Ceremony Preparations!

My brother got married at my parents’ house early last month and it involved a surprisingly huge amount of work and preparation even though it was a small wedding. Now, we’re getting ready for an overnight women’s retreat at the same location and it feels like almost the same amount of prep work! I’ve been planning and facilitating quarterly women’s spirituality retreats locally for two years. Early this year, we decided to have a special “SageWoman” ceremony in the fall to honor our Queen/Crone members of the circle. It will be similar to a coming of age ceremony for a maiden or a mother blessing ceremony for a pregnant woman. My own mother has already been celebrated multiple times, but the other four honorees have never had a blessingway ceremony—not for coming of age or for pregnancy. (Side note regarding my own mom: she has already been a part of a group ceremony like this for wise women and then through two blessingways during her own pregnancies–I’m one of the only people I know whose mom who was also given blessingways during her pregnancies. I think sometimes the current generation feels like they “invented” them, but there were plenty of awesome women who paved the way to ritually acknowledging the power of the transition to motherhood. In fact, I feel like in many ways, it was my mom who “brought back” the mother blessing to my own circle of friends when she hosted a ceremony for me during my own first pregnancy. Before that, the local women were no longer holding the kinds of ceremonies they’d held during the 80’s.)

We’re having an overnight retreat and planning to have a nighttime ceremony of awesomeness with candlelight and a fire and the deep tones of my new community drum. That’s right, after being totally entranced by the large powwow/community drums at the Goddess festival I attended in Kansas in Sept, I spent way too much money and bought one of my own! We’ve often tried drumming as a group, but just can’t quite get it going. The community drum is going to change all that by involving multiple people on the same drum. Plus, we learned cool chants! I’ve been drumming and singing with my husband since the powwow drum arrived. There is something about the deep sound and the rhythm and the energy of drumming together on the same drum that makes you feel like you are great and could take this show on the road! (I’m not really musically skilled at all, quite the opposite, but the community drum changes that feel of arthymic tone-deafness into awesomeness.)

It is thankfulness-every-day month on Facebook and on Nov. first I shared the following:

Today I’m thankful for a husband that has spent hours and hours this week helping me make presents for MY friends (including a trip to the store today to fix a problem), staying up too late to do so (1:00 a.m. two [three] nights in a row), and patiently persevering when I said I was ready to quit! And, I’m also thankful for a dad and a good friend who spent hours this morning setting up a tipi for us to have a ceremony in this weekend. I guess behind every great women-only ritual are several helpful and awesome men :-)

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And then yesterday, my dad made a beautiful drum stand using native hardwoods (I made the drumstick in the pic, but Mark made four others for us. See what I mean about the awesome, helpful men?! And, unlike popular stereotypes, this is proof that it is possible to be both a feminist and love and appreciate your menfolk :))

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Since words and ritual creation are my thing, I’ve been working hard creating what I hope will be a beautiful and meaningful ceremony. I will have the ritual outline to share and pictures of the aforementioned gifts I’ve been slaving over after they’ve actually been presented to my friends. Here are two of the readings I’ve chosen to use:

Womanspirit Rising
(an opening. Call and response)

We have come from years of pondering

Silently and alone
As we nurtured our children.

We have come from long, slow generations of women

Who knew their minds
And would not settle

We have come from the ages of pre-history,
Out of the civilizations of Mycenae and Minos
Of Lesbos and Crete.

Of the Olemecs and the Druids
Of Mesopotamia and China

We have come through the ages

Bearing the children,
Nurturing the community
In search of ourselves

We have come to know that

The rising of the womanspirit
Means the rising of humanity

Now we are discovering and re-discovering ourselves

And creating and re-creating
Our depths and our heights…

And our womanspirit is rising
And rising again…

Blessed Be.


*From a Unitarian Universalist Women’s meeting in Albuquerque, NM. Reprinted in the book Readings for Women’s Programs

Womanspirit Rising
(a closing. Call and response)

We come to stay forever

Our womanspirit is rising
Deepening
Converging

We rejoice in it and in one another

We who are many are also one
We who are one are also many

On behalf of our Sisters around the globe

We give thanks.

On behalf of our Sisters who have gone before us.

We give thanks.

On behalf of our Sisters yet to be born

We give thanks.

We are the past.

And we are the future.

We are the here

And we are the now

We are one, we are Sisters

And our womanspirit is rising
And rising again.

We rejoice in our Sisterhood.

Blessed be.


*From a Unitarian Universalist Women’s meeting in Albuquerque, NM . Reprinted in the book Readings for Women’s Programs

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