Love & Ceremonials Blog
won’t you take your shoes off as you enter?
Why I offer an Acknowledgement of Country at the Start of every Ceremony.
This morning, I attended a beautiful Yoga class.
The teacher did something very special at the start of the practice. She guided us into our heart centre, and then she gave two Acknowledgements. The first was to our Asian ancestors who have developed the practice of Yoga at its heart. The second was an Acknowledgement of Country, paying her respects to the Traditional Carers of the Land on which we were about to practice together.
This speaks to my soul.
It brings me a gentle sense of peace.
It’s simply saying, ‘Thank you’, and for me, this is just good manners!
It was also particularly relevant after a conversation I had yesterday with a beautiful couple I’m due to marry, about the importance of including an Acknowledgement of Country at the start of all my Ceremonies.
On the one hand, as a Commonwealth Authorised Celebrant – I do feel there’s a duty of ‘obligation’ to pay my respects to the Traditional Carers of land, which was never ceded. On the face of it – I am representing the Attorney General’s Office and it’s a topical time in our society for bringing inclusivity into the heart of our lives, our communities and our culture as modern Australians.
But – it runs a lot deeper than that for me.
I was born in England in a society that was a rich melting-pot of different cultures from all over the World and I spent my early adult life living in a city renowned for its multicultural energy, honouring its history and the stories of the inhabitants who came to live there, from all over the World. The beliefs I held as a child haven’t changed. I believe in working towards equality, inclusivity, and togetherness. I also believe in recognising that we are all connected, as citizens of Mother Earth. In the physical sense – we are as connected to the plants and waterways as we are to each other, in our shared experiences of what it is to be Human.
So why now, as an Australian Citizen living 17000 Km away from my original English roots, do I feel it’s so important to Acknowledge Country?
Let me explain further.
When you walk into someone else’s home, chances are, you take a moment to recognise the rituals they have in place in their personal space.
For example, you wait for an invitation to enter, then perhaps, you take off your shoes.
Or you might say; ‘Thank you for having me’ as you leave.
This is how I view giving an Acknowledgement of Country at the start of all of my Ceremonies.
Ceremony has connected us all on Land for thousands of years. The sharing of special stories and Celebrating of Rites of Passage are nothing new.
There’s an Indigenous saying that; “we don’t ‘own’ the Land. The Land owns us”, and this resonates with me to the core. We don’t just live ‘on’ nature – We ARE nature. Indigenous Australians also believe that when one enters Land that another group call home, they should wait for the invitation to enter, rather than just walk on in, without regard.
As your Celebrant, I bring Authenticity, Integrity and Awareness to your Ceremony, to your guests and to the Land on which we stand and gather.
As we make history together on Country, in that special moment where you make your Vows together, we are connecting with all that has gone before that moment, and all that lies ahead. We are Celebrating in Ceremony, just as our ancestors have done for Centuries before us. And so, we honour this history by paying respects and giving Thanks.
Perhaps it makes you uncomfortable? Feel into it. Ask yourself simply; would you take off your shoes entering my house, as I would in yours?
Let’s keep the conversation unfolding and challenge each other’s boundaries.
But let’s also remember where we came from, where we are going, and have the presence of mind to be thankful for the lessons along the way.
I Acknowledge the Traditional Carers of the land, sky and waterways on which I live, work and raise my Children, on Darkinjung Country. I give my Thanks to the Elders Past, Present and Emerging who have cared for this Sacred Land, long before I called her home too.
Monday 11th April 2022 I 11.47am I Sally L. Perkins