I very much enjoyed the opportunity to create this special Naming and Blessing Ceremony for a little Piscean girl and her lovely parents.
When we consulted about the kinds of things that would be important to Rebecca, she was keen to celebrate her experience of giving birth to her daughter at home in a tub of water under the care of an independant midwife. (Sadly her midwife was called to a birth on the afternoon of
the ceremony and was unable to attend.)
To establish a water theme for the ceremony, we opened the ceremonial space by passing around two bowls of water, representing the gift of life. Water from these bowls was subsequently poured out as a symbolic libation in thanks-giving for the safe birth of Lorelei – a precious gift in the
life of her family and friends. Rebecca also felt that it would be important to acknowledge her daughter’s
ancestry in some way, a challenge which her mother-in-law rose to with aplomb, delivering a short speech about the qualities of grit and independant spirit which Rebecca and Trent had inherited from their respective family lines, and would be passing on to their little daughter.
After the formal bestowing of names, I invited Rebecca and Trent to renew their personal commitment to each other as partners and parents, reminding them of the promises they had made to each other at their wedding two years before. (I noticed out of the corner of my eyes that both of their eyes were glistening with dew at this point – so I suspect it was a personally moving moment).
Then the assembled guests took turns to present the new family with a flower and a blessing… until they had gathered a whole basket full of blooms.
The ceremony concluded with the presentation of a special candle, representing all the love and blessing that they would carry with them to Tasmania as they set off to make a new home for themselves.
THE CEREMONY OUTLINE.
1. Welcome & housekeeping
Once everyone has gathered, Ishara says:
“Family and friends, on behalf of Rebecca and Trent, I’d like to welcome you and thank you all for coming along today. As you know, we have gathered together today for a special purpose: to celebrate Rebecca and Trent’s beautiful little daughter Lorelei and welcome her into this, her circle of family and community. My name is Ishara de Garis, and it is my pleasure and privilege to preside at this ceremony today.
In a moment I will officially open the ceremony, but before I do so, there are a just a couple of things that I need to mention.
Today is very much a family affair, and I know that Rebecca and Trent are keen for everyone to feel relaxed and do what you need to do to make yourselves comfortable. In particular, they have asked me to let you know that it is fine for the children to wander and play.
I know that many of you have brought along flowers, and you will have the opportunity to give these to Lorelei and her parents, with your good wishes, in the concluding part of the
ceremony today. Until then, we would like to invite you to please place them in one of the buckets provided. (Points out where these are) If you don’t have a flower with you, please don’t panic – I know there are some spare ones in the bucket and I am sure there will be enough to go around.”
2. Opening – water ceremony
Ishara sounds a bell (pause) and then says:
“The theme of water is very important in today’s ceremony.
“We live on a watery planet – two thirds of the Earth’s surface is covered with
water. The story of biological life as we know it today begins in these waters.
Our human bodies are composed of 50 to 70% water. And each one of us began our
existences in the watery environment of our mothers’ wombs.
“Water is a very precious element, essential to the sustenance of all life. In ancient human cultures, the traditional place of gathering was around the well, and over time large cities have grown up around natural sources of pure drinking water. Ancient peoples saw springs and rivers as sacred places, often associated with divine feminine figures. Since antiquity, water has been a symbol of purity and devotion.
“From the beginning of time, human beings have come together in circles of community
to celebrate significant moments in our individual and shared lives. The welcoming of a new child into her family and community is one such special moment that certainly deserves to be celebrated.
“A ceremony, like this one, is a special kind of celebration. It offers us an
invitation to pause and reflect upon the things which make life meaningful –
our values, our hopes and dreams for ourselves and the ones we love.
“Today our focus is on Rebecca and Trent, and especially on little Lorelei whose being
is such a precious gift in the life of this family and community. Later in the ceremony, there will be an opportunity for each and every one of us to offer them our good wishes and
blessings for their unfolding adventure of family life.
“A ceremony works by creating a special time and a space set apart from the
ordinary doings of daily life. There are many ways of doing this.
