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Ask Your Mama

by Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more.

                    *Ask Your Mama

The What, When, Where, Why, How, and Who of
Ceremony & Spirituality

©Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

A Question of Purifying Nuptials

Dear Mama Donna.

My partner and I are wondering whether there is some sort of pre-nuptial purifying ceremony
from the shamanic tradition that we can do together before our upcoming wedding. I was thinking of a sweat lodge perhaps? Any ideas you have to offer us would be most appreciated.

A  Couple in California

You Dear Two,

Congratulations! Mazel tov! How wonderful that you and your beloved want to enter your marriage vows with clean hearts and pure intentions. Your sincerity of purpose bodes exceedingly well for the success of your future together.

To answer your question about traditional shamanic ceremonies: there really is no one shamanic tradition. Shamanism was and still is practiced worldwide, and each culture has customs and ceremonies that have grown and developed over time and that speak to the shared history and beliefs of each particular community.

A new life, a new day, a new year is universally begun by bathing. All sculptured images of the Buddha are washed during the festival of
in Thailand every spring at the start of the lunar New Year festival. The blessing water is poured from buckets on the statues and passersby as well — a refreshing splash during the oppressive heat of the season.

There are many cross cultural purification rites for the betrothed, including the sweat lodge ceremony or Inipi, which is used widely by many Native American peoples as a cleansing to be partaken of as the preliminary to any major ritual event. The most traditional sweat lodge, however, was/is never experienced in mixed company.

Most pre-wedding cleansing practices have been performed by the bride and groom separately, each half of the couple accompanied and assisted by her/his chosen group of friends and family members of the same gender. These sorts of preparatory rites eventually evolved (or perhaps, devolved is a better word?) into the current Bridal Shower and Bachelor Party rituals that are so popular today.

You mention that you want to perform your cleansing together as a couple. Since this is important to you, you should do so, despite the fact that it is not traditional. A basic shared tenant of all shamanic thinking is that each individual is blessed with a personal relationship to spirit that must be honored. Consequently, every ritual should be uniquely appropriate and particular to the wants and needs of the participants. The perfect ritual is one that is truly personally relevant.

What better way to achieve perfect relevance than to design your own purification ritual — one that speaks to you directly? All you need is an intention, which, it seems to me, you are already quite clear about. Your choices about how your ritual will proceed, what you can do, and what methods and materials you might employ are practically limitless.

Be blessed, dear ones. Bless your selves and each other. Bless your love and your life.

xxMama Donna

*Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more. Send your questions about seasons, cycles, celebrations, ceremonies and spirit to Mama Donna at: CityShaman@aol.com

Donna Henes is an internationally renowned urban shaman,
eco-ceremonialist, award-winning author, syndicated columnist,
popular speaker and workshop leader whose joyful celebrations
of celestial events have introduced ancient traditional rituals and
contemporary multicultural, nondenominational ceremonies to
millions of people in more than 100 cities since 1972. In addition
to her popular public rituals for equinoxes and solstices, she is
the official Grand Spirit Marshall of the world famous Greenwich
Village Halloween Parade and the Mistress of Blessing Ceremonies
for NYC Earth Day Festivities. She has conducted public blessings
of the NY Stock Exchange on Wall Street, a Blessing of the Waters
Ceremony for the Hudson River, and an Inauguration Purification
Ritual in Washington, DC.

She has published four books, a CD and an acclaimed quarterly
journal. She currently writes for The Huffington Post and UPI (United Press
International) Religion and Spirituality Forum, as well as a monthly
Ezine. Mama Donna, as she is affectionately called, maintains a
ceremonial center, spirit shop, ritual practice and consultancy in
Exotic Brooklyn, NY where she offers spiritual counseling, tarot
readings, and works with individuals, groups, institutions,
municipalities and corporations to create meaningful ceremonies
for every imaginable occasion.

For information about upcoming events and services contact:

Mama Donna's Tea Garden & Healing Haven
PO Box 380403
Exotic Brooklyn, New York, NY 11238-0403
Phone: 718/857-1343
Email: CityShaman@aol.com


Watch her videos:

Follow her on Twitter:

Read her blog at:
For All Your Ritual Needs : MamaDonnasSpiritShop.com

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