Winter Weddings in Cumbria

It might seem a little odd to blog about Winter Weddings just when I’m working on my Summer tan, but…

There’s a tendency to set wedding dates from Spring through to Autumn, but actually there are some really good reasons to choose a Winter wedding in Cumbria.

In no particular order:

A wedding is a time of joy, celebration and delight! Why not warm up Winter by choosing this time to say “I do”? Banish the grey gloom of Winter with one simple thing: a wedding date!

 

You can add a festive theme to your celebrations.

 

It’s beautiful and cosy indoors, and you can create a truly intimate setting for your special day with fairylights, open fires, and candlelight.

 

 

Being out of season, means you’ve got more chance of getting your first choice of venue, photographer, videographer, florist and CELEBRANT.

 

 

 

Think of all the lovely things about Winter: hot chocolate, woolly blankets, cosy lighting, comfort food. Incorporating these into your wedding day will make it a celebration like no other.

 

 

 

There are some absolutely FAB wedding venues in Cumbria, such as Askham Hall, the quirky ancient ruin Kirklinton Hall, and then there are places like any of those owned by Rowley Estates. And, best of all, if you choose a celebrant to create, write and officiate your wedding day, you can have it where you want, when you want, and how you want.

 

Celebrant Training: Creating Beautiful Ceremonies in your Community

In a few weeks from now, it will be the 22nd anniversary since I trained as a celebrant in beautiful New Zealand. I was in the early stages of pregnancy with my daughter, Beth, as I officiated my first wedding in a public garden in Auckland. I remember ceremonies from back then as clearly as I remember the wedding I officiated yesterday here in Cumbria.

 

 

Being a celebrant is a deeply rewarding vocation, and I would like to share that with others. This September shall see the first intake of students at Heart-led Ceremonies Celebrant Training.
This is a comprehensive and in-depth practical training course in creative, heart-led, authentic celebrancy. You will learn to create, write and officiate all types of ceremonies with confidence.

 

If you’d love to learn more, keep reading! Love, Veronika xx

 

16th and 17th September, 2017
Glassonby, near Penrith, Cumbria

7.30am to 8.30pm both days

Places strictly limited.

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 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.

 

 

Facilitators
Veronika Robinson is a professionally trained and experienced full-time celebrant. She trained in New Zealand in 1995, where she was registered to officiate legal wedding ceremonies, and has been officiating ceremonies ever since. Veronika has had the privilege of officiating in New Zealand, Australia and England.

 

 

 

Veronika has officiated 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, psychological astrologer, 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 the founder and facilitator of Penrith’s first Death Café, A Meaningful Farewell, which seeks to open up honest discussion around death and dying.

 

Veronika is also a committee member for the Association of Independent Celebrants.

 

 

 

Paul Robinson has enjoyed a rich career as an actor, broadcaster, compere, voice over, ventriloquist, voice coach, singer and celebrant. He’s deeply passionate about self-development, and utilises the Enneagram of Personality Types as a path of personal growth. http://paulrobinsonproductions.co.uk/

 

Together, they combine skills to offer a one-of-a-kind training in heart-led, authentic celebrancy.

 

Celebrant Training fee
£650 (20% [£130] non-refundable deposit required upon booking). Balance due no later than August 16th. (You will easily recoup the cost of your course after officiating two or three ceremonies.)

This fee includes:
[] Two-day intensive and practical tuition on all aspects of celebrancy: 7.30am to 8.30pm both days
[] A copy of the book Heart-led Ceremonies (the art and soulful practice of creating, writing and officiating ceremonies) by Veronika and Paul Robinson. This complete guide to celebrancy is available exclusively through this training course.
[] Nourishing wholefood plant-based meals and refreshments (breakfast through to dinner, both days)
[] Two follow-up Skype sessions (or face to face in Cumbria)
[] Certificate (upon written completion of three ceremonies and presentations, and active participation in the training course)
[] Upon satisfactory completion of the course, participants are eligible to join the Association Of Independent Celebrants, and immediately receive professional and indemnity insurance for celebrancy work worldwide.
[] Extensive list of readings for all types of ceremonies
[] Extensive list of music for all types of ceremonies

