Blessing the Children: Yes, It’s for Transpeople Too.

Lynnea Urania Stuart

You can see the difference in their eyes.  It’s something children don’t understand.  But they feel it.  Adults usually don’t understand it either.  Blessing children can be a cathartic exercise for us.  It’s especially so for us who are trans.  In fact it’s a tradition practiced by transwomen traceable over thousands of years.

Blessing is a lost art for most people.  It’s perhaps the most often ignored aspect of trans living, partly because most adults don’t bless children and partly because most people won’t believe transpeople can be spiritual.  But make no mistake:  within every transperson a profoundly sacred place exists that reaches to the Divine as an essence beyond our capacity to grasp.  But when it wells up from within the heart it can offer healing and even life-changing reconciliation.

The place of blessing in trans experience has been noted in the work of Hijra in India.  Much of how bands of Hijra have existed have relied upon begging.  But the Kama Sutra tells of a “third sex,” a people whose presence at weddings may be regarded as fortunate.  To this day Hijra attend weddings, serve as midwives, and bless children.1

The British journalist Zia Jaffrey wrote about the Hijra in her book The Invisibles: A Tale of the Eunuchs of India.  Ms. Jaffrey is not herself transgender but became familiar with Hijra society and history during her stay in the Subcontinent.  She recorded the following blessing that survives, possibly from the time of Ram, but evidencing a Muslim influence also:

 

“Lord of the Universe:

because of You,

Ram was born. 

 

Because of You,

Ram was born. 

The instruments are playing in Adhvaryu.

 

Lord of the Universe,

because of You,

all the money is being thrown around

and the one who steals is stealing it.

 

Lord of the Universe,

because of You,

Ram was born.

 

And why was Ram born? 

Ram was born

because Ram was also to die.”2

 

It may seem weird to our Western sensibilities to think of this as a blessing.  After all, the vast majority of transpeople aren’t Hijra and have no ties to Hijra culture..  But a closer look at what has been a vital aspect to Hijra practice speaks to our own vitality as well.  It makes sense to consider what intentions exist in the practice of blessing.

In its most basic sense, blessing offers acceptance, warmth, reconciliation, and makes peace.  That’s a boon for parents and their children.  When we commit to transition, children often feel left out of the decision or may feel abandoned.  Blessing children offers much reassurance that the parent continues that current of love and closeness.  When conflict has devastated a family, a simple act of blessing can do much to restore those natural family ties.

Blessing also awakens to wonder and cultivates innocence.  To bless means to draw upon one’s own deepest dreams, those parts of you that awaken the most profound awe.  Innocence isn’t something lost forever once a child realizes right or wrong and certainly isn’t lost when they begin to question about sexuality.  It’s about awakening to dreams as a part of living, and bringing the wonderment of the true grandeur of the universe into daily life.  Blessing provides a beautiful avenue for doing this.

To lightworkers, blessing also provides a path for the transference of energies that may impact dreaming patterns and whatever faculties may be connected therewith.  This perhaps is why the practice of blessing was so esteemed in the Bible.  Even Esau who despised his birthright desired greatly his father’s blessing, indicating that there must have been something of great value offered thereby.3

Take a look at the image above from a Medieval Kabbalistic woodcut that resembles a Vulcan salute from Star Trek held up to a mirror.  Leonard Nimoy actually patterned that gesture from this.  It’s the Jewish “Berakhah Kohannim” or “Blessing of the Priests.” Mr. Nimoy adapted it after he saw his rabbi using the gesture.4 But people may also find it strange why this gesture should be used for anything, especially a blessing.

But look at the negative space formed by the hands.  You might perceive the hands forming an outline of a dove in flight from the one who blesses toward the one being blessed.  The thumbs and forefingers form the outline of the dove’s tail and the parted third and fourth fingers form the outline of its wings.  It may be described as the Yahu, the Sacred Dove of Sumeria.  It may be thought of as the dove associated with the Ruach Haqqadosh or Holy Spirit.  The Berakhah Kohannim was also placed level to the mouth after the manner: “And Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people, and he blessed them.”5

In context of these things, we might offer this adaption from the Hijra Blessing of Children to correspond more closely to Western sensibilities:

 

“Lord of the Universe:

because of You,

Light walked among us. 

 

Because of You,

Light was born. 

The instruments are playing

in the Holy cities.

 

Lord of the Universe,

because of You,

the treasuries of generosity are opened

and people give to the needy.

 

Lord of the Universe,

because of You,

Light was born.

 

And why was Light born? 

Light was born

because Light was also to die.

 

And why did Light die?

Light died

So Light could be kindled

in the eyes of a child who wonders.

 

(add any special words you choose)

 

Y’varekhékha Adonái v’yíshmerèkha.

Ya‘ér Adonái panáiv eléikha víchunnèkha.

Yassá Adonái panáiv eléikha

v’yasém l’khá shalóm.

 

May Adonai bless you and guard you.

May Adonai make His face to shine unto you and be gracious to you.

May Adonai lift His face unto you

and grant to you peace.”

 

Perhaps that renders the idea of blessing children a bit less obscure.  I expanded upon the intentions of the Hijra Blessing of Children to fit Western culture and added the common blessing from the TaNaKh or Hebrew Old Testament with translation to English immediately following it.6 In this you might picture the face of a Divine Father who smiles, raising His face toward the child from one downcast from rejection toward one whom He accepts as a newly found friend.

This is but one of many examples of blessing.  By all means write and memorize your own after the manner of your own spirituality.  Blessing children isn’t just for those traditionally religious or even Abrahamists.  It’s a universal practice, enacted in forms peculiar to culture and aspirations.  The essence of blessing isn’t in formulations but the act because when you bless you also commit to the blessing yourself.  If the Divine becomes the child’s friend, so must you; a commitment to peace that binds you together from generation to generation.

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REFERENCES:

Image:  A version of a famous old Jewish Kabbalist woodcut of the Berakhah Kohannim, artist unknown.  Image recurs in many textbooks on Kabbalah and is public domain.  Though the thumbs don’t quite touch in this print they do in actual practice.

  1. “Tritiya-Prakriti: People of the Third Sex (1)” Galva-108 Gay & Lesbian Vaishnava Association, accessed July 13, 2017. http://www.galva108.org/single-post/2014/05/13/TritiyaPrakriti-People-of-the-Third-Sex-1.
  2. Jaffrey, Zia. “The Invisibles: A Tale of the Eunuchs of India” (Pantheon Books, Random House, NY.  1991)  ISBN: 0-679-41577-7, pp. 266-267.
  3. Genesis 27: 34-41.
  4. Rabbi Yonassan Gershom. “The Jewish Origin of the Vulcan Salute” Patheos, May 24, 2009, accessed July 13, 2017. http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/The-Jewish-Origin-of-the-Vulcan-Salute
  5. Leviticus 9:22, quoted in Kaplan, Aryeh. “Sefer Yetzirah:  The Book of Creation, In Theory and Practice” (Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC, San Francisco, 1997) ISBN: 0-87728-855-0, p. 36.
  6. Numbers 6:24-26. Transliteration from “Masoretic Text” with accents supplied by the author for the reader, primary accents denoted with the acúte accent and secondary accents with the gràve accent.  The translation thereof is the author’s.
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