Pregnancy is such a wonderful, magical time when considering the hidden processes in the belly and beyond! It is also an opportunity for women to gather together and nurture, celebrate, pamper and recognize the pregnant woman as a carrier of new life and a new sacred soul to the earth. This is a Birthing Ritual.
For eight years now, since the birth of my first child, I have been celebrating the last stages of pregnancy with my women friends, with an evening Birthing Celebration Circle. The ideas have grown over the years, with new insights and ways to honor the new mother. Here are some of the ideas that have added such love, joy, support, nurturing and magic to me and my friends in our different birthing rituals for each other. So if you are, or a family member or friend is pregnant, think about holding a Birthing Ritual and feel the magic together………
An ideal time to hold the ritual is for the pregnant woman to have approx 6 weeks to go, where she feels heavily pregnant but not in the last, sometimes uncomfortable stage.
Consider a home which is free from distractions and males (It is a sacred woman’s time, they can be in other rooms, but to hold the energy, should not make themselves known – woman’s business)
It is good for a friend to help organise and lead, not the pregnant woman herself.
A nice warm room, which can be set up with a centre cloth, candles and flowers, with enough cushions all the way round for everyone (A special one for the new Mother to be). A table ready for the ritual offerings from friends.
Invite friends, on the invite say what you would like each woman attending to bring;
- Cushion (if necessary)
- Gift/sharing for the birthing circle/table (Not necessary a physical gift, could be an inspiring poem, song, picture, ornament etc)
- Shared supper plate
Here is how the evening could run, just do what feels comfortable for you;
When all women are present, open the circle by welcoming everyone to this special birthing ritual for………..
Go around the circle and introduce yourself saying
“I am ………….. Daughter of…… Grand daughter of………………. And Mother to……………………. (Bringing together all the woman in your life/family tree)
After this is done, you can also welcome ancestors here and welcome the Divine Mother energy and light a candle.
Now it is time to go around the circle and take it in turns to share your gift and then place on the birthing ritual table (They can stay there until after the birth). Here are some ideas;
- Angel/ Tarot cards for the pregnant woman to pick one and listen to the message
- Story shared from your birth/s
- Inspirational poem or saying from your own writing or a book
- Birds nest or something inspiring from nature
- Crystal with its power message
- An inspiring picture, statue or ornament
- Necklace / pendant to wear (we shared one necklace around many births over a few years) adding the energy of each birth to it, I could not wait to wear it for the birth of my daughter!
- Oil for massage
- Something for baby (home made is very special)
- Soap to soak in
- Flowers for the table or a garland made from flowers/ leaves for the special woman to wear on the night
Then any of the following can happen:
Massage – the woman gets massaged, on her hands/feet/head, whole body, whatever she is comfortable with by her friends (Remember towels and oil)
Make a mobile for the baby (crafty or not!)
Leave out a variety of silk, material, hoop, cotton thread, fleece things from nature and the women make a little gift to tie to the hoop. It can also be asked to make/buy and bring it on the night to tie on, a little felt toy, fleece/silk angel, gold cardboard star, twisty, bell etc.
Painted rune stones – leave out small flat pebbles, buy a bag from the $2 shop or Reject shop, or collect from the river/beach. Acrylic paint, little brushes and card board and a nice pen. Each woman paints a little design on the stone and then on a card with a little inspirational message for their friend. She can pick a rune and read the message on the matching card for inspiration.
Milk and honey bath. The woman enters the bathroom, which can be lit by candles (tea lights). Have a jug of milk ready and each woman in turn pours a little into the bath while saying a blessing, aloud or silently, i.e. “May this milk nurture you as your breast milk will nurture your new baby”. Then spoon in a little honey each with a blessing out loud or silently, i.e. May this sweetness always remind you of a Mother’s Love”. Then throw in some flowers/rose petals. The woman soaks in the bath. We used to leave a bell, so she could ring for her handmaidens and we would take her tea and cake, from the supper table, what a treat!
Dancing / belling dancing – Paint the belly, all adding your little word or picture and take photos for the special album (Honey bee has good non toxic pencils for body art and face paints, or I should say belly paints!)
You can do a belly mould (a bit fiddly) if you wish. Complete kits available at Honey bee, this is good before the bath!
To end we always tie the red wool. Bring red wool in a ball, pass it around the circle with each woman making a circle around her wrist and passing it on. When the ball has been all the way round, pass around a pair of scissors and snip the wool so each woman is left with a bracelet around her wrist, which can be tied by a neighbour. This wool stays on and when you see it, you can think of your special friend and send love. It can be cut either after the birth is announced or when in labour, imagining a safe birth.
The pregnant woman is left feeling physically nurtured and filled with strength in her etheric and wonder and blessings for the sacred journey ahead. The new soul coming to the world has been honored.
Share supper, on the night it is good to get a list of all woman present and home numbers to circulate as a phone tree list to spread news of the labour/birth and to also be used as a food roster list for after the baby is born to continue to nurture and support the friend as a new mother.
In years gone by, women would gather together at special times. This day and age we have forgotten the power of gathering together as women, but we remember it in our very souls. May these ideas inspire a new way of treating the pregnant woman to a Birthing Ritual, to gather together once again as women and feel the magic and Goddess in us all!
Blessed be, Lou