Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ceremonies Build Bridges to Nature

        A celebration of nature ceremony will begin with a contemplative walk through the Wellspring meadow and down the hill. This walk symbolizes our departure from the everyday life, where we leave our cars and all signs of civilization: the road, the shed, and the house next to Wellspring Hill. As we descend the hill and enter the woods, we shed the fetters that anchor us in the outer world. Entering the hush of the unspoiled pristine forest we feel lighter and more alert to the messages of Mother Earth who speaks to us in the wordless images of Nature.
 As we draw closer to the stream, we are
uplifted by the sound of clear water rippling over rocks and tree roots.The first thing you will do is place any sacred objects you have brought for the ceremony near the cairn that was built on the streambank to honor the presence of the wellspring, which the Earth Wisdom Reading says "is mighty and special and pure." Invite the energy of the wellspring to infuse your object so that you can take it home with you. Then you will choose a spot to sit and place your folded tarp or sit-upon among the ferns and mosses.

       The ritual part of the ceremony will  begin with prayer, which will vary according to the purpose of the ceremony. It may be to draw forth the land's joyful energy and direct its healing clarity through us, to connect our spirits to Nature and the Oneness of Creation. It may be to release the ties that bind us to old ways of thinking and renew ourselves with higher, more creative energies. Or it may be the celebration of a new beginning in life: a new job, a new goal, a new relationship; any venture that will benefit from a blessing from Mother Earth and the nature spirits.

      Whether it's a wedding, funeral, or other type of celebration, every ceremony symbolizes a transition from one stage of life to another. The elements that make up a nature celebration can include guided and/or silent meditation, carefully chosen readings and/or a call and response, and a time for each participant to share relevant thoughts or prayers. Usually there is a ritual; for example, each person tossing a stone into the stream while naming the negative energy they are releasing, or planting a bulb or a wildflower seed, to symbolize their faith in renewal.

The formal part of the ceremony will close with participants standing in a circle to sing a song of celebration and gratitude. Afterward, participants may spend some time quietly sitting or exploring. Some may discover a direct connection with the spirits of the woods and stream. Maybe you'll find some sprites living in the recesses formed by the roots of the trees that hang over the streambank.

The ceremony will close with a joyful walk back up through the meadow, as our newly energized selves return to the outer world. We will then enjoy some refreshments, to symbolize our grounding back into the everyday life of humanity.

Now the question is: When will the first ceremony take place? Who would like to participate in a nature celebration ceremony at Wellspring Hill in Maryland, New York, led by life-cycle celebrant, Emily VanLaeys? Will you be willing to pay $45 for this experience, to help with the cost of the land, the liability insurance, and the time and effort that goes into preparing a ceremony?

A maximum of six people can be included in each ceremony. Ceremonies can take place on week-ends or evenings when daylight lingers long enough. The woods gets dark faster than the outside world!

If you are interested in participating in a nature celebration ceremony, please contact Emily at, and state your preference for a day of the week and time, and the type of ceremony you would prefer. A minimum of three participants will be required for a ceremony to be conducted.

Quotes about Sacred Land and Ceremony

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