'Just magical': Queensland mum opts for traditional Aboriginal blessing for new baby

Photo: They sang and communicated through song. Supplied
Photo: They sang and communicated through song. Supplied 

When Chontelle Tracey, 34, from the Sunshine Coast, became pregnant she saw it as an opportunity to embrace and connect to her Aboriginal culture.

As a girl growing up, she was fortunate to have been taken under the wing of an aboriginal elder called Garmi.

Garmi comes from a long line of healers and midwives who continues to work closely with aboriginal women and children.

Photos: At the blessing and baby Zephyr with one of the elders. Supplied
Photos: At the blessing and baby Zephyr with one of the elders. Supplied 

When she found out Chontelle was pregnant, she was thrilled and suggested doing a traditional blessing.

A blessing helps connect mother and baby to birth and prepare her for a smooth and calm birth. Traditionally, all the elders and aunties would be with a woman while she birthed.

The blessing took place at a sacred space at the base of Mount Beerwah at a place called Nugeena.

Beside a sacred damn and under a sacred birthing tree used for years by Aboriginal women who walked from around Sunshine Coast to birth under the tree, Chontelle and her friends and family gathered to bless her and her unborn baby.

"It was really surreal and amazing.  You could feel the energy of mother nature and mother Beerwah looking over you. To be out there was just magical and being a part of it made me feel really connected to mother earth and the women that were there," Chontelle explained.

"It's a really old tree and the damn is sacred water for women only.This area was specifically for women only."

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The blessing began with a fire to welcome the traditional custodians, mother earth and the spirits who would be blessing her.  Chontelle said the spirits made their presence felt at this point when the sky briefly opened up with rain.

They sang and communicated through song and then walked to the sacred birthing tree where a labyrinth was set out with flowers and rocks and aboriginal symbols engraved into the ground.

Spirit elders were called in and elements of the earth to guide her as she lay on the ground in the middle of the circle.

Photo: The traditional blessing took place at a sacred space called Nugeena.
Photo: The traditional blessing took place at a sacred space called Nugeena. 

An aboriginal elder leading the blessing chanted around her belly before each guest came to bless her and share their well wishes with her.

A log was used to signify the womb, which friends had painted well wishes on.

It was carried down to the damn where guests were blessed with clay from the damn and aboriginal face painting was done.

Photo: A blessing helps connect mother and baby to birth and prepare her for a smooth and calm birth. Supplied
Photo: A blessing helps connect mother and baby to birth and prepare her for a smooth and calm birth. Supplied 

After that everyone returned to the birthing tree and thanked the traditional custodians and spirits who had come to bless the baby.

"My nan passed away a year or two before I got pregnant and a spiritual friend told me my nan was there, so being able to connect with her was amazing," Chontelle said. "Knowing that she was there was so special to me because she would appreciate being a part of something so special."

"It definitely grounded me. Understanding that birth will happen how it is supposed to, and made me feel connected to the spiritual side.  It helped knowing I could call on them if it got to the point where I couldn't do it anymore.

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied 

I was in labour for two and half days, so it definitely helped through the duration of the labour," Chontelle said.

During the blessing ceremony an elder put a hand on Chontelle's tummy and told her her baby had bright eyes.  

"She said his eyes will be very bright and captivate anyone that comes in contact with him and he has very blue, bright eyes," she said.

Chontelle said she is proud that her son Zephyr, will be able to be a part of the Indigenous community no matter how dark his skin is.

She explained that being a part of such an important and traditional ceremony was a privilege because once the elders start passing if their stories stop being told the culture will die.

"It (Indigenous culture) gets pushed away and lost so they are wanting to bring it into focus and teach younger generations about it.  It used to be part of everyday life."

Chontelle is pregnant again and looking forward to again experiencing a traditional blessing. She is also planning a welcome to country for Zephyr with a smoking ceremony.