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Celebrant Training

Heart-led Ceremonies Celebrant Training is recommended by the Association of Independent Celebrants

Celebrant training facilitated by Veronika Robinson and Paul Robinson

Being a celebrant is a deeply rewarding vocation. 
Are you ready for a new career?

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.

“Celebrant Training Course

This weekend, what I saw you model so beautifully, was how to step into responsibility with gravitas and humility and lightness.

The way you wear responsibility is like an invisibility cloak, with reverence and respect for the magic. It seems you wear this mantle with such grace, and heart, and with such outward-facing love that Responsibility it is not carried as a burden of the ego, but gently shepherded as a sacred honour bestowed by spirit.

Framed like this, I feel profoundly different about Responsibility. Humbled, not afraid. Ready to serve.

Heartfelt appreciation for the kindness in your listening.

Jennifer
Whitley Bay
April 2018″

 

Group Training

15th and 16th September 2018 | Glassonby, near Penrith, Cumbria

Places strictly limited.

Celebrant Training Fee

£650 
30% (£185) (non-refundable) due upon booking
Balance of £465 (non refundable) due no later than 25th July 2018.

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)
  • 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.

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.

Private Celebrant Training

As well as offering group training courses, we also offer private training throughout the year.

One-to-one celebrant training fee is £500 *includes lunch, but not accommodation

(This is actually two tutors to one student)

Upon receipt of payment we will arrange mutually convenient dates/times to suit. The private training runs for 20 hours, and you can choose to do this over 2 days or up to 4 days. It is held in our cottage in Glassonby, near Penrith, Cumbria.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

 

 

 

I just wanted to say how much I am loving reading your book Heart- led Ceremonies . It’s just a fantastic reference and makes me realise just how much we covered in a weekend.”

Penny
April 2018

 

Private Celebrant Training

I loved every second of my training with Veronika and Paul. The guidance in all aspects, including the voice coaching, was spot on and both so welcoming. I laughed and I cried in equal measure. I want to do it all again.

They have also provided a wonderful sounding board for work I am doing which is very appreciated. I would recommend no one else x

Kate Simpson

Lincolnshire
April 2018

Private Celebrant Training

Hi Veronika

This is just a quick email to thank you and Paul again for your kindness and help – the training was brilliant, but made more special because you shared so much with me in such an unselfish way – your knowledge, experience, home and hospitality. And you both built my confidence in a genuine and caring manner.

The training was everything I hoped for and more – and I’m really looking forward to getting started.
You are two very special people, and I’m so grateful I found you.

Take care
Glynis xx
January 2018

Private Celebrant Training

January 2018

Dear Veronika

Just a note to thank you so much for the wonderful experience recently with celebrant training.

It was so good to meet you and Paul, and I felt very excited and overwhelmed by the ideas and thoughts that you had inspired in me.

Although it was quite intense and emotional, I also found it cathartic and fascinating.

Look forward to keeping in touch and thank you again for a very memorable weekend.

Barbara

I felt honoured to be a part of the first heart led celebrant training last weekend. It was heart led in the truest sense of the words. I left feeling not only well equipped to step into the world as an independent celebrant, but also affirmed in my personal strengths and abilities. Veronika and Paul shared themselves and their extensive knowledge so generously with us all and sustained us with fantastic food, and all in a beautiful environment. Thank you both so much, it may sound odd to be said of a training course but this is something I will cherish for a long time.

Nicola Harrison-Swainston
September 2017

 

 

Celebrant Training

As a recent graduate, I can heartily recommend this training course. Thorough, supportive, incredibly informative, and most importantly, “heart-led” – Veronika and Paul are amazing teachers!

Adrienne
Cumbria
April 2018

Group Celebrant Training

“I would have to say heart and soul-led ceremonies. Both Veronika and Paul are abundantly giving of their knowledge, experience, and deliciously nurturing food!!

In a short intensive time, they passed on the celebrant gauntlet, inspiring and equipping us to be ideally the only sort of celebrants… ones that reach out from the heart with love, compassion and empathy.

