The Hypocrisy of Humanists performing Handfastings

As a specialist in handfasting ceremonies, I find it hypocritical (at best) and moneymaking (at worst) for humanist celebrants to officiate wedding ceremonies which include the ritual of handfasting.

Why? Firstly, humanists denounce a belief in anything connected to deities. They are, in short, self-identified atheists or agnostics.

A handfasting is a beautiful and ancient sacred tradition whereby the Priestess would preside over the couple’s vows. At this time, the couple would enter into the four sacred vows on their elemental quest.

Their consecrated union was sanctified by the deities who were invoked at this time by the celebrant (Priestess). A handfasting ritual is traditionally conducted in a circle (to represent the eternal), and is rich in symbolism, such as the use of the figure eight during “tying the knot” to symbolise Infinity (since when do humanists believe in life after death?).

The circle of the handfasting rite is based on universal energies (humanists don’t believe in anything outside of the rational, scientific mind), and the magic circle in which it is performed is designated as a ‘Between the Worlds’ space to represent this world and that of the Gods and spirits.

The circle is essentially the ‘Centre of the Universe’ for the purpose of the ceremony, and is the storytelling of the cosmic theme of the love between the Goddess and God: their eternal romance renewed in human lovers. First and foremost, the three cords were made from natural materials and used in the binding of hands to represent (cord one) God/Goddess, (cord two) the bride and (cord three) the groom.

The use of knots and cords is the domain of the world of witches who use them in spellbinding and magic. This is a spiritual belief system rich in symbolism drawn from a deep and profound connection to worlds outside of this one. In Scotland, humanist celebrants can offer handfastings and jumping the broom rituals (another tradition with spiritual origins) in their legal ceremonies. This makes a mockery both of what humanism allegedly stands for, and more importantly: that a sacred tradition is treated as nothing more than some sort of parlour game.

JUMPING THE BROOM

The broom is a symbol of fertility. The handle, made from male wood, is a phallic symbol, while the brush is female. It is used to sweep the ceremonial circle. This is clearly an act of ritualistic purification.

Traditionally, women would ride these brooms around the fields leaping as high as they could! Clearly, the higher they could leap, the higher their crops would grow. The broom was made from different types of wood to do things such as expelling evil spirits (do humanists believe in evil spirits?), and to honour the Moon Goddess (again, where does this fit with humanism?).

At every level of these two rituals do we find an abundance of symbolism that is so far removed from humanism, that it can only beg the question: why are these allowed in Humanist Wedding Ceremonies? I’ve worked in this industry long enough to know that the average person on the street doesn’t know the difference between a humanist celebrant and an independent celebrant any more than the average wedding planner or funeral director has any idea. There is a WORLD of difference.

An independent celebrant caters to her clients’ beliefs whether they are religious, spiritual, agnostic, atheist, or other. A humanist celebrant is someone who doesn’t believe in anything outside of this life. They are NOT, by their own admission, celebrants who conduct ceremonies with religion or spirituality. It seems to me that their desire to make money is interfering with their supposed core values. This is evident in the number of humanist celebrants across the UK who are not only conducting weddings (legal or otherwise) with spiritual rituals, readings and songs, but it’s prevalent in the funeral industry too. I simply can’t understand how a humanist celebrant can agree to conduct a funeral which features the Lord’s Prayer or How Great Thou Art. Or am I missing something?

Guardians of the Threshold

In ancient times, a ceremony was such a significant expression of a rite of passage ~ a life-changing initiation into a new way of life ~ that oftentimes they lasted for days. Such ceremonies were acknowledged by the whole community, and all daily busyness ceased so everyone could witness and participate in the ceremonial rites. At these moments, the mundane matters of daily life no longer mattered. We knew. We simply knew that it was time for our consciousness to be attuned and fully aligned to the story we saw before us. For one person’s story was every person’s story.

These days, the average ceremony (in this culture) can last anywhere from five minutes to about 45 minutes. Generally, they last for twenty minutes or under. There is no timeline for rituals of the heart, but one of the things I’ve learned as a Heart-led Celebrant is that we live in a culture where many people find it hard to let go of daily life and to be fully present at a ceremony. Perhaps they’ve only witnessed church-based or registrar cookie-cutter services and therefore they go into them expecting to be bored (if they’re not invested in religion) or that they’ll hear the same scripts as at previous services. More often than not, wedding guests endure the ceremony so they can get to the bar. Ditto many naming ceremonies. Mourners just want the funeral ‘over with’ not understanding the difference that a beautiful, personalised ceremony can make: it is designed to be deeply healing and affirmative, and not something to be endured.

