Raves & Book Reviews


“For many years, the baby shower has been the closest that modern urbanized western society has come to honoring a mother and baby on their journey. Though a practical and joyful occasion, it does little to prepare a woman emotionally or spiritually for the work that lies ahead of her as she nears birthing and motherhood. Without such preparation it can be very difficult for a mother-to-be to fully welcome both the process of labor and the new being who is coming through her.

The concept of a sacred rite or ceremony that both honors and prepares a woman for the enormity of the rite of passage into childbirth and motherhood is an important one for us all to explore.

I have long awaited a book that can guide any woman into the sweet depths of sacred ceremony, (which is altogether different from and quite compatible with one’s personal religious beliefs). Mother Rising: The Blessingway Journey into Motherhood is everything that I could have hoped for and more. It’s a book to take into the bath or to read while curled up on a rainy day. Whether or not you are pregnant (or even planning to have a child), Mother Rising will open you to the world of the sacred and show you how simple it is to transform mundane reality into a world of mystery and meaning.” —Suzanne Arms, internationally acclaimed author, founder and director of Birthing the Future¨

“I love Mother Rising! Absolutely brilliant and original. Women in our culture have been starving for this delicious, exceptionally well-written book which offers reassuring step-by-step guidance for blessingway planners and participants. The table of contents is well-organized with chapter titles that are so intriguing I had to flip through the book to read more and more!

Every stage of planning the blessingway and executing the five stages of a blessingway, and even follow-up ideas are presented with tremendous care. The concise definition and descriptions of ritual and symbolism will engage a broad spectrum of contemporary women from many backgrounds.

I was excited about little morsels throughout your book, i.e., how blessingways create community, themes for ceremonies, the “circles to explore” and the recipes. You’ve thought of everything!

Mother Rising is a treasure chest, a cyclopedic cookbook for Blessingways, full of great ideas and inspiration. I rarely am this excited about a new bookÑRARELY. But you have created a masterpiece. Your book gives women the direction and confidence they need, and awakens the imagination, too, to create and to receive the traditional blessingway. I want every woman to read your book!”—Pam England, CNM, MA, midwife and author of Birthing From Within

“If you love mothers and community, and want to celebrate the new ones coming in a way that has heart and meaning, Blessingway is for you. If you are a student of ritual, Mother Rising is your new scripture. If like me, you are a “Birthkeeper,” this book will sustain the work we are called to do for the sake of the Earth. Cortlund, Lucke, and Miller Watelet have given us a handy guidebook to learn the ceremonies babies love to attend while still wombside. Indeed, this lovely book will help our culture gestate a better way to welcome life and thus transform us all.” Jeannine Parvati Baker, midwife and author of Prenatal Yoga & Natural Childbirth, Hygieia: A Woman’s Herbal and Conscious Conception: Elemental Journey Through the Labyrinth of Sexuality

“Mother Rising is exactly the step-by-step gorgeous, loving resource that mothers-to-be and those who love them are hungry for. What an illuminating guide to bringing your baby into the world with tenderness and consciousness. Highly recommended.” Jennifer Louden, author of The Pregnant Woman’s Comfort Book and creator of www.comfortqueen.com

“Mother Rising helps women remember the power and support they can give each other. It speaks to a woman’s soul.” Christiane Northrup, MD, author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom (Bantam 1998) and The Wisdom of Menopause (Bantam 2001)

“This book is a lovely invitation to us all to welcome new life into our midst in beautiful and symbolic old ways. The three women authors show us the rituals of the Blessingway and how to celebrate each step. They have compiled a rich and complete companion with practical lists to guide us in creating each occasion.” —Judith Duerk, author of Circle of Stones and I Sit Listening to the Wind

“I love Mother Rising! It should be the well-worn companion of any woman who wants to bring her child into the world in a way that is organic, holy and healing!” Denise Linn, author of Sacred Space, The Secret Language of Signs, and The Hidden Power of Dreams

“A wonderfully practical guide to honoring the sacredness of birth and motherhood that guides you every step of the way in creating a beautiful ceremony for the mother-to-be.” Jalaja Bonheim, author of Aphrodite’s Daughters: Women’s Sexual Stories and the Journey of the Soul

