Celebrating Life Events with Wholehearted Ceremony

Written on 07/03/2021
Rowan Brunet

“A new life together, a new home, a transition. The story of this soul is told.”

The joy that Cath Hamilton feels when celebrating a person’s journey through genuine, thoughtful ceremony is delightfully uplifting. She is passionate about honouring and empowering people.

Cath Hamilton is a Vancouver Island-based celebrant. She co-creates and performs unique ceremonies for life events that reflect the values and intentions of the people involved. She designs ceremonies for the kind of events we are all accustomed to, like weddings, funerals, and births, and also for significant life changes like embracing authenticity through a name change or a transition.

She is a breath of fresh air as she describes the celebration of a trans journey and the evolution of that soul’s truth.

Unlike the institutional-style approach, where a wedding, for example, follows a pre-arranged script and might have rules about who is included and how, especially in the LGBT2Q+ community, Cath sits down with whoever is wanting to affirm a truth and honour an event, and they create it together with the beauty and love it merits.

She says, “the ceremony is going to look like what the person or people want. Some weddings, for example, are going to be very formal, some are going to be casual or personal, some are going to be fun and playful.”

Cath’s practice includes everyone. She is deeply familiar with the LGBT2Q+ community with close family and friends. She designs rituals with two brides, two grooms, non-binary individuals, couples and their families, and youth and adults. She quite literally wraps you up in love as she talks about the beauty of acknowledging and honouring the ways we walk our life path and how our life evolves.

In the case of embracing a new name, Cath says it can acknowledge “that this name was born long ago in the person. It has come to life in various ways and then the coming of being able to share it, what it means, its story, that this is the name of who they are now, and then it is celebrated. It’s honoured. It’s recognized and witnessed. And everyone present supports that person.”

This gave me the warm fuzzies about my own name change journey, as I talked with Cath recently. The process of all the paperwork and logistical requirements (um, headaches?) of officially changing a name can take over. But what about the story of it? What about the beating heart that’s saying this is true for me, and it’s time now? Cath has that covered.

On our life journey, we each learn, grow, change, and develop. According to Cath, we can “acknowledge that there was life before an event, a moving through that event, and a life after that event.”

“In the making of a decision, you walk through a door, a threshold. This is how life was. This is what I’m deciding. I am walking through this door, and I am now living on the other side of the door. There’s so much living that goes into walking through that door, and it is the celebration of that.”

Recent studies show that people are moving away from religious institutions in search of an experience that feels more authentic to them. Cath adds that “people do not want sombre celebrations of life. They also want their story to be told in the celebration.”

Marking important events with ceremony is as old as time. It deepens human connection. “We are tracking the journey, and everyone who knows this person and has been walking with them. Everyone gets to hear the story. It is a communal acknowledgement that life is happening.”

Cath is a certified ceremony officiant with the Celebrant Institute and Foundation. She also has over 30 years of experience as a teacher and counsellor, and she brings all of that education and wisdom to her work as a ceremony officiant.

She explains her process, “I sit down and talk with people about the change that is happening and make a plan for a ceremony. A person says I want that rite of passage that says I have done this. I have walked this road, and here I am. I offer guidance about creating a ceremony that really empowers individuals to honour and celebrate what changes are happening.”

Cath is gifted at surrounding us with love, witnessing and offering her unique insight, extensive knowledge, and enchanting sparkle.

She is currently accepting bookings for August, so if you have a ceremony in mind, contact her at CelebrantCath.com.

Rowan Brunet (she/they), who identifies as genderqueer, is a writer based on Vancouver Island. Rowan writes a blog called All Kinds of Mischief.

(Image Credit: Cath Hamilton)