Where is our ability to simple ‘be’?

As a culture, we have lost touch with how to engage our primordial need for wholeheartedly entering into sacred space and honour rites of passage. We move so quickly, filling our diaries with appointments, and our spare time with TV or social media. Modern life distracts us from our essential self. Our bodies and brains are numbed through dead foods and sugar-laden beverages. Many people are just trying to get through an existence devoid of meaning. How often do people stay in jobs they don’t like in order to keep a mortgage paid up, even though each day they die a little more from spiritual hunger? The same can be said for relationships and other situations. We stay, knowing that a life of compromise is certain death of self.

Attention spans are now notoriously short, so gathering into the stillness for twenty minutes to respectfully honour and celebrate a life, the union of two lovers, or welcoming a child into community is something that we’re not equipped for. We lack the sacred learnings of our people simply because our times have not taught us to embrace what we instinctively feel in our cells: ceremony is a place of storytelling, singing or chanting, healing, transition, and respect for those in the centre of the story. We can sense it at our core ~ that need for something deeper, profound, life changing, but we’re uncomfortable entering into the spirit of it because our culture keeps us distracted from the essential work of navigating our inner terrain. How can we feast on spiritual sustenance when our world keeps us believing famine is our lot? Where is the nourishment to be found when we don’t have space to feed our essential selves?

Heart-led Celebrants are bringing back the essence of what ceremony is about. In my training of Heart-led Celebrants, we look at what ceremony means, not only for the people involved, but also for the celebrant. We understand how important our ongoing commitment to personal growth and protected learning time is because “who we are” is infused into every aspect of our lives, including the writing and officiating of ceremonies.

The journey of healing is something we use to illuminate a person’s way. As Heart-led Celebrants, we are there as Guardians of the Threshold while our ‘client’ makes their way from the old, familiar way of life to their new one, whether it’s a transition they’re undergoing willingly or not.

We are Keepers of the Circle and Holders of the Space with our Word Medicine and consciously choreographed rituals.

Rituals embed messages of wisdom, archetypes and ancient storytelling deep into the human psyche. A ritual isn’t something we use to ‘fill in space’ and stretch out the timing of a ceremony, but is a consciously chosen ‘picture’ in the story we’re giving, and sheds light on the journey our client is undertaking.

I have often seen these checkpoints for what it takes to become a celebrant:

. a computer, printer and access to the Internet
. a phone line
. pen and paper
. car
. Sat Nav
. Accountant (because you’ll be self employed)
. You need to be able to write a ceremony
. You can stand up and deliver said script to audience

While the common requirements to become a celebrant include a checklist which looks like you’re applying for an administrative job (and those skills are necessary), the essentials for becoming a Heart-led Celebrant include:

♥ Deep-level empathy
♥ Thoughtfulness
♥ Intuition
♥ Kindness
♥ Friendliness
♥ Imagination
♥ Creativity
♥ Calmness
♥ Ability to remain composed no matter what’s going on around you
♥ A good storyteller
♥ Serenity
♥ Soothing energy
♥ Unflappable nature (in your work life, at least!)
♥ Ability to relax clients and allow them to feel they’re in safe, confident and competent hands
♥ Groundedness
♥ Excellent listening skills
♥ Rich with ideas
♥ Excellent standard of client service
♥ A mediator
♥ Awareness of self and others
♥ Have experienced grief (if not of a person, at least of some sort of major loss in life)
♥ Can perform rituals meaningfully and with reverence
♥ Courageousness
♥ Confidence
♥ Respects ritual
♥ Ability to stand in silence
♥ Reliable
♥ Energetic
♥ Strong sense of duty
♥ Being willing to serve
♥ Well-articulated voice

♥ And probably the most important of all: they leave ego behind, because although they are Holding the Space, they know that they are not the centre of attention and that the ceremony isn’t about them. They are the spine of the ceremony, not the body.