Veronika and Paul you have beautiful qualities, way too many to list.

I deeply thank you both for one of the most precious times, that enhanced my life in so many ways, most of all giving me confidence to move on and put your teachings in to action.”

Penny B.
April 2018

Group Celebrant Training

The recipe for a tasty independent celebrant training course is a measure of Fragrant Facilitation (try Veronika & Paul), Seasoned Students & Chunk of Time. Mixed together makes an inspired graduate celebrant.

Joyce S
Cumbria
April 2018

Celebrant Training Course

The most amazing experience! Veronika is welcoming, calming, thoughtful, energetic, tireless and teaches in such a way that leaves you wanting more! Her heart-led methodology aligns perfectly with what I want to deliver as a Celebrant, and I can’t leave without mentioning her cooking…WOW! Her pear crumble is to die for please adopt me!

Kathryn Britton
Wales
April 2018

 

First came baby, then came the wedding

Long gone are the days when you ‘had’ to get married before you had a baby. Shot gun weddings were designed to cover up ‘mistakes’. Such silly rules humans make for themselves.

 

Yesterday a friend shared his wonderful engagement news. It made my husband and I so happy. That he has two sons from this loving relationship already, simply added to our joy. It also reminded me of my own wedding two decades ago. I was a breastfeeding bride, with a bonny 10-month-old baby girl. She accompanied her father and I as we walked up the aisle together of that wee chapel the day after my 29th birthday.

Although we have it in our cultural mind that the wedding day is about the bride and groom, for many couples tied in with their plans for married life is the hope, the promise, the dream of having a family. Could it be that their unborn children are already there, with them, energetically moving them forward to the time when they’ll arrive Earthside?

For those couples who arrive at their wedding day already with a child or children, these living, moving, breathing beings are a testament to the power of love, creation and joy. There’s such a beautiful power and depth that already having a family brings to a wedding day.

 

Having a child or children at a wedding expands the sense of love that is present. And this is true whether the child is our own or will become our ‘step’ child. Love is love is love.

Just as children are both witnesses and participants to our love as a couple, so too can they be both of these things at our wedding ceremony. There are countless beautiful ways to have children actively involved that go beyond carrying the rings or flowers.

It was your love that brought your child into this beautiful world, and it is love that brings you to your wedding day. The simple truth is: you can’t have too much love!

Veronika Robinson is an independent celebrant living in rural Cumbria. She’s been officiating ceremonies since 1995 (when she felt the first fluttery kicks of her baby daughter growing steadily inside her). Veronika creates, writes and officiates blessingways, naming, weddings, handfastings, funerals and memorials. www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

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Happily Ever What?

When my younger daughter was three, she asked me “What’s at the end of forever?” It’s the sort of question that makes you realise mothering is not going to be a piece of cake! Most of her questions were of that ilk.

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My teenage years were spent with my nose inside Mills & Boon romance novels living vicariously through women courted by Mr Right. Sure beat biology classes, anyway. I have long believed in happily ever after. It’s not a myth. But, like “what’s at the end of forever?”, it may not be easy to answer.

My marriage to a good man certainly feels like ‘happily ever after’ but the reality is that at some point one or other of us will be saying farewell when our beloved leaves this Earth. The love, however, will continue throughout eternity. Of that, I’m certain.

Whatever it is that we’re seeking when we search out a soulmate isn’t just about how good a person is between the sheets or how good they will look in a wedding dress, but it is absolutely about how they feel in our heart. The best way to choose if someone is right for you is with your eyes closed. There’s nothing wrong with physical attraction and chemistry, but it’s the icing NOT the cake. True love that lasts through the years is about something deeper; something which transcends the physical.

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When I write love stories they may well have a happily ever after, but what I’m really writing is ‘I’ll leave you happy for now’. That’s not to say that happiness can’t be ongoing, but the only thing we ever have is now. I wish for my characters a Happily Now. And I wish that for myself. I wish that for you.

