Monday, January 30, 2017

February Reminds Us to Love and Serve One Another




By Elaine Voci, Ph.D. Certified Life Cycle Celebrant

February is unique among the other months of the year because it brings us the opportunity to celebrate three different, but related, kinds of love:  the love for ourselves; romantic love; and the love for something greater than ourselves.   
The observance of Rosa Park Day (also referred to as the Day of Courage) on February 4th is a good example of how the love for oneself can expand into the love for others. 
On December 1, 1955, Rosa, an African-American seamstress, was travelling in a Montgomery City bus when the driver asked her to vacate her seat for a white man, standard practice during the racial segregation on buses at the time. She refused to leave her seat on the grounds of fairness, freedom and equality. (As she said later, “The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”) The driver called the police, and Rosa was arrested and convicted of violating the segregation laws, known as "Jim Crow" laws.  From the day she was convicted, Martin Luther King, Jr and other civil rights activists, boycotted the Montgomery bus system for 381 days until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the segregation law was unconstitutional and that buses should be integrated.  
Rosa Parks’ story reminds us that when you love yourself and feel secure in yourself, you will have the courage to stand up for your own dignity and you will have plenty of love and compassion to give to others.
Romantic love is celebrated every February 14th with Valentine’s Day rituals (such as buying flowers and exchanging romantic cards) that emphasize romantic love between couples, but they also honor and promote love itself.   We celebrate love because we know how important it is to our life, to our health and well-being, to our global connection with the rest of our human family, and to our sense of identity and sense of place first formed in relationships that are with us from the womb to the tomb. As Thomas Merton wrote, “Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone - we find it with another.”
February is, also, when Black History Month is celebrated to share the stories that pay tribute to generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society.  The observance first began in 1926 as “Negro History Week” and then was expanded into a full month in 1976, during the nation’s bicentennial, by President Gerald Ford who urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” 
Celebrants can find the month of February a busy one with many different kinds of rituals and ceremonies to lovingly present.  A common, and important, feature of such events is story-telling.  Whenever we share stories about an individual, or an entire community, they become more vivid and accessible to everyone. We bring their written history to life, giving character to the facts, emotions to the events, and humanity to the heroes. And we give others a chance to recognize our shared human condition and to foster a love that is greater than ourselves.


As Celebrants around the globe create rites, rituals and celebrations of life’s important milestones, they are serving a ministry of presence.  Each gathering is a voyage of discovery, creativity and compassion and a huge affirmation that life needs us and wants us to be our best selves.  To sense and trust this primeval yearning opens a deep spring of trust in our hearts that life will be faithful to us, blessing us and giving us grace to grow in order to serve; this is the joy and the promise of being a Celebrant.





Elaine Voci is a life coach in private practice in Carmel, IN and a graduate of the Celebrant  Foundation & Institute .   Elaine is the Editor of the Celebrant Blog for the Celebrant Foundation & Institute.





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

                About the Celebrant Foundation & Institutewww.celebrantinstitute.org


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 



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Celebrants - We Were Made for These Times:









Dear citizens of the world (that’s you!) ,

Do you remember the moment when you knew in your heart that you had to answer the celebrant call to serve as a guide in the art of ritual and the healing graces of ceremony? As large and as significant as that moment, can you hear its familiar reverberation in this moment in American history?

Our country and her citizens stand on an active fault line of division. A division not experienced since the public's uprising in opposition to the Vietnam War and in support of Civil Rights - over half a century ago. No matter whom you voted for in the recent election, its outcome has opened a gaping door of unprecedented partition.

This divide is:
  • splitting families and communities across the nation
  • targeting the basic rights of  many citizens and indigenous people
  • raising serious concerns on the world stage
  • escalating the nuclear arms race
  • threatening the last-chance climate pacts for protecting life on planet Earth
  • What is our role in these times? Where and how do we show up and lead others through our work as celebrants?


As artisans of ritual we have the power to bring healing. As skilled crafters in the refined art of ceremony we hold tools that can strengthen our bonds to each other and community. This is precisely the time  -- and the way -- that we go to work.

We implore you to Go For It!

Pick up this ceremony -- exactly as is or with the touch of your on vision --and bring it to your community. 

It's your call whether to stand before a small circle of a few, or more widely in public space with an open invitation to all. But please, 

JUST HEAR THE CALL AND DO IT!

Intention
This ceremony is designed to reflect individual and collective commitments to speaking our values as Americans, in the context of community, unification, diversity and protection of life on Earth.

This ceremony is initiated with in a circle, symbolizing community and unity, utilizes the organic elements of water and rock representing the preciousness of life and earth health and; rainbow colored skeins of yarn or balls of cord symbolic of all human rights.