In her practice, s/he becomes:
♥ A weaver of words
♥ Specialist in ritual
♥ Gatekeeper of silence
♥ Energy Curious and Aware
♥ A chameleon: she matches her energy to her clients
♥ Explorer and pioneer of inner terrain: always seeking new horizons and landscapes

A Heart-led Celebrant lives a life of ceremony infused with daily rituals and awareness of stillness, reverence and commitment to engaging with soul nourishment. It would be impossible to be the Guardian of the Threshold for others if we weren’t able to do it for ourselves.

© Veronika Sophia Robinson
Founder and facilitator, Heart-led Ceremonies Celebrant Training
www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant-training

Co-Creative Celebrant Training

Training students to be Heart-led Celebrants is, in some ways, a bit like the variety to be found in the life of a working celebrant. Just as every ceremony is different and unique, so too are my students. While I am aware of all the material we need to cover during their time with me, the direction and depth of the course will depend entirely on what the student brings to the training.

 

 

The landscape, or, in some cases, seascape, depending on how many tears are shed, that we travel together will be as rich, diverse and varied as a person’s life history. The stories that are shared become part of the training time, and can determine the ground we walk upon.

 

What I do know is that with almost every student, tears have been shed. Most of us have grief stories to tell. Indeed, I would say that almost all students who have come to me for heart-led celebrancy training have done so because of one of their grief stories giving them a change of direction in life. They have a deep need for something more in their life, and to put out something meaningful into this world. And sometimes, I have students come primarily for wedding training but soon find themselves embracing funeral work wholeheartedly.

Although I receive a booking form from my students where I try to glean some information about them and their life before they come, I really have no idea until they walk through my door just who I’ll be sitting with for two or five days. It’s as much of an exploratory journey and transformation for me as it is for them. Our days together are long, intense and indepth, and they explore the cornerstones of heart-led celebrancy: listening, building sacred connections, community, communications, creativity, craft/skill, creating, building, writing, performing and storytelling. (*and being self-employed/running one’s own business/marketing etc.)

What a student gets out of their training is as much about what they put into it (ability to tackle exercises given to them, willingness to listen, etc.) as is the sharing of my experiences.

As I come to the end of this year’s training, with just two students left to complete their training before Christmas, I can’t help but reflect on what an incredible and busy year it has been training people to be Heart-led Celebrants. Students have travelled from as far as Spain, Scotland, Hampshire, Devon, and closer to home, here in Cumbria. Each of them has something quite incredible to offer their local community, and it is with joy that I feel this network of truly heart-led, empathic celebrants growing. And for this, I truly give thanks. ~ Veronika

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Where Have All The Good Men Gone?

Do you remember that power ballad by Bonnie Tyler called Holding Out For a Hero? She sings ‘where have all the good men gone?’ Those lyrics went through my head as I lay awake most of last night and the night before, tossing and turning like a volatile tornado ripping through buildings.

One of the many things I try to do as a celebrant is foster a sense of calm within myself so that no matter what is happening around me, I can create a space for others that encircles and helps them to feel like they’re in a safe space for the ceremony. Within my personal life, I augment this with plenty of solitude, walks in the woods, and quiet time/meditation. And yet, for the past few days I’ve felt nothing but turbulence rocketing through my underworld. Ghosts that I’d thought were long laid to rest came hurtling up, and I found myself raging (in an internal, ‘keep it to yourself like a good girl’ sort of way) in a manner that quite terrified me. The truth is that no matter how much we reach towards the light, personally and professionally, we each have within us a ‘darkness’. Denial of that is one of the greatest toxins we face.

My deepest nurturing comes in the silence, and I’ve sure needed that these past few days. I remind myself that endarkenment, surely, is just as essential as enlightenment. Light and Dark. Day and Night. Yin and Yang. Black and White.

It was a lazy Sunday morning when I scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed to see my younger daughter’s blog:

http://elizaserenarobinson.com/the-hardest-story-to-tell/

(note: many acts/offences have been removed from when this blog post was first published, but what remains gives a clear picture of what she endured)

I read it slowly, the fear rising far more quickly than the speed with which my eyes travelled across the screen.

I wanted to scream.

I wanted to kill.

Me, the pacifist!

How f****** dare he?!

I wanted to kill him, and I wanted to kill every man who’d ever violated me in my lifetime.