 

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How do we create happiness in our daily lives? Isn’t it just a by-product of some external activity or experience? Something that ebbs and flows like the tides?

For me, happiness isn’t necessarily walking about with a smile on my face (though that is lovely), but about an inner contentment. It’s about savouring the small pleasures of life, and ensuring I meet my sensorial needs each day. It is about awakening my senses and experiencing pleasure. These are never about the future, but the present moment. As I type, birds sing beautifully in the trees outside. Why would I wish that for ten or fifty years from now? HERE, today, right now, is where I am experiencing their joy. Birdsong becomes my joy.

 

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Tulips on my windowsill make my heart sing. Now, not in the future.

I sip spring water from my glass. Now, not in twenty years.

Chatting with friends isn’t something I dream about years down the road. I engage and cherish the experience now.

I smile when I open an email from a grateful reader. Now, not in some distant future.

Confession: over the years I’ve spent a small fortune on psychics and fortune tellers. What’s interesting is that I have come to a solid and secure place in my life where I recognise that I CREATE my future by what I think and feel today. And this goes for all of us. No one’s future is set in stone. We are the masters of our own Fate.

No one puts the thoughts into our heads but us. We choose them. We can filter them. Weed them out. Plant new thoughts. As gardeners of the mind, we have the power to transform our lives one thought at a time. This isn’t about being the archetypal Pollyanna so much as holding a state of grace and gratitude.

If you’re searching for a happily ever after, start here. What are your prevailing thoughts? What way does the wind blow your feelings? What are you most grateful for? Being mindful of how and when and why you are grateful is the best fortune teller of all. The more your heart expands with joy and gratitude, the bigger and brighter your life.

Start where you are: the roof over your head. The food on your plate. The company you keep. A grateful heart is a happy heart.

 

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Veronika Robinson is the author of about seventeen books (she’s lost count!). Her most recent publication is I Create My Day: simple ways to create a beautiful and nourishing life. Signed copies from https://www.veronikarobinson.com/author/non-fiction.shtml

Discover the path of spiritual grace. I Create My Day is a sacred journey into the heart of attitudinal healing, and invites you to create the life of your dreams one day at a time. Regardless of how you currently experience the world, this book promises to show how you can create a magnificent life that is nourishing, beautiful and authentic. At the heart of a handcrafted life is a spirit of reverence, gratitude and grace. By including the simple ideas in this book as part of your every day, you will witness your life unfold in ways that are miraculous, meaningful and, always, from the heart. Creating your day is one of the greatest spiritual decisions you can make.

Or available from Amazon here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Create-My-Day-Beautiful-Nourishing/dp/0993158625/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1459266654&sr=8-1&keywords=I+Create+My+Day

You can also ask your local library or bookshop to stock copies.

 

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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

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The Altar: a visual expression of an inner desire

For as long as humans have walked this earth, I have no doubt they have created ceremonial spaces which included an altar. Many people in the modern world probably associate an altar as the front table in a Christian church. Others, still, consider an altar to be some sort of weird spooky tool used by bad-ass witches and others who wish to sacrifice something to a deity.

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As a white witch (you know, the good sort), and celebrant, I see and use an altar as a sacred space: a focal point for my daily life, or for a specific ceremony or ritual. If I was officiating a ceremony for someone, there would be an altar involved. This defined space features items which would have meaning to the person, or items symbolic of the event they are honouring.

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An altar may be used to honour your ancestors and ancestresses, or it may be as a way to focus on improving your health.

It may be because you’re pregnant and using it to visualise an ecstatic birth.

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Your altar may be a general one for a beautiful life.

For three years after my father was killed in a car accident, I had an altar with his photo and items that were significant to him. Each time I passed this altar, I would bow my head and say ‘hello’ to my dad. I do believe it was a vital part of navigating the murky world of grief, and deeply healing. It allowed me to hold him close while at the same time letting him go.

An altar may be created in your garden as a way of honouring Mother Earth.

