Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A book Blessing ceremony

I love my writing group. We've been together for 7 years. Published authors, nearly published authors, and editors. At our recent one day writing retreat we took the day to, well, write of course. But
we also collaged our novels. I love the right brain exploration and the surprise of what wants to show up when I collage. I got a lot of inspiration for my next novel and was able to write the first
chapter that day. It was a day to nourish our muses. And of course we all contributed delicious food to nourish our bodies. But the highlight for me was the surprise gift of a book blessing ceremony from
my group.

My group led me to Ashland's Lithia Park for my book blessing. The park centers around a huge and swiftly flowing creek. Both creek banks are flanked by walking paths, trees, greenery, and brightly colored azaleas and rhodendrons. It's one of those magical places that I return to again and again to receive nature's rejuvenation. It works everytime, and no less so for this special occasion. We gathered beside the creek, at the foot of one of the many wooden bridges that criss-cross the creek. Everyone, including me, stated a blessing and intention for my novel Carry on the Flame. Each woman had a powerful and prophetic piece to offer. Among the many blessings were wishes for a far-reaching readership, for success on all the levels that were important to me, for joy in taking on a new identity with  my third novel, and wishes that the Goddess of the Stars and the Sea's energy that permeates my novels would help humankind navigate our world's turbulence with love.

We crossed the bridge single file to symbolically step into sacred space for the continuation of the ceremony. I was handed a basket of stones and was instructed to take them, one at a time, name something I wanted to let go of, and release the stone along the path or creek. Since my book is about the transformations our destiny's require of us all, quite a few things came to mind! After tuning in more deeply, I chose to let go of things like self doubt, control, and worry. Those things that I wrestle with in writing as in life.

We crossed another bridge to symbolically enter what was called sanctified space. My group put a beautiful green velvet, beaded pillow on a picnic bench for me to sit on. A bowl of creek water infused with water from Glastonbury's Chalice Well and Spikenard essential oil was placed at my feet. One by one, my fellow authors washed and consecrated my feet for my authorship and book's journey. Sanctifying and blessing. They let me sit in silence alone to quietly embrace the special blessings the oils and foot washing represented.

I carried a candle and joined them where they waited for me across yet another bridge for the final part of the ritual. A park bench was adorned with soft, colorful cloths and flanked with more candles. Such
a beautiful throne to sit on. Our group facilitator read information gathered about the number 13 - August 13th being the birthdate of Carry on the Flame into the world. Far from being an unlucky
number, 13 has some extraordinary meanings. It is the number of months in a lunar cycle based calender; it signifies cleansing and purification; and it is the number associated with Mother Mary. This particular August 13th was also a full moon (in Aquarius - what an auspicious book birthdate). A group member presented me with two photos of the full moon as it processed across the nighttime sky. This fellow author was awakened from sleep with the urge to go outside and take these photographs, unaware that my book was being delivered at exactly that time.

To complete the ceremony, the group sang me a song. Putting my book title and themes to the tune of The Age of Aquarius, my writer friends turned chorus singers showed their awesome creativity yet again.

I cherish my writing group. And I can honestly say, the book blessing they gifted me with is something I will also cherish for the rest of my days. Thank you Shoshana, Alissa, Maggie, Lori, and Nancy.
You're the best.

photo by Alissa Lukara


Alissa Lukara said...

And what a beautiful blessing to participate in it, Jodine. It's so important to take this time out of time to celebrate our rites of passages as writers, to reflect and acknowledge them. Deep nourishment for the soul, for the heart, for the creative spirit. I'm thrilled we could do it together in a gorgeous natural setting

Jodine Turner said...

Thank you, Alissa. You were such an important part of this for me!