If only we were all of us greeted into the world this way…

Petit coeur little heart we are where we are meant to be, you fit like a glove, skin to skin, heart to heart on a course flying free, now as three

[extract of a beautiful poem written for Bo by Bo’s mother]
Onie Tibbitt, Agnostic Scotland Celebrant, conducts a beautiful Naming Ceremony in East Lothian.

All the uniquely personal elements in Bo’s soul-nourishing welcome-to-the-world ceremony today made my spirits soar. A special candle was passed from friend to friend as the beautiful Karine Polwart song, ‘Beo’, played. As each person held the light, they were invited to hold in their mind and hearts a loving thought for Bo and his parents. A song was sung to acoustic guitar and a poem recited with love – both written especially for Bo by close family friends.

Rose petals gathered from a bouquet that had been gifted to Bo’s parents on the day of his birth were shared among the gathering and gently showered around the little boy as his name was declared to the world.

A Native American ritual to greet the cardinal points, North-South-East-West, invited everyone present to set their own unique and personal intentions as they become Bo’s teachers, guides and mentors. Bo’s parents lead a gorgeous ritual to honour the Earth and all her elements and to request their protection for Bo as he grows.

And a glorious a capella song was sung by all, ‘To you we sing and happiness we bring to celebrate your birth, an angel here on Earth’. All centred around a gorgeous handmade blessing wreath to which everyone was welcome to attach their own written words of blessing for Bo throughout the day’s celebrations.

Bo’s wonderful doula, who was present at his birth, said to me after the ceremony, “If only we were all of us greeted into the world this way…”
I couldn’t agree more ❤️

May the moon softly restore you by night…

When you make your mark on the blossoming Cherry tree, Elsie’s parents invite you to hold in your mind and your heart, a positive thought for Elsie.

A gorgeous ritual at Elsie’s Naming Day celebrations last weekend. Her ceremony took place in a beautifully decorated marquee in the garden of the family home (Elsie’s siblings had been busy!). It was a fun and heartfelt morning. Elsie’s older sister was very brave and read a sweet poem, individual promises were made by Elsie’s parents and ‘Guide’ parents, and the whole gathering sang their hearts out to a fantastic acoustic rendition of ‘The Bare Necessities’ (thanks to the super talents of Elsie’s Dad and a family friend).

Welcome to the world, Elsie. I so enjoyed being your Naming Day Celebrant and meeting all the wonderful family and friends in your life. In the words of the sweet blessing shared during your ceremony:

May the sun bring you new energy by day, 
May the moon softly restore you by night,
May the rain wash away your worries,
And the breeze blow new strength into your being,
And all the days of your life may you walk
Gently through the world and know its beauty.

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Not your average Wedding Day…

It’s been such a busy Summer! Looking back, Esther and John’s fabulous Life Commitment Celebration, on 31st August at their gorgeous home overlooking the Firth of Forth, was definitely a highlight. A uniquely special day entirely reflective of these two marvellous and – by their own admission – quirky souls.

Rather than opt for a traditional Wedding Ceremony, John and Esther chose to celebrate their existing relationship and the heart-fulfilling fact that they discovered their love for one another at a time in life when they least expected it. In their words, they opted for an ‘Uncivil Partnership’, or a Life Commitment Ceremony.

The ceremony was brimming with personal touches including an awesome rendition of Nina Simone’s ‘Feeling Good’ by a close friend, and one of the most make-you-laugh-while-you-weep sharing of loving words I’ve had the privilege of witnessing (there was not a dry eye in the house).

A first for me was being able to say during the Handfasting, “and you have chosen to replace your Handfasting ribbons with a rope…” The fishing rope being an important symbol of their shared love and connection with the sea.

And the Sharing of the Quaich was personalised to include two beautiful brass pots of great emotional value to Esther.

What an honour to be part of this wholesome, life-affirming and joyful day. I wish you both all the happiness and love, Esther and John. Thank you so much for inviting me to be your Celebrant. I loved being a part of your day.

“Knowing another is endless…”

Knowing another is endless. The thing to be known grows with the knowing.

~Nan Shepherd

Heartfelt congratulations to the two high school sweethearts from the Netherlands who, after ten years together, sealed their wedding vows to each other on Wednesday in the heart of the timeless and dramatic Coigach-Assynt mountains.

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In a beautiful, private elopement ceremony with their parents as witnesses, the couple exchanged rings and made their promises to each other on the banks of Loch Lurgainn. The elemental Scottish weather only added to the breathtakingly atmospheric setting and the poignancy of the ceremony. Tears and laughter, love and friendship…

Congratulations to you both. I am delighted for you and feel so grateful to have been a part of your intimate ceremony. I wish you all the very best and can’t wait to hear more as your next adventures unfold.

Photo of the couple by the expert elopement photographer partnership, ‘We are Elopers’. Sean Bell and Justyna Maria – it was also super to see you both again.

“Love is when you find you are one tree and not two…”

Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away… roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from your branches you find that you are one tree and not two.

[an extract from Captain Correlli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières]

Sometimes it’s the things that don’t go to plan that make a celebration even more enjoyable and poignant… a delayed pianist only added to the camaraderie among friends and family at David and Jane’s Wedding Ceremony in May on the stunning coast of Dumfries & Galloway. Singing their hearts out to the beautiful hymn (and Rugby Union World Cup anthem), ‘I Vow to Thee My Country’, with Auntie Dot improvising on the piano was a fabulous way to begin a perfect day of friendship, love, gratitude and laughter.

