SBD Sacred Circles

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The Origin of Blessingways and Sacred Birth & Bereavement Circles

While the name Blessingway is becoming more widely understood to mean a kind of “baby shower of spiritual gifts rather than physical ones“, the origin traces to the Navajo tribespeople, and out of respect for their traditions (you are invited to learn more, for example, at this link), here at stillbirthday, we draw from the Blessingway term you might be familiar with, but then we point to our own name for our own interpretation of this beautiful event, coining the name Sacred Circles.  This is quite appropriate as the burning zero candle is our trademarked image.  Many of the events for our Sacred Circles are inspirations of Doran Richards of the Blessing God’s Way website and resources.

I invite you also to visit our Loved Ones  and Farewell Celebrations resources for even more suggestions in offering love to bereaved loved ones.


This is the first and only Blessingway specifically created to honor pregnancy, to honor the mother,

and to validate the very real life, and death, of your baby.

  • The celebration will be a time of validating the mother and her mixed and real emotions, as well as a time to celebrate her very real child, even for the very short time the child is alive – in the womb or after birth.
  • The celebration will be personal; there is no exact “one right way” to host one.

Tips to making this celebration successful for the mother:

  • A Celebrating Pregnancy Blessingway, or, Sacred Circle is a time of intimate fellowship.  The mom’s closest friends and most special people should be all who are invited.  Please keep the guest list less than about 16 people.
  • The celebration might be in an inviting and soothing location, where the mom is comfortable being.
  • It might include praying over the mother and her family as she faces the birth and death of her baby.
  • It should include personalized gifts, brought by every person attending.  These can include written scriptures, poems, or a letter, to be read aloud by the giver, to the mother, at the celebration.  Other gifts may include: a journal, an inspirational book about infant loss, a handmade baby blanket, or a bead, specially chosen for the mother, and strung into a handmade necklace that the mother can wear – during the blessingway, and during birth in a subsequent pregnancy.

 Photo belongs to the amazing Canary Lane Photography Studio and SBD doula student.

  • Consider printing out  special scriptures and quotes, on pretty paper, and use to fill the room with them.  Consider also purchasing a Certificate of Life, or inviting the mother to do so.  Collect these items at the end of the celebration, so that the mother can fill her home with these lovely, encouraging words.

  • It is important that each guest demonstrate the importance this baby has had on that individual.  It is okay to cry.  It is okay to say “I’m sorry”.  It is okay to give the mom a hug.
  • A tea candle might be lit after each gift is presented to the mother.
  • Special, personal gestures of love toward the mother should be made during this celebration, including brushing her hair, putting flowers in her hair, and washing her feet with a lovely scent (lavender perhaps) and with warm, clean water.  Touching the mother and singling her out in love is important.  It should be decided prior to the celebration who will wash the mothers feet.  This is a very personal, and very honoring, gesture.
  • A special ceremony that includes wrapping the mother’s womb, with gentle music playing, can be very honoring.  The Womb Wrap we use in our Mothers Workshop is one very long piece of simple cloth.  Each person in the circle takes turns wrapping the cloth around the mother, whispering a special mantra, encouragement or prayer to her.  The wrap is not knoted.  The cloth instead, rised and weaves and so each whispered prayer loops together, never ceasing, wrapping the mother in a continued message of love.  In our Mothers Workshops, we also include a special warmth pad and we complete this portion of the ceremony with a brightly colored and breezy rebozo that jingles and sways gently as she moves.  You can purchase this Womb Wrap to include in your Sacred Circle, and the mother can utilize it after every birth, during menstruation, and absolutely any time she needs to be wrapped in warmth and love.  You can visit our Mother Roasting page for demonstration access to use your wrap.

  • If this Sacred Circle is done during the mother’s subsequent pregnancy, it might include a special red cord tied around each attendees (left) wrist.  This cord is a reminder that there is a connection between the circle of attendees and to hold on through the pregnancy.  During birth, this cord is cut from each person’s wrists as a ceremonial ritual of release – release of fears, which can manifest during labor, and that it is time to open and birth.

According to the “Ask The Rabbi” column on the Ohr Somayach, Jerusalem website:

Wearing a thin scarlet or crimson string as a type of talisman is a folk custom among Jews as a way to ward off misfortune brought about by the “evil eye”. The tradition is popularly thought to be associated with Judaism’s Kabbalah.

The red string itself is usually made from thin scarlet wool thread. It is worn as a bracelet or band on the left wrist of the wearer (understood in some Kabbalistic theory as the receiving side of the spiritual body), knotted seven times, and then sanctified with Hebrew blessings.

A custom that is based on Torah ideas or mitzvoth may also have special segula properties on a smaller scale. Regarding the red string, the custom is to tie a long red thread around the burial site of Rachel, the wife of Jacob. Rachel selflessly agreed that her sister marry Jacob first to spare Leah shame and embarrassment. Later, Rachel willingly returned her soul to God on the lonely way to Beit Lechem, in order to pray there for the desperate Jews that would pass by on their way to exile and captivity. Often, one acquires the red string when giving charity.

Perhaps for these reasons the red thread is considered a protective segula. It recalls the great merit of our matriarch Rachel, reminding us to emulate her modest ways of consideration, compassion, and selflessness for the benefit of others, while simultaneously giving charity to the poor and needy. It follows that this internal reflection that inspires good deeds, more than the string itself, would protect one from evil and harm.

Cutting the cords during the subsequent labor and birth, marking the release.

Photo belongs to the amazing Canary Lane Photography Studio and SBD doula student.

  • Consider taking photographs of the celebration, to send to the mother, to remember her special celebration and fellowship.
  • The celebration might close in a prayer over the ladies present and families represented, and over the meal that is to follow.
  • The meal should consist of one item brought by each guest.  Leftovers should be given to the mother to take home.

The focus of this celebration is to honor her as mom, to share feelings, and to encourage and uplift one another.  The tone should be kept inspirational, validating and loving.  You might invite a local SBD doula or Heidi Faith to help coordinate or guide your event.


Related: Mother’s Workshop    Related: Mother Roasting

Related: Stillbirthday Sacred Circles

Related: Heidi Faith’s Workshop page on Facebook

A place specifically about our workshops & Sacred Circles.

Photo belongs to the amazing Canary Lane Photography Studio and SBD doula student.

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  1. W.o.w. How incredibly healing this sounds! What a difference it might have made for me in my own journeys to have had this kind of validation, affirmation, and compassion!! So thankful for this blessing for Moms xo

  2. How sad to think back more than 13 years, and that even if I had known of this, I could only count on one hand the number of supportive friends/family I had.

  3. Amazing information. Thank you.


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