We offer Blessingway Ceremonies for expecting mothers including all the ceremonial herbs and items needed. We will guide you through the ceremony. Contact us to schedule a Blessingway.

The Blessingway

A Blessingway is an ancient Navajo ceremony to celebrate a woman’s transition into motherhood. The ceremony was taught to me by Navaho women who were holding the ceremony for a friend. The Blessingway represents the passing on of motherhood from grandmother to mother to daughter to granddaughter. The circle of life. It is a rites of passage ceremony that is done before a baby is born, especially the first-born child.

People are invited and asked to bring a gift (a simple one, see below) and a plate of food for the alter and food ritual after the ceremony.

There are five main elements to the ceremony, each with it’s own symbolism and representation.

  • The Foot Bath performed on the mother by her midwives
  • The Cornmeal Drying of the Feet performed by the woman next ready to give birth
  • The Changing of the Hair performed by her mother
  • The Circle of Gift Giving performed by all present
  • Spirit Food Ritual performed by the ceremony leader

The process goes something like this (This is the traditional ceremony and it can be adopted to fit the needs of the participants) I have seen this ceremony mixed with what we commonly think of as a baby shower or celebration….it is all up to the new mom!

The traditional ceremony:

Before all arrive, the circle is blessed with burning cedar. A stick of sage is placed above the doorway to bless all who enter the room. As people enter they are blessed and asked to put their food dish on the Food Spirit table and take a seat in the circle, bring the gift they have brought with them to their seat. The room remain quiet until the start of the ceremony.

Sitting on one side of the pregnant mother will be her mother, grandmother, aunties and other family. On the other side will be her midwives, labor coaches, closest friends – those who will help her during labor.

Everyone else will sit around the circle with their gifts close to them.

The Blessingway process will begin once everyone is settled. Each step and what it represents is explained by the Blessingway leader, the Blessingway story is told. To start the Blessingway, songs and chants are started and the singing continues throughout the ceremony (this can be orchestrated or spontaneously inspired).

After the Blessingway the Food Spirit Ritual is performed, it is important that no one leaves the ceremony without eating at least a bite and a sip of everything from Food Spirit Table, alternating they can bless themselves with each item. To leave before, or not partake in the Food Spirit Ritual is believed to break the circle of the ceremony so it is considered a very important element of the ceremony.

Untraditional adaptations:

This ceremony can be adapted to fit a more modern and Baby Shower or celebration that we are all familiar with, baby shower games such as the yard tying and guessing games can be used instead of or in addition to the songs and chants. The Food Spirit Ritual can be performed by the Blessingway leader and then take on more of a potluck feel.  It can be adapted to the comfort of the new mother and her family.

 

If you would like to have a Blessingway for the birth of your child, or for a friend giving birth please contact me for more information and pricing.