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Wednesday, April 30

A Baby Blessing Ceremony

I drew a lot of inspiration from the following websites:


Baby Blessings New Jersey
Reverend Allyson
Wiccan Moonsong
Wiccan Community Blog


I chose something that I liked from each of these pages, although I altered most of it to suit my needs.  I also flipped through my older grimoires for inspiration on the circle casting and word style.

This rite contains a purposefully bland circle casting so as not to alienate the non-Pagan family members present, although many of them approached us afterward to tell us how beautiful and interesting the ceremony had been.

Our altar was VERY plain, allowing a simple white altar cloth to be the center of attention.  This was done to keep our non-Pagan guests comfortable, but also due to the nature of the rite.  Our daughter was young, simple, and pure and so the altar was as well.


***
This is the ritual used for the blessing of Baby E, 2014.

THE MAMA STACEY CLAN'S BABY BLESSING RITUAL
-  to honor a child's heritage and bless her senses - 




Items needed we used:

Singing Bowl
Feather Fan
Red Candle
Water Bowl
Spring Water
Mortar & Pestle
Sea Salt
Sweet Grass Braid
Smudging Bowl
Goddess Candle
God Candle
Lighter

Bottle of Rosewater
Green Candle
Yellow Candle
Orange Candle
White Candle
Black Candle
Necklace with Tree of Life Pendant

We began with gathering everyone around the altar space.  Mama Stacey, Papa J, and Baby E sat on a special bench inside the circle in the North (sacred to home and family).

WELCOMING


"On behalf of (Father) and (Mother), I’d like to welcome you all here, on this joyous day. We have come together to take part in a ceremony to recognize, honor, and welcome their beautiful baby daughter (child) into their family, and into the wider family of their community and friends." 



CIRCLE CASTING

"If you would stand and join us now, we will begin our ceremony with a series of breaths."
Everyone stands.

"Our first breath in…"  Ring the singing bowl and allow the vibrations to run silent.  "And as you breathe out, feel your feet firmly on the ground, rooting down into the Earth. Let Gaia support you."

"Our second breath in…"  Ring the singing bowl and allow the vibrations to run silent.  "And as you breathe out, let all the tension inside of you drain out through your feet. Let Gaia take it away."

"Our third breath in…"  Ring the singing bowl and allow the vibrations to run silent.  "And as you breathe out, let the love and light from the heavens pour over you. Let it rinse you clean, from the crown of your head to the roots of your feet. Let it flow."
 

Face East and fan the feathers."East, realm of first light, swift change and new beginnings. Home of inspiration, intelligence and imagination. May your winds carry heavenward the prayers and wishes of all those present."

Face South and light the red candle.
"South, realm of hearth fires, warm weather and laughter. Home of passion, frivolity and energy. May your flame burn bright in the hearts of all those present."

Face West and swirl the water bowl."West, realm of ocean waters, friendship and motherhood. Home of empathy, dreaming and purity. May the waters of life flow deep and joyful for all those present."

Face North and grind salt in the mortar & pestle."North, realm of ancestors, full bellies and stillness. Home of responsibility, strength and growth . May the ground beneath the feet of those present be sturdy and calm."

 
Light the sage bundle and walk the circle with feather, smudging the participants.
Sprinkle salt in the bowl of water.
Walk the circle blessing the participants.

"We call upon the energies of the feminine divine, the Venus, the Ocean Mother, the Great Lady to be with us today."
Mother comes forward and lights the Goddess candle."We call upon the energies of the divine masculine, the Greenman, the Sky Father, the Dancing Lord to be with us today."
Father comes forward and lights the God candle.


HERITAGE CEREMONY

"Today is truly a celebration of love and of life!  (Child) is an incredible gift. Her smile, her laughter, and her presence enriches the lives of all who know her. In only her first year on this Earth, she has already made the world a better place.

She is born of your flesh and of your spirit. As her family, it is your strength she will need when she is weak, your guidance she will need when she is lost, your knowledge she will need when she is curious, your arms she will need when she falls, and above all your love that she will need throughout her journey in this life.

Family, heritage, and ancestry. These are important to both (father) and (mother). As parents, it is their intention to raise (child) with knowledge of her family bloodlines. They will do so through maintained contact with the generations and shared memories so that (child) will come to know her lineage, as is her birthright. To acknowledge this, we will shine a light upon each generation here with us today."

Light the green candle.
"
(Child)’s parents, (father) and (mother)."

Light the yellow candle.
"(Child)’s grandparents: (name), (name), (name), and (name)."

Light the orange candle.
"
(Child)’s great-grandparents: (name), (name), and (name). As well as (name), who could not be with us today."

Light the white candle.
"We also light a white candle for (child)’s big brother
(name), as her adoring helper and friend."

Light the black candle.
 "As we light our final candle, let us have a moment of silence. To honor those family members who have passed beyond this life.  (Father) and (mother) gratefully remember: (name), (name), and (name) amongst others for the roles they have played in their lives."

