Getting to know me

Who I Am…

I’m an earth-loving, barefoot-walking, tree-hugging human, living and loving my third decade with a son, a husband and a hamster called Jack to keep me company.

a man, woman and small child stand barefoot in the water of a lake with their backs to the camera. the child is in the middle holding the adults' hands.
© Richard Walker

A small village in the Peak District is home, but I’ve also lived in the sprawl of London and grew up in an industrial Northern town so I’m comfortable in most places. I’m a Yorkshire lass at heart; I love the tea and the beer and the scathing sarcastic humour, but I’ve a soft heart too that belongs to the open moors and the wild woodlands.

I am deeply moved by poetry and beautiful words and believe strongly in the power of speaking them aloud. I escape into novels that are fantastical and full of magic and dragons, because I want to live in a World that is a magical place. I write poems, short stories and articles on earth-based spirituality and what it is to live in this World as a vulnerable human.

I am hugely inspired by writers such as John O’Donohue, Glennie Kindred, Robert MacFarlane and Emma Restall Orr.

a woman, keli tomlin, stands amongst trees and grass, wearing a long green skirt, purple vest and long white jacket. her arms are raised to the sky and her face turned upward. she is smiling at the sun.
© Althea de Carteret

I love folk music and will always get up and dance given the opportunity. Campfires, long skirts, hay bales and skin-drums are my idea of perfect evening. I love to camp with my family and also dream of sneaking off into the woods alone, to sleep under the stars; though I’ve not yet built up the courage to do so (one day!).

I’ve visited Stonehenge, Avebury, the Nine Ladies, Arbor Low, West Kennett Barrow and Glastonbury Tor over the years, and though they are powerful, magical, inspirational places I still find the hills of my own valley the most perfect place to be to watch the sun rise and set.

 

Becoming A Celebrant…

I trained to be a Celebrant (with two wonderful teachers, Glennie Kindred and Annie Keeling) six years ago but began my journey with ceremony and ritual far earlier.

As a teenager I spent many a happy hour wandering in scraps of woodland and gazing up at the sky for solace; discovering paganism in my late teens felt like coming home. I perused many of the different traditions, starting with Wicca, moving through Asatru, Solitary Witchcraft and lingering a while in Bardic Druidry before deciding labels really weren’t my thing.

Pagan Celebrant Keli Tomlin uses a sage bundle to smudge the wedding altar while the bride and groom stand behind and watch
© Matt Thompson Photography

When I lived in London, I worked with the Pagan Federation creating and participating in seasonal celebrations and rituals for the public. With up to (and occasionally over) a hundred attendees these celebrations were theatrical, enthusiastic and fun; they taught me a lot about telling a story, holding space for a crowd and most importantly keeping a group of individuals connected through the power of symbolic action and words.

Upon leaving London and settling in the Peaks I transformed my experiences with personal and public ritual into a community gathering called ‘Walk The Wheel’; was a chance for folks to gather and celebrate the turning year, mark the seasons, and acknowledge our connection to the cycles of Nature. It was a deeply humbling and inspiring experience that ran for four years. The community that built itself around that work still exists today.

Being A Celebrant…

Now I am forging my own path of spiritual existence in a World that seems at once totally at odds with, yet also yearning to realign itself with, a deeper meaning. My current teacher, Carly Mountain, calls this the Mystery; I like to think of it as the Web of All Things.

a grassy meadow with trees at the bottom and a lot of blue sky. in the foregrounds a line of haybales cut across, ready to be sat upon by wedding guests. standing at the centre of this line, looking away with back to camera is pagan celebrant Keli Tomlin
© Matt Thompson Photography

It is that ineffable quality that connects every being on this planet. The cycles and balances that allow the World to function and thrive affect us all; only humans seem to have forgotten just how intrinsically we are woven into the cloth of Life.

I am an animist and thus believe all things to have a spirit and are sacred; by which I mean all things deserve equal respect, care and compassion. I strive to embody this in everything I do.

I am deeply inspired and upheld by the energies of the Four Elements (Earth, Air, Fire and Water). They form the root of my spiritual practise and the foundation for my continued journey for deeper connection and appreciation of the World.

puple leaves and flowers are spread on the bare earth, a small dish sits beside them with small pieces of bark, twig and petals inside. a small altar to the earth by keli tomlin
© Althea de Carteret

I’m not perfect. I mark the turning of the Wheel of the Year in my family and my community, with ritual and simple celebration; but sometimes I get angry and grumpy and just want to binge Netflix instead.

But one thing I truly believe is that ceremony and ritual are a Human Right and our innate human way of encountering, exploring and expressing the transformational, transitional and truly meaningful moments in our lives. It is in this way we make sense of our (otherwise nonsensical) journey through time and space and continually reaffirm our place in the wider Web of All Things.

As a Celebrant, it is my pleasure and my privilege, to offer space and guidance to do just that.

Emma-and-Robert-183
Words from happy clients…

Keli is such a lovely person with a kind and positive heart. Her energy and love seems to shine out of her and she instantly made us feel comfortable and at ease.

The handfasting day was so perfect and Keli made everything flow so wonderfully.

We will be eternally grateful to Keli for all the hard work, love and pure magic she put into our day.

Emma & Robert, 2019

A Bride and Groom dressed in Viking outfits look at one another smiling. their hands are bound with plaited ribbons in Handfasting. Part of an outdoor Viking Wedding Ceremony by Keli Tomlin Ceremonies. The image is in black and white.
© Matt Thompson Photography

 

If I can help create or guide you towards the ceremony or your dreams, get in touch here or via email kelitomlinceremonies@gmail.com.