Mother’s Blessing: celebrating the rite of passage from maiden to mother. A chat with Ann Taylor from Ceremona Mama.
(This journal has been updated from the original content, following on from the beautiful Mother’s Blessing I received from the incredible Ann for my current pregnancy with the twins – Feb 2023)
A little while back I had the absolute privilege of attending my first ever Mother’s Blessing. The ceremony was for a colleague of mine and I was absolutely thrilled to have been invited. Not just because it gave me the opportunity to celebrate this incredible, driven and beautiful woman’s transition from maiden to mother, but also because I got to witness and take part in my very first Mother’s Blessing.
Now the idea wasn’t completely foreign to me, I had heard a little bit here and there about them, but nothing could have prepared me for the moving and magical experience I had that day. And truth be told, I think a lot of it came down to the remarkable woman who held the ceremony. Ann Taylor, the founder and celebrant behind Ceremona. With her own Native American ancestry and English Literature background, she has both a deep cultural understanding and respect for ritual and ceremony and a remarkable way with words. Ann was kind enough to meet with me a few weeks later to discuss mother’s blessings, ceremonies, rites of passage and her facinating story. Here are the gems we discussed… enjoy mama.
Ann, originally from the States, moved to Australia to study where she met her now husband. They roam between Brisbane and Byron and Ann has recently stepped away from working as a lawyer to pursue her innate, shamanic calling.
” Being a celebrant, ritualist and wayshower is the reason I was born. “
Ann specialises in rite of passage ceremonies. From women’s circles to weddings, from naming ceremonies to death walking. With a passion for brining ritual back into modern life and community, and a goal of normalising these rituals in society by honouring each and every rite of passage.
The Indigenous Studies Ann did whilst studying in Australia inspired and encouraged her to connect with her own roots. Her ancestors were East Coast Native Americans from the Cherokee tribe.
A Blessing Way is a traditional Native American Ceremony which originated with the Navajo People. It is worth mentioning that some people refer to this ceremony as a “Mother’s Blessing”, as they feel it is a more culturally appropriate name based on their connection to Native American Culture. As I personally have no ties to Native American ancestry I have decided to refer to the ceremony as a Mother’s Blessing.
The importance of a Mother’s Blessing
“I created Ceremona Rituals to reconnect with my own lineage, to be of service and to offer powerful ceremonies for all of life’s rites of passage. Marking them the way our ancestors did, with reverence and respect.”
The transition from maiden to mother is one of the greatest, and most transformative experiences in a woman’s life. When we go through major life events without marking them appropriately, we lose the opportunity to anchor that moment in our experience.
We are stuck with intergenerational patterns. We default to what our parents did, which was inherited from their parents and so on. We’ve adopted a sense of false resilience. ‘Just push through’, ‘toughen up’, ‘back in my day…’ and this eliminates the support and security women truly need through their journey into motherhood. We all want to shower and hold the baby, but who is there to shower and hold a mother? Most have heard of, been to or held a baby shower. Yet an overwhelming majority have never heard of or been part of a Mother’s Blessing ceremony.
“ I believe that participating in ceremony is not just about the words that are said, the place where it is held or the people who are present. It is all about the vibration that is created, linking all of those elements together. That is what stays with us forever. The feeling and the frequency that anchors us to a particular moment in time.”
Organising a Mother’s Blessing Ceremony
Ann has a particularly remarkable way of preparing and holding ceremonies. Handcrafting each for the individual or individuals involved. Whilst she has some specific rituals she weaves throughout a ceremony, Ann also designs it around both the mother and her guests.
I think it is fair to say (and I know I felt this way), that a lot of women feel that a Mother’s Blessing might be too ‘spiritual’ for them. Or even their group of friends. Yet the magical thing about having a celebrant like Ann handcraft your ceremony is that it can be as wild or conservative as you like.
A Mother’s Blessing can be in addition to a more commonly held ‘baby shower’. It can take its place or it can be integrated into a baby shower too. The ceremony itself is used as an opportunity to both honour the mother and her transition into motherhood. It can also be used to educate her village.
Ann starts her Mother’s Blessing process by meeting with the mama-to-be. She uses this opportunity to get to know both the mother and her community. This is so that together, they can decide which rituals should be included on the day. Ann’s primary focus when handcrafting ceremonies to to make it approachable for the entire group. So it is both enjoyable for them and the mother-to-be. Ann subtly gages the group of prospective guests to get un understanding of them ahead of time and what they will respond well to.
I absolutely love her approach because not only does it ensure that the mother-to-be is comfortable but it also eliminates any worries such as ‘I hope my mum/friend/aunty isn’t really uncomfortable right now’.
The ceremony runs very similarly to a sister circle / women’s circle. Ann guides the group through some special rituals to help prepare the mama-to-be for becoming a mother. And to also honour the entire group as women. Ann requests that each of the guests bring a plate of sweet or savoury food (ideally things the mama-to-be loves). This not only provides the group with some delicious nourishing food to enjoy at the start of the event but also plants the first seed towards creating a habit of bringing food to the new mama. The event begins with some socialising and chatting over food. An opportunity for everyone to say hello, catch up and meet one another. Then the guests are invited to sit in circle ready for a ceremonial opening.
