How to bring secular rituals into life and death experiences
By Megan Sheldon
I am the Co-Founder and CEO of Be Ceremonial, the world’s first ‘create your own ceremony’ app. I am also a Celebrant, Grief Doula, and End of Life Storyteller. In short, I help people process and express their emotions through ritual.
I found my way into this work during a time of prolonged grief. I had three recurrent miscarriages while my Father-in-Law was dying from ALS. There were so many moments during those three years that I didn’t know how to honour or acknowledge, and so I started to research ways to move through grief with intention and awareness.
I discovered secular rituals and knew that this was one way that I could honour the feelings I was carrying. I’m not religious or overtly spiritual, so I never thought I had access to rituals and ceremonies beyond the templates that were presented to me. Yet, I knew I wanted something different. I wanted ceremonies that told my story, and the stories of the people I was honouring. I started to get creative and invent rituals to help me come to terms with my experiences, and then people started to reach out for help creating their own versions.
Since then, I’ve led hundreds of ceremonies and connected with thousands of people around the world, helping them invite rituals back into their lives. A ritual is an intentional action taken with the hope of creating meaning. A ceremony is a series of rituals, strung together in a way that tells a story. Each ceremony I’ve helped curate is unique, a reflection of the person being honoured or the milestone being acknowledged.
My husband and I wanted to share all of the tools, techniques, and stories we heard as part of this work so we created Be Ceremonial for anyone wanting more ceremony in their lives. With our app, people can create their own ceremony, taking a more DIY approach. Our mission is to make ritual and ceremony more accessible to anyone who is seeking support during times of change.
For me, a ceremony is an acknowledgement of the past, the present, and the future. It’s a time to share stories, hold space for our emotions, and be intentional with how we move through the experience. The best ceremonies engage our senses, give people the opportunity to reflect and share, and remind us of the power of community.
If you’re interested in learning more about ritual and ceremony you can visit our websites or reach out to me personally at [email protected]