 

This comprehensive course is set over a two-day weekend, and includes:
Learning to create and define space, both indoors and outdoors
What it means to ‘hold the space’
Setting intention
Understanding symbols and rituals
Crafting personalised ceremonies
Ceremonies: Blessingways, namings, weddings, funerals, memorials, housewarmings, etc.
Word Medicine
Voice work
Presentation
Body awareness
Skills of a celebrant
Qualities of a celebrant
Emotional quotient
The metaphysics of marketing yourself as a celebrant
Sacred connections: your ideal client
Care of the celebrant
The creative celebrant
The intuitive celebrant

Please note this is an interactive weekend, and all participants will be required to take part in role play, voice development, presentation, and video work.

Training Venue
We are pleased to host Heart-led Ceremonies Celebrant Training at Glassonby Old Hall, Glassonby, near Penrith, Cumbria CA10 1DU

This five-star luxury venue is a Grade II listed traditional Cumbrian long house. It has original features including old ship-timber oak beams, oak-mullion windows, flagged stone floors, open fires and stone staircases.

Glassonby Old Hall is on one of the higher hills in the Eden Valley with amazing views towards the Pennines.

Glassonby Hall has a galleried dining room with a massive stone fireplace, a sitting room with wood-burning cast-iron stove and a large breakfasting kitchen with four-oven Aga.

 

Local accommodation options:

Bed & Breakfast
www.scalehousefarm.com (3 miles from Glassonby)

Caravans, tents, camping, bunk barns
(1 mile from Glassonby) http://www.edenvalleycaravansite.co.uk

Glassonby Old Hall (why not stay on site?)

[] a four poster Master Bedroom suite
[] a twin bedroom
[] third double bedroom with a 5′ bed.

If you’re happy to share a bedroom, or share a bed with a partner or friend to share the cost, this can be arranged. Contact Veronika directly for prices, and to book (a 20% deposit required, and balance due no later than July 20th)

 

Celebrant Training Booking Form
If you wish to receive a booking form for the Heart-led Ceremonies Celebrant Training, please email:
veronikarobinson AT Hotmail DOT com (make sure you spell veronika with a k and not a c)

What makes a beautiful wedding ceremony?

 

You’re planning your wedding day.

Dress. Check.
Venue. Check.
Florist. Check.
Caterer. Check.
Invitations. Check.
Entertainment. Check.
Photographer/Videographer. Check.
Wedding planner. Check.
Rings. Check.

So much to do, right? But have you given any thought to your actual ceremony? Are you aware of the choices you have available to you in the UK? There are alternatives to having a church wedding or a registrar-led service. You can opt, instead, to do a ‘registration only’ at your local register office (no need for rings or vows), and then have the ceremony of your dreams with a chosen celebrant anywhere and at any time. You are not restricted if you choose a celebrant to create your wedding ceremony, and most importantly of all it will be written especially for you. A registrar does not write wedding ceremonies. To perform their ‘service’, they use a government-supplied script as a one-size-fits-all for all their marriages. Where’s the romance in that?

 

 

As an independent celebrant who creates personalised ceremonies especially for each couple, my job is to create beautiful experiences that you will long cherish. This means I take the time to get to know you (which can be in person or by Skype, depending on where you live), and learn about your love story. I visit the chosen venue to go through a rehearsal with you, too. A registrar doesn’t do these things.

 

 

So, for the same amount as you’d pay for a registrar to come to a hotel or other registered venue, you can have a unique and 100% personalised ceremony that will never be repeated. YOU choose the mood and feel of your ceremony, by your song/music choices, venue, readings, symbols/rituals, and together we work to create a ceremony that is all about you as a couple.