In glorious sunshine overlooking take-your-breath-away sea views, David and Jane made their promises to each other by exchanging rings and then sealing their vows with a beautiful Handfasting Ceremony. A union bringing together not only two of the most super kind and easy going people you will ever meet but also two countries – South Africa and Scotland.

The ceremony was a sweet mix of hymns, readings and a thoughtful blessing from David’s Uncle Pete, a South African Pastor.

Massive congratulations, Jane and David. It was such a pleasure to be your celebrant and meet all your excellent friends and family. Thank you!

Great also to meet Vicki, Julie and the fab team at the beautiful GG’s Yard and witness photo-ace Duncan Ireland doing great work 🙏🏻

“If I don’t see you no more in this world, I’ll see you in the next…”

“If I don’t see you no more in this world, I’ll see you in the next one. Don’t be late.”

Jimi Hendrix, Voodoo Child (Slight Return) from Electric Ladyland, the Jimi Hendrix Experience

The sheer outpouring of love and affection for the man whose funeral I conducted last week was a wonderful thing to witness. Emails from his family and friends all around the world flew into my inbox celebrating his life and recalling poignant and funny memories.

It was my great honour to spend time with this brilliant, kind-hearted, and quick-witted man in the weeks prior to his death.  He taught me so much in those few meetings … about gratitude and peaceful acceptance, about remaining strong and open-minded in the face of the unknown, about lifting the mood of those around you despite all you are experiencing, and about understanding that what really matters is the legacy of love we leave behind.

A huge music aficionado and lifelong fan of Jimi Hendrix, he was especially meticulous in the musical planning for his ceremony. He was a believer, of sorts, taking comfort in the view that the spirit or soul continues into the afterlife and finding peace in the great cycle of nature and the Buddhist philosophy of reincarnation.

The pews in the Main Chapel at Mortonhall Crematorium were filled with his family and friends, rainbow light streamed in through the stained glass windows, and the ceremony itself was an emotional, heartfelt and melody-filled tribute to a man who clearly filled the hearts of many who knew him.  My love goes out to his family and friends.

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Thanks to Georg_Wietschorke for the use of his sweet photo.

“Take your hearts with you wherever you go…”

“Take your hearts with you wherever you go,” said their teacher. “Nurture them as a mother nurtures her newborn baby. For when you want to give of yourself fully, your heart is the only true gift you will have.”

Extract from Love Monkey by Edward Monkton

Connie and Rich’s Wedding Ceremony on Saturday at the magnificent countryside hotel at Gleneagles was gorgeous. On a beautiful, blustery, rainbow-blessed day, in a ceremony filled with laughter, tears, love and tenderness, they exchanged vows and rings, sealed promises with a handfasting – with the help of their little boy – and celebrated their togetherness with the Sharing of the Quaich, to a blessing wonderfully read by their young daughter.

Heartfelt congratulations to you both, Connie and Rich. Wishing you and your beautiful family many more fabulous adventures to come.

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It was also super to meet photo-wizard Anna Moffat Photography whizzing about the ceremony capturing the beautiful moments.

 

 

Like a loving cup, or a quaich, I roll you the sun…

“On the other side of the world,

you pass the moon to me

like a loving cup,

or a quaich, 

I roll you the sun….”

Extract from Carol Ann Duffy’s beautiful poem, World.

Today marked my first ever Elopement Ceremony. It was a great honour to be part of Rose and Adam’s intimate and beautiful ceremony at the sumptuous Prestonfield House in Edinburgh.

Rose and Adam’s world-encompassing partnership has already taken them on many wonderful adventures together and their wedding was no exception. Originally from America, they travelled to Edinburgh from Thailand to enjoy a private and deeply meaningful ceremony on a crisp December day blessed by glorious sunshine. After which they are heading to Skye to explore some of the most beautiful wild places in the world. A perfect beginning to married life…

It was my great pleasure to be part of your ceremony, Rose and Adam – thank you for inviting me to be your Wedding Celebrant. In the words of the Celtic blessing chosen for today, ‘May you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.’

It was also wonderful to meet super-talented wedding photographer couple, Sean Bell and Justyna Maria, and watch them perform their magic.

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May this circle of love grow and expand…

Saturday’s Naming Ceremony in the gorgeous and historic Drawing Room at Kelburn Castle was a joyful day of love, friendship, songs and laughter.

Welcome to the world to Leo Lyle Pretsell Boyle. It was a great pleasure and honour to be your Naming Ceremony Celebrant and so lovely to spend time with your wonderful family and friends. You are a lucky boy to have so many fabulous people looking out for you.

In the words of the beautiful Irish proverb chosen by your parents for your Naming Ceremony:

‘We hope your life will be long and interesting; may you always have a penny in your pocket and a friend close by.’

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Laugh as we always laughed…

“Call me by the old familiar name.

Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.

Put no difference into your tone.

Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.”

~ Henry Scott Holland

Death is always hard for those left behind. Bringing together friends and family to celebrate the life of a loved one who has passed away is an enormous privilege. It is an even greater honour to conduct the funeral of someone you knew and loved.

Recently, I was asked to lead the funeral of a family friend; a wonderful, generous and kind-hearted family man with a mischievous sense of humour.

The ceremony took place on a perfect autumnal day in South Lanarkshire. Henry Scott Holland’s poem, ‘Death is Nothing at All’, was beautifully read by a relative, bringing both light and tears to the gathering. The perfect choice of poem for a man who, in the words of his family, carried laughter with him wherever he went.

We were all lucky to have known him. My love goes out to his close family and friends.