This morning as I work on editing issue four of The Celebrant magazine, the Sun is shining through the window spilling a puddle of delicious light across my writing desk. I’m often distracted by full-fat bumblebees in the pink and purple aquilegia just outside the window, their cute butts hanging out of the blossoms. I wonder, where has the bee has been? Where is it going, and which flowers does it prefer; and why.
The same is true of all the birds whistling nearby. Stories within stories. Worlds within worlds. Messages here, and messages there. A missive on this breeze, and lengthy correspondence on that one. What are they saying?
Life. It’s full of stories. These exchanges bond humans whether it’s confiding a deep secret with a best friend or gossiping over the garden gate; scrolling through a social-media newsfeed or flicking through a magazine or tuning into the 24-hour news channel. We’re ignited by the desire to know, to learn, to acquire facts and figures. This give and take of information is our currency.
A storyteller in ancient times was held in high esteem as the carrier of stories; the sacred one of community who protected memories like precious jewels.
Modern society has largely replaced the storyteller with television and Netflix and social-media newsfeeds. This has left us with a gaping hunger. A need for more. How can we be satiated if we’re not active in the story?
A modern-day celebrant wears many hats in his/her role: creative writer, healer, a listening ear, and a public speaker/performer. Can a storyteller encompass all those roles? Yes!
Unlike the one-dimensional medium of a screen which induces passivity, the storyteller’s role encourages the audience to participate in a meaningful way. True celebrancy is based on the ancient art of storytelling and encourages empathy and communication through the narrative sustained and symbolism that is displayed through imagery. As we listen to the stories we hear from our families and couples, we become holders ~ sacred vessels, if you like ~ for their memories, and our task is to share this in the role of biographical storyteller. These stories may be infused with humour, tragedy, philosophy, reflection, wisdom, challenges and healing. It’s a deeply intuitive role which requires the firm ability to not only step into another’s shoes, but to step out of them, too.
As any experienced celebrant will tell you, the ceremony is never about us. It is always about our client/s. Our role is one of leadership but with ego firmly left outside the door. To do this role with grace and awareness, our storytelling is done in such as way that we shine the light firmly on our family/client.
From first meeting to our final goodbye, we have carried their stories, held them close to our heart, and shared them with others. We are in a privileged role: we are celebrants.