“Ceremony – whatever brings you closer to your essential self.”
– Richard Wagamese,
Embers, One Ojibway’s Meditations
Hi, Welcome to Moving Ceremonies!
As a Life-Cycle Celebrant I have a deep interest in the magic of words, symbols, actions and awareness to convey and embody meaning in the mystery of life’s inevitable changes.
I love to weave tradition and the great turning inside each human heart, to re-imagine ceremony in these tumultuous times.
Whether a wedding, funeral, celebration of life, welcoming a new member of your family, or other rite of passage, your unique and personal care for life and love are the matrix for our collaboration.
Your voice and values, ideas for design and direction, invite what is known to meet the mystery of what wants to come into being. Together we bring just the right words, elements and rituals into a coherent, beautiful and moving ceremony.
Thank you for your interest in Moving Ceremonies!
Grounded in a long-time interest and respect for the world’s great wisdom traditions, ceremony has allured me since the day I carefully buried my goldfish, Goldy, in the center of my mother’s round marigold garden over the septic tank in our backyard. With flowers and a popsicle stick cross, I marked this place as sacred and holy ground.
No doubt inspired by an early orientation to the Anglican Church, I offer appreciation for the seeds of a deep spiritual gravity rooted under the steps of institutions in the fertile soil of earth and her elements.
The friendly forests and welcoming waters of the Big Rideau Lake in Ontario rocked me in the cradle of a green canoe under changing skies and life storms, providing a matrix of elemental care and seeding a deep respect for nature as our nature.
A broken back at eighteen instilled a reverence for the fragile thread that keeps us here, and a life-long interest and engagement in somatic and embodied practices. Respect for dreams, the mysteries of what is not known, and the full catastrophe of what it means and feels to be human, keeps me inspired and interested in these wild and fragile times.
Owning and operating Serendipity’s Backyard, a Metaphysical Bookstore in Steveston, BC, from the age of 28 – 40 offered a thirteen-year experiential apprenticeship in Metaphysics, Embodied Spirituality, Community Building and Business sense, which I am still making sense of!
A 13 year internship with an acreage of land on the Sunshine Coast, permaculture studies, alignment with the rhythms of elements and seasons, bee keeping and cultivating relationship with deep earth and nature restored an indigenous reverence and engagement with all of life as an interwoven web of connection – human and more than, seen and unseen.
As a poet and wordsmith I relish in collaborations with individuals, couples and groups to co-create ceremonies across the life-cycle, and flourish in opportunities to weave words and rituals to serve and express the sometimes un-expressible mysteries of love, life and loss.
A Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant with Celebrant Foundation & Institute, a Metaphysical Minister registered with Canadian International Metaphysical Ministry, Insight Certified Funeral Celebrant, and registered with Vital Statistics, I offer services in Victoria, Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands and beyond.
If it’s a wild West Coast, off the beaten track location – just tell me to wear my hiking boots or bring my kayak!
What is a Celebrant?
What is a Celebrant, you ask?
We are cultural creatives, trained and certified in the art and craft of ceremony. We are professionals who care about your values and wishes in creating meaningful ceremonies relevant and real in modern times.
I am deeply honoured to acknowledge www.celebrantinstitute.org for their progressive, insightful and in depth training, weaving cross-cultural perspectives and traditions with attention to detail and design, offering a program that supports collaboration and inclusivity in all areas of life. I am grateful for the Canadian International Metaphysical Ministry www.canadianmetaphysicalministry.com
for their vision and ministry.
I respectfully acknowledge and offer appreciation to my mentors over three decades of in-depth inquiry into the world’s great wisdom traditions, somatic and mindfulness based approaches to the body and movement, storytelling, dream tending and nature as our nature:
Angeles Arrien, Cross-cultural Anthropologist, Author & Mentor, Susan Harper, www.continuummontage.com, Emilie Conrad, Caryn McHose, Author and Movement Explorer, Sandra Sammartino, Yoga Teacher Extraordinaire, and through either in person offerings and/or writings: Malidoma Some, Michael Meade, James Hillman, Stephen Harrod Buhner, Marion Woodman, Martin Prechtel, Frances Weller, Deena Metzger, and all of the seen and unseen beings that guide the ways of ceremony and ritual.
I acknowledge my Lineage Ancestors, without whom I would not be who and where I am right now.
What calls you to marriage and the power of committed love in modern times?
What inspires you to create a gathering of loved ones to mark this moment in the evolution of your love story?
What is at the heart of your unique union and affection for one and other?
What are the words you wish to combine to articulate the depth of your care and commitment to your beloved, in the presence of your loved ones?
What elements do you see weaving together in small or large ways to create a moving ceremony resonant and inclusive for all?
