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  • Writer's pictureHardingstone Ceremonies

New Beginnings

Updated: Jan 28


This New Year I am excited to be embarking on my second career.  After more than 30 years as a teacher, I have recently trained to be an Independent Heart-led celebrant.  Here I reflect further on the training that has been so central to this journey.

It might surprise you to know that, despite the extraordinarily important role celebrants perform in people’s lives there is actually no requirement to train nor any standard of training required - anyone can call themselves a celebrant.  I was always clear that I needed to invest the time and energy required to prepare myself as far as I possibly could in order to perform the role as thoughtfully and professionally as it deserves.

My training was undertaken with Veronika and Paul Robinson of Heart-led Celebrancy.  Veronika has nearly thirty years of experience as a celebrant and her input and guidance continues to be invaluable to me on my own journey. Paul is an experienced voice coach with five decades of working with the voice - both his own and that of others - and theirs is the only training offering specialised voice training.  My experience of training was, unlike that of many, one-to-one and this allowed it to be fully focused on my needs.  I was already reasonably competent at speaking in front of others, at juggling listening to a story whilst taking the notes needed to retell that story;  these are skills my life as a teacher involved. For me my training was a chance to take the time to reflect deeply on the elements of ceremony, to learn about the many possible rituals associated with birth, marriage, death and more, and to practise performing those rituals.  It also involved learning to deliver a script with a reflective spontaneity that is not required when delivering a good assembly! I completed my face to face training confident in my ability to deliver for my clients.  

There were a great many written assignments to complete - these started before I met Veronika and Paul and continued after the precious individual time spent with them in Cumbria.  I discovered during this time that I enjoy writing - I found some of the exercises set, powerfully cathartic, forcing me as they did to reflect on my values and from whence they came.  Some tasks were challenging and rightly so - not all ceremonies are celebrations.  Sometimes it is the job of a celebrant to hold a space for those in the unbearable pain of shocking loss.

I am fully committed to continuing to learn and to grow in this role and am indebted to Veronika and Paul who offer ongoing support throughout the journey to and in celebrancy.  I am full of anticipation for my first residential retreat with them in March - making, writing and practising a range of Handfasting and handtying ceremonies.  I have also been privileged to review two of Veronika’s forthcoming publications  - 'Funerals for Children' and 'The Five Elements'.  Continuing to read, reflect and challenge myself is essential if I am to be the best celebrant I can be and I am committed to this for my clients.  Each ceremony I am asked to perform is of singular, critical importance to the individual, couple or family concerned - they deserve my very best!

By Catrina Young, Leicestershire Heart-led celebrant, Marking Life’s Moments.

©Hardingstone Ceremonies, Jan 2024

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