Ceremony

Maiden * Mother * Crone
These are but three of the archetypes of Women. There are as many as there are waves in the ocean. And just like the moon, each phase that we step into has something to teach us. We can wade unwittingly into these waters, or we can walk up to the shoreline with the intention of a knowing Woman, walking fully in her magic.
redmoon
Menarche
In ancient times when a young woman would come to her first blood, she would be held by her community of women. Through ceremony and ritual and the offering of her first blood back to the earth, she would pass through the fires of initiation into womanhood.

It is one of my deep callings as Priestess to bring Rite of Passage back to our everyday language. Let us offer our girls the enveloping and loving arms of a welcoming circle of those who have come before her. This, possibly her first introduction to the blood mysteries of women, should be honored for the sacred rite that it is. She is the guest of honor and the initiate of great lessons to come. If our girls are welcomed into the rites of womanhood with ceremony, perhaps they will carry on a legacy much different than our own.

 “How might your life have been different if there had been a place for you?
A place for you to go…
a place of women, to help you learn the ways of women…
a place where you were nurtured from an ancient flow
sustaining you and steadying you as you sought to become your self,
A place of women to help you find and trust
the ancient flow already there within yourself…
waiting to be released…
A place of women….
How might your life be different?”

~Judith Duerk
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Brandi bellyBlessing Ways

The first thing she notices is the smell. If heaven had a smell it would be this. The intoxicating scent of her favorite flowers. They cover the brightly lit room mingling ever so perfectly with the Indian spices. Her stomach, already full with baby, prepares to make space for her love affair with food.

The second thing to draw her attention is the laughter. Everyone is smiling and engaged and truly happy to be here in this space of celebration designed just for her. There is a mandala on the floor in the center of the room made of fruit and flowers. Several women still place a piece here and there adding to its beauty. She is led to a pile of luxurious cushions and helped to lower down to them, though she still rests higher up than the others. She thinks resting on a cloud must feel like this. Her feet are lifted onto two separate cushions each one being massaged with yet another lovely scent by two of her beloved sisters. A cup of steaming chamomile tea is set on a small table beside her, next to, oh my… are those truffles? Yes, she decides, this is most definitely heaven.

She’d decided in advance that she’d wanted her beautiful life filled belly painted with henna, so while her feet were still being tended to, she was helped to lie back slightly. Her sisters had practiced beforehand and set to work creating an artwork of prayers to bless mama and baby. All the while she could still tune in to the joy and laughter permeating the space. Those that were not with her at the moment were creating other pieces of art, gifts for the new baby. Words on stones, magnificent colors on prayer flags to hang during the birth. Soon they would create a birthing mala together. Each crystal bead passing through the hands of each woman to be tied on by the next. She thinks she may never before have felt such sacredness and honor.

Her henna is complete and the massage that started up her feet moved up her legs and then her arms and neck until she is now completely and utterly relaxed. There is light drumming in the background. They adjust her cushions and help her to sit once again. A crown of flowers is placed on her head and the mala around her neck. She smiles for a few photographs and feels like a Queen. The Mother Goddess.

It’s time for food and a tray is placed in front of her with a little bit of everything offered. They eat together and the women travel the circle telling tales of their pregnancies and births, only the best ones of course. There is pain, yes. She is not naive. But it is pain with purpose they say, and she feels prepared for the better now. Knowing she is a vessel of the utmost sacredness.

She rests there, while they busy around her, placing everything into her birthing box for her to take with her. The fruit and flowers of the mandala are collected and scattered with prayers outside as an offering for a safe and positive birth. She is ready. She is grateful for this gift.

The journey of Motherhood is life long. There is no real way to prepare for what lies ahead. The tools you need already exist. They live inside you. We don’t always now how to access them, but they are there. Waiting.

Birth is one of the passages into motherhood and one of the sacred blood mysteries of women. But it is not the only way. There are many paths to motherhood. No matter how we come to this sacred rite, that way should be honored through ceremony. Celebrated with ritual surrounded by loving community and wise council.

brandi belly catThis is a Blessing Way.

A Blessing Way is not a baby shower and can occur many times, as we may cross the threshold of motherhood many times over. In fact, we should be honored with this ceremony every time we enter because each journey is different and brings new challenges and joys.

In cultures outside of our own, ceremonies similar to Blessing Ways are common among mothers and community as a whole.

Though birth is a sacred blood mystery of women, should you wish to have men present and involved in your Blessing Way ceremony that request will be honored.

Elements of a Blessing Way:

Setting sacred space and ritual honoring of the mother through ceremony. May include body painting, massage, feet washing, adornment, delectable treats, and more. Other aspects may include storytelling, prayers, altar building, heArt projects, *Blessing Way gifts, ceremonial tea and meal sharing.

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CrOwnings

croneShe walks, slowly and contemplatively through the glowing stone Labyrinth. The moon is in shadow tonight and the only light comes from ahead, where she is awaited in the center circle. She arrives, bare feet caked with mud and is guided to a deep purple cushion at the place of honor. The faces around her are veiled. One at a time they come to her, washing her feet with cool water laced with frankincense and roses. There is a woman behind her, brushing her long, thick hair, and another painting dark henna on her fingertips. They sing while they work. Their words echoing honor and love. Sisterhood and motherhood. Passages of time and deepening wisdom.

The women return to their places in the circle and prostrate around her in the deep bow of wisdom pose while in the soft innocence of the child. She is overwhelmed. One by one they press themselves up and present a gift they have made for her just for this occasion. They have worked on their offering from New moon to Full, from Full to New, and now they lay their gifts at her feet. Someone is speaking. The Priestess of Ceremony. Her face is painted and her eyes are dark. She tells tale of the CrOwning time, of passing through Queendom and entering the realm of the Ancient and Wise Crone. She offers a story of a lesson gifted to her by the guest of honor. She speaks clearly and with gratitude and when she is finished, she kisses the Crone and places a feather in the crafted bowl at her feet. The woman beside her then lifts her veil and begins her story of lessons and gratitude gleaned from the Wise One, then she too rises, offers her kiss and places a dark black stone in the bowl. Around the Circle they go, sharing their voices and smiles, offering their piece of nature to represent their story until she looks out and sees all of their kind, shining eyes staring back at her.

It is her turn to speak now. What will she say?

They feast. Dishes of the utmost succulence passing around the circle, always arriving to her first. There is laughter, more stories, songs and drumming. She dances with the youngest of them all and at the end presents the gift of wisdom to that maiden. The gift that she has been preparing during the moontime, just for this occasion. It is a box, carved intricately with the utmost skill and beauty. But she whispers, “Not yet, my child.” And the girl knows. She knows that the gift is one of trust and that soon, when her first moonblood draws near, the box will be waiting to be opened. She kisses the grandmother and there are tears in both their eyes. “I love you.”

They sit and sing and love one another until the candles begin to flicker out, then they walk all together, hands held, back through and out of the Labyrinth.

This is but one story of a CrOwning Ceremony. Allow me the honor of creating yours.

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The cost of the ceremonies I present are set up to be divided among those attending as their gift to the Honoree. *Gifts presented to the mother during the ceremony are provided by The Wild Soul.

Minimum cost of a 3 hour ceremony is $200 plus $30 for each guest attending. Includes all craft and gift supplies, as well as tea and meals.

I am also happy to serve you as a guide in crafting your own ceremony.
Please contact me for more information: brandiwoolf@gmail.com