Ceremonies: New in Modern Culture, Ancient in Humanity

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You’re stepping into a new phase of your life. This transition may be welcomed and joyful or unexpected and challenging. Either way, you’re certain that meaningfully incorporating this change into your life’s narrative is essential for your wellbeing and growth.

As humans, we’re hardwired to make meaning. Ceremonies might be new in our modern culture, yet they’re ancient in the fabric of humanity. Thousands of years ago, our ancestors used ceremony to mark the passage of time and forge relationships with others. A ceremony is an intentional series of symbolic acts focused toward fulfilling a particular intention. It is more formal, story-focused, and community-centered than an individual ritual or practice.

The ceremonies we have available to us at present frequently do not meet our personal and spiritual needs, do not align with our politics and values, and cannot heal us from the loneliness and separation we experience in today’s culture. As a result, we’re often left alone to deal with the changes in our lives.

Participating in a ceremony balances and harmonizes ourselves and our communities, reinforcing our connection to one another and the earth. It acknowledges the truth of our personal experience and “normalizes” it within a community. Ceremonies provide a healthy process for us to move forward in our life stages and human development.

Your Ceremony Guide

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I’m Ana Velouise: ceremony guide, ordained minister in the state of California, and Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant. Having experienced major life changes both with and without the support of a community ceremony, I believe in the radical, ancient power of this work to usher folks through transitions.

Growing up in the religious milieu of Roman Catholicism, I savored the rituals and community inherent in the church, but couldn’t reconcile the beliefs, practices, and history with my feminist politics and personal conception of spirituality. When I discovered the field of Life-Cycle Celebrancy, the secular, client-centered approach resonated with me. Finally, here was a solution to facing life changes that met the deep human desire for connection and witnessing while also centering the unique aspect of an individual’s being and journey. A ceremony can be a container for making meaning and repairing the bonds of connection that have been broken by centuries of colonialism, capitalism, white supremacy, and the patriarchy.

My Celebrant training is through the Celebrant Foundation & Institute (CF&I) based in Newark, New Jersey. I studied the fundamentals of ceremony creation and ritual theory along with the creation of ceremonies across the life cycle. I am licensed to perform legal weddings anywhere in the state of California.

When you hire me to perform a ceremony for you, you will enjoy an experience and process that speaks to your individual needs and experience in an intentional, thoughtful way. The ceremonies I co-create with you are secular and non-denominational, and you get the final say in what the ceremony contains, down to each word.

Ceremony Types

Your ceremony can:

  • Include one other person (plus me for three people total) or many folks (in the case of a larger celebration).

  • Be a stand-alone event or added on to your existing event (such as a birthday party, baby shower, bachelorette weekend, retirement celebration, wedding celebration, or housewarming party).

Your ceremony cannot:

  • Include cultural appropriation, in which dominant groups steal elements from another culture (typically marginalized) without permission. I pay careful attention to this as white person of privilege and do not incorporate ceremony elements from vulnerable groups to which you do not belong.

The Process:

  1. Inquiry & Consult: You’ll start the process by booking a consult call and filling out an inquiry form with the details of your ceremony below. Then, we’ll get on a phone call to answer your questions. Once we confirm we’d be a good fit to partner on your ceremony, I’ll send you a payment link to reserve your ceremony date.

  2. Info Collection: After I receive your payment, you’ll get an email with next steps, including a link to a digital questionnaire for sharing what’s led you to this point and your vision for the ceremony.

  3. Drafts & Feedback: I’ll get to work researching the unique and personal elements to include, drafting your ceremony, and incorporating all the requested details. You’ll get two opportunities to review the ceremony draft and the final say over all the content.

  4. Ceremony Day: Whether you choose to have a large or small ceremony, I’ll be on hand to facilitate the event.

The Cost:

The cost is variable depending on your vision and desires for your ceremony. I’ll confirm your price during our consult call. Generally, small group ceremonies (3 people total) are $300 and large group ceremonies start at $750 for events taking place within LA County.


FAQs

+ What is a ceremony?

A ceremony is a series of symbolic acts in a specific order performed with others and focused toward fulfilling a particular intention. It is more formal, story-focused, and community-oriented than a ritual or practice. (A ritual can be a single action performed by an individual, such as meditation, making a cup of coffee, or taking a walk.) You likely have been a part of common ceremonies such as weddings and funerals.

+ What is a Life-Cycle Celebrant?

Life-Cycle Celebrants are modern-day professionals who perform and co-create ceremonies that reflect the needs and beliefs of their clients. My certification is through the Celebrant Foundation & Institute (CF&I) and I am licensed to perform legal weddings anywhere in the state of California. I’ve studied the fundamentals of ceremony creation and ritual theory along with the creation of ceremonies across the life cycle (including home ceremonies, coming of age ceremonies, midlife ceremonies, seasonal ceremonies, parenthood and baby ceremonies, end of life celebrations, and commitment ceremonies).

+ Do you travel?

Happily! Also I primarily perform in-person ceremonies anywhere within Los Angeles County (which includes Lancaster to Long Beach), if you’d like me to travel outside of LA County, please include that request in your inquiry and I can advise you of travel costs during our consult call.

+ Will you do a ceremony for [insert your specific need here]?

Most likely! Include the details of what you’re looking for when you fill out the inquiry form and we can chat details during our consult call.

+ What’s included in the cost of the ceremony?

After beginning with a complimentary consult call, your ceremony fee will include a custom digital questionnaire to capture your story and ideas, a custom written ceremony with a variety of poetry, music, and other personal elements incorporated, and the in-person facilitation of the ceremony within LA County. Not included in the cost is additional phone calls beyond the initial consult, any fees for venue rental, any additional props which need to be purchased, gifts for attendees, and travel fees outside of LA County.

+ Are you able to incorporate elements of my religion into the ceremony?

All ceremonies I perform are secular and non-denominational, which means organized religion is not part of the event. However, I can certainly incorporate elements of your ancestral culture, such as poetry and music, handfasting for weddings, a particular food specific to your ancestry, or acknowledgment of lineage.