Religion played a major role in my life. The thoughts that filled my mind were shaped in my formative years in a Catholic orphanage and during high school and college in Protestant fundamentalism. Religion’s words and images, like the steady drip of an IV inserted at birth, convinced me that I, as Eve’s daughter, was “other” than god, that my position was secondary, and that my body was blemished.
As I gathered the fragments the girl-child’s story from the margins of religious history, I searched for stories, songs, and affirmations that celebrated her value, body, and life. As I found (or invented) woman-affirming resources, I used them to create healing experiences to offer at retreats, workshops, and religious services.
In the “Celebrating the Divine Girl-Child” transformational experience I invite women to imagine hearing stories of the Divine Girl-Child whose birth was announced and celebrated by angels, whose coming merited visitors and precious gifts, and in whose honor the peoples of the world gather for a yearly retelling of the story of her birth. Imagine if you had heard these words in the synagogue, church, temple, or home of your childhood.
In this hour everything is stillness, there is total silence and awe. We are overwhelmed with a great wonder. We keep vigil. We are expecting the coming of the Divine Child.
In the fullness of time, she is born. She shines like the sun, bright and beautiful. She is delightful to see. She appears as peace, soothing the whole world. The voices of many invisible beings in one voice rejoice: She has arrived. The Divine Child is among us. (Pass the word throughout the audience: “She has arrived. The Divine Child is among us.”)
Become bold. Lean over and look at her. Touch her face. Lift her in your hands with great awe. Look at her more closely. There is no blemish on her. She is splendid to see. Dance with her. Now come to a still place with her. She is laughing a most joyful laugh. She opens her eyes and looks intently at you. Suddenly a great light comes forth from her eyes, like a flash of lightning. The light enters you. She enters you. You begin to live.
____________ is born. The Divine Child is among us! She offers us gifts of light and healing. (Pause as each woman’s name is read. After which, a cheer goes up to celebrate her birth.)
“Sun, Moon, Stars, all that move in the heavens, I bid you hear me. Into your midst has come a new life. Winds, Clouds, Rains, Mist, all that move in the air. Hills, Valleys, Rivers, Lakes, Trees, Grasses, all that are of the earth. Come, one and all. Give your consent, I implore! Make this child’s path smooth. Let her travel beyond the four hills and the four directions of the Wheel of the Universe.” (Adapted from the Plains Indians Prayer)
The Song of Welcome
Hold the baby. Tenderly love her. Hold the baby. Tell her you care.
Verse 1. Welcome her joyfully. Shout with a loud voice:
“You belong here among us. We're glad you're alive!”
Verse 2. Look down upon her. Bless every movement.
She deserves loving-kindness, every day of her life.
Verse 3. Surround her with goodness, safety, and laughter.
She is the Divine Child, come among us this day.
Verse 4. Look at her closely. There is no blemish.
She is a delight, Soothing this world with peace.
Verse 5. Cherish the baby, living among us.
Care for her willingly, every day of her life.
Verse 6. Celebrate the girl-child, born in all ages.
Come to bring us salvation and grace.
-Patricia Lynn Reilly, Excerpt from Love Your Body Regardless