United We Stand Ceremony
Sponsored Content from The Celebrant Foundation & Institute
Do you remember the moment when you knew in your heart that you had to answer the call to be a part of your community and help heal? As large and as significant as that moment, can you hear its familiar reverberation in this moment in American history?
Our country and her citizens stand on an active fault line of division. A division not experienced since the public's uprising in opposition to the Vietnam War and in support of Civil Rights—over half a century ago. No matter whom you voted for in the recent election, its outcome has opened a gaping door of unprecedented partition.
This divide is:
- splitting families and communities across the nation
- targeting the basic rights of many citizens and indigenous people
- raising serious concerns on the world stage
- escalating the nuclear arms race
- threatening the last-chance climate pacts for protecting life on planet Earth
What is our role in these times? Where and how do we show up and lead others through our work as celebrants?
As humans with a heart we have the power to bring healing and strengthen our bonds to each other and community. This is precisely the time—and the way—that we go to work.
We implore you to Go For It!
Pick up this healing ceremony—exactly as is or with the touch of your own vision—and bring it to your community. Consider it a gift that keeps giving from the Celebrant Foundation & Institute.
It's your call whether to stand before a small circle of a few, or more widely in public space with an open invitation to all. But please, JUST HEAR THE CALL AND DO IT!
This ceremony is designed to reflect individual and collective commitments to speaking our values as Americans, in the context of community, unification, diversity and protection of life on Earth.
This ceremony is initiated with in a circle, symbolizing community and unity, utilizes the organic elements of water and rock representing the preciousness of life and earth health and; rainbow colored skeins of yarn or balls of cord symbolic of all human rights.
- Welcoming words
- Statement of intention
- Explanation of ceremonial steps
- Ceremonial Actions
- Closing Blessing/Words
At the time and place you have designated, call all participants into a circle, or multiple circles of 10 people as the crowd size determines - with a bowl of water placed in the center or each circle.
Community Celebrant (THAT’S YOU) offers welcoming words and the intention and explanation of the steps of the ceremony:
- A walking meditation in the circle of about 3-5 minutes, a time for each individual to contemplate the statement of what value of democracy, environmental protection or human rights they will hold in prayer or intention and, when called to, in public speech in the years ahead.
- Celebrant calls the walking meditation to a stop. He/she then ties one loop of the rainbow yarn or cord around their waist and states their "value" and commitment to stand for that value in a peaceful, unifying way. He/she then tosses the ball of yarn to someone across the circle who does the same. This continues until everyone has spoken and a full web has been woven "tying" the circle together and each person speaking to their personal truth and commitment before each other and into the bowl of water in the center.
Yarn / cord is then cut from individuals' waists. Celebrant may conduct at that time or make note of an after-ceremony ritual of either burning, or burial (if organic/natural) of the "web" of yarn or cord.
- Each person one by one, approaches the water bowl (that has "absorbed" the promises and stated values) and using a ladle or cup, takes a sample of the water and pours onto the earth. If done indoors, a different connection of touch to the water can be initiated - and the water will be taken outdoors and poured onto the earth after the ceremony.
- Participants are invited to the table or spot where the river rocks are laid out (perhaps in a spiral? Circle?). After selecting a rock, they use one of the permanent markers to write or reference their stated "value" onto the rock. They will be told that the rock is theirs to take, and encouraged to keep it in their change purse, pocket or on their dashboard etc. to remember the public vow they made to uphold.
- Closing words
- Group sings a cappella rendition of America the Beautiful, all verses
- 1 balled skein of rainbow colored yarn or other type of cord (preferably 100% natural). One ball will be needed per circle of 10 participants
- 1 large bowl of water per circle of 10 - if possible water collected from a natural source notable to your community.
- Scissor(s) to cut yarn
- Sufficient number of river rocks (available at garden stores) and several permanent markers.
Choose to gather with a select circle of your own tribe of sisters and brothers who share your sense of concern about America's future days - fellow citizens who recognize that their gathering in ritual holds a power to influence the collective field.
As the months unfold through 2017 and beyond, and America's new course is revealed - you may take the opportunity to gather your circles again. For example, should the newly promised course of nuclear proliferation or a Supreme Court reversal of marriage equality occur, gather your circle for re/commitment to these expressed values, or other new focus of giving voice in peaceful resistance.
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This ceremony is sent with love and hope from the Celebrant Foundation & Institute's Nature-based Committee, Chairs: Rani Findlay and Woody Winfree. Charlotte Eulette assisting. www.celebrantinstitute.org
Please be in touch with any questions you may have on this ceremony. And - keep us posted on its developments at [email protected]
Contact CF&I for information on joining our Celebrant Alumni Nature-based Committee: [email protected]
About the Celebrant Foundation & Institute
The Celebrant Foundation & Institute (CF&I) is the nation’s preeminent online educational institute that teaches and certifies people as modern day ritual and ceremony professionals called Life-Cycle Celebrants®. Founded in 2001, the educational nonprofit organization headquartered in Montclair, NJ, is a member of the International Federation of Celebrants. To date, the CF&I has graduated nearly 900 Life-Cycle Celebrants® who preside over 20,000 ceremonies each year throughout North America, Asia and Europe. To learn more about the CF&I, visit www.celebrantinstitute.org
Watch January 2017's Weddings with Zita (Zita Christian) with featured guest Elisa Chase, CF&I Academic Manager, discussing Ceremony, Rituals and the Celebrant Foundation & Institute.