There’s a simple question that I ask myself every time I head off to officiate a ceremony: how will the guests choose to be involved? Will they watch and witness with respect and love, sitting in silence and reverence, or will they chatter amongst themselves as if just watching a TV show?

A ceremony—whether it’s a funeral, naming, wedding or other rite of passage—is a small moment in time (anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes) in which we have permission to slow down, to step away from bustle of daily life; and we can choose to honour the art of ritual when we’re invited into that sacred space ~ or, we can act as if it’s just another mundane event.

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Four-element altar for Sara and Michael’s Wedding. Amethyst, candle, feather, and water infused under the Full Moon. Celtic cross, and handfasting ribbon. The rings were on a twig of rosemary for remembrance. www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

 

In an ideal world, and it’s certainly something I try to do in my daily life, we would see each day (and each moment) as sacrosanct, and be mindful of how we experience time and space and symbolism. But this world isn’t ideal. We, as a culture, have been corrupted by devices that remove us from our true nature. We often watch two screens at once: phone and TV. Have you ever gone to lunch with a friend and they spend their whole time looking at their phone? This is the world we’ve created, but it doesn’t have to be this way. These are choices we make. We can learn to be still. We can learn to listen, and learn to be present.

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Without question, my favourite wedding ceremony in 21 years. What a truly gorgeous couple. www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

 

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Beautiful flower girl at Sara and Michael’s wedding ceremony www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

As adults, we are role models teaching children how to be witnesses or participants in sacred ceremonies.

As a celebrant, children are always welcome at my ceremonies. I don’t have expectations of them sitting still for long, but I do always hope that parents will be mindful of how they and their children may impact on a ceremony. So, some simple tips for being a mindful guest at a ceremony:

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I present to you Mrs Sara Pearson. What a beautiful wedding! (if I do say so myself) www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

1. Arrive on time! If you are late, do not walk into the ceremonial space. Stay outside or at the side.

2. Understand that this is a sacred space, and just because you may not be in a church or chapel with a priest, it doesn’t mean talking should continue after the ceremony has started. This is particularly true during moments of ritual, such as candle lighting or exchange of vows or tying the handfasting cord. Honour what is happening by being a conscious witness to the rituals, symbols and word medicine. Know that for this person/couple/family, they will never get this moment back again.

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3. Be particularly mindful of young children, and how they may end up becoming centre stage and taking the focus away from the person/family for whom the ceremony is happening. Ensure their needs are met (for food/drink/comfort/amusement/toilet) before the ceremony starts. 4. Ensure your phone/pager is off or down. Don’t assume it’s okay to take photos during the ceremony. Flash lights, the click of a camera, etc., are not conducive to sacred space. 5. Go to the toilet before the ceremony starts. Allow yourself to be truly present. Let your heart really feel into the moment, and give and receive love with those around you, and those who you are witnessing.

 

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Such an honour to officiate Sibella’s naming ceremony. What a wonderful family. www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

 

 

Ceremonies are beautiful and powerful rites of passage. They are made even more sacred when guests are there as mindful witnesses, whether they are giving a reading, singing a song, or simply witnessing through their quiet, respectful presence. It’s a role, though silent, that shouldn’t be underestimated.

 

Veronika Robinson is a celebrant who officiates weddings and Celtic handfastings, funerals, namings, housewarmings, blessingways, and other rites of passage, such as New to the Moon (menarche) and Creative Crone (menopause). She has had the honour of officiating ceremonies since 1995. www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant She is available throughout Cumbria, north Lancashire and Yorkshire, and Southern Scotland (to within 100 miles of Penrith).

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A little bit of love that I left on my husband’s wood-chopping block.

About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad

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As I eagerly await the birth of my first grandchild, I can’t help looking at the alignment of the planets, and wondering just where those personal planets will fall exactly. I already see how her birth will impact me (and herself/himself, of course) through the outer planets. (If she’s born while Venus is in Leo, it will fall in my 9th house of grandchildren, indicating to me that she is, in fact, a girl.)

 

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My gorgeous aunties

 

What intrigues me is the place of ancestry and family of origin in the natal chart. What I do know, with certainty, is that this baby will have personal (inner) planets in either Leo or Virgo, or both. These are such strong themes and archetypes on our side of the family.

My MC (midheaven: the highest/most visible part of the birth chart) is Leo ~ the storyteller (novelist) and performer (celebrant), not to mention editing a magazine for twelve years about raising children (another Leo theme) consciously. I have Saturn resident in the natural home of Leo: the fifth house. It’s a deeply creative house, as well as being considered the house of children. I also have my Chiron (wounded healer/teacher) and North Node (soul’s purpose) there, in the house of Leo (5th house).

