Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Rites of Autumn Equinox

 “Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.”

- David Whyte

Our lives have been seeded with meaning and purpose.  The autumn equinox, a season of balance and of harvesting, will come to us in September.  This is the time of year when the hours of light during the day and the hours of darkness at night are equal. For those of us living in the Northern hemisphere that means we are entering the time when the hours of light are growing shorter each day, and we are given an opportunity to regenerate and to go within in order to strengthen our creative selves.  For those who live below the Equator, you will be entering spring, welcoming and expanding outward as the light stays with you longer each day.
Whether you are looking forward to the growing light in your days, or to snuggling around the fire in the dark winter hours, we are all affected by this annual shift as the sun makes it way around the earth.  Early civilizations were in tune with the energies of the equinox, honoring the cycles of nature and the shift in season.  Nowadays, we have to more consciously tune in to honor the natural rhythms of the season with mindful awareness.

The harvesting metaphor of the Autumn Equinox prompts us to engage in reflective contemplation, and answer these questions that help us examine the past year of our lives,  clarify our intentions for the future, and reenergize our life goals:
1.     What seeds do I want to plant now that will take root in spring?
2.     How can I best ensure that I am getting enough rest, sleep and time to reflect during the coming winter months?
3.     What am I grateful for that I will harvest this fall and store over the winter?
4.     What seeds did not take hold and now can be discarded, rather than carried forward?
With our answers fresh in our minds and hearts, here are simple mini-rituals to help set intentions, and honor the processes of renewal, creativity and replenishment:
       Plant some spring bulbs – all you need is a patch of ground to plant them, or you can use a few pots, and some potting soil along with several bulbs of spring flowers, such as tulips, jonquils, or other personal favorites.  As you bury them in the soil and water them, you can say mentally, or out loud, what you specifically want to incubate, gather energy, and bring forth in the spring.

2.     Clean a closet or a desk - throw away or give away things you no longer need to hold onto or that hold negative memories for you.  Discarding them will clear the space and rid you of what no longer serves you so that you can make room for the new. Allow fresh energy to enter by cleaning the area with soap and water, or you can use a smudge stick to purify the space.  State your intentions for the new space you have created, and, gently sprinkling the area from a small bowl of salt water, bless it.

3.     Sew a small dream pillow - between two pieces of soft cloth (velvet, cotton flannel, or satin are my personal favorites) place some fragrant herbs and dried flowers, such as lavender or rose petals, and stitch it closed.  Place it under your pillow, or pillowcase;  mindfully bless it with your intentions stated out loud, and invite dreams to come that will help you open to your wisdom and deep knowing. 

4.     Create a miniature totem pole – A totem pole represents the harmony between nature and man.  You’ll need a few simple tools to transform a small length of wood (choose from any of your favorites such as teak, maple, or pine) into a colorful totem pole, including a scout knife, small chisel, sandpaper, a small paintbrush and varnish (for guidance, go to  Create a ceremony to bless the pole, set your intentions, and honor it by standing it in a pot with some spring bulbs, or giving it in a special spot in your home. 

The annual Autumn Equinox helps us honor the beauty of the balance between day and night, between activities and restful times, between productivity and contemplation, and it encourages us give thanks for our life’s bountiful harvest.  I hope one of these simple mini-rituals inspires you to acknowledge and work with the energies of the Equinox , as did our ancestors, in this beautifully colored season of autumn harvest. -  By Elaine Voci

The Celebrant Troubadour    

Elaine Voci is a life coach, specializing in end of life services, in private practice in Carmel, IN and a graduate of the Celebrant Foundation & Institute class of 2014.  The published author of five books, Elaine is the Editor of the Celebrant Blog for the Celebrant Foundation & Institute. Author of "Bridge Builders: Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things." "Creating the Work You Love: A Guide to Finding Your Right Livelihood"

Please direct all request, comment or concerns about our CF&I Blog to our Social Media Manager ~ Marcia Almeida, Master Life-Cycle Celebrant. at    Or to the Celebrant Foundation & Institute’s director, Charlotte Eulette call us at (973)746-1792.  
Visit us at

Photo courtesy of:  Celebrant Foundation and Institute

Friday, August 12, 2016

Celebrancy Studies 2016 - 2017 Become a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant™


Thank you for your interest in becoming a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant™!

