As a Pagan mama I wanted some way of marking the birth of my daughter that fitted with my belief system. My partner and I decided to hold a ceremony for her. We decided that the focus of the ceremony would be welcoming her to our family and the community and offering her elemental blessings. We hired a small chapel in Glastonbury that we chose for its personal significance to us. It has a beautiful, secluded little garden and in the day we were blessed with sunshine so we were able to hold the ceremony outdoors. I had asked a dear sister Priestess, Chrissy to be the celebrant and between us we came up with a ceremony. I asked five wonderful women to hold the energies of the directions and to offer our little one elemental blessings.The ceremony began with drumming and a circle was formed. Chrissy, the celebrant welcomed my partner, my daughter and I into the circle and explained a little bit about what to expect during the ceremony. Then we moved to each direction, beginning in the north. At each point an invocation was said followed by a blessing of the element. In the north my partner made a vow to our daughter from us as her parents. In the east I read a letter I had written to my daughter for the occasion. In the south my two sons read promises to their sister which they had composed and in the west my daughter recited a Celtic blessing.
We then returned to the altar where Chrissy told us about the energies of the oil and incense she had blended for the ceremony which she had dowsed for prior to the day. The incense was made of:
- Bay – Sun – prosperity, psychic ability
- Lady’s Mantle – Venus – earth mother, love
- Strawberry Leaf –Venus – love, fertility
- Mugwort – Venus – psychic, protection
- Frankincense – Sun – purification, psychic, justice
- White Sandalwood – Moon – purification, justice
- Rose oil – Venus – love, psychic
Her oil was made of:
- Patchouli – Sun – love prosperity
- Bergamot – Sun – prosperity, strength, purification, serenity
- Rose – Venus – love, psychic
- Lavender – Mercury – purification, love, calmness
Chrissy annointed my partner, daughter and I with the oil which was then taken up by Marianne, a Priestess of Brigid and taken around each person present so that they were offered a blessing.
We had asked each person attending to bring a written wish for our daughter and a bead for her. At this point these were collected with those wishing to read them aloud doing do. I was deeply moved by the beautiful wishes which were made for her. I will include these in a series of posts to follow. These now sit in a basket on a small altar space in my living room and the beads have been placed a treasure box for my daughter to explore when she is old enough. A few people also brought her gifts including a hand knitted monkey made by a midwife colleague, a felted fairy doll, a beautiful shell and a painting. Marianne gifted her with a candle lit from the perpetual flame of Brigid in Kildare in Ireland.
Chrissy then tied a cord around the hands of myself and my partner and said:
“Berry – these are the hands that will give you support and encourage you to chase your dreams.
These are the hands that will wipe the tears from your eyes: tears of sorrow and tears of joy.
These are the hands that will comfort you in illness and hold you when you are afraid.
These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times.
These are the hands that will love and caress you through your years of happiness and joy.”
The ceremony was brought to a close by everyone joining in to verbally welcome Berry into the community before a final blessing was spoken by Chrissy and the ceremony was concluded with sharing bread that I had baked, fruit and local honey.It a as an incredibly lovely experience to feel that our daughter was welcomed into our family and the community in such a loving way. Perhaps reading about our ceremony will give you ideas about how your own family might go about welcoming a new child.