And while I was at it: all the men who’ve ever violated women since the dawn of Mankind (where did the ‘kind’ originate from?) People mutter about too many women getting on the #metoo bandwagon. They’re on there for a damn good reason! Let them have their voice. Shout it from the rooftops. We can’t change things if we don’t speak up.

 

I was undone. All calmness and serenity vacated. Where was all this anger coming from? I shocked myself with the poison bubbling through my bloodstream. I thought I’d laid this shit to rest years ago. In fact, I remember the defining moment when Graham (a wonderful New Thought Minister and friend I worked with at the time ~ and the only man, up until then, that I’d ever trusted) said “Veronika, you’ve got to stop believing all men are bastards if you want to see something different show up in your life.”

It was like a massive laser light turned on.

He was right. It was so obvious. However, I’d spent about twenty five years of my life with that constant little mantra running through my head “all men are bastards”.

Why would I have such a thought? My dad mostly worked overseas so I rarely got to see him (and he never abused me), but there were men constantly in my life that, over and over again, did sexually violate me. The first incident (at least I presume it was the first) was when I came home from kindergarten (aged three) telling my mother of something a male staff member did to me. I have NO memory of this at all. What I do know is that my mother said that when she approached the kindergarten they unceremoniously sent her away saying ‘nothing like that would happen here’. I guess that was my first experience of ‘not being heard’. That what happened to me ‘didn’t matter’.

 

I had an experience a few weeks ago, just after I moved into a place on my own, when a well-known womaniser in our community sent me a message asking for ‘coffee and counselling’. Said man has a long-term partner. I recommended a counsellor, and suggested he get coffee at Costa, to which he replied “Yeah, but the staff at Costa don’t have breasts like yours!” I erased his toxicity from my phone, and blocked him from messaging me, but now I wonder if I should have screenshot the message to put on his Facebook timeline or sent it to his girlfriend. Might have cured him from doing it to anyone else! By keeping quiet, I simply perpetuate his need and greed to have ‘anything that moves’.

 

I’ve had a couple of creepy men try to come on to me in the past few years, saying inappropriate things, but other than those incidents I’ve been lucky enough to have avoided any such thing since I ‘woke up’ to my belief system. Maybe wearing a wedding band for all those years was also big boundary. I don’t know.

 

I’ll spare you a lifetime of incidents that I do remember. You’d be reading for hours! My point is this: my life showed me what I came to know as true; that all men were bastards.

 

But I’m fifty years of age now, and I also know this to be true: there are some damn fine men in this world. Men who are good, kind, honest, sincere, wonderful, and deserve to be celebrated. Such examples are:

. One of my closest friends who helped me through one of the darkest times in my life, and once again proved to me that men are capable of integrity, kindness, compassion and a listening ear

. The father of my children, and husband, who walked by my side for twenty three years, and continues (despite our recent separation), to be a source of honesty, kindness and solidity

. My brother

. Men whose ceremonies I’ve officiated

. Husbands of my female friends

. Men I’ve met over the years when I was publishing The Mother magazine

And of course there are men I’ll never meet that I know to be filled with integrity.

The world is FILLED with wonderful men. Men who make a difference. Men who love openheartedly. Men who are kind. Men who feel ill at the thought of those other men who smear the reputation of their gender.

 

Of all the things I was so sure of doing ‘right’ when I became a parent ~ a job I wanted to do as consciously and open-heartedly as possible ~ was to protect my daughters from sexual abuse (well, any abuse). I knew with 100% certainty that it would NEVER happen at the hands of their father. I had absolute faith in this, and never felt unsafe leaving them alone with him. I also, by then, had a bloody good radar for ‘men’ and could pick out a ‘violator’ a mile away. I remember feeling distinctly ill seeing a picture of Jimmy Saville long before his revelations came out.

The one and only time my girls ever had a babysitter was when I left them for a few hours with my best friend, Pam. As a homeschooling mother, they were always under my protective wing. When they both became adults, I naively prided myself on the fact that our daughters made it through childhood free of the guilt, shame and destruction of sexual abuse. Job bloody well done! Go me! Of all the things I may not have done well in parenting, this was one where I scored top marks. Or, so I thought.

Despite the few ‘dodgy’ (to put it kindly) men in my bloodline (aggh), I felt that the pattern of abuse had been cut. My husband, too, had experienced abuse, so this felt like two family lines had been healed.

But what I hadn’t counted on was that when there is such torment it can take more than one generation to heal. Wounds run so deep at a cellular level.