Mother Rising is the definitive book on celebrating the passage into motherhood. Giving birth is the most important gateway in a woman’s life, and a blessingway ceremony can be so helpful in making that journey. I wish I’d had this book years ago, and I recommend it highly to all mothers-to-be, their family and friends.” Anne Hill, co-author of Circle Round: Raising Children in Goddess Traditions

“All I can say is that [Mother Rising] is absolutely fantastic. I felt like I had just been participating in a blessingway after reading through it. I can’t wait to organise one for one of my women! I’m lost for words to describe how amazing your book is. Thank you so much for putting in the time and effort to share your wisdom with other women.” Michelle Carnochan, doula (Mt. Colah, NSW, Australia)

“This wonderful, nurturing book is a dream come true! With this empowering book, anyone planning a blessingway can write a beautiful, personal ceremony and lead it with confidence. A complete resource, Mother Rising covers how to get started, whom to invite, a thoughtful questionnaire for the mama, the five stages of ritual—with ideas and activities for each, time lines, checklists and symbolism charts. It even has yummy recipes for the feast afterwards. The book itself is beautifully designed with helpful notes and sidebars, inspiring quotes, and an extensive resource list. Truly a gift for mothers everywhere from the Zygoddess Collective.” Jacquelyn Smith, Birthblessing facilitator and founder of bellyblessings.com



Journal of Perinatal Education

If you have ever been lucky enough to attend a blessingway ceremony in honor of an expectant mother, then you will know the powerful force that these women-centered gatherings can be. Sadly, most cultures are not intoned with this type of gathering, which is why Mother Rising is such an amazing book.

While the authors of Mother Rising are respectful of the sense of awe and wonder that is required to pull off a blessingway, they also speak about the ceremony in a practical manner that sets the reader at ease and yet still conveys the power that is present. The practical aspects include everything from guest lists to what to do with invitees who may not understand the concept of a blessingway ceremony.

For those who are a bit more academic in their party planning, Mother Rising offers a nice section on the parts of a ritual. By explaining what each part entails and, then, giving plenty of options for developing one's own ideas, the authors help readers have a great sense of possibilities and yet allow them to own their own ritual.

One piece of advice the authors offer is directed specifically towards the woman who is the would-be recipient of a blessingway ceremony. They suggest she not know everything about her ritual plans, which will allow her to participate fully without the anticipation of what might come next.

The illustrations and photographs in Mother Rising are stunning and well placed to give the reader an idea of what some of the rituals may look like. In addition, the authors supply an extensive list of books, suppliers, and other resources that may be helpful in gathering the supplies needed for a blessingway.

Mother Rising will help show interested planners how to host a wonderfully meaningful ritual and, perhaps, win over the skeptics of a blessingway ceremony. The book is a great addition to the library of a childbirth educator, particularly because it helps increase a woman's confidence in birth, mothering, and her body.

Reviewer: Robin Weiss, BA, LCCE, CD (DONA), Louisville, KY

City Newspaper, Rochester NY

"The transition to parenthood is one of life’s biggest milestones. Through one route or another parents find themselves living with and caring for children. In our culture, this transition is rarely celebrated—perhaps marked with a baby shower, an occasion to gift parents with all the material things they might need. But the emotional transition is rarely acknowledged.

Enter Mother Rising—an ambitious book by three local women that seeks to help women prepare for the transformation into motherhood, or the transition from a mother of one or two children to more. Mother Rising helps women plan blessingways, rituals originally from the Native American tradition, to help a woman prepare for the physical act of birth, as well as the emotional act of becoming a mother. The book outlines a step-by-step process to help plan a blessingway for a mother-to-be of any faith background, so that the circle of women who surround her can honor and support her as she prepares to give birth.

This book is a rich resource, leading women through the planning and execution of a blessingway event. It offers many choices of elements to include in a blessingway, from creating a sacred space, to poems, meditations and even recipes for the after-blessingway feast. I have been fortunate to attend a number of blessingways, including two of my own. They are singular events in which time seems to slow down, and a web of loving support is woven. Buy this book for yourself, or someone you love.” —Lynn Malooly, City Newspaper, Rochester’s alternative newsweekly