Where Did the Story About the Stork Come From?
The story is pagan! White storks are highly migratory, leaving Europe for Africa in the fall. They return to central and northern Europe in late March or early April are regarded as a herald of spring. They are said to arrive just about nine months after Midsummer's Day, June 21. The Midsummer's Day festival was a popular time for weddings and fertility rituals. The stork would return right around the time of birth of the babies conceived at Midsummer.
Source: The Straight Dope
Are More Babies Born During the Full Moon?
This is no proof but many maternity nurses and doctors say it is. This is called the lunar effect. However, there have been scientific studies done and some show scientific proof while others do not. Here are a few studies that show proof:
A 1959 study broke the month into consecutive three-day periods and found that the three days of a "full moon window" -- the day before, day of and day after a full moon -- had more births than any other single three-day period. Another study, this one published in 1966, studied birth rates by moon phase -- full, half, one-quarter and three-quarter. The authors found that within the study period, more births centered around the full-moon phase than any other Source: Shulman
A French study looked at over 5 million births occurring between the months of January 1968 and the 31st December 1974. A statistical analysis of the distribution of births in the lunar month shows that more are born between the last quarter and the new moon, and fewer are born in the first quarter of the moon. According to this study, the differences between the distribution observed during the lunar month and the theoretical distribution are statistically significant. – Source: Full moon, Gravitational Pull and Childbirth, Birthsource.com
It seems it's not just real labor. It's false labor too. Expecting mothers are more likely to experience false signs of labor during full moon. Contractions known as “Braxton Hicks” become more pronounced and many believe they are in real labor.
For those that are truly in labor, it seems a woman's water is most likely to break close to or during the full moon. The theory is that the moon’s gravitational pull effects the amniotic fluid in much the same way as it effects the water in the sea, rivers and even the water that’s otherwise found in our bodies. Other theories say that much the way the moon's gravity controls the tides, it can control a woman's body which is 80% water. But so are men. The theory is that because both menstruation and ovulation generally follow a lunar cycle it seems logical to think that the moon could have an effect on childbirth as well.
Sources: A Much Better Way, Discovery Health
Naming, Welcoming, Saining, and Wiccaning Ceremonies
In Paganism, it is traditional to have a welcoming ritual for your baby. Sometimes this is called a Blessing Ceremony, Naming Ceremony, Welcoming Ceremony, or if you are Wiccan, it is called a Wiccaning. Please note that a Wiccaning has nothing to do with what religious or spiritual path the baby will follow. Like the Naming or Welcoming Ceremony is it simply about giving your child a name and/or welcoming them into the world. Some Pagan traditions (in particular Celtic) call this a Saining Ritual.
All four ceremonies can also involve asking God/dess to bless your child and/or consecrating your child using the elements, depending on your tradition. Different traditions may also do the rituals at different times. Some may do it when the child is a newborn while others may wait until the child is much older.
Here are some links to versions of these different rituals:
Naming Ceremony for Babies
Pagan Baby Naming Ceremony
Newborn Baby Wiccaning/Welcoming Ritual
Infant Wiccaning Ceremony for the Solitary Practioner
A Wiccaning Ritual
A Wiccaning Ritual I
Naming and Saining the Baby
Make a Baby Blessing Jar
The jar can be made for your own child (of any age of course) but it especially makes a great and personalized baby shower gift. If you give it as a baby shower gift, provide pieces of paper for everyone at the shower to write down blessings for the new baby.
If you made it for your own child, you can either write down the blessings for the baby yourself or have family members do it. You can do this all at once or you can keep the jar in the baby's nursery and add to it as you go.
Alternatives: You can choose to make a blessing jar for the entire family. Rather than add things you hope your family to be blessed with, you add things you already have been blessed with and are thankful for.
Or you can make a jar like the one pictured above. Rather than write out blessings for the new baby you can add things that you adore about your little one. This can be done throughout the child's baby years and makes a wonderful keepsake throughout their life.
Baby Blessing Spell
To do this it is best to take the infant outside. However, if weather does not permit or it's not safe for the newborn to be outside, this spell can be adapted for the indoors. Do it by a window if possible.
Begin by holding the child should be held up to the heavens and say:
O lady of the Starry heavens, Wise All-Father,
Behold this lovely child (Child's Name )
Conceived and brought forth in love
Bless and protect him/her
and grant the gifts of wisdom,
Inspiration, and wonder.
Place the child on the ground or hold her by the ground and say:
Hail Earth, Mother of all
This is my infant, My love,
and my jewel.
Bless and Protect him/her,
Granting you enduring and eternal
strength, and steadfastness.
May she/he ever have a spirit
that seeks the stars,
and roots deep within
Thy loving breast.
Pick up the newborn from the ground and cuddle the baby. Close your eyes and clear your mind. For those who are gifted with second sight are often able to at this time see prophesies for the child but even if you do not have such abilities make note of the first images or thoughts that come to mind.
Source: Adapted from Magical Rites from the Crystal Well by Ed Fitch
Spell to Calm a Crying Baby
Imagine pink light pouring from your heart center. Let the light surround the child, cradling it. When you feel the child is encompassed within the light, imagine rocking her gently, as though you were holding the baby in your arms. Mentally whisper comforting words to the child. Project peaceful, loving vibrations in its direction. Keep this up for several moments, even after the child stops crying.
Sachet to Help Baby Sleep
You will need: dried rose petals
In a muslin sachet combine the above ingredients and hang the sachet over the child's bed. At bedtime, crush the sachet with your hand, agitating the contents as you say, "I weave a charm of peace, so that you my love will sleep."
Source: The Goddess Within
This post has been part of the blogging project The Pagan Blog Project 2013. This is a year long blog party where you blog on pagan topics from A to Z.