I lay awake questioning every aspect of my parenting. But why the hell am I taking on this cloak of guilt because my beautiful, authentic daughters were highly attractive, energetically, to narcissistic types?

 

What could I have done differently? I don’t have the answers. All I can do, right now, is remind them that there ARE good men in the world. There have always been good men in the world. And that when we see such men, we tell them. We tell them every damn day. We remind them of their worth. We light their path with words of praise. And we let them know it is safe to keep shining their beautiful light. We don’t drag them down. We don’t herd them up with those other men.

The world sure needs more good men, but this won’t happen when we keep saying they’re all bastards. Yeah, let’s slam the patriarchy, for sure, but let’s be clear about what we’re trying to create. Is a matriarchal culture the answer? No, what we’re wanting, collectively, is to feel a balance. A Dance of the Divine Lovers. A wholesome blending of feminine and masculine energies.

 

My best advice for my daughters (for any woman or man) is this: if a relationship of any description doesn’t make you feel good, DON’T STAY IN IT. Don’t make excuses. Don’t justify. Don’t put someone else’s needs ahead of your own. And for godsake, don’t use that excuse of ‘staying for the children’. Because what the hell does that teach? That we don’t value ourselves? That a shit relationship is better than no relationship? Children energetically feel EVERYTHING in our relationships. They aren’t nourished by parents who stay together when they want to be apart or that destroy each other every day in little and large ways.

This one precious life is short. Way too short. It’s gone in a flash. Savour it. Love it. Love yourself enough to say ‘no’ to people who hurt you.

 

Bonnie Tyler sings: “Late at night I toss and turn, and I dream of what I need. I need a hero. I’m holding out for a hero ‘til the end of the night. He’s gotta be strong.”

 

NOOOOO. Be your own hero. Know your boundaries. Know who you are. Celebrate every part of yourself. The right person will love your bumps and bruises and honour you, and not put you down. Not pat you on the head and diminish your intellect, emotions, sexuality, body, morals, beauty or any other thing. He will raise you up. But first, sisters, we have to raise ourselves. No one else can do this job for us. We have to do it, and we have to do it daily.

Make it a daily practice to bring more beauty into your life. Why? Because when beauty is around us, we’re quick to identify anything that’s ugly. Ugly energy won’t stand a chance of coming into our orbit for long. We’ll not tolerate its vibration. This is one of the reasons I constantly surround myself with flowers. They align me to what ‘feels good and beautiful and true’. Flowers are ALWAYS authentic.

When our boundaries are strong and high, we know then that only the most sincere, kind, honest, thoughtful people will cross that threshold (male or female), for they will be the only ones worthy enough to walk that sacred path to our heart, mind and body. Only then.

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High-Vibrational Living

 

As we descend into the darker days and nights here in the Northern Hemisphere, that tendency to go into hibernation mode is amplified. If ever there’s a word for change, it’s Autumn.

 

The expansive vibrance of long, stretched-out Summer days and evenings has now long waned into the Turn of the Wheel… How do we trust this change? How do we carry the high enlivening energies of Summer into the impending darkness?

Around me the apples and pears are being harvested, the hedgerows beckon with their gifts of sloes, rosehips and blackberries. I even picked raspberries this morning!

 

Above the ground, the leaves have faded and fallen, but out of our sight, the roots grow strong, deeper, doing their work for next Spring.

The chilly wind, the heady scent of the damp earth as I tread lightly upon the woodland floor, the familiar smell of bonfires at twilight, and the darkening nights ~ these all draw me into the centre of myself. They urge me to go inwards.

Mother Earth is always my first port of call when it comes to healing, nourishment and learning about life’s lessons. I open my heart to Her, waiting for whispers of wisdom for how I can balance my inner life with my outer work in the world. How do I nourish myself so that I’m able to be of service? Despite the chill in the air, I still open my windows and let her gentle breezes go through my home and heart so that I can take Her with me as I step into the dream-time part of the year. I do so knowing that I take the awareness of the thought-seeds I’ve planted, and what I might hope to witness blossoming when I arise from the other side of Winter. I don’t do this lightly.

As a barefoot gardener, I’m well versed in the understanding that we must learn to trust the seeds we plant. We can’t keep opening up the soil to see if the seeds have germinated. Trust. Patience. Care. These are the watchwords of growth.