 

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females in my family tree

 

I have three planets in industrious Virgo, and Lilith in my 6th house (the natural home of Virgo). And that’s just me!

My husband has Mercury and the Sun in Virgo, and Pluto, Eros and Saturn in Leo.

My daughter Eliza has a Virgo ascendant, North node in Virgo and a crazily jam-packed sixth house. Her fifth house (Leo’s natural home) is blessed with Venus, Mercury and Neptune resident there.

My mother has Neptune conjunct Moon in Virgo, and although I don’t have her birth time, am almost certain her Jupiter is in the 6th house. My mother’s mother was a Virgo.

My father had Moon in Leo and Neptune in Virgo.

 

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My ancestresses

Obviously this blessed baby is going to have DNA from her father’s side, too, but one thing is certain: we are not born blank slates. It’s understood that when we’re born we are encoded with every thought our parents had up to the point of birth, every thought their parents had, and so on for seven generations. Frankly, I find it quite scary! On the positive side, though, and certainly when I look at my grandchild’s family line on her mother’s side, there is an immense amount of creativity and skill to draw upon. She will be our fingertips as she steps forward into the future. Oh what a joy it will be to watch her create her life! I trust that whatever we have achieved, enjoyed and learnt, will be there in her DNA for her to claim, if she chooses, as helpful and useful in this journey called life.

 

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Not long to wait now :-)

Leo: the storyteller, actor, performer, children, creative flair, fire, drama, great hair!, solar energy.

Virgo: nutrition, health and well-being, earthy, mind, body and soul health, apprenticeships, mastery, perfection, attention to detail, editing, writing, gardening.

Veronika Robinson is a second-generation astrologer with an international practice. She works by Skype, and also offers face-to-face consultations from her home in Cumbria. www.veronikarobinson.com/astrologer

About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad

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If you’ve ever been on an aeroplane during turbulence, you’ll know how unsettling it can be. Life itself can feel like that too, can’t it? You’re just going along, minding your own business, and then —whoosh!— the air currents become unstable, and you lose your centre!

 

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Recently, I published my book I Create My Day: simple and beautiful ways to create a nourishing life. At its heart, the message is about discovering spiritual grace. It provides the tools for, hopefully, creating less turbulence in your life, and for recognising that you have the inner tools and resources for navigating any turbulence you might fly into on any given day.

 

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For the most part, I have now created a life fairly free of turbulence. However, I live in a world that involves other humans, and this in itself offers just the ingredients that set faulty air currents into motion! I have, many times over the years, been left speechless by what appears, to my mind, a lack of awareness, consideration or respect between humans. For example, if someone says they’ll do something for you, or agrees to arrange something, and then they don’t. Why I still, after all these years, expect people to honour their commitments is beyond me. (laughing). We’re all wired differently, and while integrity, keeping one’s word, honouring sacred space, awareness, taking responsibility, etc., is something I adhere to, I am (still) learning that these are my values and not necessarily anyone else’s.

 

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Turbulence came into my yesterday from easily six different sources. I found myself reacting emotionally in ways that weren’t pleasant for my body, and at complete odds with the centred, balanced place within that I have strived to create more and more with each passing day. I found myself becoming increasingly angry because other people were acting in ways that were, at best, inconsiderate and selfish. But, you know what? The only person suffering was me.

 

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Do I feel any different today? Yes, I do, and this is because of two things:
1.) I gave thanks. I truly expressed gratitude for each of those situations, even though they are not what I expected or would have consciously chosen.

 

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2.) I remembered my golden rule of: every thought and feeling is a choice. No one can make you feel anything you don’t want to feel.

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So, yes, while I still have disbelief surrounding the way some people can be, I honour my well-being enough to ‘let it go’. Again and again, I come back to: what will be will be. What is, is.

 

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I Create My Day (paperback & Kindle)

 

It is so much nicer to fly when you see the clouds or country below you, and all is calm. Compared to the adrenalin rush and instability of turbulence, I know which I’d rather choose. I choose peace. I choose love. I choose calm. I choose forgiveness. And always, every single time, I choose gratitude.

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About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad

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Recently, Paul and I went to visit Pete and Irene who own Limetree Nature Reserve where we used to host family camps when we owned The Mother magazine. It was so hard to leave there without having the urge to gather once again with likeminded people for a camp. SO…in case you don’t know, Paul, our daughter Eliza, and I are hosting a five-day family camp there next month.

 

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Labyrinth at one of our previous camps

This camp will be different from our other ones in that we have caterers in so that we can spend our time with guests, and lead workshops and activities. But it will be the same as previous camps, in that there is a strong ethos towards creating a nurturing, safe and holistic family space.

