- Topics & Settings
- Browse Sites
There are four main ECK ‘celebrations of life,’ as they are called, all of which are conducted by members of ECK clergy. These include:
1) The ECK Consecration Ceremony: For infants and very young children, this ceremony celebrates new life and the beginning of a new phase in Soul’s journey home to God.
2) The ECK Rite of Passage: This ceremony is for youth on the threshold of becoming adults, which is usually at about age thirteen.
3) The ECK Wedding Ceremony: A celebration of the marriage bond and the commitment of the couple to bringing a deep spiritual awareness to their life together.
4) The ECK Memorial Service: This service honors the journey of Soul and celebrates a loved one’s life and passage to a new life in the spiritual worlds” 1
While many of the ceremonies are conducted at the Temple of ECK or at other Eckankar centers, they may also be performed “indoors or outdoors in a peaceful setting” 2 or, for the Memorial Service, “at any suitable nondenominational location.”3 For those ceremonies that take place at the ECK Temple, many take place in the several rooms on the outer ring of the Temple. These smaller gathering spaces feature windows looking out on the Meditation Trails and Temple land, altar-like tables with a framed picture of Harold Klemp and dried flowers sitting on top of a white, pleated tablecloth. Usually two chairs are set just in front of the table, facing each other. Additionally, ceremonies, particularly weddings, are held in the small and intimate Chapel or in the outdoor Chapel adjacent to the main Temple.
Eckankar, About Eckankar (Chanhassen, MN: Eckankar, 2003), 4. ↩
The ECK Rite of Passage, Eckankar (Chanhassen, MN: Eckankar, 1995). ↩
The ECK Memorial Service, Eckankar (Chanhassen, MN: Eckankar, 1993). ↩
The ECK Consecration Ceremony celebrates the birth of a child and that child’s passage onto the spiritual path of Soul returning to God. The Ceremony is also meant to honor the child’s parents or guardians for their commitment to the path of Eckankar. The Consecration booklet (pictured above), states, “Consecration means to make or declare sacred. It is dedicating yourself and all you do, say, think, and feel to God.”
The Ceremony involves the symbolic touching of the child’s Spiritual Eye (at the center of the forehead), a HU song, the blessing of the child with water and a fresh flower and a Declaration: “There, my [child's name], is love. The love that makes all things beautiful. Yes, and breathes divinity into the very dust you tread. With love shall life roll on gloriously throughout eternity, like the voice of great music that has power to hold the hearer’s heart poised on eagle’s wings far about the earthly world.4 Usually, the Consecration Ceremony is performed individually for each child, although siblings may have a joint ceremony.
Consecration means to make or declare sacred. It is dedicating yourself and all you do, say, think, and feel to God.
Rite of Passage:
Tour guide John mentioned that Eckankar, as a new religion, now has “a generation of children who have grown up in ECKist families but aren’t members yet because they haven’t yet made the choice.” That choice comes to the forefront in the Rite of Passage Ceremony, whereby youth decide the future of their path in Eckankar.
Like the Consecration Ceremony, the Rite of Passage features the blessing of the Spiritual Eye, a HU song, a Reading, a Blessing, and a Declaration to be said by the child. The Declaration states, “I am a child of God. I declare myself a pure and open vehicle for the Light and Sound of ECK. As I journey toward spiritual mastership, a Co-worker with the Mahanta, I accept, and I am grateful for the guidance, love, and protection of the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master.”5
I am a child of God. I declare myself a pure and open vehicle for the Light and Sound of ECK. —Declaration said during right of passage
While Rite of Passage ceremonies are performed until a child is twenty-two years old, older people wishing to join the Eckankar community participate in another rite called an “initiation.” While the details of what exactly occurs in an initiation remain unclear, the ceremony demarcates “individual spiritual progress.” The main point of the initiation process is, as Kathleen explained, “after you’ve studied Eckankar for the first two years you are given a choice whether or not you want to make a commitment to the path.” Once again, choice is championed as a core tenant and necessity in Eckankar’s foundations and growth.
The ECK Wedding is the longest of all the significant celebrations. It is meant to be either a legal wedding itself, or to be preceded by a legal wedding. After the Blessing and a HU song, the officiator offers a reading about the qualities of God’s love, the love we have for one another, and the importance of remembering love each day. The Vows follow an Affirmation. The officiator says to the bride: “My daughter, behold the face of your beloved and say: ‘I take this man to be my husband. He is the light of my world, and I must treat him justly at all times.’” The husband repeats a similar vow. The exchange of rings is optional. At the conclusion of the Ceremony, the bride and groom kneel in front of the officiator and listen to the conclusion: “In darkness as well as in light you will never betray one another. You will keep your wedlock holy and filled with the Light of God…Live in joy, peace, and love. Go and prepare yourselves for life together!”6
John, our tour guide, said that, over the summer, he estimates that somewhere between ten and twelve weddings occur at the ECK Temple.
Births and deaths mark the journey of Soul. The translation from one stage of experience to another is but a further step on Soul’s journey home to God.
During a Memorial Service, the officiator welcomes the guests and offers an opening reading, which introduces the ECK concept of Soul and reminds ECKists that “births and deaths mark the journey of Soul. The translation from one stage of experience to another is but a further step on Soul’s journey home to God.”7 Then, friends and family offer Remembrances of the “translated” individual followed by music. Usually, there are two pieces of music performed at the Service: “Highland Journey Home” and a HU song. After, the officiator reads one or two readings. The first reading is a section from Harold Klemp’s The Golden Heart, Book 4, and the second reading is a section of Stranger by the River by Paul Twitchell. There is a closing HU and the officiator ends the Service with a blessing: “I thank all of you for sharing your love for [name of departed] today. [He/she] lives in our hearts and in the heart of God. May the blessings be.”8
The ECK Consecration Ceremony, Eckankar (Chanhassen, MN: Eckankar, 1997), 12-13. ↩
The ECK Wedding Ceremony, Eckankar (Chanhassen, MN: Eckankar, 1991), 10. ↩
The ECK Wedding Ceremony, Eckankar (Chanhassen, MN: Eckankar, 1991), 14-15. ↩
The ECK Memorial Service, Eckankar (Chanhassen, MN: Eckankar, 1993), 5. ↩
The ECK Memorial Service, Eckankar (Chanhassen, MN: Eckankar, 1993), 14. ↩