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How about an altar in the kitchen? This can become a focus for divine energies to infuse your cooking with love, devotion and care.

My altars generally feature the four elements: earth, fire, water and air.

Earth can literally be dirt, or items gathered from nature such as crystals and gemstones. Or it may include items grown from the earth.
Fire is generally a candle, though it can be an incense stick or even a picture of fire.
Water can be contained in a vase with flowers, or perhaps a small bowl.
Air can be signified by a feather.

The beauty of an altar is that it is unique to the person who creates it, and is an expression of their inner vision. It can be as small as the tiniest shelf or nook, and as wide as the beach.

 

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Around The Table

I guess our dining table is more than 100 years old. How many meals families have eaten around it, and how many celebrations they shared, I’ll never know.

The wood is old and worn, and the way it feels under my hands satisfies my sensual self. I know my mother, who loves tablecloths, would want to cover it in fabric. I prefer to see the wood, and to connect with the history of this antique piece of furniture.

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In my home, and in my heart, I consider the dining table to be a sacred space designed for flowers, candles and meals made with love.

It’s also a place we can gather, at the end of the school day, with a cup of tea while we chat and catch up.

Indeed, the dining table is a ceremonial space, not just for birthdays or Christmas, but for every meal. As with other ceremonies, I light a beeswax or plant-based candle, play music, and express gratitude. Doing this changes a meal from being a source of fuel to something sacrosanct. It takes little extra time, but it does take a change of attitude to bring consciousness to each meal.

 

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Love From My Kitchen: kale and polenta fingers. Photograph by Veronika Robinson

This morning as we sat together, enjoying breakfast in each other’s company, we talked of ethics and philosophy; about fate, free will and determinism. Conversation included past lives and dreams. Taking time in our busy lives, to ‘break bread’ with our loved ones, is one of the most important rituals we can have as a family. It slows us down. It encourages us to take notice. It says ‘I’m showing up for me, and I’m showing up for you’.

 

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Love From My Kitchen: peppers stuffed with ragout. Photograph by Veronika Robinson

As a family, there can’t be many topics we’ve not discussed in one form or another over the years. What I truly value about a dining table is that each person gets to face another. There can be real heart-to-heart connections, even when you eat in silence. It brings a family together, and when we recognise each meal as a gift, a celebration, and the opportunity to commune with our loved ones, the dining table takes on hallowed significance. Indeed, for me, it is one of the most important pieces of furniture in our home.

 

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Love From My Kitchen: courgette and cranberry cake (gluten free). Photograph by Veronika Robinson

From when my daughters were born, they joined as at the dining table; long before they ate solid foods. They grew up learning the ways of this family, and what values we held. Gratitude for our food was as much a part of a meal as was the eating.

Our prayer was:

Earth which gives us this food
Sun which makes it ripe and good
Dear Earth, Dear Sun, by you we live
Our loving thanks to you we give.

 

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In more recent times, we’ve included another prayer of gratitude.

Thank you for the food before us
Thank you for the family (and friends) beside us
Thank you for the love around us

Yesterday I was writing a scene in my novel, Behind Closed Doors, whereby the family gathered to share a meal. I felt right at home around that old farmhouse kitchen table, listening to the laughter, enjoying the meal. I hope that my passion for such a daily ritual is reflected in the way the characters share their stories. How different an experience to share our days in this way than eating on the run, or standing at the kitchen counter because you don’t have time to eat. Don’t you think?

Tell me about your dining table? What family rituals do you have around meal times?

Love, Veronika xxx

PS Do sign up to my mailing list if you wish to be notified of when Love From My Kitchen (my next recipe book) is published.

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What I learnt from reading and writing romance novels

A few years ago I had a strong desire to leave the life I’d known as a magazine editor and become a romance novelist. It made sense. I have a deeply felt need to bring more love to the world, and I love writing. Why not combine the two?