 

Our sacred self always has the ability to grow, but it needs the right environment. How commonly the media uses Springtime to launch its articles and programmes about detoxing, but this seems counterintuitive to me. Spring is a time of growth! Autumn, now there’s a season to teach us about letting go of what no longer serves us.

 

Leaving behind our sorrows, rage, regrets, anger, disappointments and betrayals at the door of the descent into the Underworld of Autumn and Winter, allows us to remove the heavy cloak of burden and pain so that we can unfurl, release, and then prepare to spiral into the highest version of ourselves. Tell Mother Earth of your burdens, and let them go!

Learn to trust yourself, and daily ask:

 

What brings me more energy?

What sustains me?

What are my deepest pleasures and joys? Do I allow these into my life?

What raises my vibration to a higher frequency?

 

For myself, these are questions I can answer easily. Maybe it’s because I know myself well and I’m not afraid to meet these needs, or maybe it’s based on years of experience.

. Flowers

. Sunshine

. Hot showers

. Jasmine oil

. Incense (Nag Champa)

. Walking in the woods

. Long hot baths by candlelight

. Moon bathing

. Reading

. Music

. Carefully chosen company

. Solitude

. Birdsong

. Rain on the roof

. Mangoes (if they’re truly ripe)

. Laughing

. Meditating

. Drinking spring water

. Writing in my gratitude journal (both things that I already have, and those I wish to have/be/experience)

. Being massaged

. Swimming

 

But equally, I have also learnt (often the hard way) what lowers my vibration. Choosing to minimise these as much as possible ensures that I am able to live at a higher-vibrational frequency on a consistent basis. It means honouring myself, first and foremost, and sometimes this can mean disappointing others.

 

. cigarette smoke

. gossips

. perpetually negative people

. the news

. two-faced people

. tabloids

. heavy metal or rap music

. horrible smells

. cruelty/bullies

. ugly views

. arguments

 

So, fill your days and evenings with pleasures. Don’t be afraid to turn off the TV and write in your journal, listen to your favourite music, sip hot chocolate by the fire, sleep in on a day off, or dance beneath the Moon. Do what makes your heart sing, for surely the more happy hearts there are in this world, the closer we become to world peace.

 

May your journey through Autumn and into Winter be filled with the realisation of what you have to let go of (people, places, beliefs or things), and replaced with joy, self-love and laughter.

 

 

 

With Christmas approaching, I often see an increase in book sales. If you’re wanting to purchase books directly from my website, can you do so before December to allow plenty of time for Royal Mail to deal with the Christmas rush, and also to ensure I can get new shipments in time in case I run out of any titles? As usual, I’m happy to sign all books and write dedications with the wording of your choice.

 

For anyone who has been contemplating doing Celebrant Training with me, I’m pleased to say I now offer a five-day training course for a Certificate in Advanced Celebrancy and Ritual as well as the two-day training for a Certificate in Celebrancy.

These are both done at my cottage in Wreay, near Carlisle. (easy access off the M6).

Keep warm!

Veronika xxxxxxxxxx

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Celebrant Training: Essential questions to ask when choosing a training organisation

As the rise of celebrant-led ceremonies grows in the UK, more people are coming across a celebrant at work, and if the celebrant is good at what they do, then the observer may be inspired to pursue that career path.

 

 

Fortunately, there are many training organisations available. However, it is important that you choose one that matches your ethos, and don’t make a decision purely based on price or location. There are many, many factors to take into account with your training, and that also includes after-course support. An expensive course does not necessarily mean an excellent training programme. Too many would-be celebrants are left flailing and seeking out a second training course because their ‘expensive’ one was inadequate, and didn’t do what it said on the tin. It’s easy to be lured by words like ‘government diploma’, ‘professional’, ‘institute’, etc. It could be that you’re paying for modules on how to write an email or use a Word document, or writing essays on the history of funerals. A good course should teach you to BE A CELEBRANT. It should inspire your creativity, empathy, imagination, and excellence in forging client relationships.

 

 

Also, consider why so many organisations offer separate courses for wedding/naming celebrancy and funeral celebrancy. My view, as a celebrant of 23 years, is that they don’t need to be offered separately, and this it is merely a way for organisations to ‘earn more money’.

 

 

When looking at different training courses, ask questions. Lots of questions!