 

 

Ask any wedding planner in a registered hotel/venue what a registrar-led service is like, and if they’re honest, they’ll tell you this: they can repeat the script word for word because they’re all the same. So, is that really what you want for your wedding day? Whether you’re on a low-budget wedding or spending thousands, surely the ceremony (the heart of your wedding day) should reflect your love, your values and your hopes.

 

To me, personally and professionally, what makes a ceremony beautiful is when the authenticity of the couple’s love is given the space, word medicine and ritual to be openly expressed in front of their gathered friends and family. They have the freedom to be wholly themselves, and there is no restriction on this whether that is due to time, venue, script, symbolism or other. A beautiful wedding ceremony allows each person present to fully feel themselves standing in the shoes (or barefoot if in a meadow or on a beach!) of the bride and groom. It’s when the bride and groom feel safe to intimately share their deepest feelings about their loved one. They are held, energetically, within the love of their nearest and dearest, as they say their vows, take their rings or have their hands bound.

When all these things come together, that is when you will hear guests say: that was so beautiful.

 

Veronika Robinson is an independent celebrant in Cumbria. She loves officiating weddings, and remembers each one she officiates. Veronika has been officiating weddings and handfastings since 1995 when she lived in New Zealand. You can contact her at Ceremonies from the Heart www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant #Cumbria #weddings #weddingsincumbra #cumbrianweddings

Tying the Knot: Handfastings in Cumbria

Have you ever wondered where the expression “to tie the knot” comes from? It has its origins in the ancient Celtic ritual of handfasting.

“Marian and Dave’s handfasting in Cumbria”

 

 

As an independent celebrant, more and more of my clients wish to include handfasting as part of their ceremony rituals. It’s a beautiful yet simple symbolism and is as old as the first couple who ever ‘tied the knot’, and as recent as the one I’m officiating. It symbolises marriage vows, and can be done instead of, or as well as, the exchange of wedding rings.

 

 

“My celebrant basket with handfasting cord, candles, bells, Celtic love knot, feathers, moss, water, ceremony script”

 

 

Handfasting represents the commitment of an intimate partnership.
From Old Norse: hand-festa, which means to strike a bargain by joining hands. The notion of a handshake comes from the old tradition of hand fasting; and even today, let’s shake on it, can represent a vow of sorts.

When I bind a couple’s hands together, I remind them their lives and spirits are held by the symbol of a knot.

 

 

They may choose to make the cord themselves, or with the help of family and friends, or if they prefer, I can make it for them from their favourite colours or in colours to match the theme of the wedding. Because the cord is as unique as the couple it can be made from pretty much anything. It can be from the most luxurious of ribbons or from farmer’s baling twine. Whatever it’s made from, it is the intent that’s important. Regardless of what it’s made from, it contains all the hopes and wishes of the friends and family who have gathered to witness the marriage.

 

“Sara and Michael tying the knot”

 

Some couples choose to have the knot in place just for the ceremony, while others like to keep the knot in the cord permanently and simply slip their hands out of it near the end of the ceremony.

 

“Officiating Dave and Marian’s beautiful wedding ceremony in a meadow by a babbling brook” #Cumbrianweddings

 

Either way, I finish with the words: “May this knot remain tied for as long as love shall last.”
Some couples like to have this traditional handfasting prayer included in their ceremony. It’s called The Hands of the Couple.

“Above you are stars, and below you is earth. Like stars, your love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow.

May these hands be blessed this day.
May this cord draw your hands together in love, never to be used in anger.

May the vows you have spoken never grow bitter in your mouths.

May they build a relationship founded in love, and rich in caring. May these hands be healer, protector, shelter, and guide for each other”.

Veronika Robinson is an independent celebrant who is available to officiate wedding ceremonies throughout Cumbria. She adores watching couples come together before friends and family to declare their love, and has been officiating ceremonies since 1995. www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant 

 

“Michael and Sara flew from Australia to Cumbria for their destination wedding which I had the honour of officiating.”

