The Blessingway Tradition

A blessingway ceremony is a traditional ritual which is believed to be based on the ancient Navajo rituals of the same name. This ritual was originally put in place to celebrate changes in life as a whole, not just a pregnancy and birth. But what is more common nowadays are the rituals associated with motherhood.

What occurs now is a bit different from the Navajo traditions as well as from the traditional baby showers. While there may be food and gifts offered at a blessingway, the focus is more on the mother and the nurturing she is to receive from the other women in her community.

This ceremony is also different as it can take place at every birth, not just at the birth of the first child. It's this way as each child is not only a blessing but also a new and higher stage of commitment and surrender on the part of the mother. It provides the mommy-to-be with a powerful source of blessings, care, and assistance that she deeply needs as she waits for that sometimes traumatic time of giving birth.

Often, what happens during this ceremony is that there is a true sharing both of wisdom and experience which can ease the mother's fears during the labor and birth. It is the best way to prepare herself mentally as she draws on the support that is being offered to her by her friends.

It is this exact aspect which makes a blessingway different from a baby shower. The baby shower focuses more on the arrival of the coming baby but the blessingway is a ritual which focuses on the mother herself and the extreme changes that will be brought about by the baby and motherhood.

There is no woman that a blessingway cannot be held for. It doesn't matter what status she has or whatever religious beliefs she follows. It's her personal beliefs which are important here, and how she intends to use them to become a mother.

There are some beautiful ceremonies which can be adapted from the traditional Navajo and incorporated into your own blessingway.

The Bead Ceremony – every woman attending is asked to bring a bead which can be strung into a necklace. During the gathering, the women present their beads one at a time along with a blessing for both the mommy-to-be and the baby. The beads can then be threaded together to form a necklace or a bracelet which the mommy-to-be wears during her labor time so she can be connected to and remember all her friends.

Some women ask that the blessings, or advice at times, be written down in a special book so they can be read from time to time, especially when they are in need of support.

The Flower Ritual – it's not a coincidence that women are associated with flowers the world over. This ritual asks the women to bring flowers with them so that they can create a beautiful arrangement or better yet, create a crown of flowers for the mommy-to-be to wear during the blessingway.

It's a wonderful way to show support at a time of huge change and transition.