ceremonies for life events & transition
Ceremonies allow us the experience of acknowledgement. Acknowledgment and being witnessed is its own medicine. The purpose of Ceremonies is not to heal but to transform. Offering anything sacred attention is an act akin to alchemy. Ceremonies do not need to be big or elaborate to create profound reverberations within a body, heart, relationship or community. Personalized ceremonies are for people who have something happen in their life or inside of them that desires attention, reflection, witnessing, tending to.
Ceremonies often fail us when they are prescribed, rote or when they are handed to us by dominant culture, tradition or religion but don’t feel fully aligned with the particularities of the person they are meant to support or the situation they are meant to honor. The process I engage in allows individual(s) and their lived experience to gently guide us to the emerging ceremony.
No two ceremonies are alike. Each process is collaborative, fluid, and responsive; however, below are a number of life events & transitions I often work to support, celebrate and honor. They are organized by color and the following categories:
Beginnings & Openings * Middles & Processes * Endings & Completions
If any of these events or transitions call to you, we would begin the process with that in mind. Each process is unique; beginning with a conversation to uncover the nuances of your intention, story, situation and the longing that is guiding you to Ceremony.
* a note about pricing: My process is broken into three parts: the Conversation, the Composition & the Ceremony itself. You can learn more about what these entail under "the process" page on this site. The price for the Conversation + Composition ranges from $350-$450 depending on what the ceremony is honoring/acknowledging. If I am present to perform / facilitate the Ceremony, there is an additional fee depending on a number of factors including: the location of the ceremony, how many guests/participants will be present, and materials. If you would like a personalized quote, fill out the form on the "work with me" page on this site so we can find time to have a phone conversation.
Religions and cultures across history and the world have rituals to honor the arrival of a new baby. A baby’s birth is a sacred threshold that desires ceremony. When a child is born, parents are also born. Baby blessings offer a sacred ceremonial container to honor the family that is being born and the new soul that is entering the family and our world.
When we move from one home to another we begin a new chapter. Some of us are very sensitive to space, to the way light fills a room, the way walls create the choreography of our daily lives, how architecture feels around our bodies. The way a place holds us needs to be honored. Upon leaving a space it is important to acknowledge the life we have lived within it. When moving into a new home, it is important to greet the space with reverence and set inventions for yourself. Homes witness us in all our forms, and it is a act of gratitude to bless them when we leave or arrive.
Much attention is given to the ceremony of commitment performed during a wedding but we commit to our relationships on a daily basis in many seen and unseen ways. Anniversary ceremonies, whether for a wedding or first date, provide intentional space to honor the relationship, its past as well as the ways it is unfolding and evolving. The sacred attention of a ceremony offers partners time to reflect, express gratitude and love as they honor the commitment that they are living. A note: There are also personal anniversaries, for example sobriety, which also benefit from ceremony and the experience of reflection and recommitment.
The way we connect with our babies is myriad, but if you breastfeed, weaning can be an emotional threshold. Regardless of what your breastfeeding journey looked like and whether it was the journey you had imagined and hoped for, or not, weaning is an ending and often endings touch us in places that are tender. A ceremony to honor weaning may include celebration, gratitude, grief and surrender. It may provide you with a sense of closure, connect you with a sense of trust or perhaps it simply holds you and your body in all that is arising.
end of romantic relationship
How we end is as important as how we begin , and yet so often there is only attention given to the start, the beginning. This is true in many things but especially in love. Rarely is a break up formally marked, and yet the transition from being "partnered" to being "single" can be big, difficult and formative. Romantic endings bring up countless emotions, a complex and often challenging landscape of feeling.... grief, sorrow, loneliness, anger, hopeless, abandonment, disassociation, relief, possibility... Ceremonies to honor romantic endings provide space and time to reflect on the relationship that is ending and be with the feelings arising as it ends. Each relationship, regardless of how it looked, holds within it teachings that can be carried forth. A ceremony at this threshold is meant to help individuals tend to their hearts and honor what was, as they process a Romantic Ending.
the loss of a pet
When a person dies there are many places to turn to begin the process of grieving and celebrating their lives. There are traditions, funeral homes, books, support grounds, and all the people who also loved and had a connection with the person who has transitioned. When an animal passes there are fewer road maps, even though the grief can be big and life changing. The loss of a pet can feel like a grief that lives in the shadows and remains unseen or unrecognized by the world and even your community. Ceremonies for a pet you loved and have lost is an important way to honor them and the life you shared. Ceremonies around grief are often necessary for moving through the mourning in a way that feels reflective of that pain and love that is present.
commitment to the self
We commit ourselves to external things as well as to other people but there are many ways and times in our lives when it is imperative that we commit to ourselves. Ceremonies offer a formal way to honor those commitments. Whether it be a commitment to one’s sobriety, one’s new gender or a way to show up for yourself in a specific or different way. Ceremonies of Commitment to the Self can be private markings of an internal decision which is foundational to one's evolution as a person. The ceremony can also be performed in community to include others as support.
a creative wound
Like our bodies, our creative spirit gets bruised, exhausted, disoriented, broken. Sometimes this occurs after putting a specific piece of work out into the world. Perhaps it is met with criticism or little interest. Sometimes this occurs when you begin a project inspired and excited but in the process of creation something is lost, compromised or warped. Our creative spirits need care just like our bodies, just like our relationships, our spaces, our communities… A ceremony for the creative spirit is meant to help individuals acknowledge the wound around a specific work or their process, so they can move forward with joy and ease on their creative path.
