Slightly off-topic - support group for Celebrants?

In the Druid tradition, each of the great “rites of passage” is marked in the calendar by one of the fire-festivals: death, or Parting, is marked by Samhuinn, 31 October to 2 November, when the old Celtic year ends and there are three days of No-Time before the new year begins. Birth, and consequently Naming, is marked by Imbolc on 1/2 February—the time when the snowdrops appear and we can sense the first stirrings of spring. Mating, the Great Rite of making love, is marked by Bealteinne on 1 May, when the forces of spring are in full flood. Marriage, the formal recognition of having found a long term partner after the explorations of the spring time of one's life, is marked by Lughnasadh on 1 August. This forum is for discussing the ceremonies and customs associated with each festival and for all of the rites of passage in our lives.
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Slightly off-topic - support group for Celebrants?

Postby ShropshirePagan » 20 Aug 2010, 23:47

This may be slightly off-topic for this particular board, but it's one of those slightly odd topics tht doesn't really have a home!

This year I've had the honour and priveledge of conducting one handfasting. I have another one coming up in September this year (conducted with the groom from the previous handfasting who is a dear friend of mine!) and maybe another one coming up next year - I've had a tentative enquiry at the moment.

I've had a ponder and wondered if there was a group anywhere where celebrants can offer advice and guidance to each other, maybe share ideas or brainstorm, and maybe help with pointers on the practical matters of offering a service (e.g. whether to charge a fee, mileage, etc).

I'd particularly like the thoughts of any other celebrants out there - I'm but a fledgling to this at the moment and seem to have been called (slightly reluctantly at first!) to perform these rites. Would you find this useful, or is there a resource already out there that I haven't found yet?

I'm based in England, so we don't have the right to legal handfastings at the moment.

Warm blessings

Elaine x
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Re: Slightly off-topic - support group for Celebrants?

Postby Tynan Elder Oak » 14 Sep 2010, 14:11

I think that is a good idea, and perhaps it could be here in this place?

I too am based in Uk Warwickshire.... it is very hard to get started as a celbrant of all rights of passage, and so far my role has been asked for as people have come to hear of me through word of mouth.

Let me know if anything gets started. Lynne.

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Re: Slightly off-topic - support group for Celebrants?

Postby Donata » 15 Sep 2010, 15:12

I've done several handfastings/legal weddings (US), a couple of funerals and wiccaning (somewhat equivalent to baptism). All through word of mouth.

I charge a moderate fee for my time and energy, plus any expenses such as traveling. After all - how much are they spending on other aspects of the celebration, and how much do they value my services? I meet beforehand to discuss why they want my services - instead of civil, other ministry, etc.,. their values re the commitment, etc.

I don't know of any support group for celebrants.
If enough interest is generated a sub-forum may be possible here - perhaps under Druid Living?

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Re: Slightly off-topic - support group for Celebrants?

Postby wolf560 » 22 Sep 2010, 07:33

Hello All,

I was not aware of the legal issues in the UK surrounding handfasting.
I have conducted two hand fastings in the US, one for a nearby Pagan and the other for two very dear friends of mine (one Pagan and one still seeking).

I do not say that what I did is in any way what anyone else should do, but rather simply what I chose to do. For the Pagan I did not personally know, I chose to have them reimburse my gas mainly because I drove an hour out in the middle of nowhere in order to conduct the ceremony. In the case of my two best friends, I was honored and humbled and chose not to accept a thing except the first dance with both of them at the Wedding Reception afterwards. :tiphat:

I agree that (several) meetings before hand should be conducted, and that both parties have as much to think about just as if they were getting married by a Priest or Minister.

I am an ordained Minister living in the USA, and every state here has different rules and statutes governing what is legal and what is not. That, in addition to my long-standing studies in Druidry, were what made me feel confident enough to conduct their very precious ceremonies..... I probably rehearsed those handfastings more than any other ritual I have ever done before. :grin:

/|\ Mark

P.S. Several minutes before the ceremony began, the Groom asked me what I was muttering under my breath over and over again..... it was "Shepard's Prayer".
"Please Bright Ones, don't let me Screw this one up".

Same prayer overheard right before Freedom 7's launch by Astronaut Alan Shepard.
.
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Re: Slightly off-topic - support group for Celebrants?

Postby MiriamSPia » 18 Dec 2010, 14:32

This may be slightly off-topic for this particular board, but it's one of those slightly odd topics tht doesn't really have a home!

This year I've had the honour and priveledge of conducting one handfasting. I have another one coming up in September this year (conducted with the groom from the previous handfasting who is a dear friend of mine!) and maybe another one coming up next year - I've had a tentative enquiry at the moment.

I've had a ponder and wondered if there was a group anywhere where celebrants can offer advice and guidance to each other, maybe share ideas or brainstorm, and maybe help with pointers on the practical matters of offering a service (e.g. whether to charge a fee, mileage, etc).

I'd particularly like the thoughts of any other celebrants out there - I'm but a fledgling to this at the moment and seem to have been called (slightly reluctantly at first!) to perform these rites. Would you find this useful, or is there a resource already out there that I haven't found yet?

I'm based in England, so we don't have the right to legal handfastings at the moment.

Warm blessings

Elaine x

Perhaps this will help: one tactic is to get yourself legally sanctioned to perform weddings. In such a case you could conduct the hand fasting in conjunction with the legal wedding ceremony in which case the feel of it will be more in line with the custom amongst Christians to have the religious rite in conjunction with the legal ceremony. These can also be performed separately. In another solution, you could find a second person who is permitted to conduct legal weddings without the religious affiliation and have that person with you to perform the hand fasting in the event that the couple is seeking the hand fasting as a marriage.

