Monday, 13 June 2016

Symbolic Spiritual Ceremonies


The Spirit in your Ceremony



As a New Zealand registered celebrant I am asked to officiate all sorts of occasions for the celebration of birth, marriage and death.  My registration as an independent Celebrant is one without denomination and I pride myself on being able to listen to my customers, feel their passion and understand the style and reasoning for their celebration.  Once this connection is wordless I put it into a spiritual category when planning a ceremony and script with my customers.

Understanding the difference between Spirituality and religion.


Although both spiritual and religion have far past connections and an ingrained conditioning in our every day lives it is becoming a much broader understood word and accepted feeling.  With the dictation of religion often not everyone's cup of tea, spirituality allows us as individuals to maintain that connection and belief in oneself and expressing it openly with others unconditionally.

Spirituality has also been connected with the 1960' and 70's hippy era when the baby boomer years allowed self expression often enhanced by a little chemical intervention, which developed into its less desirable reputation but what these people were really exploring was a door way to understanding their own minds and connection with mother nature an often under stated power and beauty of our modern world.

Although all of the above can correlate with religion it is really it's own power or energy that has often been incarcerated by our human need to belong and be lead by an organized group or culture that has a mission to give specific teaching and way of life to those open to it. In a nut shell Spirituality in my opinion is about respect for ourselves, a god (who every you might like that to be) and every body else who shares our space.


Spirit is a word that has several interpretations, for example we would often associate it with the energy leaving a body after death just as we understand it as something having Spirit, living, a life full and driven by an energy to be inspired and work beyond oneself.  To enable my customers to be inspired by their belief what ever it might be, inspires me to translate this into my services as the feeling they carry within; into love, wisdom, joy, peacefulness and celebration of the event we are orchestrating.

Is your Celebrant in tune with you?


Terri Everett
Most Popular Celebrant -Wedding Experts Industry 2015
dressed for autumn 
I feel if people are going to invest in my professional service that it is important to offer a flexibility that represents the people I am working for.  As Celebrants we do have a ceremony template and in the case of a marriage; legal requirements and expectations from the guests celebrating with the couple but beyond this there are few rules that can be manipulated around the customers desire.



For me (beyond the legal requirements)  I must believe in the ceremony celebration given into my charge, to offer an authentic service.  Love is a profoundly powerful feeling that is the upper foremost expression in all births, marriages and death and a feeling no one can deny that they have felt at some time in their lives. This is a feeling I can describe to my customers as their spirituality, its physical, and allows us to understand the invisible energy of love and spirit.  This is the energy that I like to work with which gives inner peace that will achieve our goal for a personalized meaningful and enlightening ceremony everyone can relate to.

Once we establish the need to celebrate the occasion, by looking within, to find the timeless and deeply profound feelings that are in-tune with the individuals need of the customer, that one has to outwardly express those feelings about another to each other, and in most cases in front of an audience who feel relaxed in attending this style of ceremony; is key.  Understanding that in the case of a wedding for example there should not be any rules when offering these affirmations to each other weather in legal or non legal terms, hence the personal vows.

Births marriages and death are about the living spiritual life and offering a symbolic ceremony encompassing the meanings of that occasion will reflect at each ceremony we perform.  Your celebrant will help balance the event with your feelings as well as the ideals that could be different from your family and guests.  The marriage legal paper work in New Zealand when working with an independent celebrant can easily be blended into a spiritual ceremony and will not impact on your personal desire to follow your beliefs however they are announced.

With the flexibility of marriage and weddings in New Zealand we see a flock of international couples swooping into New Zealand combining their wedding and honeymoon together ( #weddingmoon
however, if you want your spiritual event to be sincere and not just a commercial quick fix and a standard wedding doesn't suit you; research should be high on your priority to find the right location which offers that vibration you have inside as well as a connection with the officiant you will engage to lead your celebration, 

Once you have chosen your registered celebrant (CANZ) its important to build up a report' with them and express what is important, even down to the clothes they wear.  Most celebrants has what they would call their uniform; an appropriate and smart outfit but in many cases this will have mainly black base, so not to clash with the bride. But in a spiritual ceremonies black is symbolic of sadness and darker impression and it is more appropriate to wear other colors, blue is more popular.  I like to wear a colour or selection of colours typical of the season which lines up with the energy of that time of year in nature.

Dressed in 1920's style
Dressed for spring
Location: New Zealand seems to induce a spiritual feeling within its natural beauties and story telling of the Maori culture.  Scouting for such a New Zealand destination ceremony location isn't easy if you're looking from over seas, its advised that maybe you look on google at a map of New Zealand and either the North Island or South Island to give you a sense of your inner intuition and further research the location that inspires you or ask someone who lives there to advise on a location that will reflect your spirit and need.  The Dream Maker is very lucky to live in the Nelson and Tasman region which includes the Spirit of Golden Bay and with experience and the necessary department of conservation permits will easily direct you to a location that reflects on your desire to speak affirmation to your beloved in a place with an atmosphere, further satisfying your spiritual you.

