If a picture speaks a thousand words then perhaps a video can tell the story of lifetime. A Blessingway is hard to describe in words and even photos, though beautiful, can sometimes miss the emotion and connection that is felt and created. So we decided to show you just what a Blessingway is by capturing one with video AND photos.
First things first though, every Blessingway is as unique and special as the mother that is being celebrated, so it is my great pleasure to share with you Anita's story. Anita is a gorgeous woman who is expecting her third child. She already has two lovely little girls and her and her husband have decided to leave the sex of the new addition as a surprise. A surprise worth celebrating with a Blessingway. The first time I spoke to Anita on the phone she had already had a good look at our website and was excited by what she had read having not heard of a Blessingway before this. When I asked her why she had chosen to have a Blessingway she said:
"A blessingway to me, seems to capture the amazing connection a mother has to her child as well as the connection to all other mothers once you open that door to parenthood. I like the fact that it is bringing together the special women in my life to share an emotion rather than a “baby shower” which feels a little more commercialised. A blessingway for me means far more emotionally and spiritually and gives me another way to connect with the women I love and don’t get to see very often and can sometimes feel we are being disconnected via distance and busy life. It not only benefits myself and my beliefs, I am sure it will have an impact on those around me who need it at this time in their lives."
We talked about the ceremonies and I explained a little more about each of them. As we continued chatting Anita shared a very special story regarding this pregnancy.
"One night whilst meditation I had the picture of a foetus in a clam shell come to me and I instantly thought I had been sent a message. Not wanting to get my hopes up I said nothing to my husband and only mentioned it to the ladies I did meditation with. I even left doing the test for a little longer worried I would be disappointed. Lucky enough for me I was absolutely over the moon when it showed up positive.
Although I feel that every pregnancy/new life is a miracle, I really truly believe given the circumstances surrounding us and the probability of conception, that this little baby has come to me due to a miracle. And it really was meant to be by the powers above."
Getting to know the Mums that I will be organising a Blessingway for is one of my favourite parts of the process. Every Blessingway is unique to the people that are there and of course the Mother that is being celebrated. We weave personal touches into the creation of the event and then it is made even more personal by the heartfelt blessings that the women who gather bring with them.
Guests are made to feel special too, which all starts with the handwritten invitations that they receive.
There is a request with the invitation for each woman to bring with them a blessing for the Mother. This may be a poem, some words of wisdom or some words of encouragement. Collecting or creating this blessing provides a beautiful time for the women to reflect on the connection with their friend but also with their own pregnancy/birth children, if they are a mother.
Knowing that we were going to be filming Anita's Blessingway, we wanted to create something extra special. Styling and creating a beautiful, welcoming, calming and even magical space is one of my favourite things to do! For Anita we held the ceremonies in a one of Soul Camping's beautiful bell tents.
Apart from being gorgeous visually, bell tents help create a sacred womblike space that feels intimate and special for sharing the ceremonies. You can do the same in a lounge room by simply placing cushions on the floor in a circle or an outdoor setting if weather permits. The energy and space held by the women in attendance is what matters.
Anita sat on her modern day throne (AKA peacock chair) and was crowned with a flower crown (available in our store), to mark that she was the women of honour. The candle (which you will also find in our store) was lit which not only marked the opening of the ceremony but filled the air with the calming scent of lavender.
I said a few words to welcome everyone and then invited each woman to select a card from my chakra deck which was a bit of fun, helped break the ice and it meant everyone had some sort of message to take away with them from the day.
We each chose beads from the bag (also available in our store) and as we passed a round a shell shaped glass dish to put the beads in, each woman read out their Blessing (I couldn't resist including this for Anita after hearing the story of her visualisation while meditating!)
This is my favourite part of a Blessingway. There is so much love poured into each bead through the words and sentiment shared and there is often tears! The written Blessings are also such a beautiful keepsake for the Mother to look back on. I still have mine and whenever I read them I am reminded of just how much love and support I have surrounding me. In particular, the words my Nan wrote for me have become even more special since she has gone from this world.
We also had a few blessings from women who weren't able to be there in person read out and it was lovely to know that their love was still shared and felt. As I threaded the beads for Anita the women were invited to share birth stories. Wow! Another gorgeous aspect of a Blessingway and Anita commented to me after that this was one of her favourite parts. As someone who is not all that comfortable being in the limelight she loved that by sharing our stories it became about all of us connecting as women, as mothers and remembering that each pregnancy/birth is as unique and special as the child that comes from it.