Rocket Catering has an excellent reputation for providing wholesome, quality, nutritious food, and can cater for gluten-free, raw, vegan and vegetarian.

There’ll be an assortment of activities and workshops available (all optional). Limetree is such a magical place for the young and the not-so-young!

 

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Mike and Petra’s Handfasting ceremony at one of our previous camps

The theme for this camp is: Celebrate Your Creativity.

When: August 18th – 22nd 2016
Where: Limetree Farm, near Ripon, North Yorkshire

Camp fees:
Adult: £95
Children aged 14 and under: £35
Children aged 15-18: £50.

This fee includes any workshops you’d like to attend, camping, lunch and dinner for four days. (BYO breakfast). I’m sure you’ll agree this is an excellent price for a family holiday!

If you are interested, download the booking form from here:

http://www.veronikarobinson.com/creativity-camp/index.shtml

Love, Veronika x

 

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About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad

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As I type these words, there’s a new Moon in Cancer: the zodiac sign of home, mother and nurturing. (And breasts, digestion, emotions, ancestry…)

 

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Home is my favourite word, and indeed my favourite place. For me, it is a sanctuary; and I am quite content to spend my days tucked away in my home and garden. Just this morning, I was giving thanks that the majority of my work is done in the comfort of my home as I simply adore being here.

 

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My thoughts are never far away from the love and beauty to be found in this place that I cherish, but probably more so than ever am I thinking about what home really means.

I left home at the age of sixteen, moving some two thousand kilometres away from the place of my childhood. I was ripe for adventure. Having been raised primarily in the countryside, I was itching to see the world!

 

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My childhood home. Freestone, Via Warwick, Queensland, Australia

 

That itch I had to scratch so desperately doesn’t seem that long ago, and yet, here I am, watching my younger daughter, aged 18, venturing away from the family nest to see the world.

She’s travelling solo in Estonia at the moment, both intrigued and enchanted by being in a foreign country, but also experiencing moments of homesickness.

 

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What is it about home that often draws us back? The nurturing touch of our mother or father? The comfort of feeling you don’t have to wear any masks? Familiar meals on the table? It’s probably all those, and more. Maybe, as it is for me, it’s being able to surround yourself with things that make you feel calm and at peace? Nothing like some beautiful music, flourishing pot plants and burning incense to make me want to get comfy on the sofa. Or what about that soothing cup of tea in the garden?

 

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My daughters have often said that, to them, home is soup simmering on the stove.

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Just a few days ago, my husband and I were in Wales to help our elder daughter and her partner move into their first home together. I feel their joy to finally be away from student accommodation (they each have a year left of their university degrees) and to create a nest before their baby arrives in 5-6 weeks. It was so lovely to hear her voice yesterday as she described how nurturing it was to have their kitchen filled with bowls of fruit and vegetables. Oh how I felt her joy! Can’t wait to hear from her when she’s unpacked everything, and has her beeswax candles on, incense wafting through the rooms, and Mozart on the stereo.

 

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It’s a rare person who doesn’t have a strong sense of what home means regardless of if their experiences are positive or negative. At the heart, though, of what it means to be human, is a part of us which seeks to be nurtured, loved and cared for. To feel safe and protected. When this need—and believe me, it is a deep, biological need encoded into every cell of our being—has been met, even if only adequately rather than abundantly, it makes it so much easier to then go onto nurturing the next generation.

 

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I’m so thankful for the myriad ways my mother (and father) created such a nurturing, vibrant and creative home for me and my siblings. I have no doubt that it made all the difference to the way I was able to pass that onto my children.

 

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So, I watch now, as one daughter creates her own home and crosses the threshold to motherhood (with tears of joy in my eyes), and my other daughter prepares to leave the comfy nest of home to make a home of sorts in the halls at University. My job, on the day-to-day practical level, of being a mother is almost done. The emotional side of being a mother is never going to be over!

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Someone said recently that they couldn’t believe how calm I was given that I had one daughter, over a hundred miles away, just weeks from giving birth, and another travelling in a foreign country on her own. Calm? Hmmm. To be honest, I hadn’t given ‘worrying’ much thought before that point. My heart is split in three places, of course: there (Wales), there (Estonia) and here (Cumbria). But as for worrying about them, sure there are points of concern, obviously, but I am not riddled with anxiety. My girls were bathed in a nurturing and loving home, and raised to be thoughtful, mindful and independent. There will be bumps and scrapes along the path of life, but that’s the nature of living on this Earth. We get bruised, we get up and keep moving. While I’m on this Earth, they know I’m always here. When I’m no longer on this Earth, I will still be with them. I won’t be making soup or giving hugs, but oh how I will be loving them in ways that they can’t even begin to imagine!

