Closing the bones is a ceremony that takes place following the birth of a baby. It is a traditional practise in Mexico, Ecuador, Morocco and I am certain many other parts of the world where fabrics are worn and used daily.
My description of the ceremony itself in this blog is my interpretation from the training I have had and practise with my clients as a doula in the UK.
My training has come from Sophie Messager, and Lisa- Jane Merridue ( who both have trained with Rocio Alarcon from Ecuador), Spinning Babies and my own research. I also include my own healing training and drum healing within my practise but as you will see if you contact other practitioners, each practitioner will have varied approaches and skills they also include.
The mother is often relaxed using Rebozo (a Mexican scarf) massage techniques, her womb area is then massaged, and hip bones are massaged and pulled inwards using warming oils, perhaps a poultice is placed on the area or hot stones, or crystals to aid healing. Then the mother is wrapped tightly around her hip bones, and very often her full body will be wrapped too covering all her chakra points. I will then incorporate sacred drum healing too as I am training in shamanic drum practise. Many other practitioners may use reiki healing, and also sound such as singing bowls, tuning forks or gongs.
Very often after the ceremony the mother will also have her abdomen bound in a fabric which she will keep on for hours to bring her hips and muscles back into place.
The massage and wraps have a number of benefits, they induce healing by encouraging blood flow. Spiritually it is said, and I feel, many of us after birth are still open, and very drained, many women describe not feeling in their body for a while after birth, weeks, months or sometimes years. So the wraps also serve to seal our energies and ground us back into our bodies. The drum will also aid this process too and clear any unwanted energies.
It is also a dedicated time for the mum to focus on self nurture, away from the baby for a short while, and to focus time on healing the pregnancy and birth cycle. To look forward to the next cycle and think of the kind of parent they aim to be. Many women if they connect with a religion of any kind will use this time of being wrapped to connect with their divine or higher self too, or simply just think about these cycles, and the rite of passage they have just passed to becoming parents.
You can see it has many healing benefits on different levels. As I said my experience is still quite limited and I am learning all of the time. I am also learning that the ceremony I prefer to call a Sealing Ceremony or Ritual can be used during any change of cycle in life. Croning, sealing the years for a teenager (I include this because I did it with my daughter around her 20th birthday), moving on from old relationships, miscarriage, baby loss, it can help in many ways for many times in life.
I focused mine during my training days on the closure of being a birthing mother, I have had four babies and have decided not to have any more and so I focused it each time I had one on this closure. It was quite profound the effect it had over the weeks afterwards, I really felt the door close and the new path ahead of me open as I begin to approach my next phases in life.
I had the honour of performing a sealing ceremony for a beautiful lady I know for part of her Croning ceremony during early summer this year, it was amazing. We used it to focus on marking the threshold from mother and maiden to crone (obviously still drawing on these facets as they will remain within her always), I can not write much more because it was personal but I wanted to include it in here to show how adaptable the Sealing Ceremony and Closing The Bones can be. We all carry emotions and energies with us our entire lives unless we address them, aim to accept them and help to heal them.
Sealing Ceremonies / Closing Of The Bones in my view is a tradition lost but very much needed in our western culture, we have lost our way and do not nurture ourselves or honour ourselves and our rites of passage as we should. We have so much lacking still around pregnancy, birth and postpartum care, it feels so sad. However there are many doulas, midwives and practitioners who are bringing back these traditions. Things are changing one step at a time as we begin to realise we still very much need them.
Thank you for reading.
(The photograph I have used is taken from Sean Sue, it is an image from Pinterest as I do not take my own photographs due to its sacred nature)