I spent my teenage years immersed in romance novels. They provided just the antidote to boring school days and tedious exams. Instead of doing homework, I was being romanced by tall, dark, fictional men…that is, until I could hear my mother walking up the hallway to my bedroom. And then, my secret lover was shoved beneath the textbooks while I pretended to studiously examine the theory of how to dissect a frog. Talk about going from princes to frogs!

I was thrown out of biology class for drawing hearts. Love hearts!

I met my husband Paul―a prince, not a frog―when living in New Zealand, and we moved in together the day after our first date. It was ‘I’ve known you forever’ at first sight. We’re happily in love, two decades later. I still get butterflies when I see him smile, or watch him walking towards me. He makes me laugh like no one else can. I can feel the privilege of those oft-said words: till death do us part; and I know that it means our love will carry us through and beyond that day.

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Our love story is a rom-com; I’m the rom, he’s the com. In the roughly ten years I spent as a single woman, I kissed more than a few of those proverbial toads. Often it’s only in hindsight that we see the blessings of poor relationship choices and lost loves. Those toads—every single one of them—showed me what I didn’t want in a relationship. And so I went on kissing toads in the hope that there was a fairytale ending for me. Those toads may have worn different costumes, and had different names or jobs, but in the end a toad is a toad is a toad. Would I ever meet my handsome prince? Perhaps I’d read far too many Mills & Boon romance novels! Nevertheless, they gave me hope.

 

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Despite the heartache, the betrayal, the lack of emotional intelligence or ability to give more openheartedly by some of the above said toads, I never really stopped believing in love. It took me about ten years of kissing toads to realise I wasn’t a toad, and that’s why those relationships didn’t fit right.

I trained to become a marriage celebrant. Even if I wasn’t married, I could at least celebrate other people’s happy unions. As it turned out, by the time I officiated my first ceremony in 1995 I had a beautiful baby girl growing inside me. Yes, I’d found my prince! Or had he found me?

Several years ago, I became rather ill with what I later discovered was adrenal fatigue. I ended up in bed for weeks, so exhausted I could barely move. My daughters, bless them, remembered my teenage addiction to romance novels and scoured the local charity shops buying me dozens of novels from their pocket money. I’d not read romance novels in years. At first, I was somewhat amused that I’d ever found them interesting. After all, aren’t they all the same? That’s what everyone thinks, right? Boy meets girl. Boy is a prat. Girl can’t bear the sight of him. Well, she can really, because, frankly, he’s so hot he’s capable of melting an ice cream from five metres away. Is it lust? Is it…oh my, it’s love. And, darn it, turns out they’ve always loved each other and can’t possibly be apart.

Whatever the storyline, those novels helped me heal. Each day I found myself getting stronger as I read more stories of romance. I’m a fast reader, and generally get through a Mills and Boon novel in two hours.

Then, a few summers ago, I decided to write a romance novel. That summer, getting up before sunrise each day, I wrote five romance novels. Finally, I’d come full circle. All those years of reading about romance, and now I was writing stories about love. But was I?

My novels Mosaic, Bluey’s Café and Sisters of the Silver Moon are not romance novels, but they all feature love stories. What I learnt from writing these novels and writing those five romance manuscripts is that I actually find it hard to follow the formula of ‘boy meets girl and now we have to throw lots of obstacles in their way before they can be together’. Although I have quite the backlog of toads to my name, when I met ‘the one’ our path was smooth. Instant. And in my heart, that is what I wish for other women. I hope that one day they look up and ‘he’ is standing there before them, smiling, and ready to open his heart. I hope he won’t be all ego, arrogance and too macho to communicate his feelings.

 

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The alpha men of romance novels might be drop-dead gorgeous, but I want women to do better than that. I wish for them men who make you come ALIVE with their gorgeousness. You know, those men who aren’t just eye candy but are nourishing soul food. Men who are your equal, and don’t treat you as if you’re anything less than royalty. How do we know if someone is right for us? The best way is to close our eyes. How do they feel? What energy emanates from them? Because, it isn’t their dashing looks which will sustain your relationship through the years, but their kindness, respect, integrity, honesty and ability to be emotionally intimate and vulnerable.