These stories also often provide some more tears and laughs too!
Having found and strengthened this connection as women we then began the thread ceremony. A simple but powerfully symbolic act of literally linking as all with thread by wrapping it around our wrists. This pays homage to the connection we all share as women and humans and symbolises the cord of life, the umbilical cord, sustaining and growing life in the mother's womb. We then cut thread but stay connected by each tying the thread around each other's wrists, to be worn until we hear of the baby's arrival. That way every time we see it on our wrist we can send a thought of love to Anita and her baby.
Linking hands we then gazed into the flame of the candle then closed ours eyes and took a moment to breathe deeply and connect with the inner pilot light within us all, remembering to allow it to shine.
All the love and positive energy was also captured by the dreamcatcher hanging in the tent that will later be hung over Anita's baby's bed. With the formalities over it was time to make our way out of the tent for feasting. Anita's two daughters and their cousins joined us as we sat, chatted and ate a feast from grazing platters and I decorated Anita's belly with henna. This part of the Blessingway can be done by a professional henna artist (which I am not) but is still fun regardless. The inclusion of henna comes from the Indian tradition where henna is applied to the hands and feet of a woman before her wedding and also during pregnancy and after childbirth. It is thought to ward off evil spirits and it is said that, while the henna stains are visible, a woman shouldn't do any housework. As soon as we tell most Mothers that, they are keen to have some applied!
It was a truly magical and memorable day. I hope that you have a sense of what a Blessingway is all about after viewing the video and hearing all about it here. I am very excited to announce that I am now taking bookings for 2019 to create, coordinate and facilitate Blessingways for others! You can read more about what that involves here but as always I am here to answer any questions if you would like to email me here.
It was an absolute honour and privilege to meet Anita and celebrate with the women close to her in this way and I look forward to hearing of the arrival of this beautiful, blessed baby! For now I will leave you with Anita's own words as a testimonial from her special day.
“I have recently had the pleasure of celebrating pregnancy, motherhood and the impending birth of my third child with a ‘Beautiful Blessingway’. Having had a lovely surprise baby shower for my first daughter, I didn’t have another for my second as it was never something I felt comfortable doing myself and I had everything I could possibly want or need.
What I really would have preferred was to have a blessinway. Had I of known about blessingways during my second pregnancy then I most certainly would have celebrated my pregnancy and motherhood in this way. After a very good friend arranged a ‘Beautiful Blessingway’ for me recently, I have been able to come together with the special women in my life and share the joys and wonders of motherhood. We shared birth stories, words of wisdom and encouragement, blessed beads for me to create a bracelet to wear now as well as during and after the birth, lit a candle and poured all of our love into the flame which I can light during labour to remind me of the strength, love and support I have from all of those special people in my life. Jennifer did such a wonderful job setting up the location, decor, food and all of the lovely ceremonial parts including card reading, bead ceremony and the candle ceremony and much more. I truly felt like a goddess with everything that Jen had put into the whole blessingway and I am absolutely overwhelmed at how the ambience flowed from all of her hard work as well as her gorgeous personality. It was so amazing walking into such a surreal setting with the atmosphere more than I could ever ask for and the presentation of everything from the beautiful surroundings and the lovely tepee to the incredible food. My blessingway was without doubt the loveliest way to celebrate my pregnancy, motherhood and the bond I have with all of those brilliant women in my life and I have Jen to thank for all of that. The beautiful gift box which Jen also put together with a dream catcher she hand made for the nursery, the blessed beads, candle and the lovely letters, gifts and kind words from my friends and family was such a nice way to bring home parts of the day for me to remember. It was like opening up a little surprise and then brought back all of the lovely memories of the day.
I felt nurtured and honoured to be sitting there with so much positivity and knowing that I am not alone on my journey as a mother, especially being my third pregnancy (which even though I know each life created is a miracle), can sometimes feel forgotten.
It was such a beautiful positive way to connect to my loved ones and to focus on us as mothers and the excitement of a new edition into our lives. A way to remind all of us that we are connected and strong and together we can achieve miracles.”