 

 

For example:

. how many face-to-face contact hours are there? (minus the time for meals/refreshments)

 

. what is the experience of the tutors? (do they pride themselves on quality services over quantity?)

 

 

. is there voice training by a qualified voice coach? What does that involve? Is there ongoing voice training as part of your fee?

 

. how is your work assessed to see if you are suitable to be a celebrant?

 

 

. does the course give certificates to anyone who attends, or only to those whose written and practical work is outstanding?

 

. what practical experience does the course offer you?

 

. will you have the opportunity to write ceremonies?

 

. what experience does the tutor have in creative writing?

 

 

. does the course teach you how to create and choreograph rituals?

 

. what experience do you have on the course of officiating a ceremony?

 

 

 

. does the training take a holistic approach?

 

. does the tutor have experience in a wide variety of settings?

 

. what written material is available as part of your training?

 

. what post-course support is available?

 

 

These are important questions to ask. Don’t throw your money away on the first course you see. Research your options well.

 

 

If you’re looking for a mind, body, soul approach to celebrancy, I invite you to consider my training course. Ask me any questions you like. My course isn’t for everyone, but for those who intuitively feel that celebrancy is a heart-led vocation rather than an administrative job. ~ Veronika x

 

 

 

 

Heart-led Ceremonies Celebrant Training

Recommended by the Association of Independent Celebrants (AOIC)

 

Comprehensive and in-depth practical training course in creative, heart-led, authentic celebrancy.

 

Learn to create, write and officiate all types of ceremonies with confidence, care, commitment and grace.

 

Founder and Facilitator: Veronika Sophia Robinson

Veronika Robinson is an experienced, working celebrant. She trained in New Zealand in 1995, where she was registered to officiate legal wedding ceremonies, and has been officiating ever since. Veronika has had the privilege of officiating in New Zealand, Australia and England where she has written and led all manner of ceremonies, including weddings, handfastings, blessingways, namings, divorce healing, miscarriage memorial, conscious conception, funerals, memorials, wise crone, menarche, and house warmings.

She’s also an author (fiction and non-fiction), journalist, public speaker, workshop leader, and metaphysician.

 

Veronika is delighted to be a celebrant for Gift of a Wedding, a charity which provides weddings for couples where one of them is terminally ill.

 

She is also Vice President of The Association of Independent Celebrants, and is the founder and facilitator of Penrith’s first Death Café which seeks to open up honest discussion around death and dying.

 

Training Options:

Private Training

(one to one; though two students who know each other are welcome to train at the same time)

 

*There is the option of a two-day training with successful students receiving a Certificate in Celebrancy. (20 hours face-to-face time)

Investment: £560

 

*A five-day training offers successful students a Certificate in Advanced Celebrancy & Ritual. (40 hours face-to-face time)

Investment: £1350

 

Group Training

This small, intimate group training is offered twice a year. Two-day training with successful students receiving a Certificate in Celebrancy. (26 hours face-to-face time)

Investment: £650

 

Please Note: All options include at least ten hours follow up by Skype or Facebook Video, as well as being included on the closed Facebook group for successful graduates where they’ll receive a weekly newsletter with hints, tips, guidance, as well as other support.

 

Post-course support is ongoing, and there are opportunities to shadow experienced celebrants.

 

All formats include the study and practical experience of:

 

♥Understanding ceremony structure. If you know how to create one type of ceremony you can create any ceremony (hence the reason this course encompasses funerals, namings, weddings, and other rites of passage).

 

♥Recognising the skills and qualities necessary for personalised and professional, heart-led, celebrancy.

 

♥Funerals and Memorials (Understanding grief, family disputes, working with funeral directors, creating meaningful farewells, cremations, burials, eco-burials). In the five-day training, you may be able to include a visit to the crematorium or a funeral director. Both private training options may also include shadowing Veronika at a funeral or family visit.

 

♥Weddings, Handfastings and Vow Renewals

 

♥Naming Ceremonies (for babies, children, adults, and transgender people who wish to have their new identity formally honoured)

 

♥Other rites of passage, such as menarche, blessingways, sagesse (wise crone), new business, divorce healing, and more.

