21 Apr Closing Ceremonies: A Forgotten Rite Of Passage.
Last week I had the privilege of offering a postpartum mother a “closing” ceremony.
This ceremony is inspired by (but not a translation of) the South American Postparum ritual traditionally known as the “closing of the bones.” I am not of South American decent so I do not use this title, instead I have created and cultivated a ritual that was born from my own intuition and skills.
I have been researching and practicing various modalities for many years now so was never formally ‘taught’ this ritual, instead I offer is something that is unique to me and individually tailored for each client- just as any ritual or healing experience is unique to the individual healer.
I find it difficult to put into words what occurs during these ceremonies because words just dont do them justice, nor can they describe the energy. I also find it so challenging to put a price or time frame on these powerful moments. Every client is so different.
For some it can be an hour, for others it is 5 hours. Every person is different in their needs and in what needs to be closed. This is similar for offering blessing ceremonies and circles. I find it hard to put words to exactly the magic that transpires and every single time, something different occurs.
The closing ceremonies that I offer include a clearing component, which is often in the form of a debrief and discussion to create connection and trust. We form a sacred container where I can gauge what needs to be cleared and closed and my client can feel witnessed and test their safety with me often by sharing about the birth or their experiences that they may not shared before. This clearing is often occurring in conjunction with a herbal foot bath and foot rub.
If I attend my client at home I offer them a cleansing bath, sometimes there are herbs and flowers, sometimes not. Sometimes they may choose tobring their baby in with them for some time together (this can be particularly healing if there was some trauma at birth and they want to heal their experiences of birth together). I often will drum for the women in the bath or offer other sound healing along with smoke clearing.
After the bath my clients come into a warm room for the official closing where I clear and cleanse the room and offer sound healing. They are kept warm with a blanket, adorned with crystals. They are wrapped in scarves (or, traditionally rebozos) as we ritually close each part of their body and I perform energy healing and reiki on their body, and then offer a shamanic drum meditation.
Women and birthing people are said to leave their body to collect the souls of their babies and this closing helps to ensure they are fully returned to this earthly plane. While I believe that all women stay slightly between worlds for at least the first 3-12 months as are their babies, when trauma has occurred, their spirits can be ‘too far’ out of this world leaving them feeling quite unbalanced and potentially unwell.
The closing ceremony is about ensuring that their spirit is here and grounded but is also about honouring the massive journey they and their body have taken to not only birth their child but to rebirth themselves into this ‘mother’ phase. They have transitioned from maiden to mother and crossed through the birth portal which can feel very foreign. .
The majority of clients step out of the closing ‘cocoon’ with a sense of being ‘back’ and knowing that they are back in their body but also that nothing is the same. They feel slightly unstable on their feet and having a sense of ‘knowingness’ that they are at the start of a new beginning.
While a number of women choose to hold this ceremony early in their postpartum (not before 6 weeks), I believe that it can be performed at any stage of life. It is never too late to honour the massive transition of becoming a mother/parent (or any life transition that needs closing) and many even feel it calls them when their children have left home as an honouring of the right of passage away from the ‘mother’ phase.
A closing can be offered to anyone who is experiencing a transition or rebirth, parent/mother or not, but in for specific postpartum work it can also be healing for those who have experienced loss or termination.
Have you honoured your rites of passage?
If you would like to learn more about HOW to incorporate ceremonies that honour this whole human experience into your sacred work (particularly if you are a birthworker) please get in touch! I will be releasing much more in this very soon.