Compiled by Melanie Gray (TCM apprentice) and Kate Hogan, CPM, LM
A blessingway is a woman-centered celebration of the journey into motherhood. It is different from a baby shower in that it focuses on the femininity and power that comes through growing a baby and giving birth. The blessingway is often segmented into several ceremonies that have been adapted from the traditional Navajo’s sacred fertility rites. These ceremonies bring the women in attendance together through sharing blessings or poems for the mother, singing or chanting, and symbolic rites such as smudging the space with burnt herbs, a yarn ceremony where everyone is connected to the mother through yarn and then the yarn bracelet is worn until the baby is born, and a bead ceremony where every woman brings a bead that is strung together into a necklace or bracelet to remind the mother of all of her power and strength during labor and birth.
Looking for more ideas on what to include at a Blessingway? Check out our post on that very topic to learn more.
This blog post is a compilation of several poems and readings that may be shared during the blessingway. A few of them we have had the honor of hearing recently at very special blessingways of two of our very own mamas-to-be!
Chant of the Pregnant Goddess
by Jana McCarthy
I am the mother of the moon
sister of the stars
child of the light in your eyes.
I am powerful.
The geometry of my shape shifts
from gently curved lines
to expanding circles:
earth, moon, sun.
I am powerful.
I am strong.
The tempo of my vibration quickens,
butterfly wings, to floundering fish,
to beating drum,
the rhythm as old and constant as
the cycles of the sun
and the turn of the tides.
I am powerful.
I am strong.
I am beautiful.
I hold the hope of my ancestors
the knowledge of my time
the fate of my future.
I am powerful.
I am strong.
I am beautiful.
I am mother.
I am a willow tree,
Strong, yet fluid
I can bend with the wind,
but my roots are tough,
Opening to birth my child
is flowing with the wind:
from a soft and gentle breeze
to a stormy gale
back to a soft and gentle breeze.
My body is strong, but flexible.
It is my friend, it knows how to open.
I am a friend to my body
eating well, walking, and loving myself.
I shall birth safely, freely, openly . . .
among my loved and trusted ones.
I am the willow, flexible
endowed with the power of surrender
to the wind rustling through my leaves,
My roots reach deep into Mother Earth
Anchored in Her strength
I bring forth life
by Barbara Harper “Gentle Birth Choices”
(Imagine that your pelvis is a candle with a flame in the middle)
As my contractions come, the flame burns brighter.
My body is the wax of the candle, warming and yielding to the flame.
The more I breathe, the brighter the candle burns.
The wax melts and drips with each contraction.
My body becomes looser and opens to the flame.
I see my pelvis becoming soft and warm and pliable.
I breathe. With each contraction, the candle becomes softer.
I melt with the candle.
My breath helps the candle burn brighter, melting quicker.
I remain soft, warm, and yielding.
A Prayer for One Who Comes to Choose This Life
by Danelia Wild
May she know the welcome
of open arms and hearts
May she know she is loved
by many and by one
May she know the circle of friendship that gives
and receives love in all its forms
May she know and be known
in the heart of another
May she know the heart
that is this earth
reach for the stars and
call it home
And in the end
may she find everything
in her heart
and her heart
Mother Rising: The Blessingway Journey into Motherhood:
Blessed be this gathering with the gifts of the East: communication of the heart, mind, and body; fresh beginnings with each rising of the sun; the knowledge of the growth found in sharing silences.
Blessed be this gathering with the gifts of the South: warmth of hearth and home; the heat of the heart’s passion; the light to illuminate the darkest of times.
Blessed be this gathering with the gifts of the West: the lake’s deep commitments; the river’s swift excitement; the sea’s breadth of knowing.
Blessed be this gathering with the gifts of the North: firm foundation on which to build; fertile fields to enrich our lives; a stable home to which we may always return.
Fear Release for Birth:
There goes all fear you hold about giving birth. The birth will be perfect.
There goes all fear you hold about healing. You will heal beautifully
There goes all fear you hold about not being a good mother. You will be enough.
There goes all fear of never being creative again. You have a deep well of creativity within your soul.
There goes the deepest, most private fears you have about giving birth. You will be enough.
You will be enough. You are strong enough.
by Natalie Evans
Close your eyes and breathe deep
Breathe in peace, breathe out pain
Imagine your feet
Toes curling into dirt
Think of yourself as rooted
Think of your place in the earth
How did you come to be here?
Through generations of women named
A maternal lineage
That brought you to this place
Think of their birth stories
What you know, what you believe to be true
Realize that their births carry deep wisdom
Some may carry the memory of joy and transcendence
Each birth is a powerful experience
Each birth traces down to you.
