Humans have a gift for putting their intentions and actions together in a way that creates deeper meaning. Ceremonies have always been with us. They express our intentions, commitments, and mark our transitions from one phase of life to the next. While we are open to creating ceremonies for many different occasions, there are some basic ceremonies that we feel are important to offer to our community.
Photo: Katarsis Foto
Marriage is an age-old ceremony of joining with myriad traditions in cultures around the world, but our focus is on celebrating the love and commitment of the people who are joining themselves via this bond. It is probably not a surprise to learn that we feel that a Hook Marriage Ceremony is a perfect ritual for a wedding because it comprises several unavoidable aspects of marriage. The participants endure pain for each other, see and feel each other’s vulnerability, find strength in each other, support each other, and experience a substantial and memorable challenge together.
This ceremony can be performed privately or with a large group of people expressing their love and support for the participants. Participants can choose to hang from hooks together, with one person hanging from the other, hanging freely, or to be standing on the ground connected to each other by hooks in a flesh pull configuration, with a combination of pulling and suspension, etc. We can suggest many possible ways in which a marriage ceremony can be performed, but the important thing for us is that it feels right to the people participating. If there is a particular marriage tradition that speaks to the participants, (e.g., breaking a glass, pinning—or stapling—money to the participants, etc.) we are more than happy to try to find a way to incorporate it into the ceremony!
Photo: Katarsis Foto
One reason that we are so excited to have the right to marry people is that we already have members who want to get married here at Smertekirken! Monster and Ekaitz (aka Gordo) have been patiently waiting to see their humans, Iris and Iban, take their marriage hooks for a while now and would like to remind you that they are not getting any younger. Iris and Iban are two wonderful humans who have waited for a couple of years already for us to be able to marry them. While we can perform this ceremony now, it is not a legally binding ceremony. Our goal is to be able to perform marriage ceremonies that have the same legal recognition as other religions.
Here in Norway, confirmation is one of the big moments in a person’s journey to becoming an adult. We will develop a syllabus, course structure, and ceremony for confirmations and look forward to the day that people wish to perform their confirmation ceremony with us! The minimum age for the confirmation ceremony is 14. This means that people can begin preparing for the ceremony before their fourteenth birthday, but they must wait until they have turned 14 for the ritual itself. Even then, if they are under the age of 18, we request parental consent. There is no upper age limit for Smertekirken confirmation. People interested in confirmation should contact us before Samhain to join the confirmation ceremony for the following spring.
We feel that baptism is more for the parents and family than it is for the child. That said, we will baptize your child! If you would like to gather with family and friends to celebrate the arrival of a child (or the giving of a name to a child, as is often the case in Norway), we are more than happy to perform the ceremony. This ritual can involve one or many adults and can be specifically designed to accommodate the wishes of the parent(s).
NB: we do not perform pain rituals on non-consenting parties (e.g., babies, children, etc.).
We do not currently have a graveyard, but we are researching how to make this happen for our community. Much like baptism, burial ceremonies are performed for the people who love the person being honored. Because we do not have a place to bury people, this is a ceremony that we cannot do here at Smertekirken at this time. We are, however, thinking about ways that we can facilitate these ceremonies in the future (whether as a gathering here at Smertekirken or a place chosen by the bereaved). We are also keenly following technical advances and changing regulations around burial here in Norway. As techniques and rules change, we hope to have a memorial grove/burial ground of our own one day. We are not in a rush, but we will get there sooner or later.
Maybe also another wedding..?
Photo: Line Møller for VG