I am grateful for every Mills and Boon book (and other publishers, too) I’ve ever read. And I’m so pleased I never gave up on finding true love. Like childbirth, I don’t believe it has to be a painful experience. I also don’t subscribe to the common beliefs:

Every marriage has its difficult times
Every couple fights.

It’s time people started creating their own love stories. Ones that aren’t perpetuating conflict, drama, power games, disrespect or arrogance. Because, you know what? Love isn’t any of those things. Love is accepting, honest, open, kind, encouraging, supportive, respectful, forgiving, compromising, and fair. Love is loving. And yes, even though most of us are dysfunctional in one way or another, and we all have a needy ‘inner child’, so too are we adults capable of making adult choices. Every moment of our relationship interaction is a choice.

 

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As a writer, I have come to accept that I may never have what it takes to be a romance novelist. I can, however, always write about love. For love, true love, is something I know well.

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Straddling two worlds: fiction and non-fiction

I never imagined (ha!) that I could be a fiction writer. With a background in journalism, and a dozen or so (I keep losing count) non-fiction books under my publishing belt, I was clear that, as a writer, my work was always going to stay that way.

And then I wrote my first novel, Mosaic. It was an amazing experience for me to create worlds where previously unknown characters came to life and had stories to tell. After I wrote it, I was sure: there were no more fiction books inside me. Back to my non-fiction world I went.

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One evening as I was cooking dinner, the entirety of my second novel, Bluey’s Café, came to me in the space of half an hour. It was like the Universe downloaded it into my brain while I was cooking. I spent the next five days typing it up like a crazy woman. A woman who neglected her family, her home, and every other aspect of her life. And even after that book, I was clear: no more fiction books inside me.

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A couple of summers ago, I wrote five romance novels in the space of that one season. I don’t know if they’ll ever see the light of day but what they did do was show me how much I loved the realm of the imagination. From that Summer with ridiculously early morning writing stints, came the growing realisation that I wanted—needed, in fact—to be a fiction writer. Crap! What would this mean? I had spent the best part of twelve years working as a magazine editor, and writing non-fiction parenting and holistic living books alongside that job as well as a being a mother to two home-educated daughters. And now all I wanted to do was write fiction?

I turned life as I knew it upside down to make this dream come true. Unlike non-fiction, I require a completely different writing space and working environment for writing novels. My main requirement is perfect quiet. No husband chatting about sport. No children asking ‘what’s for dinner?’ a few minutes after we’ve had breakfast. And no cat. Although I’m a cat person, I can’t bear the cat being in the room when I write. All that snoring and dreaming of mice just unsettles me.

So, now I’ve created a life where I can write fiction to my heart’s content, and lo and bloody behold, there are non-fiction books screaming to come out. What’s my lesson? I’m a writer, and it is best not to categorise myself too rigidly. Of course, it’s a pain in the butt when it comes to marketing one’s self. Am I novelist? Er, yes. Am I a recipe-book writer? Yes. Do I write books for holistic parents? Yes. Do I write astrology articles? Yes.
I’m a straddler!

 

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As I straddle the worlds of information and pleasure, I trust that the loyal readership I built up through years of my non-fiction work will be just as happy to straddle over to my fiction books and enjoy what I have to offer. And likewise, those readers who have discovered me through my novels, I trust will take a peek at my non-fiction world and try my other books out.

 

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It is my nature to communicate and impart information. As long as non-fiction books ‘ask’ to come out of me, I shall write them. I have, however, found my spiritual home writing novels.

 

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Where are all the good men?

There’s an old Patty Loveless song with lyrics I relate to:
If you don’t count my reckless youth, I came straight to you.

And also: I saw a tender heart, and I came straight to you.

I was in my mid-twenties when I had the pleasure of working with a man called Graham. He was a Minister of Metaphysics. I taught workshops such as “Why is this happening to me again?” and “The Quest”. Together, we made a great team. I loved going to work. Graham was fun, he was passionate, and he was smart. He was also deeply empathetic.