I want to know!
Together we will weave words, music, elements and rituals to reflect, honor and embody the rare and precious meeting of two lives destined to be committed partners in life.
Let’s land your ceremony on the ground of love and sweet attention for the moment you will say I DO!
“If we do not birth and die ritually, we will do so technologically, inscribing technocratic values in our very bones. It matters greatly not only that we birth and die, but HOW we birth and die.” Ronald Grimes- Deeply Into the Bone
If you have arrived here because of the recent death of a loved one, I want to acknowledge the feelings you are feeling. And to say, I can meet you wherever you are to discuss what needs to happen next. My number is 250.592.6400 in Victoria BC or my cell is 604.803.4607
No two humans are alike. Each being deserves honor, mindful respect and personal care in death. I have a deep reverence for this transition in the life cycle, and welcome this opportunity to co-create a ceremony that reflects and celebrates the reality of your loved one’s precious time on earth and acknowledges the depth of your loss.
Home Funeral Guidance
The time of death, and the hours and days to follow are liminal places for both the dead and the living. Many in the west are following a natural call to reclaim this time in the cycle of life and death, to tend their dead with care and attention, and what I like to call Bringing Death Home.
I offer education and consultation to support families and communities in tending this liminal time with care and respect, ceremony and beauty.
Whether it’s through taking a little more time with your loved one’s body after death, bringing or keeping them at home for a period, bathing and dressing, offering a vigil for family and friends, you are encouraged and supported to follow what feels right for your loved one, your heart and family.
Bringing Death Home
Care and Ceremony at End of Life, A Growing Interest
There is a burgeoning movement to honor the sacredness of death in modern times. It is natural and innate to gather when someone dies. Modern medical and funeral practices shifted cultural beliefs and practices around end of life experiences and ceremony in the West. Today, many are reclaiming this time as a potent place for healing, digestion of grief, community honor and building.
For almost three decades I traveled in Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Guatemala and Bali to participate in traditional ceremony and ritual in this regard. I experienced the power of shared grief and the natural expressions of movement, breath, song, lament and lyrics of mourning in community. I returned inspired to Bring Death Home in my own family and community.
These liminal times when someone near to us dies can be potent opportunities to meet and be met in the communal and universal experience of loss, and to receive the challenges and gifts of this inevitable threshold.
Slowing down to the speed of death is an opportunity for building resource and resilience for the inevitable sorrows of human life. The good news is joy and revelation live in the depths of this often formidable time. I welcome opportunities to share through private sessions, lectures in community and facilitated support in this regard. I welcome your inquiry or interest in this.
Earth, Air, Fire and Water conspire to form our living bodies. For some it is an important part of the cycle of life and death to offer the body back into the living body of creation. We are fortunate to have Green Burial here in Victoria, which I am a passionate advocate for.
As the world changes, including the ecological footprint of death can be a legacy worth considering
Cremation Witness Ceremony
Interment of Ashes Ceremony
Celebration of Life/ Remembrance
A Word About the Body:
Tending a loved one’s body, human or animal, between the time of death and cremation or burial, in many cases is not as difficult as you may think. Taking the time you need or want to say goodbye can often serve the reality and depth of this loss. I have a deep care for this transitional time.
Our four-legged, furred, finned and feathered friends occupy deep places within our hearts where I believe no human can tread. Their departure from our lives can be a challenging time, as they seem to companion us through important thresholds of change.
I have experienced the great loss of my equine, canine and feline companions through the years and have created ceremonies to honor the unique gifts each one has brought to life.
I welcome the opportunity to co-create a meaningful ceremony to honour the loss of your animal companion.
Private Sessions, Healing Ceremonies & Stewarding Soul
For over two decades I have sat in the fire of transformation with folks in transition and on the threshold of change. Whether physical, spiritual, mental and/or emotional, the soul longs to be seen, felt, heard and mirrored in a container of care.
From the sometimes awkward and wordless places, into sensation and embodied awareness, we find our way one breath, step, gesture and moment at a time.
Self designed ritual and ceremony can support you in acknowledging a time of transition or rite of passage into new territory and allow you to find your feet firmly on the ground in the new life you can call your own.
Stewarding the life of Soul into being moves us out of pathology of pain, into sensitive care for despair and grief as portals to maturity, meaning and the deeper mysteries of being human.
Ways we can work together:
- Private Consultations for one hour in person/Skype/phone.
- Series of 6 sessions scheduled at regular intervals (bi-weekly suggested) for specific and focused work.
- Series of 9 sessions scheduled to work with the 8 Gates of Initiation in the Second Half of Life – a powerful way to tend the inner longings and un-lived life that can emerge in midlife for all humans.