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Slow Living: what death has taught me about life

A consequence of getting older (50 is on my horizon in just over a year) is an ever-growing, deeper appreciation for this amazing thing called life. I suppose, in my youth, it was something I simply took for granted. After all, I was going to live for a very long time. Often reckless, I bumbled along always ready for the next crazy adventure.

 

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When my dad died four years ago, his life cruelly snatched in a car accident one rainy morning in Australia, I faced mortality in a way that impacted me more than any other person’s death ever had. Hell, if my dad—superman—could die, then what hope was there for the rest of us? My dad, who’d survived third-degree burns in a fire in Papua New Guinea, malaria, pneumonia, cancer (twice), triple-bypass surgery, was gone. Just like that.

 

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In life, I was all too aware of how different we were. I hadn’t realised, until his death, the things we’d had in common: workaholic and ambitious. His death was my turning point, and for that I am so grateful. No longer was it acceptable to work seven days a week. Seriously, what was the point? The only thing we take with us when we die is love. And so death taught me to slow down. Really slow down. I no longer put pressure on myself. I haven’t gone from Type A personality to lazy ass, but I have slipped into a way of living that rests on one thing: pleasure. Does it make me happy? Does it honour me and my loved ones?

Interestingly, today’s super Full Moon is in the sign of abundant, money-loving, security-conscious Taurus. When I held my dad’s hand in his open casket, thanking him for all the hard work he’d done so we could have an abundant childhood on our property in rural Australia, my overriding feeling was: what was the point?

 

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He had worked so hard. He’d earnt a lot of money (and lost it, too) in his life. He worked overseas for months at a time. All that work. All that money. None of it was with him anymore. That moment solidified for me the true meaning of wealth: it’s in the minutiae of daily life, and the joy we allow ourselves to feel. It’s never about money in the bank (or under the bed). It’s the wells of gratitude we feel for this amazing life, and the passions we explore. I actually don’t know how long it would have taken me to figure that out had I not experienced my father’s death or witnessed his dead body.

 

life3

 

I don’t measure my wealth by my bank statements, but by the feeling I have when I wake up in the morning (glad to be alive, and looking forward to the day ahead), and the sense of satisfaction that tingles through every cell of my body when I crawl into my cosy bed at night.

This Christmas will be the first time, as a family, that we will have one daughter at home instead of two. It was just yesterday, though, I’m sure, when I decorated the tree with all the baby booties knitted for the impending birth of my first-born child; and how my loving husband would massage my pregnant belly beneath the lights of the tree. And now, that daughter will be having a Christmas tree with her first-born daughter. She will be starting her own family traditions. Oh how swiftly life travels by!

 

Each day, I find myself wanting to slow everything down just that bit more. I bought baby clothes for our little granddaughter, Sarah, yesterday…always thinking ahead to what she’ll need. At 11 weeks old, and blessing our lives in such beautiful ways, I find myself looking at clothes for 6 month olds, and even a year old. And yet, as fun as it will be to watch her become more fully who she is, I want to treasure these moments of babyness forever, and to breathe in the delicious scent of her skin. But life doesn’t work like that, does it? And each day she spends getting older, is one more day closer to my mother (now aged 77, living in Tasmania, Australia) getting closer to her transition. I’ve not seen my mother for eleven years now, and each day I am conscious that I want to see her again, and wrap my arms around her tightly. I don’t want to find myself in Tassie at her funeral without having had more time with her.

 

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Death. It makes you want more of life. Makes you greedy for all the love, joy, pleasure, fun and happiness. Life is so precious. Grab it with both hands. Enjoy that cappuccino, laze in bed that little bit longer on a Sunday morning, slow kiss your lover,  throw out your scales, snuggle up by the fire with a good book, take luxurious walks in Nature, kiss your kids even when you’re busy, make time to chat with friends, be extra loving to your partner, create meals you love to eat. These are the things which make life rich and beautiful. These are credit in the bank of life.