The Spirit of the New Zealand Mountain Tops Wedding

The Spirit of the New Zealand Native Woodland Weddings
The Spirit of the New Zealand  Biscuit Crisp Beach Weddings


Time of day: Your location will govern what time of day you can get married, this will depend on light and in the case of a beach the tide times which can not be compromised, so if the time of day is important to you then these are considerations to think about before even thinking about the location.  Dawn and dusk are both very spiritual times of day to hold your ceremony and your officiant or wedding planner can advise on your possibilities.

The Spirit of the New Zealand Sunrise or  Dusk Wedding 

Once the location which holds that energy to suit your desire has been decided its about building the bridges of your ceremony and many symbolic offerings and ideas are available to personalize your statement of love.  We can offer suggestions however if your beliefs have different ideas we can easily incorporate these into your celebration.

Circle of Goldcan also be very symbolic and a very beautiful song sung by Isla Grant is extremely popular in weddings as well as reaffirming a couples love (Renewal of vows) and memorials.  The Circle of gold also has connection to the sacred circle which can be created as drawn into the sand, petals, shells, rocks and I have even experienced sand castles. The circle is exclusive for the couple and officiant to stand in and guests would stay outside.  This tradition has also been adapted into love hearts created and celebrated in the same way.

Circle of Gold Sand Castles

The Spirit of the Circle of Gold a perfect ceremony idea
                                   

Symbolic Spiritual Ceremonies


Blending of two Families: Wedding planning is often constrained by family tradition but with the ability, especially in New Zealand to design your ceremony in a way that reflects on you, rather than the expectation of others has never been easier.  We are seeing an increase of couples only celebrations, combining their big overseas experience with their wedding and honeymoon, which often doesn't have a lot of difference in the over all cost of the occasion but captures much more opportunities for life long memories.  These weddings are perfect for couples blending beliefs or maybe marring for the second or third time and can be a great opportunity for couples with children from previous relationships bringing the symbolic action to fuse the two families together for a new banging bringing to halves into a whole.  For me, as a celebrant this is one of the most joyous occasion, amalgamating two families which often have a difficult past into a brighter future where they all feel they belong.  Its also an chance for each partner to express to those children the importance of the children in their lives and being part of the acceptance of the other partner.  One example of this was two fairly large families, with a wide age range of siblings coming together for a very simple event in a stunning coastal location that had been enjoyed over 10 years as the conjoined families lived together.  It had taken a long time for the couple to feel ready to officiate their union and we did it in the simplest of ways.  Each child selected a shell with a hole in from the beach and threaded it onto a string, with the couples also having a shell in the middle of the string.  As they threaded the shell they gave comment to what was important to them and the string was finally knotted together to symbolize the coming together and the security of that union.  The beautiful and hugely indicative jewel was then kept in their home as a reminder of that significant day.

Indigenous Sound Ceremony: If you are really connected to sound, earth and nature and the energy it can bring to an event or even an individual, you will love the idea of a a powerful indigenous Kiwi instrument sound journey to bless you on your new journey as a married couple or united family.  This extraordinary experience is a unique product to The Dream Maker and will incorporate the Kiwi experience adding an emotional and memorable occasion.  The instruments are played by Sika who has traveled the world sharing his story telling passion for music and sound blended with nature and love.

                                         


Tree of Life: The tree of life symbolizes life itself, with deep rooted meaning of reproduction, seasons and death.  A young tree or even just an acorn can be used within the ceremony to suggest the true meaning of our family tree and at most ceremonies there is a range of family members from each side and its a nice way to include them by giving them a paper leaf to write a message and place it on the tree.  These can later we kept in a scrap book and enjoyed as well as the planting of the tree in a place where it can share its seasons with you as a reminder of your special day of celebration. The tree must also be nurtured by you both as you would you marriage to stay strong and vibrant.

The Alter or Signing Table: I chose to have a native wood table made as part of my package.  The table being native wood has its own energy to balance with nature and the locations I work.  It can be easily transported to those more inaccessible locations but I have also used the granite rock's on mountain tops and these really do offer an incredible vibration and energy of strength and power, solid grounding. There can be some symbolic routines around approach and entering the circle of gold (love)

Native New Zealand Wood Ceremony Table is easily folder for transportation to difficult locations

Tradition vintage family signing table that holds personal spiritual significance

Unity Candle Ceremonies:  This ceremony can be included in several ways, two candles symbolizing the light of two soles which then come together to light one candle which suggest the two lights burning as one light in unity.  There are far more in depth implications to do with deep symbolic understanding of alchemy that can be discussed if its typical for the couple. With this idea you can really let your personality run wild but please be thoughtful of you are using this ceremony outside, if the wind is high you may not be able to complete the ceremony which could leave you feeling unfulfilled. (ideal for family blending too) If you are holding your ceremony at night this is a really beautiful way to light your way up to the alter. Candles with your names and date of the ceremony are also available to personalize it further.

