Placenta Ceremony

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I love ceremonies.

They force me to reach inside of myself, to get comfortable with the discomfort that comes from being strange, woo, other…any of the myriad of words that we use to lessen those around us as well as ourselves. Deep in my bones I crave something richer to mark our most human moments.

A week ago a friend of mine asked me what I did with our placenta, if I had any ideas for ceremony. That night I dreamed of her in a snowy field, burying her placenta with her husband and their baby. They thanked the cardinal directions and sweetly touched the face of their baby with each incantation.

This Sunday I went to yoga. I felt full of love as I practiced, white light swirled around us. As I lay on my mat I breathed deep and knew that this was the day to plant our placenta. Words, mantras, and ritual poured through me. Idea upon idea came once I had the ears to hear them. I came home to Lyra, Matthew and my mother-in-law a buzz. We had purchased a peach tree earlier in the week for Lyra and later in the day, as she napped, I made ready for our ceremony.

ritual gathering

Here is what I gathered:

frankincense

sage

a candle

compost

quartz infused water

our placenta

my singing bowl

& a flower crown for the child who made me a mother

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What did we do?

I put on my big girl priestess pants and asked Matthew and Pamela to prepare to get weird. We gathered together and sat to listen to Grandmother’s Song, as sung by Whapio. Lyra drummed on the table joyfully and made us smile.

I anointed my precious child with frankincense, from her head to her toes, honoring her as the perfectly whole being that she is. I smudged us all, myself, Matthew, Lyra, and her Granny Pam. This sage came to us from the desert through our beloved Auntie Renee and purified the women of my blessingway. This is the beauty of ritual. The smoke that cleansed my dearest of friends now dances around my child.

We each added a handful of my father’s rich compost to the hole Matthew had dug for our peach tree, intending growth and learning for Lyra in this lifetime. Matthew and I poured the quartz infused water onto the compost, nurturing the fertile soil as we intend to nurture our daughter. I brought Lyra our placenta, and to my surprise (why was I surprised?!) she reached out for it. As I stamped a bloody thumb print onto her forehead, marking her mine, she put her hands into the bowl. Together, we poured our placenta, our connection, our lifeblood into the richly prepared soil.

We sealed the connection of our blood to the soil with beeswax, pouring the sweet smelling wax onto the organ that gave her life. Matthew placed the tree, snugged her with soil, and watered generously.

I hear the voice of my grandmother calling, I hear the voice of my grandmother’s song 
she says: wake up, wake up child wake up, wake up listen listen
she says: stand in your power woman stand in your power listen listen 
she says: give birth give life, mother, give birth give life listen listen
she says: teach them, be wise crone, teach them, be wise listen listen
I hear the voice of my grandmother calling, I hear the voice of my grandmother’s song 

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It’s getting easier to feel these things, to make these moments for us. As naturally as it comes, it is still hard. Is this right? Is this crazy? Is this weird? Am I making a fool of myself? These questions rattle my brain and my confidence, but I do my best to breathe deep and banish them. In my mind when I envisioned this day I was wearing my best dress, flowers in my hair, and I stamped the earth with my bare feet as I danced circles round our tree, singing all the while. I didn’t quite get there, but I did my best. Perhaps next time.

Marking our shared experiences as meaningful is our birthright, and I mean to claim it in this lifetime. It is a legacy of presence that I am modeling for my daughter. Whether it be life, death, moon blood, or the changing of the seasons, there are endless reasons to perform ritual in our lives. It only gets easier. Will you join me?