Writing the Ritual
Understanding the Ritual exhibition (Storey Gallery, Lancaster: 26th May – 29th June 2014) explores the Shamanistic tradition of ritual and belief in art.
This writing workshop, in the gallery, offers the chance to create a narrative from selected works, experimenting with persona and voice. We will question what wildness is and our relationship to it. What spirits, ghosts and gods occupy us to influence our view of the world? How can these influence what we write?
A workshop of play, investigation, art and imagery, open to all, however experienced you are as a writer and whatever form you usually write in.
Remix the Poet: What song offers poetry
A Poetry and Music workshop with Hymas & Lewis
Turn a poem into a song and back into a poem. Edit with your ears and see how the process impacts your imagining of its potential. In this playful, exploratory workshop we will be using the song form to transform the way you think about writing.
Using a variety of activities, writing and thinking time, discussions, silence and time outdoors, poet Sarah Hymas & musician Steve Lewis will share their practice as collaborators and turn the volume up on your own processes.
We have found that setting poetry to music encourages the light in. Once the words are sung, resonances spark, new phrases are found, and different ways of speaking them emerge. The poem matures. This workshop will offer you alternative ways of editing and give you a fresh confidence in your writing and how you share it.
Any ceremony that accompanies a natural burial is as flexible as your imagination, takes into consideration the environment and has minimum impact upon it.
I’ve been honoured to work with people on planning their funerals and found natural burials offer the chance to explore what living and dying means in a spiritually fulfilling way.
The Dalton Woodlands Burial Ground, near Burton-in-Kendal Cumbria UK, is a 30 acre mature woodland, a quiet and restful place to be buried. Francis Mason-Hornby, the registrar there, is a straight talking, compassionate man, open-minded and accommodating to what people want.
Natural burials are an environmentally sustainable alternative to cremations and churchyard burials. If you respect the natural world, a woodland burial is the chance to take a positive step at the end of your life.
To discuss that rite of passage, in advance, offers a chance to step consciously towards death, prepare how you want your life to be celebrated, how to mark your departure for those left behind. It can be a point of coming to terms with the end of an illness or old-age.
It can also alleviate the stress for others who have to plan and prepare at the disorientating time of grief.
My eight years of coaching gives me the skills and depth of experience to ensure we will plan the ceremony you want. My interest lies in you expressing your life and anticipation of death. How you want to do this and who you want involved is the focus of our meetings. I would hope to meet any family or friends you would want to participate to ensure the smoothest experience for us all.
I can write anything for the ceremony, help you to write something, read it or merely orchestrate the ceremony while others read and speak.
I am an independent celebrant, based in north west England. I work with people to create authentic ceremonies to celebrate and mark their rites of passage in life.
I devise and deliver Weddings, Namings, Vow Renewals,
Birthdays and Launches. More details on my ceremony making are here.
I can travel easily to Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire. I’m also able to travel farther, depending on the occasion. Get in touch and ask.
My work as a writer and coach underpins my approach to being a celebrant. I am an active listener and aim to clarify exactly what you want for the ceremony. It is the dynamic between me and you that lays the foundation for your ceremony. The process will be creative, engaging and energising, as enriching as the event itself.
I was trained in 2013 by Sue Gill and Gilly Adams, of the Dead Good Guides. They are both well-respected secular celebrants who promote the artistry and creative element of ceremony.
I have devised and delivered events and ceremonies for over ten years, for festivals and community events. Becoming a celebrant fuses my love for words, occasion and collaboration.
“Each something is a celebration of the nothing that supports it.”
A wedding anniversary is an opportunity to renew vows made – five or fifty – years previously. A ceremony acknowledges the time you’ve shared and your commitment to a joint future.
If you married abroad, a Vow Renewal Ceremony can provide a
opportunity for you to celebrate with your family and friends.
Birthdays, especially the big 0s, are worth marking. Either for a handful or hundreds of loved ones, I will devise, with you, a unique ceremony that will celebrate you and embrace your past and future.
Once devised I can hold the space, run proceedings and keep an eye on timings so you fully enjoy your party.
Or I can help you devise your own personalised ceremony and once it’s decided upon, provide you with a script and other prompts for a friend or family member to run.
Example A 50th
The Birthday Girl had booked the venue and was now wondering if she actually did want a party. It all seemed rather daunting. Although she knew she wanted to mark her birthday somehow. We talked about what was important to her: her friends, celebrating the spiritual and creative elements in her life, her connection with the environment and her philosophy of recycling. We also established she wanted a small ritual that had a discreet place to the evening, that, on further investigation, would involve everyone and focus on her. And a poem to convey growth. By the end of our conversation she announced how much she was looking forward to the night.
I made small planters, filled with soil, and topped with a cardboard leaf, found seeds that would grow from that time of year and took enough candles and lighters etc.
On the night I welcomed people by inviting them to light a candle and decorate the path to the venue with them in candle bags. At the designated time, I drew the crowd together, introduced the ceremony, explained what we were going to do. Everyone was given a seed to plant in their planter and asked to write a wish on the leaf for the Bday Girl. Those that wanted read out their wishes as the Bday Girl glowed and growed from the goodwill. The poem was read out – by her oldest friend there – and she responded to the crowd with a few beautiful, heartfelt words she’d prepared. And then there was cake.
She took the wishes and seeds home, to read again and watch as the seeds germinated over the following weeks.
Simple, authentic, inclusive and long-lasting.
I understand the ceremony has to be absolutely right for you and am happy to meet or talk over the phone for you get to a feel of my style before booking me. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions without any obligation to continue.
Fees will vary depending on the nature of your event, beginning at £50 for consultancy & devising only.
Within my role as celebrant, I make launches with other people, for their projects and books.
Whether launching a book, building, art exhibition or other project, the moment of making it public signifies both the end and beginning of two momentous journeys. A launch is the hinge of the creation’s existence. It is the bridge between the private and public life of what has been made.
I have launched, if not a thousand, many many books – of fiction,
poetry and anthologies – print and electronic.
These events have taken place in art galleries, libraries, a maritime museum, a judges’ lodgings and village halls. Each subtly took on the personality of the book, and proved, rightly, to be celebratory
affairs, whether among a few friends and colleagues or public events open to whoever is curious.
I also launch buildings, homes and art exhibitions, ensuring that the
essence of the work is reflected in the nature of the occasion.
As with all my ceremony work I am keen to collaborate as much as possible to define, design and deliver exactly what fits to purpose.
Fees will vary depending on the nature of your event, beginning at £50.
Your child’s name will be the word they hear more regularly than any other. Its sound and rhythm will inform their identity.
The sound and rhythm of the naming ceremony will be present in the environment, rituals, words and music you choose for the occasion.
Welcoming this person into your life, and that of your family and community, can also include your hopes for them as well as for
yourselves, your knowledge of them, other people’s understanding of you, and vows you may wish to make. Whatever you choose to
focus on, we’ll create a loving event that truly reflects your feelings.