The Celebrant Foundation & Institute is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to training Celebrants worldwide and promoting the use of ceremony to mark the milestones and transitions in the lives of individuals, families, communities, and organizations. Celebrants are professional modern-day officiants who create personalized ceremonies to meet their clients’ needs. The ideal of Celebrancy is that the client's beliefs and values are paramount, and that the beliefs of the Celebrant are immaterial in the process of ceremony creation. As a Celebrant, you will collaborate with your clients to help them realize their vision for their ceremony, giving them final approval over the ceremony script. No two Celebrant ceremonies are alike.

Celebrants officiate at ceremonies for all types of life events…for babies and adoptions, coming of age, weddings, commitment ceremonies, funerals, and memorials. Celebrants also develop ceremonies to enrich daily life, and for seasonal, community, corporate, and civic events. The opportunities to use ceremony to create connections among families, communities, and couples, whether for healing or celebration, are as varied as our Celebrants and the individuals we work with.

Celebrants serve an essential need in today's society, and the expansion of Celebrant movement here in the United State and Canada is a testament to their growing popularity.  Just this year, New Jersey became the first state in the US to include civil wedding celebrants in its Marriage Act and the CF&I is advocating for other states to follow. It makes sense. Recent Pew Studies reveal that an increasing number of people aren’t connected to a specific religion and many are not religious at all, but still may consider themselves spiritual. And interfaith and multicultural families are now the very fabric of our society.  Life-Cycle Celebrants® offer an alternative. They give people of all backgrounds, traditions, cultures and faiths the opportunity to create ceremonies that best reflect the array of trials, tribulations and triumphs that we all experience as humans throughout our lives.

Being a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant is a viable and satisfying profession. Our alumni enjoy their part-time or fulltime practice, along with the freedom to be their own boss and set their own schedule as a Celebrant.  Celebrants earn anywhere from $500 - $1500 per ceremony and many officiate between 20 and 140 ceremonies a year. Our education program includes a robust and relevant marketing component to assist students to launch and establish themselves as successful Life-Cycle Celebrants®. Parade Magazine, Money Magazine and CNN have also reported Celebrants to be a great career for job changers and encore career baby boomers when they consider retirement. 

In this informational pamphlet, you will find an overview of our Life-Cycle Celebrant® training program, and the application process. Please contact me if you would like further information about our programs in Celebrancy Studies. We look forward to taking this life-changing journey together toward your new viable career as a Life-Cycle Celebrant®. Course are taught in English and in French.

Sincerely, Charlotte Eulette,
International Director, Celebrant Foundation & Institute

Program Contacts
Charlotte Eulette, International Director, Academics Manager
Tel:  973.746.1792
Kathy Croghan, Admissions
Tel:  973.746.1792
Mark Attalla, Technical Manager
Tel: 888-643-9464

Mila Martin, Academic Liaison

Solange Strougmayer,  French Academic Director:

What is a Life-Cycle Celebrant®?

Life-Cycle Celebrants certified by the Celebrant Foundation & Institute are trained professionals who believe in the power and effectiveness of ceremony and ritual to guide us through life’s changes and milestone moments. The Life-Cycle Celebrant’s mission is to create a ceremony that reflects a client’s beliefs, philosophy of life, and personality. The Celebrant comes to the table with no agenda; no preconceived notion of what the ceremony should or must look like. Instead, through careful interviewing and a thoughtful process, the Celebrant elicits what is meaningful for each client. After a thorough client interview, we write, rewrite, rehearse, and perform ceremonies.