One day Graham said to me “Veronika, you have to stop believing all men are bastards”.

His words hit me hard, but they were just the wake-up call I needed. I did have a strong belief system in place which meant that the guys who turned up in my life were not the sort of men who were good for me. Graham was one of the first men in my life I respected, and my working relationship with him was a turning point in how I saw men.

My experiences with men had me believing that they were generally unavailable in some form, or were just out for one thing.

Graham’s words had me doing some serious soul searching, and whatever it was that I excavated from deep within my murky subconscious clearly did the trick. Just a few weeks later, the man who would become my husband, walked into my life. And, thank the Goddesses, he’s still here.

In my youth, I was a magnet for ‘bad boys’. What was I looking for? Adventure? Fun? From my current vantage point, I simply didn’t know what I was looking for back then. I had a dad who worked overseas for the majority of my childhood, so I didn’t have him around as a role model (for better or worse). What I did have pervading my childhood were men who took advantage of me sexually. When your boundaries (physical and spiritual) are penetrated in such a way you lose any sense of self. Today I’m a different person. Abuse, of course, comes in different forms ~ it’s not just sexual. All those years of having men take advantage of me destroyed something within me. But I didn’t stay a victim. I empowered myself and grew into the woman I am today. The one my husband describes as ‘she doesn’t take sh** from anyone’. I think he means it as a compliment!

Spending the past twenty years with a man who respects me has been deeply healing. In the process, I have also found my feet and my inner power source. No man walks over me. And although I may not be physically strong like a man, I have a strength within that could make a grown man cry.

I have had the good fortune to meet some amazing, caring, talented, loving, kind and wonderful men over the years. To be honest, such men are in the minority. But who is to blame for this lack of decent men? Their mothers? Probably. The culture? Definitely. Women? I’m afraid so.

As long as women allow men to treat them appallingly (on any level), the longer those men have what they consider their god-given right to be disrespectful, thoughtless, uncaring, rude… and you can stick an assortment of other words here.

When I write my novels, I create men that I’d want to have in my life. And, here’s a secret: a lot of their characteristics are based on what I find admirable in my husband. I’m not prepared to share him with anyone, but I would love for women the world over to experience the joy, liberation, well-being and happiness that come from living with a good man. When we are in such a relationship, the depth of emotional intimacy is life-changing. Remember, intimacy = in to me see.

 

Isaac

This gorgeous man is the inspiration behind the character Isaac in my novel Sisters of the Silver Moon. You can just tell from his smile that he’s loving, kind, thoughtful, humorous and gentle.

I dated about fifty guys before I met my husband. My daughters are horrified by this. Yeah, I’d like to erase them all from my history, too, but… what I did learn from those experiences is what I don’t want in a man. When Paul walked into my life, I recognised him immediately as someone who was kind, tender and had a good sense of humour. He was unlike any man I’d been out with before. No wonder we moved in together the next day after our first date. Sheesh, I wasn’t letting him go. I often joke that I didn’t marry him; I took him hostage!

So, when my single friends ask me ‘where are all the good men?’ I probably need to enlighten them and break through the myth that they’re already married.

Want a good man to turn up in your life? Then you need to honour yourself enough not to say ‘yes’ to the men who aren’t good for you. Ladies, you’re worth more than crumbs. Don’t accept them! Go for the best, most luscious, delicious cake you can find!  If there isn’t one in sight, then bide your time and grow yourself into the most beautiful and amazing version of you. You are what you eat. Don’t eat the crumbs!

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My novel is FREE on Kindle this week

Sisters of the Silver Moon, the first in my Gypsy Moon trilogy, is FREE on Kindle for the next five days. Get it while you can.

From midnight, I’m giving away TEN copies (print) of my novel. Go to Goodreads to be in to win.