 

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Choosing a life-centred funeral

“This is what happens around the world;
if you love, you grieve, and there are no exceptions.”

Funerals. They’re not something people like to think about, let alone talk about. They conjure up images from the movies of families huddled together by the graveside on a dark, grey, rainy day, sheltering under black umbrellas, as their loved one is laid to rest.

 

seedhearts

Or maybe your own experience of attending a funeral immediately comes to the surface of your consciousness. Saying goodbye to someone who held a special place in our heart isn’t something we would willingly choose. The greater the love, the greater the loss. Grief hurts.

 

burialwoods

 

 

If you’ve been involved in organising a funeral, you’ll probably have had a sense of the factory-farm nature of getting one lot of mourners into and out of a crematorium before the next lot of mourners arrive. There’s no time to be still. No time to let go. No real sense of having time and space to process what should be a meaningful and heart-felt ceremony. The same is often experienced in church services, too. You have an allotted time in which to be in and out. Does it have to be this way? No. Not at all. There are alternatives.

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What can you do if you’re responsible for, or part of a family that is, organising a ceremony? Firstly, consider all the aspects of what it means to create a meaningful funeral.

 

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The first step might well be to think outside the box. Do you have to use the church? Do you have to use the crematorium? I’m not saying or suggesting either of these venues is wrong, but do bear in mind that you will be placing yourself and other mourners under a severe time restriction. Regardless of your venue choice, you can still incorporate meaningful beliefs, whether they’re religious or otherwise.

 

willowcoffin

For any ceremony, creating a sense of sacred space immediately brings the human spirit to awareness. We see and feel that something out of the ordinary from daily life is about to happen. Whether you’re acting in the capacity of a celebrant or as a loving family member, there is so much you can do to set up a ceremonial space. Firstly, consider the venue. What was important in the deceased’s life? Were they a member of a sporting group? For example, could you hire a yacht club, or football club or village pub? Maybe they were a keen gardener or potter? Is there a garden or pottery place where you could hold the ceremony, and possibly the reception? Maybe you’ll opt for a graveside burial, and then have a longer ceremony in their favourite café (outside business hours). What about your local village hall?

Maybe your loved one was passionate about the sea? Could your ceremony be on a quiet beach?

 

onthebeach

Perhaps there’s an old barn that could be used for the ceremony?

There are actually so many possible options for funeral venues that when you start thinking about them, you’ll wonder why people tend to go down the two routes of church/cemetery or crem. You will need permission, of course, from the land/building/venue owner. Legally, your only requirement for the ceremony is that the deceased’s body is covered. You do not need a coffin. You can use a shroud.

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The key for a mindful and meaningful ceremony is to choose a place where you will not feel rushed.

When considering how to set up the ceremonial space, think about all the human senses:

Sight: What decorations might you use? Flowers, plants, leaves, candles, lanterns. If you’re in Nature, let that be your décor.

 

Sound: Music, Nature (such as the wind or a babbling brook), bells, chimes, singing.

Taste: Maybe your loved one had a favourite drink? Could a small drinking vessel, such as a goblet, be passed around for everyone to share? (with a cloth napkin to wipe the rim after each person). Or you could use spring water…the foundation of all life. Maybe a small biscuit or chocolate could be part of the ceremony, as a way of honouring the sweetness of the deceased’s life?

Touch: Soft cloth for the altar, or a little memento for each person.

Smell: incense, essential oils, fresh air, scented flowers, or a sprig of rosemary on each seat for ‘remembrance’ which could then be placed on the shroud or coffin just before the committal.

anaturalundertaking

To enhance your sacred space, consider how you might define the area. Perhaps near the altar (a small table with a photo, candle, flowers, and anything symbolic of meaning to the deceased), you could make a circle on the ground/floor using: leaves, berries, rosehips, acorns, pinecones, flowers, or things that might have held meaning, such as marine ropes, bailing twine, paintbrushes, Matchbox cars, dolls, etc.

flowermandala

Why not create a candlelit labyrinth using jam jars with a tealight in each one, inside a brown paper bag filled with sand. This is particularly beautiful if you’re having an evening ceremony. The coffin could be in the centre of the labyrinth, with each mourner taking the time to walk into the centre to say goodbye, and slowly going back out into the world as a different person. You can download a Classical Labyrinth pattern here: https://labyrinthsociety.org/make-a-labyrinth

Perhaps you could create a memory jar. Using a large glass jar, invite each mourner to write on a piece of card their favourite memory of the deceased.

