While Mother Blessing (Blessingway) Ceremonies, an evolution of traditional Navajo rituals, are not new, they are certainly gaining in popularity, acting as a rite of passage for women who are preparing for their upcoming birth. Like any ceremony or ritual, there are an infinite number of ways Mother Blessings can be conducted. The experience can truly be tailored to the individual, providing a thoughtful and uplifting web of support for the mother as she approaches her birthing time.
The Binding Ceremony
Also referred to as a cord ritual, binding ritual, mother cord ritual, and cord ceremony, the binding ceremony typically happens at the end of the Blessingway, closing the circle and giving each participant a small token to keep the expecting mama in their thoughts. Most often, this closing ceremony is performed with a small ball of yarn or ribbon. Starting with the mother, the string gets wrapped around her wrist one full time and then is passed to the next sister in the circle, who does the same. When the ball of string makes it all the way around the circle and back to the mother, the circle is complete. Everybody helps their neighbor cut the strings between each person and ties the bracelets. This ceremony is all about symbolism and the power of positive intent. The binding together of each circle member to the mother symbolizes the unity and sisterhood of women, and the connection we all have to each other. There is an endless sea of women who have walked this path before us, and who will walk this path after we are long gone. We support each other, lift each other up, stronger together than we ever will be apart. The bracelets that each person gets from the ceremony serve as a reminder of the Blessingway, the emotion and positivity that was shared, and keeps the mama in the thoughts of her closest friends and loved ones as she concludes her pregnancy journey and begins to bring her baby earth side. For the expecting mama, the bracelet is a token of love, a reminder of the beautiful ceremony, and the support she feels.
Conducting the Ceremony
There are an endless number of ways this ceremony can be conducted. I have seen it combined with the Lineage Ritual, conducted while everyone participates in a group chant, and then also where it started with a short reading and each person recites "I support you" as they wrap the string around their wrists. The binding ceremony can be shaped to fit the needs and energy of the group present.
To begin, there should be one or two people who plan on leading the binding ceremony. Have everyone gather in a close circle. Sitting down is usually more comfortable, but standing could always be done too depending on the location.
Next, unify the circle. This can be done by having the group close their eyes while listening to a short song or reading, by having everyone take a few deep breaths, or by saying "Ohm" together.
Explain the ceremony, including the cutting and tying of the bracelets at the end, for anyone who may not be familiar with it. You can talk about the symbolism, the sisterhood, the support, and then describe how the binding will start with the mother, wrap one full time around her wrist, and then pass to the left. Once each person has wrapped the string around their wrist and the string is returned to the mother, the circle is complete.
The circle can be closed any number of ways. It can be as simple as saying "We support you. The circle is now closed. Cut and tie the bracelets, helping the person next to you. Let these bracelets be a reminder of the love and support shared here today."
One or more pairs of scissors are then passed around and the bonds between each person are cut. Everyone helps each other tie the bracelets, and then the bracelets act as reminders of the day and help create positive thoughts to be sent to the mother. Some groups will cut the bracelets off when the mama goes into labor, others wait until the baby is actually born.
Our Binding Ceremony Sets
These beautiful Binding Ceremony sets were made specifically for Blessingways. Every single set we sell is unique, and comes wrapped on a large piece of hand collected driftwood. The sets accommodate 16-20 people (specified in the listing), and feature beads that have been knotted in place for each person's bracelet. The beads are tied 2 feet apart, giving plenty of space to allow for being wrapped around a wrist and then passed the the next person. The thread is waxed linen bracelet cord, and is a durable yet delicate, making a pretty bracelet that will look nice while waiting for the expecting mama to complete her pregnancy journey.
While the cord does get wet during showers or swimming, it doesn't have that same soggy feel that yarn tends to get when wet. The bracelets should not be tied too tightly, as the body tends to swell a little during warm showers or exercise, and the bracelets may feel tight during those times.
Here's a short 2 minute video showing you how to add a little tie to the bracelet to keep it from hanging all wonky:
**Blessingway photos by Ebb & Flow Photography in Florida, link found under "Resources"**