I love doing ceremony! Which is funny because a few years ago, I kind of hated the rote following of the leader aspects of ritual and ceremony. But then I was introduced to ceremonies and rituals that actually had meaning for me, and after developing a habit of performing rituals, I came to love the intent and purposeful actions.
Ritual is a simple act done for a specific purpose with a specific intent. One very common ritual may be to say a prayer or blessing over food. Even without a specific religion we can practice giving gratitude for our food, as my family did when I was growing up. And in my family of three now, I find it to be an incredibly meaningful way to connect with ourselves and each other as we sit down to a family meal and take turns expressing two or three things we are grateful for each day. I've also come to enjoy creating ritual out of everyday, mundane tasks. When I put on my jewelry for the day, for example, I've turned it into a ritual by saying affirmations of power, abundance and joy as I adorn myself with my regalia! Doesn't that sound and feel different than just putting on a necklace and earrings?
Ceremony happens when we open a space (physically and energetically), again with a specific intention, and perform a variety of rituals. Ceremony is often a group event, as the energies of many people together are more powerful and can hold one another accountable. But ceremony can absolutely be performed alone or with 2 or 3 people. There is no right or wrong way to hold a ceremony because each ceremony is a personal experience. However, I do have a bit of a formula that helps me to move into the flow of a ceremony. It goes something like this:
- Clear and cleanse any objects and self to be open and receptive to the experience
- Center and connect within
- State intentions
- Set boundaries or energetic protection
- Invite spirit helpers to join the ceremony (spirit animals, guides, ancestors, etc)
- Perform any and as many rituals as will assist your fulfilling the intention (energy work, breath work, processing, drumming, chanting, dancing, lighting candles or burning things, writing, creating, anything you want)
- Connect within again to express gratitude and close the ceremony
When or why might we perform a ceremony?
Well, for starters birth and motherhood are some pretty big life events that are worthy of much more attention than we give them! Two of my favorite ways to honor and bless a mother are with a Mother Blessing Ceremony and a Postnatal Sealing Ceremony.
Mother Blessing Ceremony
A Mother Blessing ceremony is a gathering of the mother-to-be and her closest women family and friends to create a sacred bond of love, support and power as she prepares for the birth and the experience of motherhood. Each ceremony is unique to the mother and any rituals or traditions she is called to. The circle of women initiates a support team in the time of transition and through the powerful experience of birth. Because when the baby is born, a mother is also born, and she too needs to be received, nurtured and supported on her journey. A Mother Blessing is for a first-time mom or a fifth-time time - it doesn't matter how many children she has birthed, each experience is different and sacred.
Postnatal Sealing Ceremony
After the birth of a baby, regardless of the method, a space is open and empty within mother. The Postnatal Sealing Ceremony includes a cleansing ritual, blessings, abdominal massage, the "closing the bones" ritual and space for processing. The purpose of the ceremony is to close the physical and energetic doorways that were opened during the birth, to nurture the new mother so that she may nurture her family and to allow space for processing the events of the birth. After the ceremony, mother will also receive a belly binding which connects and supports this sacred time to the mundane aspects of motherhood.
Both of these ceremonies are excellent gifts to a new mother! They can be incorporated into a baby shower or as a baby shower gift to recognize the importance of mother in all this birth stuff! I offer gift certificates for Mother Blessing and Postnatal Sealing Ceremonies (I even accept "group" payments).
Ceremony is your birthright
Birth is such a unique time in our lives! Maybe ceremony feels a little "woo-woo" to you? Just remember that there is no one right or wrong way to participate in a ceremony and seriousness is not a requirement.
You celebrate the love and union to your partner with a marriage ceremony. Your birth and union/separation from your child is no less significant. As a conscious mother let ceremony continue to call you to love!