What is a ceremony? …and why have one at all?
“Ceremonies are celebrations that stand outside of time’s normal flow. They are occasions for stepping out of our routines and preoccupations so we may touch something essential in life. We seek ceremony when we feel that something powerful and profound is happening.”
(from David Oldfieldâ€””The Journey” an experiential rite of passage for modern adolescents.)
Celebrants now understand that a wide range of ceremonies are necessary to fulfill human needs, to add meaning and purpose to peoples lives and to benefit society as a whole. When you really think about it, our lives are full of ritual and ceremony in one way or another. Our calendars are dotted with regularly occurring civic, cultural, religious or sporting events. They mark the new year in differing cultures, birthday and wedding anniversaries, celebrations to remember participation and loss of life in wars, etc…
It was a strongly held belief of American anthropologist Joseph Campbell that the level of civilization in a society is directly proportional to the number of ceremonies practiced in that society.
So you have decided to get married… congratulations! But you don’t want to have your wedding ceremony in a church with a religious celebrant? Then you need to find a civil marriage celebrant to officiate for you.
Civil celebrants in Australia are not confined to any exclusive area, so the choice is yours completely. And therein lies the problem: there are hundreds and hundreds of Celebrants throughout Australia, so where do you start looking? Click for more.
Other ceremonies I can conduct
Commitment & renewal of vows ceremonies: A ceremony or celebration can be as richly and ritually symbolic or as simple as you desire; as big and all-inclusive as perhaps your wedding was or just for the two of you. Click for more on commitments. Click for more on renewals.
The name giving ceremony responds to the cultural and community need to welcome a child into the family. In western culture this ceremony goes back to pre Christian Roman and Greek times. A child was not a member of the family until he or she was named at the naming ceremony. A name giving ceremony is not a baptism or a christening, though it is sometimes referred to as a ‘secular christening’. Click for more.
Teenage Transition Ceremony or Adolescence Ceremony. This is one of the most overlooked occasions in need of ceremony in the developing culture of Australia. This ceremony in essence, allows young people to let go of their former childhood and enter a threshold or a new space – the beginning of their adolescent life of new rights, responsibilities,of acceptance, new hope and new directions. This ceremony has the capacity, I believe to contribute in a positive way in the lives of young people, many of whom may feel lost or confused, misunderstood, unloved and with no real sense of purpose at this time of their lives.
Divorce Ceremony. Today, divorce seems to be no more important than signing a piece of paper and sending it off in the mail. I am sure many of us have heard it said Is that all there is? This ceremony, is an answer to that question.
Performing a ritual to acknowledge the end of a relationship is an important part of the healing process. Whether it is a breakup of a love affair, a special friendship or the dissolution of the legal bonds of marriage.This ceremony is intended to resolve issues, tie up loose ends, and assist greatly with the moving on process.
Healing Circle. This is a ceremony conducted to celebrate life and to assist loved ones to cope with compromised health or personal issues. Support networks can often be formalised within family and friends as a result of ceremonies such as this. Rituals designed to assist the letting go of negative thoughts and support the healing process can be added to this ceremony as can a period of meditation.
Birthdays. Birthdays are special because they give us the opportunity to celebrate ‘life’, to acknowledge our aliveness and the the ability that each of us has to create unique, productive and satisfying lives for ourselves. As a celebrant I am happy to construct a very personalised ceremony around the traditonal cake, candles and presents celebration, or to perform a thanksgiving for life ceremony on its own or followed by the traditional party.
Retirement. Whether by choice or thrust upon you, this can be a time of great change and adjustment, a time of perceived loss, emotional turmoil, feelings of sadness and trepidation or of happiness and much anticipation. Times of transition in our lives, be it positive or negative, signify moving towards something new and possibly unfamiliar. These ceremonies help you move on and can often assist in formalising a support and encoragement network.
Home Dedication. Whatever your new abode happens to be, your own new home, a rented one, an apartment or just sharing as a room mate, a home blessing/dedication is a wonderful way to begin making a place yours. Imprint your new home with your intentions and your energy. This ceremony can be conducted prior to a house warming party with your family and friends or on its own. Rituals, for example, such as a candle lighting ceremony, sweeping away of stale old energy with a broom, planting a tree, and sharing a welcome cake can be included.