Podcast Episode 3 – BABY BLESSINGS: Celebrating the new branch on a family tree

Have you seen Walt Disney’s The Lion King?  One of my favorite scenes is when the witch, Rafiki, presents the newborn cub, Simba, to the gods while Simba’s parents beam with pride. That scene is what inspired a baby blessing I created.

 

Owls for Baby Blessing

In my work as a ritualist, I create rituals to help individuals, couples, families, and communities navigate rites of passage – weddings, new home blessings, baby blessings, as well as funerals, memorial services, and other milestones along the way. Most of the people who work with me are not members of a church. That no longer presents an obstacle for couples getting married since there are several legal alternatives for someone to perform the ceremony. Couples might choose a justice of the peace, a generic officiant, or a specialist in family and community rituals – a Life-Cycle Celebrant. That’s what I am.

Baby Blessing Ritual for the Unchurched

Not being a member of a church or other organized spiritual community can present a challenge when the couple has a baby. Continue reading

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Podcast Episode 2 — Root Vegetables and the Mid-Winter Ritual of Imbolc

What do root vegetables, horseshoes, the groundhog and the Celtic Goddess Brigid have in common? They’re the ingredients of two mid-winter rituals I want to share with you.

Photo by Abigail Lynn for Unsplash

I live in Connecticut. Winters are long and cold. In early February, folks look to the groundhog to predict the coming of spring. Early on February 2, he pops up from his underground den. If he sees his shadow, it’s because the sun is weak. It hasn’t risen high enough to warm the land. We can expect six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, the sun is strong and has already risen high enough to begin warming the land. Spring will come early. Instead of consulting the groundhog, my Celtic ancestors looked to the Goddess Brigid for signs of spring.  Continue reading

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Podcast Episode 1 – Drink Your Words ~ Intro to Practical Magic DIY

Water bottles labeled with words for the Drink Your Words ritual

“Words are but pictures of our thoughts.” So said England’s first poet laureate, John Dryden, back in the 1600s. His words inspired a simple ritual I created called “Drink Your Words.”  I’ve done this ritual in various forms for several years. It’s a good way to begin each day. It’s especially powerful at the beginning of an important activity, and at the beginning of a new year. In beginning a relationship, this simple ritual can prove both playful and revealing.

A little background first. Every December at the Winter Solstice, I choose three words for the coming year. Every single day in the new year, I give energy to those words. My goal is to absorb their essence, to draw their power into my marrow, so deeply that every bone feels the strength of the words. I don’t choose my words lightly. It takes weeks for me to decide. Continue reading

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A Holiday Dinner Ritual – Give These 4 Gifts from Your Heart

A dinner ritual – 4 Bowls of Abundance

The holiday season is known for both generosity and commercialism. As you gather around a dinner table with friends and family, here’s a simple ritual you can use to share gifts from the heart with those you love. Continue reading

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Want a meaningful way to celebrate the holiday season?

A wintry scene taken by my brother-in-love Len Lipp

It’s early-December. Here in the northern hemisphere, the days shrink as darkness, unstoppable since the Summer Solstice last June, relentlessly nibbles the light. This battle between night and day is as old as time. And things are about to change. Continue reading

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An Officiant’s View of Ceremony Music

Centuries ago, the word dream meant “to dream” as we know it. Spelled d-r-e-m-e-n, it also meant “to make music.” The music a couple chooses for their wedding ceremony doesn’t simply entertain or provide atmosphere. The music calls everyone present to dream.

Statue of a beloved pet

Having officiated at more than a hundred weddings and written more than a hundred love stories, I’ve been trusted with more than a hundred dreams. Sometimes a couple’s choice of music might never be considered by another couple and yet be perfect for the couple who chose it. I’m reminded of the bride who had lived through more than her share of hardship. She walked down the aisle to an instrumental version of Florence + The Machine’s Dog Days Are Over.  Even without the lyrics, those who knew the music knew the bright future it symbolized for that bride. Continue reading

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Facing My Worst Wedding Fear

This past weekend, I faced my worst wedding nightmare and it couldn’t have turned out better.

 

Entrance of the Mystic Arts Center in Mystic CT

On Friday, I ran the rehearsal for Sarah and Mike at the Mystic Arts Center. It went fine. On Saturday, I woke up sick. As the day passed and I got worse. Continue reading

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Imbolc, Brigid, and the Groundhog

Earlier this week, I celebrated the solar festival of Imbolc, the feast of the Goddess Brigid, at Meg’s Inspirations, a local spiritual boutique in Manchester, CT.

The altar for Imbolc and the Goddess Brigid

Imbolc is an old, old Celtic solar festival that celebrates the fulfillment of the promise made at the Winter Solstice. Light has returned. My Irish ancestors would have celebrated Imbolc with the Goddess Brigid, also known as Bride, or Breed, and eventually as St. Bridget. In Greek mythology, this is when the Goddess Persephone lights her lamp in the Underworld and begins her journey upward. She’ll arrive in the spring. In Scandinavian countries, the festival of lights features a girl who wears a crown of candles. The girl is known today as St. Lucy. In New England, the most recognized symbol of the season is the groundhog. Continue reading

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A Colorful Way to Tie the Knot

 In the December 19 issue of Brides magazine, Whitney C. Harris writes about  wedding trends for 2017.  Industry experts from around the country affirm the growing use of bright colors in wedding palettes. I concur!

 

As a wedding officiant, my focus is on the ceremony. In addition to the bridesmaids’ dresses, bouquets, tuxes and boutonnieres, and aisle décor, consider bringing color into the ceremony itself with a handfasting cord. Continue reading

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Laura, Colin, and the Popsicles: A Real Wedding in Connecticut

Recessional of Gatsby-themed wedding

Newlyweds Laura and Colin at Gatsby-themed wedding at Farmington Gardens in CT

A couple’s love story beats at the heart of their ceremony. Here’s a brief excerpt from the story I wrote for Laura and Colin… because every couple’s story is worth telling.

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The very wise Dr. Seuss once wrote about being weird and how two people who are mutually weird can fall in love. So it was with Laura and Colin. Continue reading

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