Maybe you could decorate the space with Prayer flags/Love flags with colourful images or words relating to the deceased and their life.

Each mourner could cut out hands (drawing their hands onto cardboard, and then cutting them out) to put with coffin, and writing their names on saying ‘we are with you’.

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What about wooden or paper heart confetti to sprinkle over coffin or shroud?

Print cards with the words “I’ll always remember when…” and leave a pen/pencil for each guest to add their memory.

Consider a Lantern Ceremony (glass jam jars with thin wire and tea light)…glass paints or coloured tissue paper glued on the outside. Mourners could gather in a circle around the coffin/shrouded body, and create a circle of love throughout the ceremony. You can just imagine, I am sure, how powerful such a circle would feel.

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Use the deceased’s favourite colours as a theme.

Why not have a long piece of white wallpaper, and leave crayons or felt pens for mourners to create a timeline of the deceased’s life: they write down when and where they met.

This isn’t necessary, but you might find it inspiring: Consider ‘funeral favours’ for the mourners.

On each mourner’s seat, leave a bookmark of the deceased, plus their favourite quote.

Wildflower seeds. You can print your loved one’s name, dates of birth and death, and words of choice such as ‘forget me not’.
http://www.growamemory.co.uk/Wildflower-Seed-Packet-Memorial-Gifts/

 

growamemory

Flower bulbs. Give each mourner a bulb or bulbs to plant in memory of your loved one.

What about leaving a copy of your loved one’s favourite recipe printed out?

Depending on the location of your ceremony, you might consider a dove release, butterfly release or eco-friendly balloon release.

 

doverelease

In the midst of your grief, allow yourself to channel the adrenalin into creative choices.

By choosing an independent celebrant, you are taking a huge step towards gifting your loved one with a life-centred funeral. This is your final gift to them.

“When words are inadequate, have a ritual.” ~ Anon

Veronika Robinson is an Independent Funeral Celebrant who is available to officiate life-centred ceremonies throughout Cumbria.
www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

The Power of Ceremony

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.

ceremonysarandmichael

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

 

ceremonyflowergirl

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:

ceremonysara

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.

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Choosing a time of day to marry

There are so many decisions to make for your wedding day, but have you ever given any thought to the energies of the different times of day during which to ‘tie the knot’?

 

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Depending on your vision of where the ceremony and reception will take place, you may feel you don’t have much choice in terms of picking a suitable time of day. Maybe you need to allow time for people to travel to the venue, or for the hair and make-up artists to work on their beautification project. Or perhaps the venue makes the decision for you.

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The energies of the day mirror the seasonal energies.

Morning represents Springtime, and is ruled by Aries. It’s filled with the spirit of “let’s do this!” There’s a dynamic, powerful, and definite liveliness to morning. Think of the power and determination of all those Spring bulbs finding their way through the cold dark soil, and blessing us with their incredible beauty. They give us hope! And what of sunrise? How incredible is that energy? To marry at this time of day will infuse your marriage with a positive and energetic tone.

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How many brides do you know of who married in the early part of the day? I did!

 

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Over the years since that beautiful day in New Zealand two decades ago, I’ve often thought: “What was I thinking getting up so early to get my hair and make-up done?” In hindsight, I’m so grateful that I chose morning, and that by the time the ceremony was done we were able to celebrate with brunch.

 

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To marry in the middle of the day, when the Sun is high in the sky, represents Summer. It is infused with a mature energy. Astrologically, this is identified by the Mother archetype of Cancer. Your marriage may bring this theme into rather sharp focus. Make sure you’re not marrying your mother (just joking!).

