Een prachtig verhaal over een ceremonie die ik heb geco-creëerd en gefaciliteerd met Linda Corstjens en Willem Stortelder, geschreven door Linda Corstjens (in het Engels)
A Creative Baby Ceremony for Zorro
2 September 2012 was the most beautiful day i experienced in my life so far. It was a moment in time where we celebrated the birth of our son Zorro in a very meaningful and intimate way and welcomed him in our most intimate circle of people. The people we feel closest to and hope to share many important moments with in our future life as a family.
Both raised as Roman Catholics – with one family practicing a bit more than the other – my husband and i were not feeling at home anymore in most sermons and ceremonies we attended in our home environment. So it didn’t take long before we decided not to baptise our son in this specific church institution. However, this decision did not mean we did not want to baptise him at all! We did want a meaningful moment in time, especially created for Zorro, surrounded by his loved ones. A moment in which we, as his parents, officially set our intentions to love and be there for him and to support him on his own path in this life, to celebrate the wonderful fact that he came into our lives, and to put the power of the intention of our closest community together to set Zorro off on this path of his life, a life in which he will be surrounded by many loving people.
And so we decided to design our own Ceremony!
When we started discussing this idea, we immediately came up with a few names of close friends who could help us with this special and intimate project and we considered ourselves very lucky and fortunate having these wonderful people in our lives. Stien Michiels and Willem Stortelder turned out to be the most wonderful Ceremony Hosts, guiding us through this special moment.
We chose to hold the ceremony in one of the beautiful parks surrounding our city. A park with age old trees, that always give me a sense of connectedness with something greater. It felt most natural to create a circle with all the participants present, and so we did. The three of us taking our place in the east – the direction of new beginnings, symbolising the life of Zorro as the wonderful new beginning we were putting our attention on in this specific hour.
We sat down on the many different sheets and scarves we took home from our travels to Asia, forming a surprisingly beautiful decor together with fresh white rose petals carefully spread around the circle by four girls who were being part of the ceremony as well. As we were new to this spot and it was most likely used by other people on various occasions before us, we decided to ‘clean’ the space by using an old native american custom. Our close friend Karen burned a smudge stick, a bundle of fine smelling wild sage, around our ceremonial space. She used the smoke to clear out old energies and making the space clean for our ceremony. It was an intense moment and this part already felt to me as stepping into another dimension.
The ceremony was officially opened by Willem, using the sound of an old gong we brought back home from a trip to the old temples of Bagan in Birma, followed by one of his amazingly funny and awakening stories.
Intention was the most important aspect of the ceremony i decided. If the intention was good, the rest would follow. However, this being the first time we created a ceremony like this in an intimate private set up, we decided to prepare some of the ingredients upfront, so we wouldn’t get lost in the moment. And of course one of these very important ingredients was music. No ceremony without music! Stien found the most wonderful match in Olivier Piette, who gave our ceremony even more depth, being there in full attention with his amazing soft voice and guitar.
I designed most of the of the ceremony myself, using ingredients from different kinds of ceremonies we liked and felt connected to. During the whole process of designing, Stien and Willem were there to listen to me while my ideas took shape and to ask me the right questions exactly when i needed it.
During the first part of the ceremony, all participants were invited to come into the centre of the circle, one by one, and share with Zorro what they wanted to offer him during his life – with offerings ranging from lessons in math by the youngest boy present to the perfectly suiting poem about children written by Kahlil Gibran, and a song, especially sung for him. We were all deeply touched. All participants wrote down what they wished for Zorro as well and we collected the small letters for him in a beautiful little suitcase, which we will give to him on the moment he’ll start on his journey to adolescence, when he will probably be around 14 years old. While expressing their wishes and intentions to Zorro, each person held the amulet that we carefully selected for this occasion. When the circle was round and everyone had the opportunity to express him or herself, the amulet found a resting place in the little suitcase as well.
The four elements
We chose the four elements; earth, water, fire and air to baptise Zorro as his parents within his community. The elements we collected where placed on a small altar we made from a simple box, covered by a beautiful Tibetan scarf. Also some small flowers my mother brought with her found a place here.
Earth – this was the first element we focussed on, representing Zorro’s roots. We collected the earth we were using in this ceremony from the birth ground of Zorro’s grandmothers, our mothers, from the soil surrounding the houses where they were born (even the collecting of this earth was a ceremony in itself, inviting our parents to tell stories of their childhoods we never heard before!).
We took Zorro’s bare little feet and put his soft soles in the ground of his grandparents, sharing our hopes for him to always feel connected to his roots, feeling stable and grounded. That Zorro would grow into a responsible, caring and emphatic person, grateful for the things given to him in his life, living his life in harmony with himself and his surroundings. The element earth also represented for us the wish that Zorro will have the ability to recognise his talents and will be able to implement these in the outside world.
The next element was Water, brought to us by all the participants who took some water from their homes. At their arrival Willem, Ramon and Zorro were awaiting and welcoming everyone and the water was collected and slowly poured into a beautiful copper vessel that has been in my husbands family for years.
We baptised our son by pouring some of the water of our close family and friends over his head three times, wishing Zorro a life in purity, clarity and flexibility. A life in confidence, in which he will be able to be in flow with the currents of his life.
The element Fire was invited to the ceremony and into Zorro’s life by lighting an off white all weather candle, like the ones you can find in garden centres. While doing this, we wished Zorro a life full of warmth and passion, a life in which he will find lots of enthusiasm, playfulness and joy. And also a life in which he will have the power to create and the strength of perseverance
The final element we invited into the ceremony was Air. We put quite some thought into how we could best symbolise this element into something visible and at the same time something that would involve all participants in the last movement of the ceremony.
And we decided to use bubble blowers! The bubbles are obviously made out of soap, but it wouldn’t be a bubble unless there was air to fill it, right? Bubble blowers have been the subject of many symbolic uses over the ages and we decided that is is a very joyful symbol for us, symbolising life itself – being filled with breath. As we didn’t like the way the bubble blowers you find in most shops today are decorated, we redid this ourselves by using pictures from a beautiful book we found in a second hand book store. The book was made by a Swiss photographer and full of the most amazing pictures from skies above the mountains. It was a wonderful activity for me, cutting my way through this picture book – getting closer to the ceremony, one bubble blower at the time..
While we inhaled with full attention, together with all adults and children present, and exhaled while creating the most joyful bubble sky around us, we wished Zorro a life in wisdom and inspiration, a life in which he will be able to sense his place between the spirits in the sky and the solid earth. A life in which he will find creativity and intelligence and the power to reach for the sky! A life in which he will be aware of its preciousness by every breath that he takes..
We could all sense something amazing took place on this specific hour in this beautiful park, being full in the moment and aware of our times past and our time ahead as well. Zorro’s little suitcase was officially closed and presented to him by Willem. Olivier sang one last song for us and Stien officially ended the ceremony and invited everyone to join together for a group picture.