Elements 
  • Welcoming words
  • Statement of intention
  • Explanation of ceremonial steps
  • Ceremonial Actions
  • Closing Blessing/Words
  • Actions 


At the time and place you have designated, call all participants into a circle, or multiple circles of 10 people as the crowd size determines - with a bowl of water placed in the center or each circle.

Celebrant offers welcoming words and the intention and explanation of the steps of the ceremony:
  
1. A walking meditation in the circle of about 3-5 minutes, a time for each individual to contemplate the statement of what value of democracy, environmental protection or human rights they will hold in prayer or intention and, when called to, in public speech in the years ahead.

2. Celebrant calls the walking meditation to a stop.  He/she then ties one loop of the rainbow yarn or cord around their waist and states their "value" and commitment to stand for that value in a peaceful, unifying way. He/she then tosses the ball of yarn to someone across the circle who does the same. This continues until everyone has spoken and a full web has been woven "tying" the circle together and each person speaking to their personal truth and commitment before each other and into the bowl of water in the center.

Yarn / cord is then cut from individuals' waists. Celebrant may conduct at that time or make note of an after-ceremony ritual of either burning, or burial (if organic/natural) of the "web" of yarn or cord.

3. Each person one by one, approaches the water bowl (that has "absorbed" the promises and stated values) and using a ladle or cup, takes a sample of the water and pours onto the earth. If done indoors, a different connection of touch to the water can be initiated - and the water will be taken outdoors and poured onto the earth after the ceremony.

4. Participants are invited to the table or spot where the river rocks are laid out (perhaps in a spiral? Circle?). After selecting a rock, they use one of the permanent markers to write or reference their stated "value" onto the rock. They will be told that the rock is theirs to take, and encouraged to keep it in their change purse, pocket or on their dashboard etc. to remember the public vow they made to uphold.  

5. Closing words

6. Group sings a cappella rendition of America the Beautiful, all verses

Materials:

1 balled skein of rainbow colored yarn or other type of cord (preferably 100% natural). One ball will be needed per circle of 10 participants

1 large bowl of water per circle of 10 - if possible water collected from a natural source notable to your community.
Scissor(s) to cut yarn
Sufficient number of river rocks (available at garden stores) and several permanent markers.
Variations 
Choose to gather with a select circle of your own tribe of sisters and brothers who share your sense of concern about America's future days - fellow citizens who recognize that their gathering in ritual holds a power to influence the collective field.

As the months unfold through 2017 and beyond, and America's new course is revealed - you may take the opportunity to gather your circles again. For example, should the newly promised course of nuclear proliferation or a Supreme Court reversal of marriage equality occur, gather your circle for re/commitment to these expressed values, or other new focus of giving voice in peaceful resistance.

* * *
This ceremony is sent with love and hope from the Celebrant Foundation & Institute's Nature-based Committee, Chairs: Rani Findlay and Woody Winfree. Charlotte Eulette assisting. 

Celebrants - be in touch with any questions you may have on this ceremony. And - keep us posted on its developments at woody@woodywinfree.com

Contact CF&I for information on joining our Celebrant Alumni Nature-based Committee: adminstration@celebrantinstitute.org  

We welcome you!















Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Celebrant Foundation & Institute's 2017 Winter/ Spring Session!








Dear CF&I Alumni and continuing students,

Welcome to the Celebrant Foundation & Institute's 2017 Winter/ Spring Session! We're pleased to offer our five certified Life-Cycle Celebrant™ courses and three Professional Celebrant Development Courses staring January 2017.

Toot, toot, get on board!

We are pleased to offer the following certificate programs:
Ceremonies Across the Life Cycle
Wedding Celebrancy
Funeral Celebrancy
Healing and Transition Ceremonies (advanced course - previous certification required)
LGBTQ Life-Cycle Ceremony Workshop (advanced course - previous certification required)
Master Life-Cycle Celebrant Program (advanced course - 3 certifications required)
We are pleased to offer the following Celebrant Professional Development Business Courses:
Weddings Refresher Course with Mila Martin (starts January 3rd, 2017)
Celebrant Business Development with Elisa Chase (starts week of January 30th, 2017)
"Love in Translation" Celebrant Writing Course with Christopher Shelley (starts March 15th, 2017)
Click here to download the REGISTRATION PACKET to find:
A SYLLABUS for each course
The FACULTY DIRECTORY
Click here to download a TIME SLOT REGISTRATION FORM so that you can easily fill it out and return it by fax, mail, or email (preferred).

Please return your time slot registration form for all courses no later than Monday, January 16th 2017. Wedding Refresher course starts on January 3rd so please get your registrations in for this course by December 16th, 2016.

Questions about the courses, registration process OR about tuition? Please direct them to me,
Charlotte Eulette, Academic Manager at (973)746-179 or at
charlotteeulette@celebrantinstitute.org

Celebrant Power!

Sincerely,

Charlotte Eulette