This ritual is for the purpose of formally naming a child, and presenting him or to the universe. It is a first rite of passage for a new life, called "christening" in Christianity.
Do this ritual when the parents are sufficiently recovered from the birth that they feel like contending with people again! Rushing this can spoil the joy of it for exhausted families. Some traditions chose to do this at a specific time, for example the first new moon after the birth date, the equinox or solstice of the season in which the child is born, etc. Pick when you feel would be most appropriate.
Invite people who care about this child and will be watching over him, such as family (by blood or chosen), Goddess Parents, and friends. Advise people that they may bring a small, symbolic gift to the child, if they so desire. This need not be costly or traditional things like toys or clothing, though that is okay too. However, it could be a poem, a gemstone, a collection of photographs, or something the person made for the child. Ideally many of these things can be saved so that the child can have them again at age 18 or so, to see all the wishes people had for them.
Some examples might be "I bring this book and candle to (child's name), in hopes her intellect will burn brightly." or, "I bring this teddy bear to (child's name), in hopes that she will feel safe and comfortable throughout her childhood." or, "I bring this song to (child's name), in hopes she will be blessed with appreciation of music."
If the baby cries through this, no problem. He/she is just participating! As he is announcing his presence, just go with it in the ceremony; do not become frustrated.
Set up the altar, call the quarters, cast the circle and invite the deities. A sample deity invitation is below, use appropriate invocations for other deities of you choice.
Great Goddess Artemis, protector of the young. We ask that you attend this rite, and welcome this child to the moonlit earth.
Great God Apollo, golden brother, god of heroes and poets. We ask that you attend this rite, and welcome this child to the sunlit earth.
Parents approach altar with baby.
Priestess: Who is this new traveler?
Parents: (child's name)
Priestess: [Raise censer of incense and draw pentacle in the air before the child.] I bless you (child's name) with the power of fire and air.
[Draw pentacle on child's third eye with salt water on finger.] I bless you, (child's name) by the power of earth and water.
Priest: Lord Apollo, Guide her in the ways of kindness and courage. Let her be valiant and wise, as you are. Give to her your talents and appreciation for poetry, art and music. Warm her through the long days of learning ahead.
Priestess: Lady Artemis, protect (child's name) with your vigilance. Let her breathe in your fresh air of the forest. Let her be as strong, free, and independence as you are. Guide her hunt for her own path. Protect her through the darkest of nights, and her ponder the infinity of the starry sky.
Parent: [One of the parents takes baby and faces him/her in each direction, starting with east. Once Priest/ess has made the blessing for that direction, they walk slowly clock wise until they face the next direction, where they pause for the next statement.]
Priest: Hail East! Recognize this person (childn's name). Help her to soar in the limitless sky of thought and imagination. Send (child's name) gentle breezes to guide her on her path. Bless (child's name) with all the airborne powers of the East.
Priestess: Hail South! Recognize this person (child's name). Warm her, strengthen her Will with your energy. Send (child's name) light to help her prevail in the challenges that await her. Bless (child's name) with all the burning powers of the South.
Priest: Hail West! Recognize ths person (child's name). Help her to swim the deep seas of emotion and empathy. Send (child's name) cleansing waters to cleanse her of doubts and confusion. Bless (child's name) with all the flowing powers of the West.
Priestess: Hail North! Recognize this person (child's name). Help her to stand firm on Mother Earth. Send (child's name) rich soil to root in, and connect her with all that is. Bless (child's name) with all the solid powers of the North.
Optional God/dess Parent Component:
The Goddess Parents should be brought forth to the center of the circle, and the parents as well. One parent should hold the baby.
Priestess: In times past, children were not the sole responsibility of the biological parents. this responsibility is too great for any one, or even two, people to bear alone. I would hope that all in the community would help a child in need. As a reminder that children need many sources of support, the tradition of god/goddess parents arose. These chosen people will have a special relationship with (child's name); will be there should he need someone outside the home to talk to; will share experiences, and be a neutral and loving third party should the family need help.
The parent should say: (God/dess parent's name or name) will you participate in the upbringing of this child? Will you be there to listen to her, and to help and advise us in her welfare, if necessary?
God/dess parents answer affirmatively.
Parent passes the child to the god/dess parent. If there is more than one, the goddess parent holding the child repeats the speech and then hands it to the other or next god parent. Then the parent takes the child back.
God/dess parents(s): Bless and keep you (child's name). I will be here for you.
The parent(s) then sit or stand in the center of the circle with the baby, and the group chants the baby's name. For example, they might begin Rob-in, Rob-in (child's name); then people will start to say it in different ways; some may begin whispering it, singing it, or aying it in different tones and inflections. It should make a musical sound in order to raise energy. When the power is at its peak, the priestess or parent should call on it by standing with the child and holding her up. The energy then goes forth to the Universe, declaring the child's presence and blessing the child. This energy could go into a protective shield for the child, if desired.
All then share cakes and wine, followed by grounding, thanking and saying farewell to quarters and deities. Open the circle, and then celebrate (and probably change the baby, too!)
As part of the celebration, make time to let each person present their symbolic gift to the child and state their wishes. It is best to go around the Circle for this, in order for everyone to hear and join in this portion of the ceremony. This may be done inside the circle before the Cakes and Wine, if desired.
Copyright © Zephyr Lioness, 1997.
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