 

♥Understanding the legalities around death, funerals and marriage (e.g. the difference between a registrar and a celebrant)

♥The difference between a heart-led celebrant and other types of celebrants

 

♥Indoor and Outdoor Ceremonies

♥Creating Sacred Space

♥Setting Intention

♥Creative Writing

♥Script Writing

♥Word Medicine

♥Storytelling

♥Performance

♥Archetypes in Storytelling

♥Symbols, Rituals and Altars

♥Ceremonial Herbs

♥Working with the Four Elements

 

♥Body Awareness

♥Celebrant Well-being

♥Understanding the role of the Community Celebrant

 

♥Voice development and coaching by Paul Robinson (this is required as an ongoing commitment by students via Skype after the initial training)

http://www.paulrobinsonproductions.co.uk

 

♥Being of Service

♥The responsibility of being a Celebrant

♥Developing a higher-vibrational heart frequency

♥Enhancing Intuition

♥Sacred Connections with Clients

 

♥Mainstream and Metaphysical Marketing

♥Being Self-Employed

♥Establishing Your Celebrant Business

♥The Four Sacred Archetypes of Building Your Celebrancy Brand

 

Applicants

Applications are invited from people who are committed to developing awareness of self and others, willing to train to an excellent level, are creative, independent, inspirational, authentic and courageous, and wish to consciously create beautiful ceremonies in their community.

 

Unlike any other training course in England, this focuses on the importance of ongoing personal development, and takes a mind, body and soul approach to celebrancy and ceremonies, as well as recognising the importance of ongoing skill building.

 

The foundation of this celebrant training is based on integrity and self-awareness.

 

 

Please email for a booking form: veronikarobinson AT hotmail DOT com

 

An Askham Hall Wedding: I Came Here for Love

“So many people have commented on how lovely it was, and how amazing you are. It was everything we hoped it would be and more.” ~ Fiona and Paul

 

When Paul and Fiona first made contact with me, we chatted about all the options available to them with a celebrant-led wedding. As Paul is Dutch (and so is Fiona’s mother), it was clear that their ceremony simply had to have their ancestry strongly entwined in their day.

 

Personally, I love heading off to Askham Hall to officiate a ceremony. It’s a delightful venue both in terms of the history of the buildings but also the gorgeous gardens.

 

It was my honour to create a ceremony that Paul and Fiona would cherish.

 

Have a look at this video preview of their day.

 

www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

 

 

 

Bohemian Wedding

This week I had the pleasure of officiating a ceremony for Michael and Victoria. They chose a bohemian-themed, personalised, celebrant-led wedding at Watermillock, Cumbria. Their ceremony included a communal ring blessing and a Celtic handfasting.

 

Thank you for choosing me as your celebrant, Michael and Victoria!

 

Here are a few images from this special day. xx

 

 

 

 

www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

 

 

Heart-led Ceremonies Celebrant Training in Cumbria

Are you looking for something that’s more than a job? Perhaps in your heart you know you’re looking for a vocation.

 

Training to be a heart-led celebrant may be the course that will change your life.

 

As a celebrant, I always look forward to going to work whether it’s to officiate a joyous wedding ceremony, holding the space for a family and their friends while they grieve a loved one, celebrating the giving of a name (to a child or adult), or officiating other rites of passage such as a blessingway, menarche, and so on.

 

My ‘office’ is varied. One day I may officiate in a chapel, and another day it’s in a wildflower meadow. Some ceremonies are conducted in ancient stone circles, while others are held in barns. No two ceremonies are the same in location, wording or style.

 

If you’d like to learn more about training to be a celebrant, and obtaining a Certificate in Celebrancy, visit www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant-training

 

Feel free to get in touch for an obligation-free chat.  ~ Veronika Robinson xx

Wedding Celebrant Training

Being an intimate part of any couple’s wedding ceremony is a beautiful experience. I’ve had the pleasure of being a wedding celebrant for 23 years now, and I am still just as excited each time I head off to officiate a ceremony.

 

It is my joy to teach other people this wonderful vocation, and I do so by offering training either in a group setting or one-to-one.

 

As part of the Certificate in Celebrancy you’ll learn how to officiate all types of ceremonies: weddings, handfastings, vow renewals, namings, funerals and memorials, blessingways, divorce healing, menarche, wise crone, and other rites of passage.

 

The next group training is September 15 and 16. www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant-training

 

Private training is available at mutually convenient times all year round.

 

I’d love to share my skills and experience with you.