 

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And what of my home? What happens now? Who do I nurture when there are no ‘chicks’ in my nest? The beauty of going through the intense pressure-cooker world of parenting is that over the years you find yourself asking ‘But what about me? What do I need?’ Thankfully, I have become skilled at meeting my own needs. I am finding more and more that I have a lot of time to focus on what I love, enjoy, savour and need. No longer am I at the back of the queue, but wooo hooo I’m at the front! This is fun. I guess this is what it’s like for a kid in a candy shop. I get to choose anything I want.

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This fortnight, with Eliza overseas, has given me a taster for life when she leaves home in two months. Yes, it will feel oh-so different. There’s no question that it will take adjusting to, and I will surely miss that radiant smile and her wise and witty chatting, but I am confident in my ability to make the most of the years ahead and my dedication to self nurturing.

 

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The truth is, though, that long before I had children I would love to create beautiful and nurturing living spaces for myself. I honoured my need for healthy and vibrant meals, and created them from scratch. My rooms were filled with the sound of music. My friends would come for dinner. Home was, and still is, my foundation in this world. My garden and our cat still need tending to. I have books to birth inside these walls.

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My husband is rather fond of curry, so I expect he’ll see that on the menu a lot more often when it’s just the two of us here. My main thought, though, is how quickly I can get used to shopping and cooking for only two people. Already it feels like there’s something major missing! However, I found myself standing in the speciality food section this morning and smiling: all those goodies I can get to experiment with in my cooking.

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I am so grateful for these past twenty plus years as a stay-at-home mother, and being able to create a nurturing space for my family. More than anything, though, I am grateful that I can pass on the baton of ‘home, family, mothering, love and nurturing’ to my daughters, and for them to express that in ways that are meaningful for them.

 

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The heart of our family nest

 

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What does home mean to you?
Do you feel that your style of homemaking and nurturing within the home is similar to how your mother/father created the home of your childhood?
What are your favourite ways to nurture yourself?

About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad

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It is often said in parenting circles about the importance of giving your children roots in childhood so that they can fly and be independent as adults.

 

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The thing about roots is that they grow in the dark, searching for nutrients and moisture, and they tap down, down, down until they get what they need. Their work isn’t visible, but eventually their job becomes manifest in other ways.

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Eliza on Prom Night

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Eliza Robinson catching the train from Penrith to London

As I type these words, my 18-year-old daughter is on an aeroplane flying to Estonia. Solo. She’s had this dream for a number of years, ever since she wrote her novel Consequence at aged 14. The joy I feel at watching her take flight, literally and otherwise, is indescribable. So many people have said to her ‘how brave’ she is, and that they couldn’t do it. There are certain things in life that really define you, and I know from experience that travelling solo to a foreign land is most definitely one of them.

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I was raised by a mother who taught me that girls can do anything they want, if they put their mind to it. Powerful stuff!

While studying for her A level exams, my daughter has also held down a part-time job at the local leisure-centre café, and has earnt every penny towards her trip. Every last detail has been funded and arranged by her. That level of independence and self-belief has, I am sure, been founded on a childhood where my daughters were taught to dream big and reach for the stars.

In an hour from now, she’ll arrive in a foreign country where English is not the spoken language. She’ll be excited, scared, curious and adventurous. She will be completely out of any comfort zone. Those roots will give her everything she needs to grow and stretch and seek the light.

 

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Getting ready to board the plane

 

Eliza lived in three countries by the time she was a year old, and took her first steps in Dubai airport. I have no doubt over the years that she’ll have many foreign journeys. Her roots were not only nourished in the fertile soil of our family life, but in her ancestry: grandparents who emigrated from Germany to Australia. A father who emigrated from England to New Zealand. And an Australian mother who has lived in different countries. It’s in her blood to travel; to seek new shores. She will search, and she will discover joy and love wherever she travels in this world. Why? Because they were found in abundance in the fertile soil of childhood. These are what she will expect to see, and what she’ll draw to her.

She will return in two weeks from now a changed woman. I wouldn’t expect anything less. The wrench we, as a family, will feel when she leaves for university in two months will be all at once happy and sad. We will miss her vibrant smile, inspiring conversations, her laughter and humour. But we will cheer her on as she finds her way and place in this world, and brings some magic to this thing we call life. My husband and I have been blessed to share in her company for eighteen years. It’s time that other people get to share.

Fly, sweetheart, fly!

 

You can follow Eliza’s travel blog here:

http://elizaserenarobinson.com/travel-diary-day-one-26th-june-2016/

Eliza Robinson & Veronika Robinson

Saying goodbye at the train station to my lovely daughter.

About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad

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