|Oak was raised into the air during the naming ceremony|
A PAGAN couple from Harlow held an unusual birth ceremony for their 11-month-old son Oak this month.
Instead of opting for a traditional christening, Rowen Saunders and Eric Rogers gave their son a pagan blessing in front of 100 well-wishers.
"The guests and all those involved, dressed up as characters from woodland stories, so we had everything from Little Red Riding Hood, the Wolf and Grandma, my 93-year-old Nan, to the Wizard of Oz characters," said Rowen.
"Each of the elements, air, fire, water, earth, spirit and tree were represented by one of Oak's spiritual guides, the equivalent of godparents," she added.
|Eric Rogers and Rowen Saunders with Oak|
A Celebrant, Madeline, led the ceremony, which saw Oak receiving gifts and blessings from his spiritual guides and family.
"They wished him health, courage, love, happiness and all that stuff - so he should be a very lucky boy!" said Rowen. "And we gave our pledges as parents on how we will look after him."
The ceremony took place on May 5 at Ramsholt beach in Suffolk, where Oak was born.
All the guests joined in for a rousing rendition of the Teddy Bear's Picnic and readings and poems were recited.
Rowen's niece Nell released a big baby-shaped balloon to represent the release of Oak's spirit and a toy sailing boat was launched out to sea to represent the start of his journey.
For the naming Oak was raised into the air while all the guests said his name over and over to create a sound bath.
"We were worried he might cry, but he was just grinning, laughing and pointing at everyone. He loved it," said Rowen.
The ceremony ended with a toast of Oak Leaf wine and was followed by celebrations in the village hall.
"It was a new experience for some of our guests and there were definitely bits people weren't expecting!" said Rowen.
"But everyone was very touched by it and said how lovely it was."
The next day there was an oak tree planting ceremony for Oak and his family buried a time capsule containing items from the year he was born and details about his pagan blessing.
"We had a pagan wedding in 2004 at the Avebury Stone Circle and we wanted to carry it on. We don't follow anything specific, but we follow the idea of everything being connected to nature, it's just a very caring way of life," said Rowen.
"We feel like we've given Oak a really good start in life, there was a lot of love involved. He had a few problems when he was born, but now he's ready to face anything!"