Life-Cycle Celebrants come from all walks of life and a college degree is not a prerequisite. We are looking for highly-motivated individuals who have an interest in ceremony and ritual, public speaking experience, excellent writing abilities, organizational skills, computer proficiency, and a love of the arts and working with people. Foreign languages are a plus. Above all, the Celebrant candidate must be committed to the Life-Cycle Celebrant® philosophy: Creating personalized ceremonies for people of all beliefs and value systems.

Why Become a Life-Cycle Celebrant Certified by the Celebrant Institute?

We are proud that our enriching curriculum is considered the “Gold Standard of Study in Celebrancy.” But don’t take it from us…hear what our graduates have to say about our program:

“Last night I finished reading the last of the documents for my Weddings course, and when I got to the end, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. All I could think was, “Wow! These people sure are generous!”  I can't believe how much all the celebrants who've gone before me have shared—not only scripts of their ceremonies, but their organizing tips, their brochures and marketing tips, and their fashion advice! It would take me YEARS to accumulate this much wisdom. I feel very loved and supported – you so want me to succeed! Deciding to become certified through the Celebrant Foundation and Institute is decidedly one of the best investments I've ever made!” ~ Class of 2015 graduate

“It exceeded my expectations and I am grateful for the experience. It has expanded my understanding of ritual and ceremony and the role they can play in our individual, family and community lives to enhance our relationships and connections to one another, as well as increase our self-awareness.” - Class of 2009 graduate

“I’m not only extremely excited to now be a practicing Celebrant, but incredibly CONFIDENT in my vocation – and it’s because of the support of my classmates, instructor and the Celebrant Foundation.  I honestly cannot thank you enough. I’m incredibly pleased with my investment.” - Class of 2008 graduate

Our Innovative and Convenient Online Learning Program.

Classes are taught in an innovative online program via real-time participatory web conferencing classes, supplemented by a multimedia online classroom and message board forums. The curriculum is delivered by in-depth class briefs and readings, podcast, video-cast, slideshows, and webinar presentations. Our varied modes of curriculum delivery appeal to all sorts of learners and allow students to form close bonds with their classmates and instructors. Our faculty members are all experienced Life-Cycle Celebrants, eager to share their real-world experiences with their students and their passion for Celebrancy. Classes are offered and taught in English and in French.  

*Students will need to purchase a USB headset to participate in the webinars. For additional computer requirements, please see page 13 of this packet.

CF&I Certificate Courses

To become a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant™, students must complete two courses (Note: both courses are included in the tuition):

1.         Fundamentals of Celebrancy – a required foundation course.
All students are required to take our prerequisite course called Fundamentals of Celebrancy.  It is a three-month, eight-module class that covers all the elements you need to create effective ceremony no matter which specialty course you select. Week by week, you’ll learn Celebrant philosophy and history, ceremony structure, rites of passage theory, symbolism, storytelling, ceremonial public speaking, and introductory client relations.

Students will study and analyze the works of authors who provide the foundation of ritual theory, such as Rites of Passage by Arnold van Gennep, Deeply Into the Bone by Ronald Grimes, The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell, Rites of Passage: Celebrating Life's Changes by Kathleen Wall & Gary Ferguson, and The Art of Ritual by Renee Beck & Sydney Metrick. 

Fundamentals of Celebrancy
Prerequisites:  None
Topics Covered:
•                History and Ideals of Celebrancy
•                Ceremony Structure
•                Rites of Passage Theory
•                Arnold Van Gennep and Rites of Passage
•                Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey
•                Ronald Grimes and Ceremony Creation
•                Symbolism
•                Storytelling
•                Ceremonial Public Speaking
•                Client Relationships and Interviewing
•                Ceremony Observation Report

2.         Certificate Courses.
You’ll finish up your course of study by choosing a certificate program of your choice (detailed below).  Each “Certificate Course” is eight modules long and is taught through a combination of real-time weekly web conferencing classes, message board discussion, practical exercises, and culminates in a course-long assignment of writing an original ceremony.

