A few days ago I wrote about a Blessingway gathering with wonderful rituals like tying string mauli bracelets and writing baby blessing cards. Today I want to share a different kind of mother blessing. Only about a week before her due date, my friend Amy invited a few close women friends and henna artist Kelly Flaherty of Henna Elements to come to her home for an impromptu henna belly mother blessing.
Henna has been used since the Bronze Age as an adornment for celebrations including weddings, holidays and coming-of-age rituals. Many countries including Morocco and India have traditions of applying henna during the third trimester of pregnancy. The practice is not only beautiful and soothing in itself; it's an opportunity to experience an ancient and sacred birth ritual.
After eating fruit and chocolate fondue (a mother blessing essential!), talking and getting teary eyed about labor and children and life, Kelly painted this Tree of Life in henna on Amy's belly. This incredible image is actually an impression she recalled from her earliest dream (around 4 or 5 years of age). She sees it as her kundalini energy, which literally means "coiled" in Sanskrit and is often pictured as a snake, binding her fully and profoundly to life.
A few days later Kelly contacted Amy to share with her, "I know you wanted eight [tree limbs] to signify the eight branches of yoga, but for some reason when I was mapping it out, it felt very strong to have three roots at the bottom. It occurred to me when I was finishing that the three 'branches' or roots at the bottom symbolize you, your husband and your daughter creating a safe strong support for the new family member coming in. Sometimes the henna seems to have a mind of it's own."
About a week later, Cian (an Irish name meaning ancient and enduring) Maitreya (a Sanskrit name meaning loving kindness, empathy, compassion and benevolence) was born at home.
Welcome baby boy ~ we're so glad you're here!
Poetry and Musings of an Interfaith Minister on the Journey of a Lifetime.