I completed some more CPD training in the form of a workshop last week. The session was led by William Ayot, poet, ritualist and teacher.

There was a lot of discussion about different types of rituals – rituals of growth (such as rites of passage), of continuity (nature based rituals such as samhain) and rituals of alignment (such as atonement, separation). In particular I found some of the distinctions between the use of the words ritual, ceremony and ceremonial very useful. William described “ceremonial” as ritual or ceremony that has become empty, lost energy. I certainly recognize that sometimes that can happen in funerals -there is a sense of just going through the motions. Something that I work hard to avoid.

And lots of practical advice on preparation and on the different stages of ritual.

I was particularly struck by some of the “public health warnings” that William gave. The need to respect a duty of care not just to the people you perform a ritual for but also to yourself. The need to retain a “peripheral vision” so that even in the midst of a moving ceremony, you can keep an eye on the practicalities – like a candle burning down.

Perhaps most important in the context of my work, the need to “get out of the way”. There’s a tendency as a celebrant to be the showman, the performer and to forget that a funeral is NOT ABOUT YOU.

Really useful and productive webinar – thanks to William Ayot and to the organizers.

Michael Hannah, 27th October 2020

Creating Rituals for Healing & Change

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