Tuesday, December 20, 2016

President Barack Obama signed the Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Act



BREAKING NEWS:  Celebrants support President Obama signs sweeping religious freedom law

President Barack Obama signed the Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Act, approved by the House last week. This new law gives the president and the U.S. State Department better resources and tools to fight extremism against any religious group, including those who are non religious.

This is a watershed moment for all those who have been persecuted, or coerced to join any religion, worldwide.  It is especially meaningful to those who identify themselves as atheists, non-religious people and humanists.  The law also condemns “specific targeting of non-theists, humanists, and atheists because of their beliefs” and all attempts to forcibly compel “non-believers or non-theists to recant their beliefs or to convert.”

Charlotte Eulette, Celebrant Foundation & Institutes’ International Director says, “President Obama has boldly freed a large population of Americans who are now liberated and can genuinely live and celebrate their lives in a way that is authentic and meaningful to them. Future generations will benefit tremendously. For years to come he will be remembered and hailed for passing this bill that will keep America, the great melting-pot of the world,  in the forefront as a country that continues it’s time-honored tradition to support all of its people. ”

Recent studies, including the PEW Study,  show that non-believers are now the largest religious group, gaining (non) converts faster than any other sector. On a generational basis, this percentage is increasing, and many former religious houses of worship, are now being kept open, on the basis of tourism.

The International Federation of Celebrants a worldwide organization and the Celebrant Foundation & Institute located in New Jersey, hails this bi-partisan, common sense bill, for acknowledging and protecting this basic human right.

The Celebrant Foundation & Institute, is a US non-profit education organization founded in 2001, teaching people to become certified Life-Cycle Celebrants© . Certified Celebrants worldwide create and officiate at millions of personal rite-of-passage, life-cycle ceremonies such as: weddings, funerals, baby welcomings, healing and transition and community ceremonies for people from all walks of life no matter of race, color, sexual identity or creed. Celebrants are inclusive of all beings, not exclusive.   www.celebrantinstitute.org

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

By Holly Pruett, Life-Cycle Celebrant

These short, dark days of December can be difficult, especially when they come soaked in relentless sheets of rain as they do in my home in Portland, Oregon.

There's no better reminder that we're tethered to the wheel of life: the longest night, followed by the return of the sun, the larger order we are part of, a cycle of change and renewal.

On the dawning of the shortest day of the year I try to sleep in as long as my hibernation-prone body needs. When I rise I light the candle in the center of my solstice wreath, the candles on my mantle, the colored bulbs on my Christmas tree. I savor the cozy home I'm so fortunate to have as winter winds tumble the world outside my windows.


I draw on Phillip Moffitt’s words: "There is no new dawn without the night; their seeming separateness disguises a unity that reflects the unity of life, an unfathomable dance of opposites. This paradox is the very essence of what it is to be alive—joy and pain, sickness and health, light and dark, wonder and fear."

I’ve established an annual tradition of celebrating the winter solstice with a three-part invocation built off Moffat's words:
-      In honor of all the dark times within us and all who now suffer in pain, with sickness, in fear.
-      In honor of the light within each of us, our capacity to feel, anticipate, and generate joy, health, and wonder.
-      In honor of our great teacher, Mother Nature, who shows us how to hold it all, joy and pain, sickness and health, light and dark, wonder and fear, in one continuous cycle of being.​

I offer this blessing when I gather with others in community settings at this time of year. I lead an annual class on Winter Rituals at a local plant nursery. We share stories of winter traditions from our families and explore the old world origins of the holiday customs that persist today in their commercialized and Christianized guises. After we each decorate a candle wreath we admire each other's creations and bless each other with this simple chant:

May the dark days of winter nourish you well. May the light of your candle illuminate your connection to the great wheel of life. 

Lighting a solstice candle connects us to those who illuminate the darkness all over the world. In the Holten Canadian War Cemetery in the Netherlands, for example, Christmas Eve finds 300 school children lighting candles and placing them on each grave at dusk. The graveyard holds the bones and the stories of 1,394 servicemen who died in the final days of WWII as Canadian troops advanced into northern Germany.

As the cemetery web site says of this annual candle-lighting ceremony:  “The soldiers who are buried in Holten gave their lives for our freedom, that we can now live peacefully in a democratic society. By telling and retelling the story, we pay respect to those who gave their lives and hope that the children (the responsible adults of the next generation) will keep the light of freedom burning.”

Peace be with you all, in darkness and in light. 






About the author: Holly Pruett is a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant who works with individuals, families, and organizations to create personalized ceremonies from cradle to grave. She is a sought-after speaker, workshop leader, and ritual consultant in Portland, Oregon and the founder of PDX Death CafĂ© and the Death Talk Project.