The Spoon:  This tradition is a Celtic tradition and quite long in the tooth and is said to be given to the groom from the bride to symbolize the care and nurture she will give to her husband in marriage.  Its also said to be the symbol of Love.

Sand Ceremony: The blending of sand is a popular offering, and can be used in both scenarios; just a couple or family blending situation.  Its about bringing the two individual components together and mixing them in a way that will never ever be apart again.  I have used this when two cultures are coming together and combined the two sands from each origin.  This works brilliantly when the sands have two very different shades. (make sure if you are bringing sand in from another country it has got a certificate of fumigation, this might need to be arranged well in advance of your ceremony date)  If the sands are collected in a decorative glass that can be engraved with the names, location and date.




Blending of water: This offers much the same effect as the blending of sand, however its important that you work with two colours that will blend and create a pretty colour.  This is not something that can be kept as a keep sake and really is just about visually expressing your union on the day.

Blending of Wine or Beer: In the Tasman region of New Zealand we are known for our boutique wines and craft beers.  If you are spiritually connected to the science of wine and beer making this could be a great way to celebrate by blending your own wine for the day.  I would highly suggest discussing with an expert and maybe time permitted you could be part of the whole process, making your combination that much more symbolic to you as a couple. Personalized labels for your wine or drinks can be arranged.

Flowers: Weddings are all about the flower but more often its about personal choice and style combined with theme and colour. However if you are more inclined to be spiritually connected to you ceremony some research on the types of flowers in your bouquet or flower ceremony could have further significance and importance to the ceremony.  We all know the red rose symbolizes love but did you know that pink carnations and chrysanthemums stand for remembrance of a deceased while its the white carnation which that shows untainted love and innocence.  These traditions have come from ancient beliefs and could be ingrained in that energy, it is advised you discuss with your expert florist if the meaning is of important to your spiritual beliefs.  Once you have ascertained your chosen flower this can be used in much the same way as blending the sand and water. each family member adding to the couples flowers in a vase. (Make sure if the chosen location has any restrictions on flower types for its scientific native importance)

The Spirit of the ceremony Flowers New Zealand Weddings

Hand Fastening: Again a Pagan background with strong long standing meaning that is less typical of today's unions, so, it is advised if a couple really follow these Pagan  traditions that they ask a Pagan specialist Celebrant to officiate their union.  However this symbolic idea can and is used in a much more simplistic way today to make a visual statement of the two people coming together tied in their love for each other and if understood by each person can be a deeply ingrained feeling of passion. The rope, vine, ribbon or silks you chose to use can be significant, such as a piece of material from your grandmothers wedding dress for example.  Tradition had it that three strands were significant and again you can use your personal spiritual and artistic flare to make this personal to you both.  The material will later be removed and given back to the couple as a keep sake.  

Tying the knot: As with the significance of the type of flowers you use to express the correct spiritual meaning, too must you consider the knots which can also hold deep Celtic expression.  For example it refers to a mystic knot with spiritual meaning of the beginnings and no ending which the Celtic knots boast there is no beginning or no ending reminding us of the timeless nature of our spirit.  This ceremony can be quite simple as each partner bring with them a thread which can be tied simply together and kept or framed as a reminder of that entwined love.

Love letters: Love letters are much like the personal vows; an expression of your love for the other and can be enjoyed over and over again or pulled out at difficult times to be reminded of that time and devotion.  The tradition is that this locked away to be drawn on at a time that you as a couple feel the need and can be combined with the wine ceremony and maybe a duplicate bottle can be stored that will mature with age, as will your relationship.

Message in a Bottle: This is much like the love letters but it is unlikely you will ever see this again.  A copy of your vows are printed off and secured in a bottle and sent out to sea. You never know where it might turn up but it symbolizes the how the sincerity of the words spoken can endure the rough seas.

Combining a marriage with a spiritual send off


The Releasing of Balloons: We do not encourage this particular practice unless we can provide environmentally biodegradable balloons to protect the New Zealand wildlife.  This is however a very soothing ceremony idea for those who want to remember someone in their ceremony, yet let them free.  It offers significant closure.



Memorial display: It is difficult if people close to you can not attend and celebrate with you for what ever reason but a clever and simple way of bringing their spirit into the presence to the ceremony, is to add photos in frames and add them to the ceremony location in some way.  We have also bought the spirit of pets into the occasion in this way.



All these ideas are about the shared life and love moving forward and if you are true to your own spirit and belief and accept that of your partners spirit and belief you will feel safe and confident in the future as it unfolds with you as a couple.

For further unconditional advise and support in crating your special day please contact The Dream Maker or call us on 0064 (0) 275268771

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