This will differ across Mother’s Blessings but Ann’s ties to her Native American roots can make her opening meditation particularly magical. She uses this time honour the matralinial line and invites ancestors, their presence and wisdom. She honours all of the women who have given birth before us to bring us life.
Honouring the matriarchy is such an integral part of the ceremony. Regardless of what stage of motherhood the attendees are in. Whether they are no where near motherhood, don’t want human babies, are plant or fur mothers or mothers themselves. We can still honour the mother energy within each and every one of us. Whatever our life may look like, this is an opportunity to express our motherly energy.
This opening of the circle is also an opportunity for each guest to introduce themselves as a daughter and granddaughter, honouring their own lineage of mothers regardless of the nature of that relationship.
‘I am Leila, Daughter of Elizabeth, Grandaughter of Winifred.’
Mother’s Blessing Ceremony Rituals
Ann then beautifully weaves through a selection of rituals that have been selected especially for the mother-to-be and her village. Here are some of the rituals that may be included in a Mother’s Blessing ceremony. A ceremony is not limited to these either, each ceremony is unique and magical in its own way.
Red Thread Ritual
‘The exchange of cells between mother and baby contribute to the biological red thread woven through a woman’s female ancestors and into her daughter.’ Anna Watts
Honouring our matrilineal line, all the women who came before us, who birthed before us and who will follow in our steps. The symbolic nature of the red thread helps us to find our way, and take back our rites of passage for ourselves and others.
A mothers blessing is an opportunity to honour the rite of passage from maiden to mother or from mother to mother anew. The red thread woven around the circle connects the chosen village with one another and their maternal ancestors. It forms a deep connection of love, support, knowing and wisdom. A reminder of the innate strength we as women hold within us individually and as a collective.
The red thread ritual when incorporated into a mothers blessing can be used as a reminder of each woman’s role within the village.
A ball of red thread is passed around the circle, as it reaches each person, they wrap the cord around their wrist, and then pass it on to the next person. Once the circle is complete, the cord is cut and tied into individual bracelets. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The group is encouraged to wear their red thread until the baby is born or the mama reaches the end of her confinement. It is a beautiful reminder to check in with mama through her pregnancy and postpartum journey.
The red thread ritual is a beautiful beginning once the circle has been opened or as a way to close the circle. It is such a simple way to connect the group together.
‘Our ancestral ‘red thread’ is our connection to herstory through our maternal bloodline. We are the ancestors of the women who lived through herstory and who survived by any means necessary.’ Rachel Reed
Flower or small token ritual
The flower or small token ritual is an opportunity for each guest to share a little of their magical connection to the mama-to-be. Prior to the event, each guest is asked to bring a flower that reminds them of the mama-to-be. As they place the flower in the circle, they share why this particular flower reminds them of her and some words of wisdom for her transition into motherhood. This part of the ceremony often encourages laughter, tears and beautiful pearls of guidance and wisdom. At the end of the ceremony, the flowers are gathered to make a bouquet for the mama to take home. This can also be done with a small token of your choosing like a bead or a charm. The beads can then be used to create a birthing necklace or candle for the mama to wear or burn, to help remind her of the incredible women she has by her side.
Salt has been used in rituals and ceremonies for centuries as it is thought to absorb energy. A bowl of magnesium salts or epsom salts are passed around the circle with a jar of dried herbs and flowers. Each guest adds some flowers to the bowl and massages them through whilst sharing some love, an affirmation, a wish or a mantra with the mama-to-be. These wishes are also written down on pieces of paper and added into the the bowl of salts.
The salts can be used to give the mama-to-be a foot soak during the ceremony and the remaining blend is for her to keep for pregnancy, birth and or postpartum. Each time mama takes a bath leading up to birth or following her birth she can incorporate the love infused salts and pull out a little love note from her village.
This beautiful ritual invites the guests to show the mama to be some love. It can involve hand and foot massage, back and shoulder massage and/or a foot soak. It gives her the opportunity to surrender to accepting love and support whilst enjoying some pampering, giggles and tears with her nearest and dearest.
A beautiful end to the day is to share delicious, nourishing food. The mother’s blessing can be catered by the host or each guest can bring a plate of food. Inviting the guests to bring food is a wonderful way to begin the practice of bringing food for the mama-to-be.
Gathering the village
A Mother’s Blessing ceremony celebrating the rite of passage from maiden to mother is an ideal opportunity to organise your nourishing home-made meal deliveries from your support village. All who have attended the ceremony have a deep understanding of the love and support you require through this transformation. It is a wonderful opportunity to hand out the village for mama recipe cards so the villagers know what to prepare once the baby has arrived.
If you are living between Byron Bay and Brisbane and would like a Mother’s Blessing for yourself or a friend, Ann offers some wonderful packages to help handcraft the perfect ceremony for you. You can reach out to Ann via her Website or connect with her on Instagram.
All of the photos in this journal were captured by the beautiful Keiarna from Keiarna Kerr Photography. You can see more of her work or connect with Keiarna over on Instagram.
Food for this Mother’s Blessing was from Botanica Real Food and Mother’s Blessing Cake adapted from this recipe by Madeleine Trueman for Kind Curations. The Honey Olive Oil cake was doubled and the cake decorated with lots of fruit and wild flowers.
Beautiful beeswax candles and custom flower beeswax candles we handmade on the Sunshine Coast by Jesse from Golden Sun Candles.
love Leila x