On the day of the blessingway, we arrive like flowing water: first a trickle, then a stream. Soon, our current builds to that of a great river, and by the time the last one of us has come, gathered together, we create a vast and powerful sea. As we drop our bags and smooth our flowing skirts, a bell chimes. Silence descends as we quiet our bodies and our minds.
We line up from eldest to youngest, and one by one we are smudged by a beautifully adorned woman who holds burning herbs and a feathered fan in her hand. We dip our fingers into rose-scented water, release our lingering cares, then walk into the sacred space that has been set for the blessingway. Circle formed, we stand, quietly swaying to soft music. Once the youngest of the women has joined us,we are led in prayer to cast our circle, then invited to be seated.
Elemental energies are evoked all around; the Goddess is called to the center. Together as one, we begin to sing: our music connecting us to the center of ourselves, to each other, to Spirit. We are guided to empty our expectations and fears into the flames that create space for the work to come.
As we let go, we fall softly into a state of sweet reverie. We gently lead the mother-to-be to a grand seat, a place of power and of honor. Here she is bathed, she is caressed, and with loving hands, she is made ready for her journey.
"Giving birth is priestess work; it requires a woman to pass through a painful
and dangerous initiation in which she journeys to the threshold between worlds
and risks her own life to help another soul cross over." —Jalaja Bonheim, Aphrodite's Daughters