 

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Late afternoon brings with it the energies of diplomatic Libra. We would assign the season of Autumn to this time of day. It is symbolic of a ‘gathering in’ sort of energy. A time for inner reflection. Given this energy, think about Autumn and what it means for you.

 

And what of night? To marry in the evening is symbolic of Winter: Energetically, it is Capricorn, ruled by Saturn. This is represented by storage and building our legacy. Saturn, when understood well, brings us discipline, structure and endurance. Perhaps these are energies you’d like to bring to the long-term nature of marriage.

 

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So, perhaps you’re clear on what time of day would be best for your marriage. If you’d like help deciding a great day, astrologically, for your marriage, then feel free to book an astrology reading with me. I can do readings which focus on your synastry (what each of you bring to the relationship) or to help choose a great wedding day. www.veronikarobinson.com

Veronika Robinson has been officiating ceremonies since 1995. She has a deep love of the sacred, and derives great joy from creating, writing and officiating ceremonies for people. She specialises in handfastings, but is equally at home conducting more formal weddings in five-star venues, as well as namings, home blessings, blessingways, vow renewals and funerals. Veronika officiates sacred and inspirational ceremonies throughout Cumbria, northern Lancashire and Southern Scotland, and is particularly fond of outdoor ceremonies. www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

Creating a house blessing ceremony

A home is more than a roof over our head, and protection from the weather. It is a physical representation of our inner world. The more we infuse our home with love, care and devotion, the more we will receive these gifts back.

 

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Our home is a vessel to nurture body and soul, however if we don’t take care of it, by keeping it clean, tidy and imbuing it with loving energy, then it becomes a place that doesn’t support us fully and may even deplete our energy and health. If a house contains stagnant ‘energy’ it is not a healthy place to live.

 

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Although it is more likely that someone would have a house blessing to open and purify the energies when they first move into a new building, you can in fact have a house blessing even if you’ve lived in the same place for thirty years.

 

 

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Blessing one’s home is an ancient tradition, and can be done with a celebrant or you can do it on your own. You may have family and friends there to witness the ceremony and rituals you choose.

 

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Most of us leave our homes several times a week and partake of the outside world through work or school, for example, thereby bringing the energies of those experiences back into the home. Some are positive, some not so much. As humans, we are energetic sponges containing all our experiences. When we come home, we symbolically squeeze those energies from the sponge and they infiltrate our living space. Becoming aware of this, we may choose a seasonal or annual house blessing.

 

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Before your home blessing, take the time to declutter and clean the space. This is essential. You are defining a sacred space, and you can only do so when your intention is clear. Clutter is not conducive to clarity or well-being.

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When you have cleared your space, invite guests to stand in a circle in the room you’ve chosen for the main part of the ceremony. If you are the one officiating the ceremony, make sure you have grounded yourself (imagine roots, like those of a strong tree, from your feet going down deep into the centre of the earth, and a white light from the crown of your head reaching to the sky).

 

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Open the ceremony by lighting a beeswax (or plant based) candle. (Standard candles are made of highly toxic ingredients…you don’t want this in your home). Inwardly, imagine the life force of the flame bringing healing energy into the circle.

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You may wish to use an aura spray, such as one from Healing Orchid Essences, or burn some incense.

Begin with the ringing of a bell (three times), or by playing music that feels sacred to you. You may prefer to sing.

Welcome everyone for being present, both as witnesses and participants in this sacred circle of energy, as you bless your home.

You may feel drawn to inviting in the Angels of the Four Directions, and opening all the windows on the sunrise side of your home, to invite the sunlight and life force to flow into the rooms.

 

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Depending on your beliefs, you can invoke a divine presence, angels, ancestresses, or other unseen energies.

