirit woman responsible for fertility entering the world. The Kinaaldá ceremony includes the girl demonstrating endurance by ritualized running, each dawn over a period of several days, as well as a hair-combing ritual and the baking of a large corn cake. The Enemy Way (Anaʼí Ndááʼ) on the other hand is a traditional ceremony for countering the harmful effects of ghosts (Navajo: chʼį́įdii), and has been performed for returning military personnel. The Enemy Way ceremony involves song, sand painting, dance, and the powerful mythical figure Monster Slayer. The ceremony lasts for several days and includes the enacting of a battle. Associated with the Enemy Way is a Girl’s Dance, to which young men are invited by marriageable young women. This derives from an aspect of the Monster Slayer myth, in which two captive girls are liberated.
What is a Blessing Way (AKA Mother Blessing)?
Nowadays the title ‘Blessing Way’ is applied to the westernized version of this ceremony. Another name is ‘Mother Blessing’ which is the term I will use out of respect of the Navajo tradition, especially having read that the Navajo people don’t approve of the name being used this way (I have used it in the title as it is more widely known as a blessing way). Unlike a traditional baby shower, where gifts are purchased for the baby, a Mother Blessing is all about nurturing the mother-to-be and celebrating motherhood.
A Mother Blessing is all about nurturing the mother, and filling her cup so it overflows with love and confidence as she awaits the impending birth of her baby. A woman who is given lots of love has more love to give in return — and there is nothing like a circle of loving women to get that delicious hormone, oxytocin, (the hormone of love and bonding) flowing! A Mother Blessing is a beautiful and unique way to honor a mother-to-be, spending time with her, sharing stories, debriefing fears and to instill confidence and strength.
Who can have a Mother Blessing?
Anyone who is going to become a mother can receive a Mother Blessing. A first time mother, a fifth time mother, an adoptive mother, any woman (or man- referring to homosexual couples) who is gaining a dependent child in their life and wants to acknowledge the major change/ rite-of-passage. Pam England, author of Birthing from Within, wrote in the forward of Mother Rising that:
Somewhere inside every woman is a deep knowing, even if it is barely conscious, that giving birth is a multi-layered, mysterious rite of passage. Many women realize it only after they give birth, in private moments when they reflect on what happened to them and within them. It is then they secretly with that they had been prepared differently that in some way they had honored the event that would completely change their mind, body, and soul. This wish often turns to grief, and then is gradually forgotten as caring for the baby consumes their life.
Basically the whole point of a mother blessing is to affirm within a soon-to-be mother that she is strong enough to begin this motherhood journey.
When should you plan a Mother Blessing?
To figure out how early you should start planing depends on how complex your mama-to-be is expecting her ritual to be. If she is only looking for the bare basics, or if she decides two weeks before her due date that she would like a mother blessing, then you should only need a few days to plan and gather everything you need. Now the book Mother Rising recommends that you start the process three months before the baby’s due date because they figure about 1.5-2 months of planning allowing the mother blessing date to fall within the four to six weeks before the baby is due.
Where should you host one?
The best place is within the mother-to-be’s home because the positive energy and memories will be readily available for the mother to remember/ tap into when she goes into labor or is about to bring the child home. The issue that can come about is that her home might not have a room large enough for a gathering or the amount of people that she wants to attend is too large for the rooms she has. So if you do run into this issue then you can move outside in nice weather (with a rain location) or you can rent a location just like you would for a baby or wedding shower. If you are going to rent a location make sure that it’s private and has the right energy for the ritual that you’re planning (ex. you don’t want to be in a mall party room where everyone can look at you or you can look at them).
Why would anyone want a Mother Blessing?
This question should have answered its self if you’ve read the post up to this point, but if you haven’t then I’ll recap for you.
- Empowers the mother-to-be to release her fears and be confident as her new journey begins
- Creates a supportive net of the women attending to help the new mother with the up in coming birth and postpartum care
- Allows for the recognition of the motherhood rite of passage
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a way to celebrate your pregnancy in another way that’s non-material and spiritual then I would recommend researching a Mother Blessing. There are a bunch of ideas on pintrist, within the above mentioned book, and all over the internet.
I hope this was helpful!