How To Hold a Pre-Birth Ritual

Got a baby on the way? Consider a preparing ritual. Image © Getty Images

Although a few of us have been known to cringe at the idea of a baby shower, far more people seem to enjoy the idea of presenting the mother-to-be with gifts and blessings for the new arrival. In addition to being a great way to get things you need for your baby, it’s also a chance to prepare yourself emotionally for the fact that you are welcoming a brand new person into your home and family.

 

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: Varied

Here's How:

  1. This ritual, called simply a Preparing, can be performed at any time during the pregnancy; if you like you can include it as part of a baby shower celebration. While traditionally pregnancy and childbirth are the domain of women, the fact is that our guys do play a part in the whole childrearing thing as well. Feel free to include the father-to-be, grandpas, uncles, big brothers and male friends in this ceremony.

     

  2. Decorate your altar with whichever colors you’ve chosen for your baby’s nursery. If you like pastels, use them; if you prefer primary colors, go with that instead. Include flowers (Spring blossoms are perfect, because they symbolize birth each year) and symbols of motherhood such as the earth, a mother-goddess figurine, and other representations of fertility. If the dad is being included, include a god-figure as well -- phallic symbols are perfectly acceptable here. You‘ll also want to have some sort of blessing oil on hand.

     

  1. You’ll need to gather a collection of stones ahead of time -- one for each guest present. Label each stone with its corresponding attribute -- use the following list to get you started:

     

     

  1. As your guests arrive, ask each of them to select one of the stones from a bowl. If you have a really large guest list, you may want to have your guests double up. You‘ll also need a pouch, decorative box, or bowl for them to place the stones in later. Put this on the altar.

    The leader of the ceremony should be someone other than a parent. It can be a High Priest (HP) or High Priestess (HPs) or friend of the family. Cleanse the space, by smudging or asperging the area. If your tradition requires you to cast a circle or call the quarters, do so at this time.

     

  2. All guests should stand in a circle. The HP or HPs announces:

    We gather today for a blessing.
    (Mother) and (Father) are expecting a child together.
    Soon, new life will enter this family.
    We ask that each of you join us in celebration,
    welcoming this child into the community.
    We ask the gods to guide and protect this child when she arrives,
    and welcome her into your hearts.

     
  3. The HP or HPs now anoints the parents with blessing oil, saying:

    Child of this woman,
    child of the gods,
    child of this community,
    child of the earth,
    your mother awaits you
    with love and joy.

    Child of this man,
    child of the gods,
    child of this community,
    child of the earth,
    your father awaits you
    with love and joy.

     
  1. The leader then should take the pouch, box or bowl from the altar and hold it before the guests, saying:

    We offer these gifts and blessings to you, dear child,
    so that they will be here waiting when you join us.


    The HP or HPs should make the first offering by placing his or her stone in the pouch or bowl. As the stone is placed, the blessing should be said aloud:

     

    I offer you a Tiger’s Eye, so that you will be blessed with good fortune throughout your life.

     

  2. Pass the bowl around the circle until each guest has placed a stone in the bowl, and offered a corresponding blessing. When the bowl returns to the leader, he or she should hold it before the parents, saying:

    These are the blessings of those who love you,
    and those who have promised to love your child.
    Take these wishes with you, and share them
    As you raise your child with love, honor, and light.

     
  1. Finally, the leader asks the parents to turn to face the guests. Ask the guests to hold a single happy wish for the baby in their minds. As they do so, everyone should begin clapping slowly and softly. Allow the tempo to speed up, and maintain the energy -- and the intent -- until the clapping has built to a crescendo. At this point, the leader should give a signal for everyone to stop clapping at the same time, releasing the energy into the universe. If you’re not crazy about the sound of clapping, you can have everyone intone an Om or other power sound, or you could bang drums or ring bells.

  2. To end the ceremony, close your circle as you normally do, dismiss the quarters, and be sure to thank any beings who may have dropped in to join you.

    The parents-to-be should keep the bowl of stones, either on their family altar or in some other place of honor in their home. You may choose to keep it in baby’s room until the child is old enough to get into it, and then put it someplace safe.