Ceremony is story:
The stories we tell about the changes we undergo create a web of meaning woven into the fabric of our lives.
Life is change and so we cross thresholds.
WE MOVE TO NEW PLACES,
WE CHANGE HOMES,
WE MAKE LIFE-CHANGING DECISIONS,
WE FULFILL PERSONAL MILESTONES,
OUR BODIES CHANGE,
WE CYCLE THROUGH LIFE’S SEASONS,
WE JOURNEY THROUGH ILLNESS,
WE PASS THROUGH THE VEIL…
All of these vital changes deeply affect our journeys. They can be rushed through and left unattended, the threads unraveling into a loss of possibilities… or, they can be attended to and made meaningful, as we harness their power to transform and to strengthen our relationships with our loved ones. Let’s work together to find fresh, authentic ways to honor your journey.
THROUGH RITUAL SPACE, WE ENTER INTO A SENSE OF TIMELESSNESS, SLOWNESS, DEEP PRESENCE, AND DEEP LISTENING TO OUR HEART’S YEARNING. THIS IS WHERE MEANING-MAKING TAKES PLACE.
“Celebrants are artisans of ritual, wordsmiths at the service of each person’s story, creators of a space where time stands still long enough to honor the deeper threads of one’s unique journey.”
– Valerie Hahn, Life-Cycle Certified Celebrant
Ritual and ceremony nourish and feed our soul and spirit, just as food nourishes our body; celebrating life and making our stories meaningful is a necessary source of sustenance for a life fully lived and held precious through honoring and gratitude.
Your personal story matters, and it reaches far beyond the confines of your everyday jobs and routines. Creating ceremony will help you drop into your own life’s poetics, into the underlying currents of your mythical journey on this wild Earth.
Invite ritual in
For the Child-Bearing Years
“Whatever your family configuration or how you have come to cradle a child – what truly matters is the quality and manner in which we tend to and care for these exquisite incoming souls.” — Jill E. Hopkins, Welcoming the Soul of a Child
In bringing a new life earthside, there are so many streams to tend to. The birth of a child, yes, but also the birth of parents, the birth of a family, the extension of a family lineage, and perhaps the complexity of adoption. The ripples of this event are far-reaching and can deeply affect the lives of all those involved.
There are many steps along the way that we can support and honor through ceremony – from conscious conception rites to expectant parent ceremonies. These offer emotional and spiritual support, guidance, comfort, celebration, and a sense of community as you ready yourself to bring a new life into this world. There are so many stories, practices, and rituals “that remind our spirit of the loving ways we can nurture new life as it mysteriously joins us on earth, and ways we can nurture one another as well” (Jack Kornfield).
Let’s turn our attention and hold space for the profound mystery at play, the deep emotions emerging, the groundswell changing our world, the new constellations forming, and the seeds of hope we are planting into the future. Let’s begin to imagine together…
“Somewhere inside every woman is a deep knowing, even if it is barely conscious, that giving birth is a multi-layered, mysterious rites of passage.” — Pam England
Becoming a mother can be a woman’s greatest rites of passage. The changes experienced in your body, your mind, your various identities and roles, can bring up a swell of emotions that need attending to. These changes are profound, sacred, life-changing. Ceremony can create a sacred container with loved ones for you to be(hold) your wild transformation, preparing you to let go of the your before-baby world and welcome the new with-baby world.
As a celebrant, I will weave together traditional mother blessing elements with your own story and journey into motherhood, teasing out your personal symbols and celebrating your unique flavor in this rites of passage. Surrounded by your loved ones, you will be supported through your joys and challenges, hopes and doubts, honored for your beauty, power, strength, and dignity, pampered and comforted, and given a place to sink deep into the transformation taking place within and without as you step into motherhood.
Be this for your birth child (first or following), or for an adoption ceremony, this ceremony helps you prepare mentally, emotionally and spiritually for the motherhood journey ahead. A deep and conscious connection arises in those who attend and who will be there to offer support, wisdom and guidance in your ongoing journey as mother.
Note: The term “blessingway” is being replaced by the term Mother Blessing in honor of the sacredness of the term “blessingway” in the Navajo tradition, which refers to a sacred spiritual ceremony performed by the Navajo people to celebrate rites of passage that occur throughout the entire life cycle, and not only the passage into motherhood.
