Blessings, Ritual and Women’s Gathering

In 2014 I was a bit slow with updating my blog and for very good reason… I was very busy finishing my Masters Thesis and then transitioning into life after 4 years of study and also because of this… Until now I decided not to advertise this on social media but now it feels like the right time to reflect upon and share with you my journey thus far. I have been growing a baby and it has been pretty hard work! After living with Endometriosis and Adenomyosis for the last 5 years 2014 seemed like the right time to take my doctor’s advice about not waiting to long to extend our family. In the early stages of my pregnancy I was extremely ill with all day sickness which left me feeling pretty depressed. Having moved to a new town I was in no state to branch out and try to make many connections within my new community which such little energy. During a companioning session with other MIECAT Institute graduates I came to know that I was in need of support, not just from others but also from myself. This representation became a catalyst for enacting this new knowing. photo-58 copy I decided that I wanted to celebrate not only the new life growing inside me but also the connections and relationships I had to other women in my life, thus I decided to invite women to gather in both Queensland (my birth place) and Victoria (my current home). Rather than hold a traditional baby shower I wanted to have a “Baby Blessing” in which women would join to reflect, share and support each other through ritual and ceremony. At times I felt uncomfortable that I was organising these events for myself…that it was too self indulgent…so gradually I asked for contributions from friends in which they would organise certain aspects of the gatherings. The first blessing was held at my mother’s home in Queensland and we were joined by my childhood friends and also those whom I had connected with at University in NSW. Yummy, wholesome food was shared…

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The women created affirmation postcards with blessings for both baby and I…

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Beads were strung onto a blessing bracelet and wishes were written in a book made by one of the guests. My belly was painted by my very talented friend Kelly with the assistance of another friend Jan.

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All the while the women shared stories which left me feeling empowered about my upcoming birth experience. A few weeks later I was joined by another group of women at my home in Victoria. I had asked my dear friend and fellow creative arts therapist, Carolyn to facilitate some sort of ritual activity at the gathering and she had suggested a weaving. Later this emerged as a nest. Carolyn asked me what my intention for the blessing was and this got me thinking and journalling… photo-59 On the day the postcard collection from Queensland was added to…

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More wholesome food was shared…

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and then we gathered in my small living room to begin our “ritual”. Carolyn began by inviting each woman to introduce herself and say the names of her grandmother, mother and children. Some chose to extend this to naming their sister, godchildren and pets which represented the many different ways women act as mothers in the world. Each woman lit a candle after introducing themselves and added it to a bowl in the middle of the room.

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Then each women added to a “nest” that Carolyn had begun to weave. They had brought along objects of significance: beads, feathers, fabric, a page of a book, scarfs, ribbons, brooches and more to add to the weaving. As we wove the nest stories about the objects being added were shared.

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The completed nest…

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What stood out for me about the day was that the weaving and stories were as much about my individual relationships with each women as they were about their own experiences of womanhood, motherhood and childhood. It was so amazing to hear of how different and also similar these experiences were. This nest has become a holding space for all that happened in that shared moment between the women and also will also hold the new experiences and memories of my, my baby, my family and my friends in the future.

Thank you to all that joined me in these gatherings, those who shared food, created artworks, shared stories and wove blessings together to make them both special days for myself and everyone else who attended…

with a special thanks to my Mum (for hosting) and Kelly (for painting) at the Queensland blessing and to Carolyn (for facilitating), Sharon (for setting up and cleaning up) and Michael (who did not attend but who is always supporting me) at the Victorian blessing.

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11 thoughts on “Blessings, Ritual and Women’s Gathering

  1. You bloody hippy artist you! Lol
    Sounds like it was a great ceremony/bonding opportunity. A little richer than cigars with the boys down the pub.
    All the best mate x

    • Thanks Scott, Not so much informed by being a hippy artist as a reflective, ritual-inspired arts therapist!!! Which I might add was largely inspired by you! No cigars at this blessings! x Nat

  2. Looks like you’ve been following your beautiful inner wisdom to help any healing that was needed. Well done and I’m sure through this experience you will help others down the track. Here’s to many more wonderfully rich times to come!

    • Thank you Karma…lots of mothers and grandmothers surrounding me on this journey so far, not to mentions sisters! When I started at MIECAT 5 years ago I made an affirmation that I wanted to have more women in my life and this has become a reality for me. I am continued to be inspired by your work with women and wish you the best of luck in Timor Leste companioning the women there with Art Therapy for Many Hands International. Look forward to your reflections and sharing upon your return x Natalya

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