Blessing Circles for All Occasions
In contrast to a formal scripted ceremony which usually runs for 30 minutes at most, a Blessing Circle engages a smaller number of intimate friends and family members in a participatory ceremonial process lasting an hour or more with plenty of room for unscripted sharing of stories and blessings.
At Circles of Blessing we can help you plan and run a Blessing Circle for yourself or a close family member or friend.
We’ll meet with you to learn more about who you are and what is happening in your life, then we’ll offer you a range of suggested activities for your Blessing Circle. If the Blessing Circle is for you, we suggest you ask one of your friends or relatives to play hostess for you. Hostesses are welcome to participate in the planning process too! With your input, we’ll put together an outline for your Blessing Circle, gather appropriate materials and resources and come to your place to facilitate your Blessing Circle process from start to finish.
As the hostess, you’ll be responsible for organising the venue and some yummy celebratory food (you can ask your friends to bring a contribution), choosing some music and perhaps an inspirational reading or two, sending out the invitations and welcoming people as they arrive.
If you’d rather run your own Blessing Circle, we offer a consultation service to help you put together a memorable Blessing Circle experience of your own.
What is a Blessing Circle?
A Blessing Circle generally takes place in the comfort of the family home or the living room of a close friend, although it is also possible to hold these circles outdoors (in good weather) or in a hired venue.
Originally inspired by the Blessingway ceremony of the Navaho people of North America, Blessing Circles are increasingly commonly held for pregnant mothers in the lead up to childbirth. In this context they are often held as women only events, at which those who are already mothers share advice and guidance with the mother-to-be.
A Blessing Circle can be held to honour any life-passage, and offers a meaningful alternative to the traditional ‘kitchen tea’, ‘hens night’ or ‘baby shower’. It may be held as a ‘women’s circle’ or include significant supportive men also.
The Blessing Circle process creates a safe and sacred space within which the woman in transition may reflect upon the journey that brought her to this point, claim the gifts and release that which will not serve her as she moves forward into the next phase of her life. It is also a beautiful opportunity for her to open to receive the love and support of her family and friends, which will surround and protect her as she steps forward into the challenges ahead.
A Blessing Circle might involve a shared craft activity, such as the making of prayer flags, scrapbook pages or pieces for a patchwork quilt. It might involve singing or dancing together, sharing our own stories and the wisdom gleaned from our own experiences. It will definitely include a ritual in which the woman is symbolically blessed by others in the circle. It is very likely to involve sharing celebratory food of some kind, usually towards the close of the circle process.
For family and friends, a Blessing Circle represents a unique opportunity to speak and demonstrate the love, friendship and appreciation which we so often feel but frequently are too shy or too caught up in the business of life to express at other times. It creates a heightened appreciation of the bonds the connect us to each other, and creates a memory which remains with us as an inner source of strength and resilience.
Who are they for?
A Blessing Circle for a pregnant mother might include an opportunity for her to name and claim her sources of strength and courage, to honour the joys and challenges of her pregnancy journey as she prepares to embrace the next stage of becoming a mother.
A Blessing Circle for a new grandmother would welcome her into the circle of wisewomen, honouring her own role in enabling this new life to come into the world, and celebrating her new role in the life of her family.
A Blessing Circle to welcome a new baby might share some of the characteristics of a naming ceremony, yet with a more informal feel. Circle participants might all be invited to become ‘fairy godmothers’ – blessing the new child with gifts of spirit such as ‘imagination’, ‘peacefulness’, ‘courage’ or ‘patience’.
A Blessing Circle with a select group of intimate women can be a beautiful way to acknowledge a pre-teen or teenage girl as she embarks upon her passage into womanhood. A ‘sweet sixteen‘ Blessing Circle celebrates another step on this journey – celebrating the blossoming of body and spirit which is becoming more and more apparent at this age.
A Blessing Circle for a bride-to-be is a celebration of the enduring value of sisterhood and friendship on the unfolding journey of life. A meaningful, thoughtful alternative to a traditional hens night or kitchen shower, a blessing circle creates an intimate opportunity for sharing love and blessings, and may support the bride in preparing emotionally and spiritually to formally commit to her chosen partner in life.
Blessing Circles can be held at any time in a woman’s life at which she feels the need of the love and support of her intimate circle. A Blessing Circle creates a safe space to express grief and find release – whether it be a miscarriage, the end of a relationship, the end of a job or a career – and to affirm creative intentions for our next steps in the journey of life.
Men and boys can have Blessing Circles too!
Contact Ishara to discuss your needs.. 0415 593 408