Namings

Children are seedlings in the garden of life…
to be loved, appreciated
and held in awe of their potential,
to be unique, beautiful and like no other.

Extract from ‘The Garden of Life’ by Maggie Dent

The arrival of a new life is a wonderful reason for celebration and ceremony. When a child is born it weaves the connections of love, friendship and family all the more tightly together and creates (as every parent knows!) an incredibly powerful shift in their way of living. By marking this moment with ceremony we create an opportunity to acknowledge this important change and invite others to share in it with us.

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Namings are often focused around two things: the bestowing of the Name and the welcoming of the Child into their family and community. Unlike its reigious equivalents (Christenings etc) a Naming does not focus on the introduction to a specific religious practise; however if you do have a set of beliefs or a specific lifestyle that you hope to raise your Child within there is no reason why elements of it can not be included.

The structure of a Naming is often somewhat more relaxed than other ceremonies, however this does not make the content any less vital or special. Some elements you might like to include are:

* Tell the story of their Name and how it came to be chosen
*Speak about your ancestors and the family tree on which they are a new branch
*Readings, poems or songs that reflect your thoughts on Childhood, Parenting or Life
*Name Elders/godparents/oddparents etc. for the Child
*Make your own promises to the Child as their Parent
*Make promises to yourself that will give you strength and inspiration on the rollercoaster journey ahead
*Give thanks for their safe arrival
*Light a candle for the Child
*Plant a tree for the Child
*Offer blessings from the Four Elements or another sacred power
*Ask invited guests to make/offer wishes of health and happiness (perhaps using confetti, bubbles or a wishing well)

This ceremony will be crafted to suit your needs; imagination is key! Whatever you choose to be part of your Naming ceremony, it will – at its heart – reflect the hopes and dreams you hold for your little one and celebrate their safe arrival into this World.

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Namings for Older Children / Adults

Although most Namings take place for children under a year old, there is no reason why a Naming should not be held for a Child of any age or even an Adult who is taking a new name.

When an older Child undertakes a Naming it can be a wonderful gift to their developing sense of belonging to both their family and the World at large. They might be able to take a more active part in the ceremony itself, might choose to make their own wishes for the future and might also understand the words you are offering them – all of which create a sense of autonomy and independence that many parents hope to instill in their children today. Taking a day to celebrate your Child for who they are and who they will become is a special way to inspire confidence and security in their heart and to reinforce the love you feel for them each day.

For an Adult, a Naming can offer the chance to start again, to breathe new life into a pattern that may be feeling stale or uncomfortable. Whatever the reasons for choosing to take a new name (or re-taking the same name), they will be honoured within the ceremony itself, alongside actions that allow you to let go of that old name and step confidently into the new. A Naming (or Re-Naming) is an excellent way to acknowledge and empower yourself; by taking ownership of the word that represents you to the rest of the World.

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Photos by Richard Walker
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