You were formed with perfect feet and hands
and a heart that beats non-stop,
sometimes for a hundred years.
You inherited a thousand generations
of wisdom, skill, poetry, song,
all the sunrises and sunsets of knowledge past.
You are the sum of all the people
who went before you.
from A Recipe for Dreaming
by Bryce Courtenay (quoted in Naming Ceremonies)
Ceremonies are the way which human beings have created to establish, confirm and reinforce relationships, and to confer recognition and status in society.
Ceremonies can have many other purposes. A divorce ceremony, for example, can help a person come to terms with the grief of a broken marriage; a bonding adolescent ceremony can assist young people feel “connected” with family and community e.g. a Becoming a Teenager ceremony or a secular Bar or Bat-Mitzvah. Ceremonies and Rituals, such as regular family gatherings on birthdays etc., have similar stabilising and reassuring effects.
A celebrant should be able to create ceremonies for any occasion or for any purpose. One of the most successful celebrants in the world, only he doesn’t call himself a celebrant, is David Oldfield of Washington DC. For many years he has effectively changed the lives of homeless and drug-addicted young people with his Rite of Passage-Ceremony which he called The Journey (I believe he was the first to use the word in this context).
In this Module 5, we give special attention to Oldfield’s writings and meditations on a range of ceremonies, such as
Winnowing After a Lifetime of Experience … What Matters, on looking back on a life and
Private Paths, Common Ground: An Adult Rite of Passage, on life’s changing directions.
At the end of this unit you should be able to:
- describe and create or co-create a variety of ceremonies which are not Weddings or Funerals
- compose ceremonies for Namings, Divorces, Adolescence, Step-child acceptance, and other major changes and milestones in a person’s life
- be aware of the wide resources of music, poetry, literature, symbolism, story -telling and movement as component parts of a ceremony
- understand why human beings need to mark important and unique occasions in their lives e.g. opening a business, changing their names, forgiving their parents or someone who has wronged them
- ensure the freedom of choice for clients, and whoever else they may choose to involve in the decision making process, is respected
- see ways in which celebrants can contribute to civic occasions and the workplace
- adapt appropriate elements of marriage ceremonies to renewal or commitment ceremonies as well as for same-sex relationships
- adapt appropriate elements of funeral ceremonies to memorial services, the interment or scattering of the Ashes
You should know:
- how the aforesaid poetry, prose, music and symbols give power and meaning to ceremonies
- the available musicians and other artists in your area
- venues and sources of appropriate artistic resources
- the details of proper planning and rehearsal including:
- assisting the client in creative personal composition
- choosing the component parts of the ceremony
- the best routine for rehearsals
- the level of skill and the range of detail required in delivering any kind of quality ceremony with power and effectiveness.
Assessment tasks are on the last few pages of the module manual. All assessment tasks are carefully read, critiqued and assessed by our Dean of Studies, Dr Chris Watson.
Assessment is by the following methods:
- Learning journal – a diary relating your studies to the world in which you live, includes compulsory research and writing tasks where necessary.
- Research questions – on selected written material provided with the module manual, books, DVDs and website links.
- Fieldwork – a structured analysis of 3 different ceremonies, not weddings or funerals, which you have attended or recorded from TV or watched on the internet.
1. a structured interview with a celebrant who presents other ceremonies.
2. present a simulated or real ceremony. The student is to either record the ceremony or write a report on their experience.
Workload and Due Dates
The time envisioned for working on each unit is equivalent to 10 weeks at 8 hours per week. The College has not set dates for submission of individual items. However, unless special permission to extend is granted, this module is to be completed within 6 months. Temporary suspensions of enrolment are negotiable, however fees for modules which have not been completed are not refundable.
Readings, Questions and Assignments
All manuals and DVDs are provided, including “Ceremonies and Celebrations” if not previously provided, and will be made available immediately, once the College receives full payment for the module. If the module manuals, books, DVDs and other items are downloaded from our website a discount will apply. Otherwise the items will be sent by post, airmail where necessary.
Transferring any material belonging to the College to a third party without prior permission is unethical and strictly forbidden.
Correspondence on administrative matters, including enrolments, are to be directed to the Registrar of Diplomas, Deborah Roffey.
And if on matters concerning the module, enquiries are to be directed to the Dean of Studies, Dr Chris Watson.
- Being a Celebrant – Superficiality or Depth? (iccdiplomas.com)