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.

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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.

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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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