Exploring a unique way to celebrate and honor home

I love my network of clients, many of whom have become friends, such as Teri and Ben Martin, who reached out recently about a service they provide for homeowners, and I just love it. Actually, I’ve attended one briefly.

I decided to give them a call to learn more about it and I’m considering adding it as one of the regular gifts I provide clients. Let me know what you think.

With a sense of ritual missing in many of our lives, and ceremonies such as weddings, funerals and other gatherings few and far between — pandemic notwithstanding — Ben and Teri offer ceremonies (or celebrations) for homes, in which they help establish meaning for families and loved ones for a home, either a welcoming to a new home, leaving a home, refreshing a home, honoring a change in a home and more.

Ben and Teri performing a home ceremony.

What I love about these ceremonies/celebrations is that they’re not necessarily religious. They remove that element from the process of ritual and ceremony, removing any barriers some have with religious ceremony. It really focuses on the meaning and spirit of a home and a focus on celebrating it as a meaningful, often sacred place for many families.

What they are

The home ceremonies fit under a term called “lifecycle celebrations” and are just one type of lifecycle celebrations that Ben and Teri do; they also do memorials, Christenings and other ceremonies. Ben heard about the service on Colorado Public Radio years ago, and the idea resonated with him, and so he decided to pursue certification.

Since becoming official Lifecycle Celebrants — which involves taking courses and getting certified by the Celebrant Foundation — and launching their company Essential Ceremonies in 2016, Ben and Teri has done approximately 15 home celebrations.

Each format of the home celebrations Ben performs differs, but, like many ceremonies we experience, they have some similar beats. Ben and Teri interview the family before the ceremony and then design each ceremony to fit their wants and needs.

Detail from one of the house ceremonies Ben and Teri performed.

The celebrations usually involve extended family and a gathering of friends and have the following flow:

  • Welcome: A welcome of some sort, which Ben kicks off, maybe saying a few words about the homeowner and their relationship with the home and purpose of the specific celebration — whether to welcome a new home, to celebrate a life event related to the home, saying goodbye to the home in preparation for a move, and more.
  • Ritual: Some sort of ritual, which can include a ringing of a bell, lighting of candles and/or wafting smoke from sage or another aromatic item, often from room to room.
  • Toast: Ben usually leads a toast, at which the homeowner and sometimes friends speak, too.
  • Celebration: After the toast, participants often share a meal and drinks while mingling and talking, like many other gatherings.

While Ben has been doing these ceremonies for over four years, he just retired in October and is putting more energy and time into leading these celebrations, which is part of why he reached out. He was letting me know that he’s more available to offer these, and, because I really like Ben and Teri, and I love the idea, I thought I’d do this blog feature on them.

An example

An example of a home ceremony they’ve performed will give more details.

A woman was moving from the Denver area from a home in which she had some unhappy times. She was also having to move back to Alabama to care for aging parents. Ben and Teri did a goodbye ceremony.

She had 25 people come for the ceremony, which involved ringing a bell and standing with a lighted candle in each room and chanting some lines she had selected. Everyone brought a blessing for her and read each of their blessings as part of the ceremony.

I love this idea and will be among the gifts I offer to clients in the future. Anyhow, I thought this was a lovely story to explore. Let me know what you think.