The Way of the Sacred Celebrant

It’s not often that you gain a whole new family within the space of a week…

…But that’s exactly what happened this September at ‘Celebrant’s bootcamp’, otherwise known as the Sacred Celebrants Academy training in Glastonbury.

I had chosen to attend this course for continuing professional development – I’d run rituals and ceremonies for many years and was already an initiated Priestess, but I wanted to learn from the amazing Dawn Kinsella, the Priestess who’d officiated so powerfully at my own handfasting, how I could make all of my ceremonies into the deep, moving and profound experiences that I know she excels at creating.

I thought that I’d pick up a few pointers on how to hold space more effectively,and how to structure ceremonies in a better way, but it was so much more than that. I left after the week’s training with a totally altered self image of myself as a celebrant, the confidence to create beautiful, unscripted, deeply moving ceremonies, and a circle of lifelong friends in my fellow participants.

We began by spending two days immersing ourselves in the sacred land of Avalon, connecting deeply and viscerally with the four elements, taking the time to really embody these energies, to prepare ourselves to weave ceremony as the fifth element, the celebrant in the centre.

Dawn and new celebrants at the White Spring, Glastonbury

We then moved on to creating the ceremonies themselves, learning to speak from the heart, never from a script, to hold the energy in the centre, to work with our clients to make the rituals truly meaningful to them and their individual needs. We cried together as we held the space for deeply moving passing over ceremonies to enable grieving relatives and friends to bid farewell to their loved ones, and experienced the community-building art of holding a death cafe.

Under the enthusiastic and expert guidance of the incredible Jade Dalton-Roome, we experienced first-hand the power of the adult naming ritual for those taking a new name or identity, those brave souls stepping up to be open, visible and welcomed in love by their community as their true unabridged self – perhaps for the first time. More tears were shed, happy ones this time.

And finally we learned to create the very ceremony that had inspired me to take the training, the deeply romantic and couple-centric bespoke Celtic handfasting that is the crowning glory of SCA. In most wedding ceremonies the couple says very little, and the words are mostly from the celebrant on their behalf. But these handfastings take the couple on the journey of the story of their love… From the air that was the invocation of the heart and their first sweet breath of desire, to the spark of fire and passion created, the depths of their emotional bond and joining of the ancestral lines with water from the sacred red and white springs, to the final grounding of their union with wand and hoop (or wand/wand or hoop/hoop – all love is joyfully celebrated here) or with traditional handfasting ribbons… With every step the couple share their own story, how they met, how their love grew, what they now vow to each other in this, their sacred ceremony. It’s an experience and a ritual like no other. And what an honour and a privilege to lead such ceremonies! To be able to serve the path of love and hold the space for people to fully express their love and commitment in this way fills my heart with joy.

I am deeply grateful to Dawn, Greg, Jade and all at the Sacred Celebrants Academy for holding and facilitating this amazing training, and am so excited to weave this new knowledge into my own practice as a Sacred Celebrant.

Amelie is available for Handfastings, Baby or Adult naming ceremonies, Rites of Passage and Passing Over ceremonies in London, UK.

More details here

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