There is a sacred window that follows the time after birth. A birth story ceremony can help to consciously weave meaning around this postpartum cocoon and mark your birthing rites of passage. Within the sacred space of this nurturing ceremony, you can find yourself surrounded by the women you love who come to witness your birth story and to comfort, support, and pamper you in this cocoon time. Alternatively, you may choose to wait until you feel ready to step out of the cocoon, at which time we can create a ceremony to welcome your return, as mother, into community life. Let’s start imagining…
“Everybody loves being welcomed by joyous, enthusiastic and happy faces when returning home from a long day of work or a trip away from home… Being welcomed puts an end to our long journey. This is as close as I can explain the process of birth for souls coming to Earth: our children need to be joyfully welcomed when they are born.” – Sobonfu Some
This ceremony can take place in the intimacy of a close circle of family and friends, or amid a larger gathering of your Little One’s community; it can happen soon after birth, or a year later, depending on the timing that feels right for your family. It provides an opportunity for parents and siblings to reflect and express their family values and style, and gives the community an opportunity to feel involved in this child’s life.
These are precious occasions that leave lasting impressions and shared memories to cherish again and again at each birthday. Let’s creatively honor your little one’s journey Earth-side through a delicious celebration of personalized ritual, story, blessings, song, vows, gifting and feasting!
“All over the world, ceremonies take place to give voice to the awe and thanksgiving that the safe delivery of a child inspires. These awaken the community to the practical and spiritual task of raising the child and supporting its parents. The bestowing of a name is usually a central part of that ceremony” – Jackie Singer
Whether birthdays, family circles, seasonal celebrations, growth milestones, starting school, daytime or evening rituals, there are so many ways we can integrate ritual into our family life to deepen connection. These can help us acknowledge emotions, celebrate growth and changes, ease transitions, and anchor the seasonal movements into our lives.
And what of those times when the nature of things feels out of rhythm, when life and death hold hands too closely, when budding hopes and dreams wither not in the winter, but are buried in spring…
Miscarriage, stillbirth, terminating of a pregnancy, or needing to release the dream of having children to consciously create a life without… Many challenging feelings arise, asking for a voice, seeking their place in your heart, requiring appropriate time and respect. A sensitive and creative ritual space can help acknowledge & express these deepest needs, longings, and grievances, holding precious your journey in times of loss.
For Transitions & Life Passages
“I have come to suspect that in the absence of ritual, the soul runs out of its real nourishment”— Malidoma Some
There are so many pivotal moments that have a significant impact in our lives. These can range from a midlife passage to moving to a new location, preparing a milestone birthday, committing to a new relationship, stepping into a career changes, taking on a new name, celebrating a graduation, or endless other possibilities that bring about important changes in our sense of identity and our roles.
Let’s make sure your passage gets the acknowledgment it deserves. Our human need for deep connection to life’s profound experiences runs deep. As we turn our attention inwardly during that these experiences, their transformative potential opens up. Let’s work together to create the space and time to honor this transition in your life, so that your wings can unfurl into your shifting reality and you may emerge into the fullness of your next step.
A new home…
Moving into a home (house, apartment, cabin, RV…) can be a significant event as we invest in a space that holds us, our dreams, our relationships, our sleep, our waking hours… So much takes place within the walls of our homes and they become extensions of our inner lives. As such, many traditions around the world have “blessed” new homes. In creating a house warming ceremony, we work together to find the meaning of “home” for you and create an experience that fits your desires, taking the time to infuse with love and gratitude the house that becomes your home.
Saying goodbye to home…
With every leaving of something – be it a house, a neighbourhood, a community, a country – there is a separation from the familiar and a stepping into the unknown. Let’s see how we can support you through the impending changes and blow wind into the sails of your next adventure. Ceremony and ritual can help you to acknowledge the impact of the changes, support your inner reorientation, and celebrate the seeds of new beginnings.
“Part of our reweaving of women’s culture is a claiming of these rites of passage as important and finding ways to mark them which are meaningful to us.” — Lucy H. Pearce, Reaching for the Moon
Celebrating our daughters’ coming of age through nurturing ceremonial milestones and rituals along the way can gift our little women (or “moon daughters”) with a sense of how the amazing transformations in their bodies are sacred and full of growth potential. A rites of passage ceremony creates a chance to acknowledge the emotional, psychological and spiritual impact of this transition, and creates an opportunity for deeper connection with our daughters.
“Rituals are not optional to a healthy culture: they tell us where we’ve been, they bind us together; they give us courage for the journey.” ~ Marilyn Sewell
The passages from childhood to adolescence and from adolescence to adulthood are rites of initiation: The adolescent or young adult is initiated into a new role, with new rights and responsibilities, their identities growing and evolving. From the passage from elementary school to high school, to the puberty changes that gradually usher the transformation from childhood to youth then adulthood, to learning to drive, or starting a job, or starting university, or leaving home… For these to be positively integrated and transformative, they need our time and attention – they need to be acknowledged, honored, held by the family and community, and celebrated through meaningful rites. This helps not only our growing youth, but also the “village” family/community to best navigate and embrace the changes at hand.
In preparing these ceremonies, the youth is very much involved in self-reflection, clarification of intents, envisioning and creating a project or challenge, then its presentation to the family/community. This process can take place over several months, even a year if desired, to create a sense of build up, preparation, and accomplishment.
