Elijah's Naming Ceremony


Elijah's Naming Ceremony was just wonderful.  Neither Ewan nor I are religious so a christening was never going to be an option for us, but we wanted to do something to celebrate Elijah's arrival into the world, and to acknowledge his name and plant a tree, with my placenta, in his honour.  So a Pagan Naming Ceremony seemed like an ideal opportunity to do this, at home, in the garden and with our family and friends.

What a day!!  We had experienced seemingly endless sunny days only to find that the weather was due to be rather rubbish the morning of the Ceremony.  In fact there was not only torrential rain but also hail and thunder, which is quite some weather to experience in the middle of summer when you are about to be named!  We were obsessed with the weather that morning, we even sourced satellite images in the vain hope that the rain would pass.

Which it did, fortunately, about 10 minutes before our first guests arrived!!  We had about 60 guests in total and we live in a small cottage, so it could have been a little interesting if the rain had continued!  Still, luck was on our side and the afternoon was glorious, bright sunshine so that we forgot all about the earlier rain!

My Dad led the Naming Ceremony, which found three of the four spiritual parents reading poems, while the fourth one helped Ewan to plant the tree - a Sorbus, chosen because it produces lovely white berries in the late Autumn (Elijah is a late Autumn baby) and flowers in May - me explaining the reason we chose the name Elijah and Ewan leading the actual ceremony itself, which went a little like this...

Ewan says:
We gather today to bless a child,
A new life that has become part of our world.
We gather today to name this child.
To call a thing by name is to give it power,
and so today we shall give this child a gift.
We will welcome him into our hearts and lives
and bless him with a name of his own.

The parents turn to the guests, and say:

To be a parent is to love and nurture,
to lead a child to be a good person.
It is to guide them along the right path
and to both teach them and learn from them.
It is to rein them in, and to give them wings.
It is to smile at their joy, and weep at their pain.
It is to walk beside them, and then one day allow them to walk alone.
To be a parent is a great gift we have given ourselves.
and the greatest responsibility we shall ever have.

Ewan then turns to the appointed spiritual parents, and asks:

You stand beside us, for the love of this child.

Do you know what it is to be a child's spiritual parents?

The spiritual parents should answer:

It is to love and nurture,

to show guidance and counsel.
It is to help the child make choices
should he need assistance.
It is to be a second mother and father
and to be there when called upon.

Ewan says, while Emma anoints oil on Elijah’s forehead

May the gods keep this child pure and perfect,
and let anything that is negative stay far beyond his world.

May you always have good fortune,
may you always have good health,
may you always be joyful,
and may you always have love in your heart.

You are known to the gods and to us as Elijah Iain McInnes
This is your name, and it is powerful.
Bear your name with honor, and may the gods bless you on this and every day.

I honor you, Elijah Iain McInnes

The spiritual parents should then say:

Welcome, Elijah Iain McInnes to our family and to our hearts.
Your parents love you, and we thank them
for giving you the gift of life.
We ask the Gods to watch over you, Elijah Iain McInnes
and over your mother and father,
and we wish your family love and light.

Finally, the parents may hold the baby up to the sky (hold on tight!) so that the Gods can get a good look at the new child.

Really it was so lovely, especially the blessing that my Mum read right at the end of the ceremony:

"May the strength of the wind and the light of the sun, The softness of the rain and the mystery of the moon Reach you and fill you. May beauty delight you and happiness uplift you, May wonder fulfil you and love surround you. May your step be steady and your arm be strong, May your heart be peaceful and your word be true. May you seek to learn, may you learn to live, May you live to love, and may you love always."

We asked everyone to think of what they wish for Elijah and to write it on a label to hang on his tree, he now has a collection of lots of inspiring words from our friends and families - my Mum takes credit for that idea!

As for the name, well we had a feeling from the very beginning of the pregnancy that we were having a boy and I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to call my son Elijah.  It seemed appropriate somehow.   I didn’t have to persuade Ewan as such, he did look at other names but agreed that Elijah was the one, especially as we also agreed to follow it with Iain, in honour of Ewan’s Dad who is sadly no longer with us.

As for the name Elijah, well there is a reason for the name resonating with us other than simply the fact we like names beginning with E!  You see Elijah was a Prophet from the Book of Kings in the Old Testament who we understand performed miracles and was a miracle himself.  And while we appreciate that all babies are miracles, we felt that Elijah really was a miracle because for one reason or another we had to have IVF and Elijah was conceived on our first attempt.  This was even more of a miracle because at the same time we were going through the process in the UK, Ewan put his back out and on the night following implantation I spent a long evening with Ewan in Southampton A&E as he was checked out for the second time on the trip – not quite the chilling out in the hotel room that the clinic had suggested!
Furthermore as it turned out I ended up with full grade placenta previa, which means that the placenta blocked Elijah’s entrance into the world and if he had been born naturally and before the time of scanning, me, Elijah or both of us would have died.
So you see really he made it against the odds. There is a 20% success rate for women of my age using IVF becoming pregnant on the first try, and there is a 1 in 1,000 chance of grade 4 placenta previa (which is the most severe) but he stuck in there until my planned c-section date despite all those crazy Yoga positions (or perhaps because of all those crazy Yoga positions!)!

The name itself means The Lord is my God, and Elijah is our little  Buddha that is for sure, he likes his food and is a shining light in our lives and we are delighted to welcome him into this world, our little pickle, Elijah Iain McInnes.
And then the party!  My Mum and brother put together a wonderful salad buffet, which everyone enjoyed in the sunshine with champagne and laughter helping to create happy memories.

I was blown away by all the support - it is no easy feat entertaining about 60 people in your home when you have an 8 month old, now that was  a shock, and I am quite sure we could not have done it without all the help - especially from my parents and my brother and Star.  I was blown away by all our visitors too, spiritual mamma, Hannah, came all the way from New York and two of the spiritual men came from the UK and my brother all the way from Oz, my cousin from UK and Ewan's aunt from Switzerland, with my cousin Nick taking professional photos, what a lucky boy Elijah is, all that love surrounding him on his special day.

Elijah Iain McInnes, I love you, my miracle baby xx

With so much gratitude to everyone for such a magical day, many happy memories were made.


Ross DespresComment