The Art of Ceremony: Interview with Sue Cairnie
Sue Cairnie is a Shuswap life-cycle celebrant who helps people to create magical, one-of-a-kind experiences designed to celebrate life's milestones. We caught up with Sue and asked her all about LGBTQ2S+ celebrations, rituals and weddings--here's what she had to share!
What are your pronouns?
As a celebrant you are passionate about rituals and ceremonies, can you tell us a little bit about the power of these moments?
Gathering to celebrate big moments and hold space for hard things is a human need. Rituals and symbolic acts affect us on a deep level. They have the power to create transformation and healing in our lives, connect communities, and strengthen bonds. Ceremonies help us to connect to ourselves, each other and a sense of something greater.
Why is it important to celebrate?
Life is too short to NOT call in our loved ones to have fun and celebrate the big important things! Ceremonies take us out of linear time and into sacred space. They help us find ourselves and each other, and make sense of both the joy and the pain in our lives.
What types of ceremonies do you provide for people? Who do you work with? What services do you offer?
I work with all kinds of people across BC, and I offer personalized weddings, commitment ceremonies, adventure elopements, and celebrations of life, divorce and healing ceremonies and more! I am passionate about offering coming out and gender transition ceremonies – a chance to gather with your close friends to celebrate and acknowledge your journey and identity. Sharing your sexual + gender orientation can be a big and vulnerable moment, and having an intimate, personalized ceremony to honor and celebrate that with your loved ones can be very powerful.
I am also so excited to offer monthly pop-up elopement packages in nature with my business partner Nicole Lavroff through Elope BC.
You work with members of the LGBTQ2S+ community--were you doing this work before 2005 when same sex marriage was illegal in Canada?
I became a Celebrant and Metaphysical Minister in 2015 so was happily able to marry same-sex couples right from the beginning.
Why do you think marriage is important? Why do your clients want to be married?
It’s natural to want your relationship and commitment recognized and celebrated, and to want the same respect and legal rights/benefits that all spouses enjoy in Canada. For much of history folks have found ways to recognize and celebrate marriage – making a commitment to do life with another human is kind of a big deal and bringing loved ones together to mark this big life passage is a way to honor that!
To be honest, I think a lot of my clients aren’t super thrilled about getting married – until they realize how fun, modern and personalized it can be – how it can really share who you are in an authentic way with your loved ones.
What’s it like to be out in the Shuswap?
It feels accepting, and there are definitely queer people here… but I haven’t always felt connected to queer community, which is why seeing local events like this Pride Project are so exciting! I love meeting LBGTQ+ folks who live in our area, and am always looking to make new friends – feel free to say hi on Insta!
Do you have a ritual you would suggest that someone could do from home to connect more deeply with themselves?
This year I am loving the grief stone ritual: if you are feeling overwhelmed/sad, go for a walk and find a stone. Carry it with you for a few hours, days or more and put all your feelings of pain and grief into the stone. When you are ready, go find a deep body of water and throw in your stone, trusting that the earth can hold your hard feelings. You can also find a hope stone to carry with you and bring you hope for the future.
How can people work with or contact you?
Instagram @suecairnieceremonies @elope_bc
And soon through the Salmon Arm Pride Project! Stay tuned as we prepare to announce our next BIG IDEA!
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