I welcome your call!
Ceremony offers an opportunity to tangibly mark the visible and invisible changes of our lives. Whether in private or public, engaging embodied imagination through ritual and ceremony can provide a container to slow down and safely cross the thresholds of life, incorporating what has been experienced and gleaned into life sustaining action and being.
Baby naming and welcoming, important birthdays, graduation, divorce, healing, anniversary, midlife passages and more.
I welcome any opportunity to co-create ceremony with you!
Next StepsWhere do we go from here?
1) First we meet in person or by Skype or phone for a FREE consultation
2) Together we create an agreement to engage my services.
3) I interview you (in person for Funeral/End of Life ceremony) and/or offer a questionnaire(s) for you to support the personalization of the ceremony.
4) You have unlimited contact with me to finalize and approve the ceremony from start to finish.
5) I arrive early on the day of to collaborate with other providers (musicians, videographers, caterers, venue) and officiate your Ceremony with warmth and care.
6) I provide an electronic or paper Keepsake copy of the Ceremony.
Let’s get started!
Email or call for your FREE consultation.
Email me at email@example.com or call
(Victoria) 250.592.6400 or Cell 604 803 4607
Where Rivers Meet the Sea
I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.– John O’Donohue
Where Rivers Meet the Sea: A Spring Retreat for Celebrants
April 14, 15, 16, 2020 Vancouver Island In a protected bird sanctuary at the confluence of the Koksilah and Cowichan river on the Cowichan estuary, where the river meets the sea. Retreat, refresh and re-imagine your Celebrant practice in this 3 day soulful inquiry.
Eat Well. Beautiful food will be catered by Art to Eat. Two days of build-your-own breakfast, including hot coffee and tea, will be available between sunrise and 9:30 am, to enjoy on your own time. Noon and evening meals will be shared at a communal table. Clean-up will be enjoyed in community, with laughter, song and conversation. Dietary needs can be accommodated with advance notice. Arttoeatcatering.com
Rest Well. Held in the warm embrace of Affinity Guest House, we will have private access to the site. Affinity offers a mix of sleeping arrangements; all rooms are shared space. Luxurious linens and bedding are all provided. Camping is an option. Once full workshop numbers are determined, we may be able to accommodate specific needs regarding sleeping, however there will be limited flexibility for single rooms. www.Affinityguesthouse.ca
- April 14, 15, 16, 2020 Vancouver Island In a protected bird sanctuary at the confluence of the Koksilah and Cowichan river on the Cowichan estuary, where the river meets the sea
- Full retreat cost is $425.00 plus gst=$446.25
- Early bird pricing until February 14th is $375.00 plus gst=$393.75
- A non-refundable deposit of $100 will hold a space for you until March 14th, 2020
- All payment is due by March 15th, 2020; Registration closes March 16th
- This is professional development for your 2020 taxes; tax receipts will be issued
- Numbers are limited to 18 Celebrants. Register early to secure your place at the table.
No Celebrant steps into the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and it’s not the same Celebrant. Heraclitus (adapted)
Living Well – Dying Well ®
A Four-Part Program designed by Earth & Spirit
“I appreciated coming together with people of other beliefs and backgrounds. Being vulnerable can build relationship and connection.”
“We began as strangers and yet through the course of our conversation we revealed such intimate stories and feelings. There was tragedy, sadness and great joy. There is a richness with being able to share meaningful conversations. They take you somewhere you might not go by yourself.”
“Who knew, this could be so joyful!”
Time – out – of – Time for Changing Wom(b)en
Time – out – of – Time for Changing Wom(b)en
(for any woman who has felt the stirrings of peri-menopause to women post and long past post menopause)
A day during each quarter to consciously enter into D E E P time & imagination together in nature
Location: Mary Lake Nature Sanctuary (www.marylakeconnections.com)
Each month will offer a different inquiry with one of the elements – it is a time to apprentice ourselves to the elements again, to come home to our senses in fresh ways and embody our unique place in the family of things (Mary Oliver). Cross-culturally the elements are potent sources of and mirrors of change. To apprentice is to become a beginner again, a trainee, a learner … curious .. not knowing. Here, together, we will return to the elements – the source of the continuum of life.
- Sunday, February 2, 2020 – Earth – to stay and be stayed
- Sunday, May 3, 2020 – Air – to stir and be stirred
- Sunday, July 26, 2020 – Fire – to spark and be sparked
- Sunday, November 1, 2020 – Water – to swell and be swelled
Each day in Time out of Time offers inquiry-based practices gleaned through over 25 years of discovery in the depths of Continuum Movement Practice (see: continuumteachers.com Yoga, cross-cultural studies and experiences with Angeles Arrien www.angelesarrien.com Perceptual & Dreamtime Inquiry based practices www.continuummontage.com Dream tending will be encouraged and included. Perceptual Practices will be offered to explore between each gathering for those who wish to register for all four – taking this as a 9 month soul journey.