Moment of silence.

"(Father) and (mother) have chosen to acknowledge and honor the bloodlines, the history, and the people who have all gone into the creation of (child) by gifting her with this golden pendent. The tree-of-life engraved on it represents the ever growing family tree that (child) is now a part of."

Slide the necklace over the baby’s head.


ROSEWATER BLESSING

Touch the top of the baby's head with a dab of Rosewater.
"You are connected, protected, loved, and blessed."

Touch the baby's forehead (third-eye) with a dab of Rosewater.
"All your senses are blessed, protected, and awakened."

Touch the baby's heart with a dab of Rosewater.
"Your heart is blessed so that you may feel compassion for yourself and others."

Touch both of the baby's palms with a dab of Rosewater.
"Your hands are blessed so that you may reach out to the world."

Touch the top of both of the baby's feet with a dab of Rosewater.
"Your feet are blessed so that you may connect with the earth, be grounded, and stand your ground in this world. Know that your spirit is strong and it will guide you through this life. Know that you are deeply loved and that your presence brings overwhelming joy."


CLOSING

"Lord and Lady, we thank you for witnessing our joy this day."
Extinguish the God and Goddess candles.

"Elementals, we thank you for your blessings today."
Snuff out sweet grass bundle and extinguish red candle.

"Let the circle be open and let peace and love be carried in your hearts as you leave here today."
Ring the singing bowl.

"Aho, Amen, and Blessed Be!"

Parents turn and hold the baby up for all to see.

"Family and friends, I present to you Miss --baby's full name--!"

***
 


Tuesday, April 29

Baby E's Blessing Ceremony & First Birthday Party

My baby-love turned 1 year old at the end of March.  It was quite the occasion.


Family and friends drove and flew in from as far away as California and Florida (we are in PA) to join us.

Not only was it time to celebrate a full year of bustling life, it was time to recognize her spiritually.  I had been raised Catholic and had attended plenty of Baptisms over the years.  I skimmed through my books and cruised the internet for a Pagan option.  There are a few, but there was nothing that caught my eye.  Sainings.  Wiccanings.  Dedications.

I wanted to acknowledge her spirituality, but did not want to dedicate her to any particular Pagan path.  My own identity has changed several times, so I didn't want to limit her... BUT I dislike Pagan parents who spout that "We're going to expose her to all religions and let her choose." drivel. 

I thought, perhaps, simply dedicating her to the ways of Earth and Goddess might work.  I started down that creative path, but found that most of what I came up with would be more appropriate for a young girl's coming of age ceremony after first menses... not a baby's blessing.



I consulted with a Spiritualist in our area and he passed along a stroke of genius!  Baby E was going to be surrounded by multiple generations of family... so why not point her ceremony towards heritage?

I took that creative nugget and ran with it.  

The finished ritual was exactly what I wanted.  Not so much Paganism that it frightened uninformed family members (Papa J's family are not all in-the-know about Mama Stacey's faith), but just Earthy enough that it met my religious needs.


We focused on family.  I hunted around on Etsy and found a Tree of Life style pendant, in a gold finish (she is a fire sign, so gold it is).  We gifted it to her as part of the ceremony to symbolize the rich and vibrant family tree that she is the newest leaf of.  


I took details and ideas from various rituals I'd seen online, substituted some of my own words, and created a whole ceremony that brought tears to more than a few eyes.  We acknowledged her heritage, we announced her full name, and we blessed her with sacred rosewater.

My mother dug and found the simple, 1980s era cream-colored dress that I had been baptized in a lifetime ago.  I paired it with a pair of tights and some flowered sandals and a pink sunhat (that she wouldn't allow to remain on her head for even a moment!)


As this was also a birthday party, we decorated with pendants, balloons, flowers and ribbons, all in a citrus-colored theme.  It was my desire for this to be a bright and sunshiny event and citrus lends itself greatly to that.



We served up deli platters and a spinach & strawberry salad along with ice buckets full of soda in glass bottles.  We used THIS recipe for Mimosa Punch and it was a delicious hit.


It was such a delightful day of love and celebration.  Papa J and I were honored to be surrounded by so much happiness.






I will post a transcript of Baby E's Blessing Ceremony tomorrow for all to see.





Friday, April 11

Ostara in Pictures

Last Ostara, Mama Stacey was 9 months pregnant and miserable.  LOL   This year I had considerably more energy. 

It was Baby E's first and our second year inviting the neighbors over to share in our special day.











We hope that your spring celebrations were as wonderful as ours!

Friday, April 4

April brings rain and change...

The Mama Stacey clan will soon be moving into a larger apartment on the other side of town.  We are so excited we're sneezing happiness! 

April will be a month of transition and progress for us as we pack up and reorganize our things.  Moving is always a good time to re-evaluate what you want to keep in your life and what you're done with, the things you can let go of.