State what your intentions are for this home. For example, you may wish for it to resonate with laughter, love and deep friendships. Maybe your desire is for it to provide a quiet sanctuary from a busy lifestyle. Perhaps there has been illness or a death in the home/family, and this ceremony is to bring new life and happiness between the walls. It could be that there has been a redundancy for the main income earner, and that this has caused deep upset and shock in the home. Maybe a new baby has recently joined the family, and you wish for your home to accommodate the energy that they bring.

 

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You may wish to use sage or cedar or lavender to ‘smudge’ the rooms. As you do, make spiral movements, and be sure to include hallways, and areas around doors and windows. If smudging, candles or incense are not an option where you live, you can sprinkle salt or use rose essential oil (added to water in a small spray bottle).

 

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If you have a besom (broom) you can symbolically sweep out the energies of each room.

 

 

 

Sample Invocation:

Dear Home

We cleanse this space, we make it safe.

We banish all negativity, and replace it with love, hope, happiness and harmony.

May no one go hungry in this home.

May no one experience loneliness here.

May we always have everything we need.

May abundance be expressed here.

We bless you. We love you. We honour you.

Thank you for protecting us from harm, and holding our heartfelt desires in your safekeeping.

We give you love.

We invite friendship, family, food and fun to be lived and celebrated here.

We give thanks for this home.

Blessed Be.

Consider what rituals would feel meaningful for you. For example, you may wish for everyone to choose a quartz crystal from a bowl, and place one in each room of the home. You might choose to burn a tealight candle in the four corners of the garden, scattering a handful of sea salt around each one, to protect your home.

Together, you may wish to craft a pentacle (five-pointed star, representing fire, earth, water, air and spirit) to hang above the hearth. Perhaps it could be decorated with gemstones or feathers.

 

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You may invite each guest to grant a blessing, prayer, poem, wish or intention in one of the rooms.

Each person who lives there may say:
I am (name), and I live, move and have my being in this beautiful home. This home is my sanctuary.

Asking each guest to choose an angel card is a lovely way of invoking celestial energy. You could then place each one on a small House Blessing altar, along with your candle and anything else that feels meaningful, such as a loaf of home-made bread or cake to represent people always having plenty to eat.

Consider which music or sound to include in your ceremony: singing bowls, healing mantras, drumming, singing, chanting, bell ringing. These sounds are deeply purifying and will transform the energy of the space.

On your altar, you may wish to place branches of cedar or sage or a small vase of flowers.

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Closing the circle
Thank your unseen guests, and express gratitude to all who are there.

“May this circle be open, but unbroken. Blessed Be.”

***

 

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When I officiate a house blessing, I include readings, prayers or blessings, and talk about the family’s intentions for the home. The ceremony has structure, and features elements and rituals that are meaningful to each member of the family.

Veronika Robinson has been officiating ceremonies since 1995. She has a deep love of the sacred, and derives great joy from creating, writing and officiating ceremonies for people. She specialises in handfastings, but is equally at home conducting more formal weddings, as well as namings, home blessings, blessingways, vow renewals, funerals and memorials. Veronika officiates sacred and inspirational ceremonies throughout Cumbria, northern Lancashire and Southern Scotland, and is particularly fond of outdoor ceremonies. www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

Cumbria Celebrant

Are you looking for a celebrant in Cumbria? I trained as a celebrant in 1995 (Auckland, New Zealand), and am available to officiate ceremonies throughout Cumbria: weddings, handfastings, same-sex unions, vow renewals, namings, housewarmings, graduations, coming of age, crone ceremonies, funerals, memorials and any other rite of passage.

If you need to organise a funeral or memorial service, I am happy to work with your chosen funeral director or can work directly with families who wish to be autonomous from a funeral home and plan a DIY ceremony.

I’m a member of the Association of Independent Celebrants, and featured as a preferred supplier on Easy Weddings.

I offer a reduced rate for Wednesday Weddings for those couples planning to marry midweek.

Please do get in touch if you’d like an obligation-free chat in person or by Skype about your ceremony plans. ~ Veronika x

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