This article was contributed by Janae Bell, certified yoga instructor, meditation and moon circle teacher.  Mother blessings are special and sacred ceremonies for mothers-to-be. The ceremony originated with indigenous traditions of “blessing way” ceremonies, which were traditionally held for women about to embark on a birthing journey. On their passage, one was blessed with song and dance during the ceremony. Keeping this in mind, we strive to respect other cultures and not appropriate their traditions. Thus, we hold our own modified version of this event within our community, not using the exact same title, but always acknowledging the roots of this ceremony. The concept of a mother blessing is similar to that of a baby shower, but there are major differences between the two events. For example, a baby shower emphasizes gifts to celebrate the birth of a new child, while a mother blessing emphasizes a woman’s remarkable transformation when she dedicates herself to a journey from maidenhood to motherhood. In place of opening gifts, this time is dedicated to a much more important spiritual purpose for the mother-to-be and her family. It is traditional to start mother blessings by honoring everyone’s birthing ancestors and their journeys, so each woman can be present at the ceremony. During this time, members of the group can get to know one another and become close, if they are not already.

Be prepared to cry during the ceremony! An emotional release session is usually incorporated into this ceremony so that the mother-to-be can express her deepest fears to those closest to her, and a ritual is done to release and let go. As we help her overcome her fears and prepare for her journey to the stars to retrieve her child’s soul and bring them safely home- we build her up and help her work through those fears. The mother can also experience group activities like belly bump painting, creating birth affirmation flags, making flower crowns, drawing a sacred foot bath, or receiving hand or foot massages. Whatever it takes to make her feel empowered.

At the end, the group comes together to set wishes and desires for the mama-to-be. Mother blessings are centered around the blessing altar. My approach as a facilitator takes several forms, and I enjoy working closely with mothers and family members ahead of time so that they may incorporate any family traditions, values, or spiritual beliefs into the circle. One example is creating a special candle for her – set and filled with intentions of love, support, and positivity. The candle can be prayed to during labor, and it can be used for any instance where light and positivity may be needed for the mother to gain her strength and complete her journey of sacred love.

I was inspired to create a sacred and safe space where a woman in transition could reflect upon the journey that brought her to this point, as well as release what has no longer served her as she moves forward into a new phase of her life. It is my belief that we in the western world do not honor our rites of passage enough. Sometimes, we get lost in the traditional ways of celebration that usually involve items of monetary value, and there are emotions that cannot be measured in dollars. As a result, I want to help others to acknowledge and honor the transitions in their lives that they are going through. This can be a scary process as well as a thrilling one at the same time. In creating these offerings, I wanted to provide a safe and loving space for mothers-to-be to express their vulnerability, pride, excitement, and fears in a way that is both safe and loving, and where they can slow down with those closest to them. It is through these blessings that we have a unique opportunity to express our love, friendship, and appreciation, all of which we feel, but are hesitant to express at times or are too caught up in the business of daily life to do so. Through these ceremonies, we gain a greater appreciation for the bonds that connect us to each other, as well as a memory that stays with us as a source of strength and resilience in our life.

As a meaningful, thoughtful alternative to a traditional baby shower, a mother blessing circle invites mothers-to-be to share their love and blessings, and it may help the mother prepare emotionally and spiritually for the arrival of her child. Our custom is often to gather together as a group with family and friends to bless and cleanse the mother, usually by smudging the space. Among the items included in this package are candles, incense, crystals, oracle cards, flowers, and more. I will also provide the mother with a custom flower crown made by me. Furthermore, we create a grounding meditation tailored to her own circle. As well as, setting intentions, welcoming her into a sacred and safe space emphasizing the sacred feminine, and offer the option of including restorative or yin gentle movements. In addition to heart-opening music played by speakers I provide, I will include affirmations that will lift the vibration. Those attending the ceremony will share experiences and stories about how they are related to the mother and memories they love about her. My goal is to create a beautiful enriching experience so she can talk to her sisters about her excitement, feelings, and fears with support.

As an experienced moon circle facilitator, I have been conducting moon circles for over a year and have been practicing rituals in my home for over five years. It inspired me to expand my services to include ceremonies outside of my moon circle work in order to honor not only the cycles of nature, but the cycles of our own lives as well. This new service is just the beginning of my passion for holding space and helping others feel good, safe, seen, and heard. Throughout history, moon circles have served as gatherings for sharing knowledge, enabling spiritual enlightenment, and boosting self-confidence. Through intentional stillness, we can harness the powerful energy of each moon phase as a collective, releasing stress, becoming more focused on the present, and strengthening our connection to the universe. Incorporating the phases into your daily life can help you become more patient, calm, and in tune with your own needs.

In the future, I intend to facilitate a variety of ceremonies in order to help people reconnect with their roots. There is a growing awareness of people holding space for one another around the world. Taking part in these circles is like stepping back in time to the days of our ancestors. In aligning with nature and remembering their power, our ancestors recognized their divinity and set themselves free. There is also, however, a pain that we feel, the pain that was caused by the suppression that has broken these circles apart. Our collective healing allows us to call our power back as we step back into circle. There is nothing more sacred than a gathering in circle that reminds us of our origins as soul-beings. There is an opportunity here to cleanse your emotional waters, and transcend old patterns of negative behavior. The best thing you can do during this time is to get rid of anything you have outgrown. No matter your age, these spiritual practices can provide many benefits. The act of meditation brings you back to the present moment, slows down the world around you, and opens your heart and spirit to something bigger than just this physical reality. When you need guidance, close your eyes and ask for it. When you need calm, close your eyes and breathe deeply. If you feel the urge to cry, close your eyes and let the emotions move through you. A blessed ceremonial circle radiates energy from above, from below, and out in rays of light. It was well known among ancient peoples that keeping the balance within a sacred circle had to be done in a well- planned way. In this way, a community becomes a part of a mystical experience of sacred knowledge by participating in a ceremony that enacts fundamental concepts, so that everyone can understand them. It is also believed that ceremonies are meant to activate energies for change, for honor, for acknowledgement, and to walk the path of prayer. In order to feel more empowered about birth, especially if they’re preparing for a natural birth, women who choose mothers blessings are looking for something that is more intimate than the traditional baby shower, or something that doesn’t exclusively focus on the baby. Having a traditional baby shower may not be your cup of tea. You have many options, and one of the sweetest-and most spiritual-ways to shower a mom-to-be with affection before baby arrives is to have a mother’s blessing. During this transition into motherhood, I am here to support you, to honor you, and to assist you in feeling empowered.

Visit www.goddess-andthemoon.com. for all information about me and what I do. You can also fill out the form on these webpages for a bridal or mama blessing: https://www.goddess-andthemoon.com/bridal-blessings // https://www.goddess-andthemoon.com/womens-circles You can also send me an email at janae@goddess-andthemoon.com as well as send me a DM on Instagram: www.instagram.com/goddess_andthemoon.com.

I offer these blessings at a venue of choice for either the bride or the mother. This can be at their house, my house, or a venue like a restaurant or event space. I am located in Atlanta, GA, but can travel to facilitate these blessings or host via Zoom.