Rites of Naming

Parents welcome their new child straightaway.  In England and Wales, legal registration of birth is required within 42 days. A Rite of Naming is one that presents the child to the wider world – friends and family, and also to the beings of spirit that share the world with us.

There’s no rush. No spiritual harm will come to a child by the timing of the ceremony. Some parents like to use the first birthday as the appropriate point for the rite.

A Naming Rite is usually something more private than a wedding or a funeral – focused on closer family and best friends. There are no legal implications or complications. You can do whatever you wish in the ceremony – we will work with you so as to include all personal requirements. Details of a ‘religious’ nature can be adapted as best suits the family.

We would usually begin with all participants joining hands (or just little fingers), if possible making a physical Circle, and asking that the we be in Sacred Space.

For a first child, we begin the site by welcoming the new mother into a Circle of Mothers, and likewise the new father into the Circle of Fathers. For subsequent children this step can be less intensive, and in its place there is the welcome for siblings into Circles of Sisters and Brothers. All this is, of course, customised to the family’s individual circumstances.

Those who are themselves Mothers welcome the new Mother and her child.

The second part of the rite is for the Celebrant to formally name the child, and then to present her / him to family and friends – not only to those attending in body, but also including the spirits of ancestors, the spirits of the land (including those of a parent’s homeland if relevant), and the greater spirits or deities.

Presenting the child to the spirits.

The third part of the rite gives a chance for all to give their own personal blessings to the child.  If appropriate, two ‘godparents’ (who might also be alternate legal guardians for the child if ever necessary), go first in this. I very much like blessings to be ’embodied’ in something physical – an easy way to do this is for each speaker to tie a coloured ribbon onto something the child will keep – preferably something natural such as a wooden rattle.

Aunts give their blessing and tie a ribbon

A blessings dance is always worthwhile!