This is for you if you find yourself between stories, betwixt with grief and gratitude for these potent times we live in, befuddled by longing and belonging and deep desires for soulitude. Together we will grow an embodied imagination as voluminous as the nature we are. With the elements as our soulmatic and cellular guides, we will discover we can stay, stir, spark and swell in these tumultuous times. We were born for this!!
Time out of Time: Sundays – 9:45 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.
Commit to all 4: $425.00 (when 2 commit together each pay $400.00) Non-refundable deposit of $100.00 to hold a space. Remainder due on Feb. 1, 2020)
Each day on its own: $125.00 (Bring lunch, journal and blanket. Snacks and tea provided)
To Register: Inquire or send e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org or call
250 592 6400 or 604 803 4607
Together, let’s explore how we can stay, stir, spark, and swell in 2020.
TestimonialsWords of Appreciation
Penny went above and beyond
Penny went above and beyond to ensure our wedding ceremony was unique, sacred, and full of beauty. Her powerful use of words, knowledge and history of creating ceremony, and herself being a talented poet truly elevated the whole experience. We enjoyed having Penny guide us through the process of marriage, both before and during the actual ceremony. Our families and friends were very touched, and we had many guests comment on how special the ceremony felt for all involved. Thank you Penny for your kindness, and contribution to our wedding.
Lydia and Michael
Her attention to detail was impeccable!
Penny was a joy to work with, in co-creating our sacred ceremony of union. She offered many helpful suggestions, she was patient and easy to communicate with by email, phone and Skype, and she was very keen to learn details that might have even a subtle impact on the ceremony itself. Her attention to detail was impeccable. We appreciated her alignment with our desire to create a ceremony that was uniquely expressive of our values, spirituality, and overall vision of relationship.
When the day came, Penny was so gracious and supportive to both of us as well as our families. Her delivery of the ceremony itself was incredible. She spoke with clarity and intention, and helped us and our wedding party to stay strong and grounded, and in the present moment so we could really absorb the beauty of the day and the potency of what we had co-created with her. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect, more special person to marry us!
Devon & Sasha
So special and joyful!!
A transformative ceremony
We can’t thank you enough for a transformative ceremony, and helping us create such a beautiful wedding ritual. Lydia & Michael
I’ve been to a lot of weddings, and this is by far the best one!
“The sentiment we heard continuously throughout the day and for weeks to come was “I’ve been to a lot of weddings, and this is by far the best one!”.
Penny seamlessly created a ceremony that was exactly what we were looking for and more. She brought forth great ideas to incorporate into the ceremony that made it very unique and personal. Penny easily communicated with everyone involved in the ceremony on the day before and the day of the wedding, making sure everyone knew in advance where to be and how the ceremony would flow.
Within the months leading up to the wedding, Penny continuously connected with us to make suggestions, see how we were doing and get information from us about ourselves and our families to tie into the ceremony.We couldn’t imagine our day without Penny as our officiant and anyone using her services in future will be very impressed and happy with the way she organizes and presents. Penny truly has a gift for creating a beautiful wedding ceremony and we are so grateful she was part of our special day!” Megan & Shawn Hunt
Many thanks to Steve Cronin, of American Funeral Director Magazine for inviting me to share about end of life ceremonies. To see the full article see my blog post at https://movingceremonies.com/2018/10/27/bringing-ceremony-to-end-of-life/
VICTORIA, British Columbia — Two days before he was scheduled to die, John Shields roused in his hospice bed with an unusual idea. He wanted to organize an Irish wake for himself. It would be old-fashioned with music and booze, except for one notable detail — he would be present.
It was Penny’s privilege to be a part of the ceremony of farewell for John Shields in Victoria. The New York Times wrote an article about it see below.
Many thanks to Steve Cronin, of American Funeral Director Magazine for inviting me to share about end of life ceremonies. View pdf article here http://www.celebrantinstitute.org/media/2018-10-End%20of%20Life%20Celebrant.pdf
This is timely and inspiring, although my heart ached when i got to the last line of the article. It clearly is time to re-imagine ceremony - a funeral simply means a gathering to honour the dead where the body is present. Here's to re-imagining funerals in modern...
My mother says my birth was quick! Forty-five minutes after she got to the hospital i arrived. She had been out on a boat that day bobbing and bouncing on the St. Lawrence River in Ontario. I like to think the waters rocked and rolled me into the perfect position to...