Please leave a review on Amazon when you’ve finished reading. With thanks, Veronika x

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Sisters of the Silver Moon, by Veronika Sophia Robinson (Book one in the Gypsy Moon trilogy)

Published by Starflower Press

ISBN: 978-0-9931586-1-2

CIP Available in UK libraries

£7.99 pbk

Azaria Linden, the community herbalist, spends her days tending herb gardens, concocting lotions, potions and tinctures, beekeeping, and being a mother to four grown-up daughters who have left home. Her handcrafted life is the envy of many, but when the lives of her children change in dramatic ways, she wonders if she can keep it all together. Is it possible to still live a heart-centred life when everything around you is falling apart

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Available in paperback from Amazon, other online retailers, good bookshops, Starflower Press, and signed copies from the author: www.veronikarobinson.com

Also available on Kindle.

 

About the Author

Veronika Sophia Robinson is an Australian writer living in rural Cumbria. She’s the author of 12 non-fiction books (one translated into Italian), including the popular cookery book The Mystic Cookfire.

She was editor of The Mother magazine for 12 years, and takes her passion for women, community, natural living, health and well-being, family, home, and food, seamlessly into her fiction writing.

“Veronika brings something new and fresh to women’s fiction. She has a gift for allowing her readers to bond with her characters and feel at home in their locations. No matter where her novels are set, she describes the scenes as if she were a native to the area. With a highly distinctive writing style, she has been described as a true storyteller who writes beautifully descriptive narrative which reads easily, and is warm and clear. A writer of our time, she bravely explores cultural taboos, such as menstruation, women’s sexuality, and death.”

Veronika writes novels, mentors women, enjoys barefoot gardening, and runs a thriving international psychological-astrology practice. Sisters of the Silver Moon is her third novel.

 

Reader reviews (from Facebook/Twitter/Amazon/Email):

 

“Heartbreakingly beautiful.”

 

“Your books are unlike any others I’ve read in terms of themes and references.”

 

 

“When you get to the last page you are going to be mighty relieved there is a sequel! Beautiful characters that I totally fell in love with!”

 

 

“A simply beautiful story. It pulls you in, like being drawn into a warm embrace. Can’t wait for part 2!”

 

“I want a beehive after having read this novel.”

“I’m in a full blown love affair with the book. I was right there on that veranda.”

“I’m reading the Kindle version but wishing I had the real book to hold in my hands. It’s just beautiful.”

“I’m sitting in the sunshine with a bowl of your courgette & potato soup from The Mystic Cookfire, and reading Sisters of the Silver Moon.”

“I’ve really been enjoying Sisters of the Silver Moon. It’s my favourite of your novels so far. Wonderful characters, stunning descriptions. I’ve enjoyed/been devastated by the surprises, and it’s given me quite an insight (and yearning!) into a world I’m actually quite unfamiliar with – the world of women! I come from a family dominated my males. I hung out mostly with male friends prior to becoming a mother and unfortunately I don’t have strong relationships with the few females in my family. So thank you for the wonderful and thought-provoking read. The only downside is that I’ve been staying up at night, way later than is good for me, in order to read it.”

 

 

“Truly lovely characters — I miss them this morning– which is always a sign that I have really connected with a book. It is another gorgeous novel.”

 

“Well that was a morning well spent. I’ve just read Sisters of the Silver Moon.”

“A little bit of everything I love in a book – earthenware mugs, tea, bees, tinctures and balms, birth, knitting, love, sex, and did I read a chicken named Fleur?”

“Your books are the only romance novels I read.”

 

“I have a favourite earthenware mug that has the words ‘I Create my Day’ on it. Having read Sisters of the Silver Moon I need a new mug that says ‘Veronika Creates my Day’. I was transported into a reality that I became totally involved in. I was surprised and a little sad, on finishing, that the characters were no longer part of my day. I enjoyed the mix of family conflict, herbalism, community, bees, tea, knitting and a life well lived. This was an easy, pleasurable read that connected me with new friends and I’m impatiently looking forward to the sequel.”