Because of our water theme, we have chosen to open today’s ceremony in a way
which may be a little different to what you are used to. In a moment, we will be passing around two bowls of water, symbolising the gift of life which we all share. As the bowl reaches you, I invite you to take a moment of silent contemplation to experience a sense of gratitude for the gift of life – your own life, the lives of those you love, and most especially
for the gift of this beautiful baby girl who is the reason and focus for our ceremony today.
I’ll ask Rebecca and Trent to take one bowl each and begin the process… whenever you are ready?
Rebecca – or if Rebecca has her hands full with Lorelei, then Ishara – and Trent each take one bowl, pause for a moment’s contemplation, and then pass it to people at opposite ends of the semi-circle.
The two bowls are passed around from hand to hand…
When finished, Ishara retrieves the bowls and replaces them on the table.
Taking one of the bowls, Ishara says:
“Pouring a libation is the symbolic action of pouring a precious liquid onto the earth.
It is gesture symbolising giving thanks for blessings received. Today we give thanks for the birth of little Lorelei, May she live a long, healthy and happy life.”
Ishara (or Rebecca?) sprinkles some water on the rose bush and then pours the rest onto the earth.
3. Honouring the Ancestors
“It’s probably true to say that most of us don’t often stop to think about our
ancestors. Some people can trace their family name back through several generations.
But the majority of us don’t know all that much about our great grandparents, let alone our great great grandparents and on back down the family line. What kind of lives did
they lead? What kind of people were they? No doubt they each faced their own particular life-challenges. Some of them we might admire and wish to emulate, others less so. Yet without each of them, we would not be here now.
“The same is true for little Lorelei. And since this is her Naming Day, this seems an appropriate time to pause and acknowledge her ancestors and the lands across the oceans from which they originally came – Holland and Britain.
“I’d also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Lorelei’s grandparents: Trent’s mother and her partner, Trent’s father and his partner, and also Rebecca’s mother who isn’t able to be here today. Grandparents are very special people. On behalf of us all, thank you for being here for Lorelei and her parents.
“At this point I’d like to ask D to share something about Lorelei’s ancestry.”
D speaks about Lorelei’s ancestry.
When finished, Ishara prompts D to pour the water onto the earth.
6. About The Birth
Ishara introduces the midwife:-
“As well as symbolising purity, water also has very tangible healing properties. We
all know of the simple, yet effective, calming qualities of a warm bath or the
invigorating qualities of a cold shower.
“The idea of soaking in bath to ease the labour pains of childbirth sounds appealing
to many women. More recently, research has shown that resting in a tub of warm
water actually facilitates the progression of the latter stages of giving
birth. Water helps some women reach a state of consciousness in which their fear
and resistance are diminished or removed completely; then their bodies relax,
and their babies are born in the easiest way possible.
“Rebecca knew this, and it was a significant part of her decision to stay at home under
the care of an experienced independent midwife for the birth of her daughter,
an experience which will always be among the most treasured memories of her
“For today’s ceremony Rebecca and Trent have invited their midwife, to say a little something about the birth of Lorelei. A, can you please step forward?”
Midwife then talks about Lorelei’s birth…
7. Name Giving
Ishara thanks A, and then introduces the formal name giving.
“To complete our watery theme, Lorelei was born under the zodiac sign of Pisces,
the Fishes. In astrological terms, Pisces is one of the three water signs,
often characterised as deeply intuitive and imaginative, with a high level of
sensitivity and a very fluid emotional nature.
Her first given name, Lorelei, also has a watery connection, as you will
“The formal giving of a name is a tradition that goes back to Roman times. In those
days it was the role of the head of the household to bestow a name on the new
child, and he or she was not legally recognised as a legitimate member of the
family until this had occurred. These days, the name giving is often done by the parents or a celebrant such as me.
“Rebecca and Trent, you have chosen the names Lorelei Sophia for your daughter. Would you like to tell us all a little about why you chose these names?”
Trent & Rebecca talk about how they chose the names Lorelei Sophia – in their own words.
