Celebrating the Transformation of Maiden to Mother
I wanted to share a celebration that I think is steeped in ancient sentiment that has been sorely missing in our culture for many years now. It centers on Woman’s Mysteries and empowers a milestone that can sometimes be glossed over or denigrated in our busy culture today.
Blessingways have caught on in North America recently as an alternative to the “traditional” baby shower. Becoming a mother is a deeply spiritual step for a woman. The transition from maiden to mother (when it is literal) is often made more about the baby than about the mother to be. You open gifts for your future or newly arrived little one and others ohhh and awww….you eat, you play silly games and you go home with a ton of stuff. Granted the stuff is needed and helpful but what does your soul and spirit get from this celebration? There is little time to process fears, cherish the changes to come, honour the miraculous and primal experience that is pregnancy and childbirth, and to just focus on the mama to be.
Blessingways seek to change that. They are an opportunity for covens, circles, friends and/or family to gather and cherish a life changing event. There are many different ways to plan and create this type of celebration. Depending on the tradition and the intention you can make the event into an elaborate ritual or a party with a mama focus. Some things that you could do at a Blessingway are:
-Massage the mama with lovely smelling oils (being sure of course that they are appropriate for a pregnant woman)
-give her a pedicure and/or manicure
-paint her belly with paints or henna
-make a plaster mold of her belly
-have each person attending bring a bead to create a necklace or bracelet for the mama to be to wear during the birth
-eat decadent treats
-share motherly advice
-anoint a special candle for the mother to burn during the birth
Research is of course key in making the event unique and special to the new mom. Choosing an appropriate Goddess to invoke or planning the timing for the event with the corresponding moon phase takes the focus off consumerism and puts the focus on the immanent transformation from maiden to mother. Here are some resources to help your planning. The original meaning of the term: Blessingway. Mother-Rising is a great book that I used to plan my best friend’s celebration. Blessingway: A Guide to Mother-Centered Baby Showers is another option. And any thorough Pagan 101 should list Goddesses associated with motherhood. Choosing a theme is also fun. For my friend we chose birds. Mama birds with babies, nests and feather crowns were what we used to make her feel special and connected.
Keeping things fluid is also a consideration for events like this one. Pregnancy is intense and sometimes a heavy ritual may not work when an expectant mom is out of sorts or tired. So have a plan B. If she does not seem up for being adorned with a flowing robe or being fawned over you can watch a fun movie and have some cool drinks for her to enjoy with her best buddies. Because most of all the transformation is her experience and what you are doing is setting up a space for that to happen in whatever way it needs to in that moment.
Also do not hesitate to celebrate each new addition to a mama’s family. Though she may already be a mother of three, number four is still unique and her mamahood is being reborn again. Each time a woman takes this journey she comes back altered and that deep place that each of us go to when we birth should be celebrated and venerated in our culture.