Over a year ago, our Catholic women’s group was given an idea to honor expectant mamas by one of our members. She told us about how, in another group she had been in, there had been candles distributed to all members, and as the group members learned one of other members had gone into labor, every lady in the group would light their Blessingway Candle as the mama-to-be labored and gave birth, saying a little prayer for the little one to be born, and the mama.
Our group adopted the practice, and lights the candles as we hear the mom is headed to the hospital. They stay lit until we hear that baby has entered the world. We also typically post pictures of the lit candles on our FB pages, as a way of sending some virtual encouragement. We’ve also e-mailed pictures of the candles, and if I know the lady individually, she may also get a text of the lit candle from myself.
According to several online resources (to include mysticmamma.com and timelessspirit.com), the history of a Blessingway is based on an ancient Navajo ritual. Its purpose is to acknowledge and provide support for significant changes in a woman’s life. In line with the Navajo tradition, there is an actual set ceremony that most women go through when doing a “Blessingway”. That said, our group sticks with the tradition of the candle, and that is all we do. While we throw a baby shower for the mama-to-be, regardless of how many children she may already have, we don’t go through the whole official Blessingway ceremony. The belief behind these Blessingway candles is that there is an energy released through the lighting of these candles, and so the wishes (or prayers) you send forth as you light the candles will be passed through the cosmos, for lack of a better word, to the mama.
This is a beautiful devotion anyone can do, regardless of their spiritual calling or religious affiliation. The candle can be as simple as a votive candle, or as elaborate as a spiritual candle you can buy in most stores (I actually found spiritual devotion candles at Target and a local grocery store recently). Some candles I have seen online are decorated with strings (the colors representing different meanings), or have a couple descriptive words on them (i.e. “strong spirit” or “relaxed & restful”).
Because we are a faith-based group, our group uses Bible verses on our candles instead of strings or descriptive words. We also encourage ladies who may not wish to have a lit candle in their home to use a battery-operated votive candle, if they are interested in still participating in this act of encouragement and love for the new mom.
Last year, we used a Matthew 5:16 verse, which stated, “Let your light shine before others… glorify your Father in Heaven.”