tips for holding a water blessing ceremony
I’ve included many things we have tried in Totnes – you wouldn’t want to do them all in one event! There’s no one way to do this, and my feeling is that as long as you come with good and respectful intentions, it’s fine to follow your own creativity and feeling.
- Welcome people and announce the shape of the event or any practical or safety matters. You might like to invite folks to introduce themselves to the water by bowing, speaking or dipping their fingers in. Or to have an opening circle of names and a gratitude, intention, or what brought them here.
- Open ceremonial space in whatever way feels right – this could be as simple as a moments silence, holding hands and thinking about why we’re here, or smudging, or creating an altar together. I like to call in the directions, the elements, and the well and wise ancestors (remember to release them at the end).
- A focal point – you may like to create an altar or centrepeice. This can be as simple as a small cloth and a candle, or a beautiful bowl of water, or representations of the 4 elements – it's also beautiful to create a mandala together from natural objects, that you can offer to the water at the end.
- Do something to help people shift from the head to the heart. Shake the body, feeling you are shaking from the top of the head right down through the feet into the earth, then shake again and add a sound, develop this into 3 ‘ahh’s from the heart into the water to open the space. OR spend a moment tuning into the senses, as this helps us become present. Invite people to tune into the sounds around them, feel their feet on the earth, the air their skin, their heart beat, their breath.
- Sing a couple simple, repetetive and easy to join songs to start off with – you may need to reassure less confidant singers that it doesn’t matter how they sound, we are singing our love to the river and it’s not a performance! Once they’ve got into singing, remind them to sing from the heart and direct their heart-song to the waters.
- You may want to make space for individuals to offer a song or poem
- Have a space for sharing prayers and praises to the river. Remind folks that as waters carry vibration and memory and spread it far and wide, it's important that every word we put into the water has a positive vibration – we pray for what we want – ie; we’d pray for the waters to be clean and protected rather than for pollution to stop. We can all pray at once, or one at a time and place our offering into a central bowl of water, or to create a mandala (which is then offered to the river), or if this feels too much at first, invite people to go one by one to make a prayer and an offering while a song is played.
- At 12pm we sing the Water Blessing song by Nalini, with song sheets - this includes the ancient chant used by Dr Emoto (see more on him here) to heal waters in Japan, and he asked for people to gather at 12 each month to do this. I often bring spare rattles and percussion to lend out. This is a good time for people to make individual offerings and prayers if you are doing it that way, or, if you’ve already shared prayers, for 2 or more people to carry the offerings and give to the waters
- Close the ceremony in some way. Perhaps a closing sharing round – 3 words for how you feel right now, or a gratitude. Thank everyone for coming, and if you called in directions or other support, release them now.
- Its lovely to share drinks and snacks afterwards if there’s time.
Other things we’ve tried
- Take time to stand and meditate at the waters edge as Dr Emoto did with groups of all sizes – meditating the words ‘water, I love you. I honour you, I thank you’ or similar in your own words.
- Have time in silence listening to the water’s wisdom, or meditating, or talking to the river. Perhaps share afterwards
- After listening to the river and tuning in, try sounding, perhaps accompanied by a drum. Let any sound come through, but not words. It takes a confidant person to start it off and then everyone can join in their own way – the results can be very beautiful and moving
- If, like me, you are not a singer, ask local singing leaders and musicians to come and lead
- Swim/paddle/picnic together afterwards as a community
- Tend the waters by picking up litter etc.