Ceremony for the Loss of a Woman’s Womb
The celebrant welcomes the participants, introduces the woman, sums up the reason for the gathering, and asks everyone to support the woman on this day. The celebrant asks the woman if she is ready and when she is, enjoins her to enter the labyrinth. If there were enough people, those on the outside could join hands and sing or chant quietly, or there could be drumming or playing of other instruments.
The woman who is mourning the loss of her womb enters the labyrinth alone, and the Celebrant bids her to quietly consider all of the feelings she has surrounding the loss of her womb as she walks. When she comes to the center, she finds a trowel, the makings for a small fire, and several sticks set to one side. These sticks may be somehow colored, or wrapped in a colored thread so as to set them apart. On the other side is a pitcher of water and a small bundle wrapped in violet cloth.
The celebrant asks the woman to kneel in the center of the labyrinth, dig a small hole, and start a fire. When the fire is burning brightly, the Celebrant instructs her to pick up the first stick, speak her negative feeling into it, and place it on the fire. She is to do this for each negative feeling she carries surrounding the operation, until she is done and everything negative has been put into the fire.
The Celebrant then bids her to gaze into the fire and think on all of the blessings and sorrows the woman’s womb had given her throughout her life. She may speak these thoughts aloud or keep them to herself if she is an introverted person by nature. She may smudge herself with the smoke from the fire if this feels appropriate, but it is not required. This is a highly personal ceremony and the woman is encouraged to do only what is comfortable for her.
Once the woman indicates she is done with her reflections, the Celebrant instructs the woman to extinguish the fire by pouring the pitcher of water over it and then covering it with dirt. She then instructs her to open the violet-wrapped bundle. Inside are seeds, which the Celebrant explains are to represent new beginnings, growth, and strength for the woman. She instructs her to press them one by one into the ground as she either silently or aloud gives voice to her hopes for the future.
After this is done, the woman stands and walks back out of the labyrinth feeling strong and renewed. Her supporters greet her as she exits, and each gives her a highly personal item they have selected for the occasion that represents something that they feel will help her find peace, strength, and joy. They explain their gift and what it means to them for her, and they embrace her.