Closing of the Bones Ritual
Many years ago during a workshop about the Rebozo conducted by an amazing birth worker and teacher named Naoili Vinaver we came to the end of the session when someone asked about using a Rebozo for a “Closing of the Bones Ceremony”. I had never heard of this before so was intrigued. I was seated near the front of the room and Naoli chose me to be the “mama” for a very brief five minute demo of the ceremony. Only moments after I was wrapped I became overwhelmed with tears, emotions swelling inside of me that I didn’t even know existed. It had been more than 18 years since I gave birth and I thought that the experience was ‘behind” me. Little did I know how profound this was going to be. I felt a deep sense of completion, renewal , a hug from the universe. I spent the next several months once again processing and healing, all brought to the surface by this one moment. It was powerful to say the least. I felt drawn to offer it to my clients and started my research and provide this service when ever possible. I cannot recommend it enough to complete the birthing process energetically, physically, and emotionally. Here are a few things I have come to know about the process.
The “Closing of the Bones” ritual is commonly performed in Mexican/Latin American midwifery. It is ideally done 3 days postpartum, (I usually perform on day 40 postpartum) but can be beneficial for any Mom, any number of years postpartum! It can actually address any kind of depletion a person may be experiencing and is even being used on combat vets returning home to help them recover.
The ritual begins with a hot bath infused with special herbs to calm and center the mama. She is invited to talk about whatever aspects of the birth or her new role as Mother are lingering that she may want to resolve. The Mother is then led to her bed and is wrapped up and laid down. Two partners sequentially “hug” her body together, from crown to toes, with a Rebozo (a long piece of cloth). Once complete, she is allowed to lie quietly and integrate her experience. We use this time to acknowledge the beauty and power that her body and soul has given to the birthing of her child. Praising and supporting her in every way.
This process literally helps “close” a Mother’s body, which “opens” in so many ways, both in preparation for, and during birth itself. During the ritual, pelvic bones are pulled back to their pre-pregnancy placement, and shrinkage of the uterus is facilitated.
The ritual can also help “close” a new Mother energetically, as both pregnancy, and particularly the intense process of labor and birth, can be very vulnerable times for a woman, psychologically and psychically.
The loss of blood during birth is thought to induce a “cold” state in a postpartum Mama, so the hot bath helps restore her warmth. It can also increase milk flow, help milk to let down into the breasts, prevent the breast milk from being “cold,” and address muscle fatigue, heaviness in the limbs, edema, appetite loss and constipation.
Hot baths alone can positively influence cardiovascular, hormonal, immune, musculoskeletal and respiratory systems. The herbs for the Bano de Hierbas are specifically chosen to stimulate circulation, energize the body, fight infection, and recover vital heat and moisture. The essential oils released by the herbs affect recuperation, balance, and relaxation.
~ Testimonial from recent client Sara
When Cindi guided me gently into the warm bath strewn with rose petals and lavender, soft chanting and candles transforming my bathroom into a sacred, inviting space, I surprised myself by bursting into tears. And during the next 30 minutes, with Cindi’s warm affirmations and recollections of my labor, and empathetic ear as I let pour out all of the feelings, lovely, dark and deep, that had been opened up in me during the birth process and then in the even more intense experience of learning to be a mama, I found myself deeply relaxing and letting go into a place of trust within myself. The next part of the ceremony, in which Cindi and a friend of mine wrapped me from head to foot while honoring the body that had brought forth life and now was being ushered into new life a a mother, allowed me to begin the process of returning to a collected, gathered self, albeit a new self. As Cindi affirmed, the wrapping of the body mimics the process with which the dead in many cultures are attended to because to be born a mother, the old self must die. Before Cindi performed this beautiful ceremony, I had been struggling with fear and doubt, not yet ready perhaps to embrace my new life. The transformation I felt afterwards, and since, was immediate. When she brought me my son at the end of the ceremony, I felt like I could embrace him (and myself) with a new lightness, calm and peace. I think that as a culture we give a lot of attention to women who are pregnant and then we shower them with praise in the days after the birth. I didn’t know before I had my son that I would need this deep affirmation, witness and support once all the visitors had gone, and the real work (and joy) of motherhood had begun.
Closing of the Bones is a very intimate Ritual performed in your home with the assistance of a trusted woman in your life who you would like to share this experience with you. If you don’t have an assistant I can bring another doula with me. Plan on 2 hours of time between feeding your baby and to have a caretaker (papa perhaps) present to attend to your baby while we are in ceremony.
Cost of Closing of the Bones Ritual : $300.