It’s four weeks to go before we get the keys to our new house.  Sitting here at my desk in the sunshine with a coffee, it seems a long way away, but I know this four weeks will fly by.

I want to prepare by doing or buying  things now so when we move in, we will have everything we need to hand.  Greenhouse, chickens, ducks, plants, and everything else I dream of doing on the land.  However, I know we need to wait until we get there so we buy and prepare the right things for our particular outlook and conditions.  We need to know the place better, know what is already there and how it currently works.  We have only set foot on our new property twice as part of our house inspections before we bought it.  So when we read  the features of the property we bought, it lists a vegetable garden and fruit trees, but we don’t actually remember what was growing in the vegie garden, nor what type of fruit trees – in fact we don’t remember seeing fruit trees.  I think it has a chicken coop, but I don’t really remember, and if so, I don’t recall any chickens.   So, this kind of planning really needs to wait until we arrive.

What we can do now is decide on a name for our new place.  One of my friends is a celebrant and has offered to conduct a house naming ceremony!  That sounds fantastic, but what do we do at such a ceremony?  I would like it to be something that celebrates the way we intend to live.  I’d like a ritual that involves everyone, rather than just sitting and listening to words.  My thoughts go to funerals, where everyone takes a handful of earth, or the tradition of placing a rock on a grave to symbolise that a mourner had visited the grave.  There must be equivalent celebrations of life, and I wonder what they could be?

How could everyone at our house warming participate in a rituat to celebrate life, family, self sufficiency, peace and quiet? Some things I have thought of involve everyone:

  • Writing a wish or a hope on a pebble, which would then be used in the greenhouse
  • Planting a tree or a shrub in our garden (but this would mean knowing what we wanted to plant, and ideally these would be plants which survive for a long time)

I know that  Aboriginal people welcome others to their land by asking each person to take a leaf from a eucalypt tree, and that while they carry the leaf, they will be safe on their land. I like this too, but I don’t want to be culturally  insensitive with what I think is a sacred ritual, so I will leave that one aside.

This makes me wonder what else might work for us?  For some reason I keep coming back to rituals which involve nature – the earth, rocks, leaves, plants – the things that will sustain us when we arrive.  I would love to hear from you if you have some other suggestions.  In the next phase of our lives, we want to sustain others as well as ourselves. We hope our new home will be somewhere our friends and family can come to rest and get away from the hustle and bustle of their own lives.  Symbolising this in a ritual would be the perfect house naming ceremony.