Of all the rites of passage I've experienced, both formal and informal, my blessingway stands out as the most significant, and perhaps the most powerful. I was so grateful to have six of the dearest women in my life, including my mother and sister, come together to bless my journey into motherhood just 11 days, it would turn out, before I gave birth.
I specifically requested touch; birth is, if nothing else, a physical experience and I wanted to honor that in the blessingway. The woman decided to take turns massaging my belly with lavender oil while offering their blessings to my soon-to-be-born daughter.
They also included a fear release exercise from "The Pregnant Woman’s Comfort Book," adapted slightly by TalkBirth. One idea she suggests for a blessingway ritual is to circle around the pregnant woman holding hands and then read the following together:
You will be enough. You are strong enough.
One of the most cherished gifts from my mother blessing were the affirmations the dearest women in my life wrote for my birth. Full of powerful wisdom, encouragement and faith, these blessingway affirmations stayed with me through birth and continue to offer guidance as I journey deeper into motherhood. May their words bring you strength and confidence!
Remember mother blessings can be anything from an intricate, scripted ceremony to a few women gathering together with the simple intention to bless the mother-to-be. One element that was particularly meaningful from my own blessingway were the readings and poems my mother, sister and oldest friend shared with me.
It wasn't until after I gave birth that I fully understood their powerful beauty and truth. I hope you treasure these words as much as I have.
The pilgrimage has always been a spiritual journey. That was the main reason Peter wanted to walk the Camino - to open himself to wisdom and guidance from the Divine.
My mother described it this way: "We are all locked in narrow views of life: whatever is in our sphere of awareness just is the way it is.
"What you hope for with pilgrimage, or with questing of any kind, is that you will get a new vision for your life - new ideas, new possibilities you hadn’t considered before."
It's Peter's story to tell but I can say it was an amazing and life-altering experience for him. And he's about to do it again. In a little less than a week he departs to walk the Camino a second time. It will be the same route (mostly), but it will certainly be a whole new pilgrimage.
Peter asked me once again to bless him before his journey, and once again the Goddess (the face of the Divine for Peter) waited until practically the last moment to offer me her words. This evening I opened to the blessing "For a New Beginning" from To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings by the late teacher and poet, John O'Donohue. And it is perfect.
Poetry and Musings of an Interfaith Minister on the Journey of a Lifetime.