A Blessingway

I recently hosted a blessingway for a friend. I firmly believe that every baby should be celebrated. I’m not really into a lot of ritual, and thankfully, neither is my friend. It took a lot of the pressure off of hosting and I was able to adapt a couple of typical blessingway activities.

While many people send candles home with guests to light when the mother goes into labor, I just couldn’t bring myself to do that. Labor is a private event for me. I know I personally would never want people watching the clock when I was in labor or to feel like I was performing in any way, shape, or form. I also balked a bit at the idea of having the mother tie cords around guests’s wrists, to be taken off when they showed up to help the mother out in some way after the birth. I want to help others out of generosity and kindness rather than some feeling of indentured servitude or expectation.

Instead, I decided to combine these two rituals with a twist. Everyone at the blessingway was a friend of the mother. We each chose a color of emroidery floss that we felt either represented us or represented something we wished for the mother of honor. Each strand was tied onto a candle for the mother to take home and use as she felt fit – either as a reminder of friendship or as a calming presence during labor.

I will also admit to never really understanding a birthing necklace. I can’t quite wrap my brain around what one would actually do with a birthing necklace. Perhaps it comes from my inclination to walk around the house stark naked while in labor. My friend is an avid knitter, so I thought it would be cool to make stitch markers out of beads. Each guest brought a bead for the mother. While I put all of the stitch markers on a cord to take them home, in case she did actually want to use it for some birthing purpose, they will long be used as a reminder of the love and support of friends.

Halcyon

As we gather nearer to the Winter Solstice, the darkness presses in closer, leaving us with an ever decreasing amount of daylight as we go about our lives. This period of darkness is when our family celebrates Halcyon.

The word halcyon is used to depict a time of peace and quiet reflection, stemming from the mythical halcyon bird which was thought to bring calming winds to turbulent seas. It was used to describe times of peace between warring peoples.

Photo by Lel4nd

Beginning on Thanksgiving and culminating with the Winter Solstice, our family embraces and celebrates Halcyon. We light a Halcyon candle each night to remind us that the light will once again return, just as it always has. The flame serves to focus our reflection of where we are in our lives and where we want to be, of how we want to improve upon our selves, and how we resolve to live our lives more peacefully and fully. We use this time of quiet darkness to focus ourselves and prepare for the things to come in the new year, after the return of the light.