Celebrants and Chaplaincy

Here you will find information on celebrancy and chaplaincy, two important services provided by the SPF.

Celebrancy is our service to help Pagans commemorate life rites, whereas chaplaincy supports Pagans who are experiencing difficult life situations, such as poor health, stressful periods in life or are in prison.

If you would like to speak to request a Celebrant or a Chaplain, please get in touch using our contact form.

Celebrant Ceremonies

When planning a ceremony to mark any major life event – marriage, naming a child or a funeral – the SPF have celebrants who can custom the ceremony to your needs.

Our celebrants are experienced in writing and conducting many kinds of ceremonies - handfasting, legal-binding marriage, funeral, and baby naming. All our celebrants are happy to write and conduct Pagan ceremonies that closely reflect the beliefs of those involved. Most are trained in one or more of the main Pagan traditions, such as Druidry, Wicca and other forms of Witchcraft, Heathenry, and Shamanism, and most are also happy to work with more general, or eclectic, Pagan thought and symbolism, and where appropriate conduct Interfaith ceremonies.

If you do not hold any specific religious beliefs, but you would still like a spiritual ceremony, we can discuss your requirements and, with your help, write a ceremony which celebrates the event in the way you feel most appropriate.

We can also discuss your requirements for other ceremonies not listed above. Although we do not, as an organisation, provide celebrants for religious initiation and training, we or one of our celebrants may be able to refer you on to someone appropriate if this is what you are looking for.

As all our celebrants are volunteers and will charge expenses to meet the associated costs of the service. Please note we cannot guarantee a Celebrant but we will try to find alternatives if we cannot support your preferred location, date or time.

If you would like to speak to our Celebrants Register Coordinator about your forthcoming ceremony, please use our contact form.

Weddings

Pagans have been able to legally marry in religious ceremonies conducted by Approved Celebrants in Scotland since 2004. The Scottish PF is the only body that can register a Pagan Celebrant.

Our Celebrants Coordinator organises the list of celebrants and is the link person between the Registrar General’s Office and Pagans seeking a Celebrant to marry them in Scotland.

Any couple – within or outside Scotland - who identify their religious belief as Paganism can be legally married by an Approved Celebrant in Scotland. There is no need to live in Scotland.

Each ceremony is unique and celebrants work with couple to produce the ceremony, however all legal marriage ceremonies must include:

  • a declaration by the parties, in the presence of each other, the celebrant and two witnesses, that they accept each other as husband and wife; and
  • a declaration by the celebrant, after the foregoing declaration, that the parties are then husband and wife.

The legal declarations must be included and spoken aloud in a language understood by those present to witness/conduct the marriage. Couples write their own vows to each other.

Legal marriage ceremonies can be conducted anywhere in Scotland as long as a registered celebrant is there to conduct it. Many Pagans choose to marry outdoors.

To ask for a Celebrant for your forthcoming handfasting or legal marriage ceremony, please contact our Celebrants Coordinator using our contact form.

Baby Naming

Pagan parents may wish to hold a baby naming ceremony to welcome an infant or baby into their lives. The ceremony is often a commitment by the parents to certain methods and ideas in raising their child and is seen as a way to introduce the child into the community. 

If the child has been born with serious problems or suffers a serious illness, there may be a desire to have the child blessed through the ceremony as soon as possible. Adults may also wish the ceremony as part of recovery from childhood trauma. 

As with handfastings and legal marriage ceremonies, the ceremony can be tailored to the traditions of the parents.

To ask for a Celebrant for your forthcoming baby naming ceremony, please contact our Celebrants Coordinator using our contact form.

Funerals

Pagan funeral services are beginning to become more popular. Some Pagans may wish to make arrangements with one of our Celebrants in advance. This might be particularly relevant for anyone with a terminal illness. 

Most funeral directors offer services for all religions and beliefs, including Pagan funerals. In most cases they will be open to helping you arrange your loved one’s funeral with any ceremonies and options you have in mind.

If your loved one wanted a natural burial, most funeral directors will be able to help you with this and find a suitable natural burial ground near to you.

The funeral director will also be able to help you find a Pagan celebrant who has experience leading Pagan funeral services, but you can also come directly and ask us.

Pagan funerals may take place outside, to acknowledge the importance of nature in Pagan belief systems. Alternatively, they may take place in a crematorium or other venue.

The service may resemble a traditional funeral, including a eulogy, poetry readings, and prayers to Deity. It also usually includes music, such as recorded music or live instruments.

To ask for a Celebrant for a funeral ceremony, please contact our Celebrants Coordinator using our contact form.

Chaplaincy

A Pagan Chaplain offers support, often in a one-to-one capacity, to individuals. This can be in the form of counselling or what is referred to as ‘pastoral’ services in hospitals, prisons and universities. It is likely this list will be added to in the future.

The word chaplain is used by a variety of religions, spiritual practices and philosophical traditions and has become a word that is not solely used by representatives of the Christian faith. Often chaplains operate as part of a multi-faith team within secular organisations. 

If you need chaplaincy in hospital, prison or at a university, please get in touch with us using the contact form.

Hospital and Healthcare Support

This service is open to anyone who is in hospital or is in need of support who is in receipt of healthcare provision. Due to the variety of Pagan traditions, practices and paths, any rituals or meditations performed will be general in nature.

We can offer visitors/befrienders as well as chaplaincy to any Pagan in hospital and will also seek to support those in hospices, care homes, in the community or in their own home where possible.

To ask for a hospital chaplain, please contact our Healthcare Chaplaincy Coordinator using our contact form.

University

Currently, the SPF only has one official university chaplain, Jean Fowler, who works with students at the University of Edinburgh.

We are looking to recruit official SPF chaplains in more universities in the coming years. If you would be interested in supporting this aim, please get in touch using our contact form.

Prison

This service is open to any Pagan in prison. A prison chaplain can provide spiritual comfort and aid. They can negotiate with prison management and advice on what prisoner can or can’t have or do as well as give advice to chaplaincy service and lawyers, if required.

To ask for a prison chaplain, please contact our Prison Chaplaincy Coordinator using our contact form.