Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What's a Celebrant??

What is a Celebrant? Sounds fun doesn't it? In a nutshell, we celebrant life and the many turns our path takes along the way.

I believe I have always been a Celebrant. Even at a young age I loved ceremony and ritual, marking holidays and special occasions with an Event-like fervor. I didn't realize it at the time, but it grounded me, made me feel part of my family, my community, my 'tribe'.

As I grew into adulthood, these rituals and ceremonies, the little things that must be done - my kids each riding their bikes through a toilet paper barrier my husband and I held for them when they learned to ride a bike; getting to choose what you wanted to do and what you wanted for dinner when it was your birthday; lighting the Advent candles at Christmas; making specific foods for the holidays -- all were comforting, affirming, made us all feel part of the family and the passage of each life experience.

Even though I securely had these rituals in place, I realized the importance of marking the larger life passages with meaningful ceremony. When I was 13 my father passed away. Even though he was dying of cancer and in the hospital, to me it felt sudden and everything that occurred following that felt like a whirlwind of activity without any real opportunity for expression of feelings, or true acknowledgement of the man and daddy that he was. As an adult I began to realize how important ceremony is to the grieving process, and especially making the ceremony meaningful to the participants. In facilitating a ceremony for the passing of my unborn grandson a few years ago, I recognized the remarkable value of allowing space to acknowledge feelings, to feel the support and speak our truth in order to begin to move forward. Again, I felt the powerfulness of family, community, tribe.

I realized that life passages of all kinds deserve recognition. As a life coach, I already had worked extensively with clients in acknowledgement of even the smallest progress. This helps us to move forward with joy and purpose.

You just bought a house? That is cause for celebration, acknowledgement of the work it took to get there and to really feel what it means to have not just a house but a home. A house blessing ceremony gathers your team around you to celebrate this new place that is yours.

You just had a baby? More than a shower, a baby blessing ceremony honors the ancestors of this child and gives all present the power to be that child's team, supporters, helpers in life. It offers the parents witnesses to the experience of being parents and the virtual arms wrapped around all in a familial embrace.

A Celebration of Life service rather than a traditional funeral, can allow the grievers space to grieve along with an acknowledgement of the departed as a real human being in a way that is meaningful to those left behind.

So go ahead and feel free to celebrate life and all it's glorious moments. Have a Celebration and make it uniquely yours.

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