About the Celebrant Foundation & Institute
The Celebrant Foundation & Institute (CF&I) is the nation’s preeminent online educational institute that teaches and certifies people as modern day ritual and ceremony professionals called Life-Cycle Celebrants®. Founded in 2001, the educational nonprofit organization headquartered in Montclair, NJ, is a member of the International Federation of Celebrants.  To date, the CF&I has graduated nearly 900 Life-Cycle Celebrants® who preside over 20,000 ceremonies each year throughout North America, Asia and Europe. To learn more about the CF&I, visit www.celebrantinstitute.org


Please direct all request, comment or concerns about our CF&I Blog to our Social Media Manager ~ Marcia Almeida, Master Life-Cycle Celebrant. at  celebrantsocialmedia@gmail.com    Or to the Celebrant Foundation & Institute’s director, Charlotte Eulette at: charlotteeulette@celebrantinstitute.org call us at (973)746-1792.  
Visit us at http://www.celebrantinstitute.org/?p=business





Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Managing Fear in Times of Uncertainty





By: 

“Monsters come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are things people are scared of. Some of them are things that look like things people used to be scared of a long time ago. Sometimes monsters are things people should be scared of, but aren’t.” ~Neil Geiman, “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”

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JournalingMonsters come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are things people are scared of. Some of them are things that look like things people used to be scared of a long time ago. Sometimes monsters are things people should be scared of, but aren’t.” ~Neil Geiman, “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”
In the few weeks since the US election there is tremendous fear amid vitriolic dialog and threats to our rights and safety.  People are triggered which gives rise to defensiveness and attack, causing devastating rifts in families and communities. Yet with all of this divisiveness, the truth remains that we need each other for everything that sustains us each day: food, clothing, cars, gas, electricity, services, education, medical care and more. We can’t avoid others, not even if we live on the land and off the grid. Even in the wild we need the “other’, we need the elements of water, fire, earth, air. We need plants and animals to nourish us. We need shelter for protection. We need.
At the fundamental level of our existence is the fierce instinct of survival and terrible fear that we won’t make it. In nature, the dance of predator and prey is an ancient exchange, life for death. Each of us consumes in some way in order to survive. It’s important to understand this primitive part of ourselves, and ask: What seeks to be fed? Should we feed it? If so, how to feed it with respect and compassion. If not, how to respectfully say no and hold the boundary.
In order to ask important questions and discern the answers with clarity, we must face our fear and quiet it enough to be able to hear. The suggested practices below are not about spiritual escapism and avoiding what needs to be done. They can help us to ground ourselves, calm the amygdala or fear centers of our brain, and engage our pre-frontal cortex; so that we can be patient in sitting with uncertainty, and determine a wise course of action rather than react from fear.
Ritual Practices to Calm Fear and Promote Clarity:
  • Identify the fear and acknowledge it. Not all fears are necessarily true in the present reality, but they need to be heard and sorted through for better understanding.
  • Work with energy medicine to heal and support our nervous system’s resilience. Good resources for this are “Energy Medicine” by Donna Eden and “We Are All in Shock” by Stephanie Mines.
  • Do a simple release ritual to symbolically transform fears: they can be written on paper and burned in a safe receptacle, or ripped up and the pieces buried outside or flushed in the bathroom.
  • Create an altar with meaningful pictures and objects that affirm your courage, strength and wisdom. Spend time regularly at your altar and reflect on these qualities for spiritual replenishment.
  • Explore walking the labyrinth as a contemplative tool to ease stress, and engage intuition and creative thinking. Finger labyrinths are available if walking is not possible. 
  • Connect with nature. As Winter Solstice approaches in the northern hemisphere, darkness will increase until we reach the longest night. When darkness reaches its apex, it will flip over to increasing light. Solstice is a powerful time for tapping into what Taoists call “unmanifest potential”,  to energize our intentions for a more compassionate and equitable society, and summon the courage to stand for these principles. Light a candle if you wish, write your intentions and state them aloud to align with this energy. 

By first exploring our own fear with compassion and understanding, we can then offer the same to others. Rather than divide us, may our needs inspire a healthy interdependence, to co-create sustainable solutions for the good of all and our planet.

About the Author: Elizabeth Phaire is a New York based Master Life-Cycle Celebrant® and Interfaith Minister.  In practice for 10 years, she officiates personalized ceremonies for Weddings, Baby Blessings, Celebrations of Life and other rites of passage.  She is a repeat recipient of Wedding Wire’s “Couple’s Choice awards” and The Knot “Best of Weddings”.  A faculty member of the Celebrant Foundation and Institute, she holds five certifications from the school. Her creative background and holistic lifestyle includes meditation, energy healing practices, folk herbalism, writing, music, and performance poetry. She draws from these sources to help individuals, families and communities to honor their transitions with authenticity.


 About the Celebrant Foundation & Institute
The Celebrant Foundation & Institute (CF&I) is the nation’s preeminent online educational institute that teaches and certifies people as modern day ritual and ceremony professionals called Life-Cycle Celebrants®. Founded in 2001, the educational nonprofit organization headquartered in Montclair, NJ, is a member of the International Federation of Celebrants.  To date, the CF&I has graduated nearly 900 Life-Cycle Celebrants® who preside over 20,000 ceremonies each year throughout North America, Asia and Europe. To learn more about the CF&I, visit www.celebrantinstitute.org


Please direct all request, comment or concerns about our CF&I Blog to our Social Media Manager ~ Marcia Almeida, Master Life-Cycle Celebrant. at  celebrantsocialmedia@gmail.com    Or to the Celebrant Foundation & Institute’s director, Charlotte Eulette at: charlotteeulette@celebrantinstitute.org call us at (973)746-1792.  
Visit us at http://www.celebrantinstitute.org/?p=business