Monday, July 29, 2013

Ordained in Gold

In order to be able to perform wedding ceremonies as a celebrant, I needed to get ordained, and so I did this through Universal Life Church, as I mentioned here.  Anyone (in the U.S., at least) can be ordained in this way simply by going to their website, filling out a form, and paying a small fee. 

I went through this process on February 13, 2013, because I had just been asked to do my first wedding.  A week or so later, I got a certificate in the mail saying I was now an ordained minister.  It felt weird; it gave me an odd sense of power that immediately was followed by a great sense of responsibility.  But because there had been no ceremony involved, getting the certificate also felt quite anticlimactic and incomplete.

Around this time, an amazing photographer and good friend, Heather Sparrow, and I had been planning a photo shoot for me around the theme of gold.  We had talked about this being ceremonial in several ways, but now we decided to turn it into a full-blown ordination ceremony, which she would both photograph and officiate.

So I wrote my own ordination ceremony.  I adapted vows used in more traditional ordination of Christian ministers and added poetry that I drew from various sources.  Heather and her assistant Jackie Kolbenschlag created a labyrinth on Heather’s land, and then on the morning of March 27th, as the full moon set and the sun rose, we held our ceremony in the labyrinth.  I was wearing an incredible outfit created for me over several months by the phenomenal Brooke Barlow, who took my rather vague ideas about wearing gold and juxtaposing the ultra-feminine with stuff like metal and leather, and executed a costume that felt like, well…it was made for me.  It perfectly but also far exceeded what I had imagined.  Brooke and Jackie also painted all my exposed flesh gold.

A shot taken in Heather's studio following the ceremony

Over the past months since this event, I have written a much longer piece about it because it was a truly transformative experience - not just the event itself, but many things that happened during the planning in the months leading up to it.  This piece will be published on another website with more photos in the near future, but here on this personal blog, which has been such a valuable and often life-changing medium and community for me, I wanted to share a bit about it first. 

This blog has not only traced a journey of creative and spiritual awakening in my life, but also helped facilitate it, and for that I am so very grateful.  My ordination ceremony and photo shoot in many ways was a summit on my journey, kintsugi and tikkun olam, the crossing of a major threshold in my personal life.  I am now ordained.  Creating the ceremony for this made me consider deeply what that means.  What am I now ordained to be and do?  I don’t want to be casual or glib about that.  

The way I see it is this:  My role is now to assist people in crossing major (and also less major) thresholds.  Creating and participating in my own ordination ceremony profoundly showed me how powerful a ceremony really can be when approached with humility, creativity, and openness.  A ceremony done this way is not merely a symbol of crossing a threshold but is (at least part of) the actual crossing itself.  And I am honored and inspired to now be ordained to companion people through such ceremonies.

If you want to read more about what I offer as a celebrant, click here:  Enchanted Circle Ceremonies.


  1. Beautiful. I've been thinking a lot about the hero's journey, and this post fits perfectly with that idea. I can't wait to see how this all unfolds for you.

    1. Ah yes, the hero's journey, one of my favorite topics - which we will have to discuss in the very near future over Taos Inn nachos :)

    2. Congratulations on your ordination! That is truly a stunning costume. I'm happy to hear that you are reaping the benefits of a profound spiritual awakening...I think I know a little of what that's like. Keep us all posted, friend!

    3. Thank you, Postie! Sorry I didn't reply earlier; your comment kinda slipped under the radar somehow.



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