Most religious traditions have ceremonies to mark those occasions where life changes: birth, emerging into adulthood, growing into partnership with another, death. Such changes are huge: they involve release, stepping into the unknown. What is released may be precious as well as done, what is to be stepped into may be fearful as well as joyful. Marking such exchanges brings their importance to conscious, shared attention, integrates them emotionally and spiritually, sets up to meet the new with openness and sureness.
If you lack a religious tradition which will help you mark your own transitions, that is no barrier to ensuring that they do not pass by without comment. Working with you to seek out what is important to be felt, done, said, I will craft a ceremony which is unique to you and which acknowledges your changing in the best possible way - for you.
Baby/New Arrival Blessing
The arrival of a new life into the world, or a new person into a family is always special. Whatever the circumstances surrounding it, this is an affirmation of humanity's optimism, of the energy of creation.
Ideally, the new life will also be an expression of love, the desire of two parents to share your hearts with your own creation.
You and he, or she, have made perhaps the biggest decision ever.
The decision to make a public, official, world-without-end bargain with each other.
The bargain that emerges from knowing that you want to spend your lives together, that the sun won’t rise or set unless you’re together.
Funeral / Memorial
Facing death is never easy.
If you have no attachment to a religious faith or community to help you, the honouring
of a lost loved one can pose a bewildering challenge. You may feel at a loss to knowwhat's possible, what's allowed, what's acceptable.
These are the most obvious, perhaps, but there are other transitions, other events which you might want to process by marking in some special way.
And how much better to be conscious, mindful, about what you want for this new person, about your ideas and ideals, about your desires and ambitions for him or her. It's good to take time to think this through -
to understand what is changing between you two, or three or four as this newness squirms, toddles or walks its way into your life,
to consider what you want for it, for this now larger family and its members
to ask for help and support for you and for the child as you grow
to honour the immensity of the transition that birth is for Mum - the endurance, the parting and the meeting.
A blessing or welcoming ceremony will bring the important people together into one space and time, and will make open and explicit what you hope to bless this person with.
a new arrival
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It’s right that it’s marked, that this bargain, this joining of lives be fully honoured.
If you have a religious tradition that you both share, then this tradition,
whatever it is, will have its forms, liturgies, processes and actions
to welcome your union within its community.
If you don’t, or if your and her, or his, traditions are different, or if you’re not at ease with your traditions’ observances
(or they aren’t at ease with yours), then of course there’s always the civil option.
Ask the registrar, book an appointment, go through the legal process – and then just party.
Is the partying enough, though?
If this is just a contractual, legal, financial arrangement, then maybe it is.
If not, you might well feel that something more is wanting.
Surrounded, as it seems, by necessary procedures and legal requirements, it's easy to lose sight of - or even to work out - what you want to say or do in response to this ending.
I can help you towards the questions which will help you understand what is needful.
I will listen to your memories, your ideas, your wonderings. I will help you grasp what you want to do for your loved and lost one, and with you will craft a funeral service or a memorial event which will be a fitting farewell, and a secure step along your path of grief and rebuilding.
This process does not need to wait until after death. If you know that death is approaching, you may well want to give some space and time to thinking about how to meet and honour it when the time comes.
This might be for someone you love or for yourself. If for you, I can take time with you to explore what you want along the way: what’s important for you to do, remember, pass on, let go, finish, say.
You may want to explore holding a ceremony or ritual with those you choose, to say good bye in your own way, together.
Often family and friends need somewhere they can turn to, to explore what they are feeling, what they may want to say, and to be supported in what they need to do. I can offer time in quiet companionship, the chance to speak the unspeakable, give voice to the fears, hopes and sadness, before, during and after death calls.
It may be a healing and connecting process to speak the unspeakable, to face and prepare for that moment of separation and the time that will follow it.
If you intend to or have already contacted a funeral director about the practical
arrangements, it's possible to request my services through them - just give them my details and ask them to contact me.
There can often be aspects of life, events, occasions, which deserve to be noticed, marked, honoured, for what they mean to you, for the change they will make in your life, to your living or to your ability to renew.
Something to celebrate: an engagement, a new job, a new home, a special anniversary
Something to release: old stories, old patterns, this home you're moving from, this part of your life that's over.
Something to affirm: this relationship, this long-buried part of you, this determination, this resolution.
Large or small, public or private, shared or not, setting aside a piece of time, finding a simple ritual, can make the difference between 'just another day' and a real step across a threshold.
I don't have to be there, I don't need to know how it went or what it felt like, but let's work together to name what wants to emerge, and give it wings!
Often through life we stand on an edge,
a shoreline between sand and sea,
between what we have been
and what we will be