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Reclaim Ceremony in Your Life

Have you ever attended a cookie-cutter wedding or funeral that felt hollow and rote? Or perhaps you’ve wanted to mark the birth of your children, but a religious rite like baptism isn’t a good fit for your


And then, there are the milestones that often aren’t marked through ceremony or ritual at all: purchasing a first home, becoming a parent, coming out of the closet, going through a major illness, changing careers, getting divorced and retiring. The list goes on…

In these times, you may know deep in your bones that the transition needs to be acknowledged and honoured in a meaningful way. But if you aren’t affiliated with a faith tradition (or you are, but don’t feel the traditional rituals will satisfy this need), you may have no idea where to begin.

Let’s face it – in our fast-paced, diverse and more secular society, we are sorely lacking in shared rituals and traditions to help us navigate the ups, downs and in-betweens of our lives. But that doesn’t mean we have to resign ourselves to shallow, lackluster ceremonies or – worse yet – do away with them altogether.

Why is ceremony important?

In today’s increasingly fractured society, where rates of isolation are skyrocketing, ceremony is needed more than ever to help us integrate change in our lives and connect us with our communities.

When done well, ceremony helps us move through life transitions in an intentional, meaningful way. It comforts us in difficult times, celebrates and uplifts us in joyful times, provides sustenance in times of uncertainty, and connects, inspires and fortifies us for what comes next.

What are the building blocks of good ceremony?

Let’s start with the basics. In addition to being a roadside stone marker indicating the distance from a given point, a milestone is defined as a significant event in life – a turning point. It can be helpful to think of ceremony and ritual as those times when we pause to place a stone marker

on the side of the road at a significant turning point (a milestone). When we do so with intention, we do three main things:

  1. We reflect on and honour our journey to that point. Who and what has shaped us along the way? Where did we stumble and how did we get back up again? What did we learn from our challenges and triumphs?

  2. We take stock of where we are. How am I feeling about this change? What do I need to let go of in order to make room for what is to come? What inner strengths and resources do I have for the road ahead? Who is there to witness or companion me along the way? What do I need from them? What intentions will I make to serve as a roadmap?

  3. We take our first steps on our new path. Having taken stock of our past and our present, we’re now better equipped to step confidently into our future. There is a palpable shift – a transformation – that is felt by you and your gathered community. You’ve shed your previous identity and embodied something new.

Reclaim ceremony and deepen your sense of belonging

Ceremony helps to give us a sense of direction on our journey. It connects us with something bigger than ourselves – our community, the human family through time and space and, for some, the divine.

Since time immemorial, communities have gathered to mark milestones through ceremony. Although much of this inner knowing has been forgotten, I’m here to remind you that ceremony belongs to each of us – we are ritual beings.

If you would like to add depth and dimension to your life, to make meaning and deepen your sense of belonging, I recommend that you reclaim your ceremonial birthright.

To begin this journey, start with your story. Honour and integrate your past, ground yourself in your present, and set intentions for the path ahead.


Karla Combres

Celebrant & Ceremony Guide

p.s. For more ceremony inspiration, follow me on socials: @karlacombrescelebrant.


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