The Celebrant Foundation & Institute offers six certificate tracks:

·      Wedding Celebrancy
·      Funeral Celebrancy
·      Ceremonies Across the Life-Cycle Celebrancy
·      Healing and Transition Celebrancy (advanced course)
·      LGBTQ Life-Cycle Celebrancy (advanced course)
·      Master Life-Cycle Celebrant Certificate (advanced course)

Monday, August 1, 2016

Reshaping Society by Being a Celebrant and a Writer

  By Elaine Voci, Ph.D.

  By Elaine Voci, Ph.D.                                                                        

I am a writer and a celebrant.  Recently I read a dedication page in a book for writers that named “Anne Frank and Nelson Mandela and those writers from all over the world who, in all times and places, have written to make things better” and I thought to myself, ‘that’s a good description of the common interest of many writers today in our fractured world.’ I believe that same ambition also helps to explain why many of us become celebrants – to make a difference, to make things better, and to support positive changes emerging in the world.    Here are some of the ways that writers and celebrants share roles and responsibilities as they strive to deliver on that ambition:

1.     A writer’s job is to tell stories that connect readers to all the other people on the earth, showing them as the complicated human beings they are with emotions, needs, hopes and aspirations.  Writers engage in empathy training through their work – and empathy is a powerful emotion for changing the world.  A celebrant’s job is to tell stories of specific people who are getting married, or being memorialized after death, or celebrating a milestone in life, for example,  and they do it through ritual and ceremony, bringing people together in shared human experiences that engender empathy and compassion.

2.     Good writing facilitates and inspires openheartedness, illustrates certain truths, and encourages readers’ knowledge of the world, often empowering them to act for the common good.  In a similar way, celebrants elevate human experiences to inspire gratitude for life, to give expression to love, and to satisfy the human need for meaningfulness and purpose.

3.     Effective writers allow readers to see the world from a new perspective; they do it by continually asking people “What is your experience?” and then listening, observing, and sharing with readers what they have learned through stories, ideas and actions.  Celebrants use similar skills in order to understand their client’s values, goals, and stories which they then integrate into ceremonies, rites of passage and rituals that celebrate the milestones and acknowledge memorable life transitions.  Clients often come to see their own lives in a new light.

4.     Writers are by definition people who care enough to try and share ideas with others that can create an environment in which people can be transformed; the goal is not to generate a certain kind of thinking, or feelings, but to foster greater self-awareness and personal growth.  Celebrants are built the same way – they are wired to care about people, to honor each person’s process, and to help deepen self-understanding and growth through highly personalized ceremonies.

5.     Writers and celebrants are both “cultural change agents” who use words that can and do change the world for the better.   The next time you go to a wedding or a funeral that is celebrant-led, or read a book that is written with passion and well-articulated ideas, you will have a direct experience of how deeply words can touch your heart, change your mind, inspire you to be your best self, and bring dignity and honor to the human life cycle. 

Writer Barbara Kingsolver noted that “The difference between happy people and unhappy ones is that happy people have found a use for themselves, like a good tool.”  Writers and celebrants are happy people with generous hearts and bold spirits because they tell stories that have the power to heal, to give people hope, to teach empathy and encourage positive interaction in our human community.  We are weavers spinning a new kind of worldwide web, one book at a time, or one person at a time. 

Elaine Voci is a life coach, specializing in end of life services, in private practice in Carmel, IN and a graduate of the Celebrant Foundation & Institute class of 2014.  The published author of five books, Elaine is the Editor of the Celebrant Blog for the Celebrant Foundation & Institute.

Photo courtesy of:  Celebrant Foundation and Institute and Marcia Almeida 

Please direct all request, comment or concerns about our CF&I Blog to our Social Media Manager ~ Marcia Almeida, Master Life-Cycle Celebrant. at    

Or to the Celebrant Foundation & Institute’s director, Charlotte Eulette call us at (973)746-1792.  

Visit us at

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