Birthdays offer a natural time for us to pause and reflect. It is a time to honor and acknowledge the year that is ending, while intentionally articulating what we hope to move toward in the year to come. Each rotation around the sun marks our own sacred year and ceremony can be used to honor that threshold.
The abortion experience can be a fundamentally life changing experience. It is a physical experience. It is an emotional experience. It is a relational experience. For many, it is also a spiritual experience. The abortion experience involves not only the physical procedure, but also the people and events leading up to it (sex, pregnancy, decision) and the people and events following it (changes in relationships with self and others, physical, emotional, and financial, shifting of timelines.) Depending on the availability of inner and outer resources one has at the time, a person who has an abortion is more or less able to process and integrate the experience in a healthy way that supports her life force. Often, there are aspects of the abortion experience that are buried beneath the surface, waiting for the time, the space, and the support to rise up and be illuminated. A ceremony is an opportunity for those who have experienced abortion to illuminate anything within that is ready to be seen and witnessed, in a safe and sacred process.
blessing a creative project
We spend months and often years making a body of work; a book, performance, concerto, painting, album, quilt...We do most of this work in fertile solitude, with occasional contact and input from close colleagues. We are concerned with making what we imagine and doing it well. And when it is finished, we put it into the world. This act can often feel very vulnerable. Alongside the more public facing release, opening, debut.. It is often helpful to create a ceremony to honor the process and the work without concern about how it may or may not be received. We can bless the labor, tools, ideas, inspiration, intention and process, as we honor the work.
There are thresholds, passages, milestones and initiations that are unique. Each of us traverse the landscape of life, walking our own path. Each of us at times is invited or required to experience things that the collective might not; the diagnosis of a terminal illness, the grief for a country lost, a childhood trauma, an infidelity, a decision not to have a child, a significant success which asks us to reorient the way we relate to ourselves and others.. these are just a few examples of life experiences that are specific yet still might benefit from being honored and acknowledged through Ceremony.
The heart of a wedding is the ceremony of commitment a couple is making to one another. The process of creating the ceremony is an opportunity to invite ritual and intentionality into a wedding. Guided by a desire to infuse sacredness and spaciousness into every aspect of the wedding journey, I engage in an intimate process of reflection and idea generation with each couple.Together we co-create a wedding ceremony that honors and reflects the essence of a couple's relationship; their vision, journey and love. A wedding ceremony can be devotional, celebratory, aspirational, tender, humorous, reflective, loud, silent, communal, intimate... I will compose a ceremony that serves as both a reflection of a couple's unique love as well as a thoughtful articulation of what the commitment of marriage means to them.
Our lineages desire honoring. Sometimes our lineages are tender and need holding, other times they are strong and have existed for a long time without language to support them. A motherline ceremony creates a space for women to gather intergenerationally with their mothers and daughters (bio or chosen) to honor and celebrate wisdom, hardship, intergenerational healing and the webs of care we weave for one another.
Changing professions or moving from one job to another can bring up many feelings: excitement, fear, gratitude, insecurity, vulnerability. A ceremony to honor the new path you are forging while acknowledging what you are leaving behind can be a way to fortify yourself and your intentions, as you embark on the transition. What inspired or caused this change? What needs to be left behind? What do you want to hold near as you move forward? What is guiding you?
The end of a career offers a unique opportunity to reflect on what you have created, learned and who have you been. As you step into the next chapter of your life, one might desire an opportunity for celebration and introspection. Retirement, as is the case with many thresholds, benefits from ceremony, a chance to look back and look forward, standing in the doorway between one phase and the next. To honor is to praise and to praise is to be grateful for what was. To mark the ending with intention is to begin with intention. What awaits you, what part of yourself is desiring to be born now? Some retirement ceremonies focus on the celebration of what is complete. Others focus on what is coming and emerging with the space and time ahead.
The end of a life is a profound passage not only for the person who has transitioned but for all those who loved and were affected by that individual. Ceremonies to honor a death are sometimes folded into a large gathering, a memorial / funeral, so that a community can gather in praise and grief for the one who has been lost. In other cases, a ceremony after death might be private and intimate, a handful of close family or even a ceremony for one. Grief is its own tender and transformative wilderness and the ceremonies created to honor the passage are a reflection of the individual lost as well as the unique love those who remain carry for that person.
Oftentimes we are undergoing a transition or a life event that defies naming. It may be that a few things are happening at once or that what is occurring is taking place in an interior space that is not yet accessible with language. The ceremonial process offers the space and time to do some digging, to articulate intentions and name that which wants to be honored and acknowledged.