Ishara then continues:-
“Rebecca and Trent, I invite you both place a hand on your daughter as we formally
bestow these names upon her.
“Beloved daughter of Rebecca and Trent,
here in the witness of your family and loving friends,
We bestow upon you the names Lorelei Sophia.
May you flourish and grow in beauty and wisdom,
surrounded by the love of your family and friends
through all the days of your life.
(Ishara prompts Rebecca)
“Rebecca, would you now like to share the inspirational poem that you have chosen for
8. Reading – by Rebecca
If A Child Lives With. . . by Dorothy Law Nolte
9. Reaffirmation of love and support to each other as Lorelei’s parents
Raising a child is an awesome responsibility, and one which I know that Rebecca and
Trent take very seriously.
I know that many of you will have been present two years ago when Trent and Rebecca made their original commitment to love and care for each other as husband and wife.
As those of you who have children will know, bringing a new child into the world takes that relationship into a new dimension.
(to Rebecca and Trent)
Rebecca and Trent, in the past year and a half , the two of you have undergone
one of the most profound life-transitions that an adult can experience – you
have become parents. There is nothing else quite like the experience of having a brand new human being who is entirely dependant on your love and care to keep her alive and well. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that at times being a parent can be the most demanding, joy-filled, anxiety-provoking, surprising, powerful and meaningful experience of your lives.
As a parent myself, I am willing to bet that the past year has both tested and
deepened the appreciation that you have for each other. Now that you are parents, knowing that you are truly there for each other has become even more important than it was before Lorelei was born. That’s why I’m now going to invite you to renew the pledge to love and support each other that you originally made at your wedding ceremony two years ago, and to make any further commitments that you, as parents, wish to make to your daughter.
“Rebecca and Trent, do you vow to uphold the
promises you made to each other at your wedding? This promise being:
– To create a home where your children are loved, supported
– To always have fun together and as a family
– To have open and free communication on any topic
within the household
– And to be the best parents you can be?”
Rebecca and Trent: “We do”
Ishara: “On this day, what hopes and aspirations do you wish for your daughter?”
Trent: “Confidence in one’s self; Honesty; And Frugality “
Rebecca: “Independence; Courage; And an inquisitive nature”
8. Flower Ceremony
“Now we get to the part I promised you at the beginning of this ceremony. This is
where you will each get to offer a flower to the new family with your good
wishes for Lorelei and her parents. This is also a lovely opportunity for you to say farewell to the three of them before they leave for foreign parts.
“Just as a little girl needs the love of her parents, a young family needs the love and support of family and friends to truly thrive.
“Although, Rebecca, Trent and Lorelei will soon be leaving Perth to make a new home in
Tasmania, I know that they will carry your love and good wishes with them in
“In a moment I will ask the grandparents to get the ball rolling. Obviously there
are quite a few people here today, so we will all need to exercise some
patience. To make this part of the ceremony flow smoothly, I would invite you to take turns at moving into the centre a few at a time, with your flowers in hand. While you are waiting I invite you to sit and listen quietly to the music which Trent and Rebecca have chosen.
“Grandparents, are you ready to begin?”
The grandparents move forward with their flowers, followed by the rest of the guests, one family at a time.
11. Final blessing & close
When all who wish to have had a chance to present Rebecca and Trent with a flower for Lorelei, Ishara says:
“And so we approach the end of today’s ceremony.
If you will bear with me for just a few moments longer, I would like to
conclude our ceremony by presenting Rebecca, Trent and Lorelei with this
special candle, symbolising all the love which has been shared here today, and
which they will be able to take with them as they travel to Tasmania to make
their new home.
“To close, I would like to share some words from a traditional Celtic blessing:
Trent and Lorelei,
May the long-time sun shine upon you,
All love surround you,
And the clear light within you,
Guide your way on.”
Ishara sounds a bell to close the
“That concludes our ceremony. On behalf of Rebecca and Trent I would like
to thank you all for your presence and attention here today, and invite you to
stay on and share some afternoon tea together.”