Since I was a young child I have believed in the importance of taking note of special occasions, and marking them with a proper celebration. (I can remember getting quite upset one year when I discovered my mum doing the dishes on her birthday! In what was a well-intended but probably quite oppressive gesture, I don’t think I allowed her to do one more task all day.)
As I grew older I refined my understanding of celebration to something a little deeper and broader than a dish-washing-ban! It came naturally to me to suggest to family and friends that we take some time to reflect on significant milestones, bringing in some of my facilitation and storytelling skills as I gained experience, progressing through a degree in Drama & Theatre Arts into a career working with community groups.
During my Masters in Cultural Performance (I know…. it’s a bit of an unusual course title!) we explored the significance of performance and ritual in everyday and community life. We were offered the chance to add a week’s training in Rites of Passage and Ceremonies. The training was with the inspirational Sue Gill and Gilly Adams at Dead Good Guides and I leapt at the chance. I have never looked back.
This is not to suggest that I started working as a Celebrant immediately. I was young, and really felt I hadn’t experienced many of life’s “big” milestones. It didn’t feel authentic to me then to hold that space for others until I’d lived a little...
Meanwhile, I was working in a career that invited me to evolve from “facilitating” groups to a more intuitive style of “hosting spaces” for communities, colleagues, families and friends to connect. The heart of this work is threefold: a warm welcome, asking the most useful questions that generate positivity and possibility, and guiding people through a process with gentle assurance and humour. It is easy to see how these skills transfer to the role of Celebrant.
Gradually I started to take on more ceremonies for friends until it became clear it was time to take the leap and launch my business. I have never felt more fulfilled or connected to my work. People have said it’s what I was “born to do”, and it does feel like the best-fitting hat I’ve ever worn!
As well as my role as a celebrant I still do some work for a charity in Edinburgh (EDG) and am training to be a yoga teacher. These threads of work balance beautifully to keep me fresh and engaged with whatever I am working on.
I live just outside Edinburgh with my partner Alan, our children Fin and Innes, and our cat, Damu.