Just as you pass this knowledge on to your baby
Understand that your birth is your own
It will be different from all others
Like the swirls in your thumb
Your birth will have a unique pattern
Unfolding with each contraction
Rising and falling like a newborn’s chest
This birth belongs to you
This birth is an opening
This birth is the end and a beginning
May this blessing of birth come to you without fear
May this blessing of birth come to you with great understanding
My this blessing of birth make your heart soar
May this blessing of birth bring shouts of delight to your lips
Blessings to you and your birth.
written by Bridget Sabo, for her sister’s Blessingway
Emily [new mom’s name], sister, daughter, friend,
You are about to give birth not only to your baby but to another role for yourself: mother.
We extend our hands out to you, as strong, loving, patient and wise women,
to hold you and to bless you as you become a mother.
Hands are a mother’s primary tool.
They caress, clean, lift, tie, cook.
They can tell a fever with a touch.
They braid hair and bandage scrapes.
They offer comfort, peace, refuge.
We offer our hands now to both you and your baby.
May you feel held and supported by them as you labor to bring your baby into the world.
May you reach out for them in those first, hard, beautiful weeks of motherhood.
May you hold them in love and friendship and joy as we continue to walk this journey of life as women together.
Nothing could have prepared your heart to open like this.
From beyond the skies and the stars
This echo arrived inside of you and started to pulse with life
Each beat a tiny act of growth,
Traversing all our ancient shapes,
On its way home to itself.
Once it began, you were no longer your own.
A new, more courageous you, offering itself
In a new way to a presence you can sense
But you have not seen or known.
It has made you feel alone
In a way you never knew before;
Everyone else sees only from the outside
What you feel and feed
With every fiber of your being.
Never have you traveled farther inward
Where words and thoughts become half-light
unable to reach the fund of brightness
Strengthening inside the night of your womb.
Like some primeval moon,
Your soul brightens
The tides of essence
That flow to your child.
You know your life has changed forever,
For in all the days and years to come,
Distance will never be able to cut you off
From the one you now carry
For nine months under your heart.
May you be blessed with quiet confidence
That destiny will guide you and mind you.
May the emerging spirit of your child
Imbibe encouragement and joy
From the continuous music of your heart,
So that it can grow with ease,
Respectant of wonder and welcome when its form is fully filled
And it makes it journey out
To see you and settle at last
Relieved and glad in your arms.
For a New Father
By John O’Donohue, from the book To Bless the Space Between Us.
As the shimmer of dawn transforms the night
Into a blush of color futured with delight,
The eyes of your new child awaken in you
A brightness that surprises you life.
Since the first stir of its secret becoming,
The echo of your child has lived inside of you,
Strengthening through all its night of forming
Into a sure pulse of fostering music.
How quietly and gently that embryo-echo
Can womb in the bone of a man
And foster across the distance to the mother
A shadow-shelter around the fragile voyage.
Now as you behold your infant, you know
That this child has come from you and to you;
You feel the full force of a father’s desire
To protect and shelter.
Perhaps for the first time,
There awakens in you
A sense of your own mortality.
May your heart rest in the grace of the gift
And you sense how you have been called
Inside the dream of this new destiny.
May you be gentle and loving,
Clear and sure.
May you trust in the unseen providence
That has chosen you all to be a family.
May you stand sure on your ground
And know that every grace you need
Will unfold before you
Like all the mornings of your life.
A big thanks to Jess Helle-Morrissey of Metta Therapy for sharing these two gems with us.
by Carl Sandburg
Being born is important
You who have stood at the bedposts
and seen a mother on her high harvest day,
the day of the most golden of harvest moons for her.
You who have seen the new wet child
dried behind the ears,
swaddled in soft fresh garments,
pursing its lips and sending a groping mouth
toward nipples where white milk is ready.
You who have seen this love’s payday
of wild toiling and sweet agonizing.
You know being born is important.
You know that nothing else was ever so important to you.
You understand that the payday of love is so old,
So involved, so traced with circles of the moon,
So cunning with the secrets of the salts of the blood.
It must be older than the moon, older than salt.
by Barbara Kingsolver
I have mourned lost days
When I accomplished nothing of importance.
But not lately.
Lately under the lunar tide
Of a woman’s ocean, I work
My own sea-change:
Turning grains of sand to human eyes.
I daydream after breakfast
While the spirit of egg and toast
Knits together a length of bone
As fine as a wheatstalk.
Later, as I postpone weeding the garden
I will make two hands
That may tend a hundred gardens.
I need ten full moons exactly
For keeping the animal promise.
I offer myself up: unsaintly, but
By the most ordinary miracle.
I am nothing in this world beyond the things one woman does.
But here are eyes that once were pearls.
And here is a second chance where there was none.
Check out these gorgeous birth poems on the TCM blog.
Blooma Love Notes
I also have to add this amazing collection of quotes and love notes from Blooma that would be a great addition to any blessingway.
We would love to continue adding to our compilation of blessingway poems and blessings. Please share your favorites below!