There are people who hand fast to do a trial year+a day run, at the end of which they will either marry or go their separate ways. There are people who hand fast because they do not want a wedding ceremony. There are people who hand fast because they see it as being identical to a wedding ceremony except that they have not been forced against their own wills to use a Christian ceremony.

Personally, I did hand fast my only child's father about 6 months before we legally married: after having lived together for a couple of years and well over a year after we had the baby together. I had actually figured that we would have a Unitarian Universalist wedding service in a church with a lot of guests and actually have a reception and honey moon later on down the road but instead we ended up getting divorced a few years later. I managed to live in the same home for another few years after that, but the whole thing was odd. We hand fasted at Lughnassa at Avebury Henge in 1996. Our son was born just before Samhain 1995. I wasn't even against a Christian wedding service as long as it was Unitarian Universalist Christianity. Anyways, a number of other couples were hand fasted the same day; we just did it on the spur of the moment I think but others had planned to; maybe we had planned to: I'm not even sure now. My sister was there, but not "for the wedding" so much as we just brought her with us to visit Avebury Henge as a day out at Lughnassa. The German I hand fasted is "a half assed Christian". The other half of his ass is nonreligious, not really pagan in any active way, but natural garden variety N. German.

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Re: Slightly off-topic - support group for Celebrants?

Postby Donata » 18 Dec 2010, 15:09

P.S. Several minutes before the ceremony began, the Groom asked me what I was muttering under my breath over and over again..... it was "Shepard's Prayer".
"Please Bright Ones, don't let me Screw this one up".
Same prayer overheard right before Freedom 7's launch by Astronaut Alan Shepard.
Thank you for posting this! Just saw it - it's perfect!

UU ministers are usually more open to alternate types of ceremony. Several of my pagan/Wiccan friends have used their services.
One point, not meant as at all antagonist: Unitarian Universalists (I've been one for 32 yrs) are not Christians. We're 'Unitarian' not 'Trinitarian' which means we don't accept the belief in the divinity of Jesus. UUs are an odd sect since it came out of Christianity but isn't Christian!

Side note - earlier this year I applied for a part time job as a social worker with a local food pantry. My interview went extremely well until the last question: "Are you a Christian?"
I truthfully replied, "No, I'm a Unitarian Universalist. I have no problem with the teachings of Jesus as in the Bible." End of interview, and I didn't get the job. Legal because the pantry is sponsored by a local Lutheran church.

Even if we don't have a sub forum we can continue this thread and give each other support and any help as much as possible.

BB
Donata
In some mysterious and wonderful way you are part of everything. And in that same mysterious and wonderful way, everything is a part of you. ---Nippawanock, ARAPAHOE

If I destroy you, I destroy myself. If I honor you, I honor myself. --- Hunbatz Men, MAYAN ELDER

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Re: Slightly off-topic - support group for Celebrants?

Postby wolf560 » 18 Dec 2010, 17:45

Terrific idea..!!

I only have two hand-fastings under my belt
but I would be honored to help out in whatever way I could.
.
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Re: Slightly off-topic - support group for Celebrants?

Postby mwyalchen » 21 Dec 2010, 13:21

Shropshire Pagan - I'm guessing from the name that you're in England?

The Pagan Federation have a celebrants group, which provides some very thorough training - visits to crematoria for those likely to be conducting funerals, training and certification for prison ministry etc. If you don't want to join them, they may still be able to poffer guidance, or put you in touch with other people you could talk to.

And Emma Restell-Orr is part of a group of celebrants - maybe you could see what suggestions she has.

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Re: Slightly off-topic - support group for Celebrants?

Postby LunarLiz » 30 Dec 2012, 16:15

I feel I might like to become a hospital or prison visitor in the future, and possibly a life rites celebrant, although maybe less so than the previously mentioned lines of work... but I am quite new to the Druid path in any formal sense, (although Pagan for a long time) so I wonder if that means I'm not prepared enough? Is anyone here able to offer further advice please? Thank you. :)
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Re: Slightly off-topic - support group for Celebrants?

Postby BlazeLeeDragon » 30 Dec 2012, 17:43

This may be slightly off-topic for this particular board, but it's one of those slightly odd topics tht doesn't really have a home!

This year I've had the honour and priveledge of conducting one handfasting. I have another one coming up in September this year (conducted with the groom from the previous handfasting who is a dear friend of mine!) and maybe another one coming up next year - I've had a tentative enquiry at the moment.

I've had a ponder and wondered if there was a group anywhere where celebrants can offer advice and guidance to each other, maybe share ideas or brainstorm, and maybe help with pointers on the practical matters of offering a service (e.g. whether to charge a fee, mileage, etc).

I'd particularly like the thoughts of any other celebrants out there - I'm but a fledgling to this at the moment and seem to have been called (slightly reluctantly at first!) to perform these rites. Would you find this useful, or is there a resource already out there that I haven't found yet?

I'm based in England, so we don't have the right to legal handfastings at the moment.

Warm blessings

Elaine x
I am curious what type of advice and guidance you are looking for, perhaps some can be found here, I have a few other websites I could suggest if your interested. I live in the US we can legally handfast here, however all unions are called "marriage" the ceremony is not important, you just need an officiant. I find that up setting that Druids are finally recognized in the UK however marriage ceremonies are still limited. perhaps that is something you can fight for to get recognized :(
May the peace of the season find you,
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