“Ritual is an essential part of human life… Weaving ritual into our lives gives life a wholeness, a completeness, mending the ragged ends back together. Ritual returns to us a shape that life has lost, a meaningfulness we knew in our hearts had to be there.” — Francesca Ciancimino Howell, University of Colorado Boulder
Life is full of transitions – sometimes chosen, sometimes unexpected – whether these changes take place in our relationships (as with divorce), in our work life (as with layoffs or retirement), or in our health (as with chronic or life-threatening illness). In moments of transition, when the ground shifts under our feet, we are required to redefine who we are and reorient ourselves inwardly. If we accept the invitation to transformation, we come into greater alignment with the changes taking place in our lives.
Depending on where you are in your life transition there are hardships & losses to be acknowledged, gifts to be honored, and/or a new way of being in this world to be celebrated. Ceremony and ritual can help us take the time to integrate the significant inner transition taking place and help our community support us through change, whether this be through a support ceremony, a process of sustenance rituals to “hold the center” during a period of transition, or a ceremony to mark the completion of a passage.
“As they participate, they remember. As they remember, they grieve. As they grieve, they love.”
– Sarah Yorke, Remembering Well
Loss, sorrow, fear, grief are part of life and bring us ever closer to the depth of our love. These emotions claim containers that will allow these energies to emerge from our depths to be acknowledged and honored. Sometimes the container becomes the sacred silence of our solitude and sometimes the listening hearts of our community. Often both are needed. Whether healing through chronic or life-threatening illnesses, addiction and recovery, pregnancy trauma and infant loss, sacred dying and bereavement, shared trauma in the community, or mourning the losses of planetary suffering and deepening global crisis, ritual and ceremony creates the space to acknowledge our loss and healing. Through these sacred moments, we remember ourselves into the wholeness of our existence.
For The Final Passage
“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
How difficult it is to lose someone we love… How difficult it is to lose someone who has been in our constellation, whatever the emotions that are present then and now… And what a gift to chose to honor this person through ceremony, with the respect and careful tending that each human life deserves. Ceremonies for final passage through the veil are a part of the healing process: space is made at the kitchen table of our hearts for all the emotions that want to sit down and be heard, acknowledged, given space. We serve them each a hot cup of tea and allow our hearts to steep in a salty mix of joy and sorrow. In the safe container of these ceremonies and held by our community, we are offered support to help us turn towards life’s utter beauty, messiness, grit, and greatness.
While celebrant-crafted ceremonies can integrate traditional elements of funerals and memorial ceremonies, they also offer you the freedom and creativity to authentically honor your loved one in ways that resonate with you. With fresh and imaginative rituals, these celebrations of life reflect the flavour of the life they lived, the breadth of their story, the depths of their unique journey, the love you shared.
Funeral celebrations of life take place in the wake of death, either in the intimacy of a home or at a funeral home. Memorial celebrations of life can happen later in the grieving process, like on a special day of your choosing, and can take place in various settings that reflect the legacy your loved one is leaving behind – be it in the form of a walking pilgrimage through the woods to a beloved nature spot, an intimate gathering in the deceased’s garden or living room, a beach-side celebration for a lover of oceans, a large party in a favorite restaurant, or a moving creation of song, dance, poetry in a meaningful setting… Each celebration is different, as each person’s journey through life and death is unique.
If interested, ask me about green burial and home-funeral options.
“to live in this world
you must be able
to do three things
to love what is mortal;
to hold it against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go” – Mary Oliver
When preparing for the inevitable final passage through the veil, Living Life Celebrations are a rare and precious chance to gather with those that matter most to you and to celebrate what you have meant to each other in this lifetime. This type of ceremony does not replace a funeral or memorial, rather it is a meaningful chance to celebrate – while you are alive here and now – and to affirm your life and legacy, to express your gratitude and appreciation, to feel the love that surrounds you, to receive the blessings from your loved ones, to feel that your unique life has made a difference.
We can craft this together and/or with the help of a close friend or family member, to create a ceremony that resonates with you. You may want to celebrate in the safe sanctuary of an intimate circle of close friends, or maybe you would rather feel surrounded by a larger gathering of your community. Where the ceremony takes place and what kind of elements give it shape will all depend on what is unique to you, your qualities, your loves and interests. This celebration will be a joyous reflection of your life’s breadth and depth, and will help your close ones to best accompany you as the final passage of your journey unfolds.
FROM BIRTH TO DEATH, THROUGH THE CYCLING SEASONS:
I tend to many passages & milestones across the human life-cycle, but do not yet offer weddings.
I respectfully acknowledge that I live with my family and work within the unceded traditional territory of the K’ómoks Nation.