I have been lurking for sometime but as I am one month away from my wedding, it's time to jump in.
We are having an interesting ceremony to say the least. We are having a handfasting, but both of us are military so we are also having a sword arch. It will really reflect who we are.
I am thinking about my wedding vows and I think I want to have it more pagan-themed, I was thinking of relating qualities to the elements.
To all the lovely people out there, please help me come up with some ideas (obviously I won't ask you to write them for me, but a sounding board is appreciated!)
Nicole: mama to DD and DS, childbirth educator and doula. Dancing the spiral dance of life
Handfasting and Wedding Rituals: Welcoming Hera's Blessing
Life Prayers : From Around the World : 365 Prayers, Blessings, and Affirmations to Celebrate the Human Journey
To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings
The first book is "pagan", the second a mix of poetry/prose from many different traditions, and the third has a more christian/pagan feel (Celtic). If you already have the image of the ceremony in place, the two prayer/blessing books might be a good resource since they offer short passages you can fit into that image.
I attended one military+pagan ceremony with many christian family/guests in which the elements were called under the names of the different archangels (four friends of the couple, one friend standing in each direction surrounding the seated congregation... the little pamphlet the couple handed out said that this was to create a circle of support and love around the ceremony and while it was spiritually meaningful to the pagan couple it was also non-threatening to the older family members). They also had a unity candle, poured their individual cups of water into a single chalice which they then shared, had their hands bound together with a cord that their friends had knotted wishes into (it's framed on their wall now), and jumped a broom on their way to the reception.
Hope you have fun, and congrats!
Anyway, it has a chapter on weddings/handfastings but it also has a generally positive chapter about pagans in the military (waaaaaay before you could get pagan on your tags or a pentacle on your memorial). Each chapter is written by a person in whatever "rite of passage" is being discussed and I remember being really impressed with the whole book.
Feel free to use any of it, if you wish. ( I took out the actual "vow" part, as it was write your own.) :-)
From my Blog:
I have been wanting to share the ceremony, it was carefully created by Rev Phil and Paul and myself. I just love it. It was everything I wanted.
So better late than never, here it is.
Honoring The Directions
In many ancient religious traditions, it is customary to bring a service
of worship or celebration
by calling on the four directions. This is a way of symbolically
inviting all of creation to be
present and take part in the festivities. This morning, we, too, want to
invite the whole of
creation to be with us here and now.
Oh Great Spirit of the North, we come to you and ask for the strength and
the power to bear what
is cold and harsh in life. We come like the buffalo ready to receive the
winds that truly can be
overwhelming at times. Whatever is cold and uncertain in our life, we ask
you to give us the
strength to bear it. Do not let the winter blow us away. Oh Spirit of
Life and Spirit of the
North, we ask you for strength and for warmth.
Oh Great Spirit of the East, we turn to you where the sun comes up, from
where the power of light
and refreshment come. Everything that is born comes up in this direction
the birth of babies, the
birth of the puppies, the birth of ideas and the birth of friendship.
Let there be the light. Oh
Spirit of the East, let the color of fresh rising in our life be glory to
Oh Great Spirit of the South, spirit of all that is warm and gentle and
refreshing, we ask you to
give us this spirit of growth, of fertility, of gentleness. Caress us
with a cool breeze when the
days are hot. Give us seeds that the flowers, trees and fruits of the
earth may grow. Give us the
warmth of good friendships. Oh Spirit of the South, send the warmth and
the growth of your
Oh Great Spirit of the West, where the sun goes down each day to come up
the next, we turn to you
in praise of sunsets and in thanksgiving for changes. You are the great
colored sunset of the red
west, which illuminates us. You are the powerful cycle, which pulls us to
transformation. We ask for the blessings of the sunset. Keep us open to life's changes.
Marriage is a supreme sharing, perhaps the greatest and most challenging adventure in the most
intimate of human relationships. It is the joyful uniting of a man and a
woman whose care and
affection and understanding have flowered into a deep and abiding love.
Those who take its sacred
vows have their lives blended together into one, as the waters of two
rivers are joined when they
come together to form an even greater one.
A true spiritual marriage is an act of metamorphosis, a profound mystery of creation and
rebirth, as two become one. It is not a giving up or loss of oneself, but
rather a giving over of oneself to something greater - it's a transformation of your self in
which each one of you will
be able to say, "I am no longer only I; I am part of something greater,
something called "We". It
is a process in which each can be challenged to discover new
possibilities in themselves and each
In such a marriage, the wedding ceremony is the gateway into this mystery. For the lives the two
of you have lived up until this moment are, in some sense, now truly
completed and over. Together
you're about to create something brand-new -- your new marriage -- an
expression that is at once
public and private, precious, sacred, and truly unique to the two of you.
In this act, you open
yourselves to a fuller experience and expression of the great, vast
mystery that we call love.
No ceremony can create your marriage. Only you will do that -- through love, patience,
dedication, perseverance -- through talking and listening and trying to
understand -- through
helping and supporting and believing in each other -- through learning to
forgive, learning to
respect and appreciate your differences, and learning to make the
important things matter and to
let go of all the rest. But what we can do today, on this beautiful day,
is witness and affirm the
choice you have made to begin a new life today as husband and wife.
Cherokee Wedding Blessing:
Above you are the stars, below you are the stones. As time does pass, remember; Like a star should your love be constant. Like a stone should your love be firm. Be close, yet not too close. Possess one another, yet be understanding. Have patience with the other; for storms will come, but they will go quickly. Be free in giving of affection and warmth. Make love often, and be sensuous to one another. Have no fear, and let not the ways of words of the unenlightened give you unease. For the Great Spirit is with you, now and always
May I have the rings, please... (Best Man or other person gives Rev. Phil
Let us bless the rings.
Circles represent eternity, and though our lives are finite, love is
everlasting, the creative force that binds us together, the force that
gives new life.
(Rev. Phil holds rings up to the breeze)
The blessings of the wind upon these rings and your love, that you share
communication and creativity.
(Rev. Phil blesses with burning sage)
The blessings of fire upon these rings and your love, that you share
passion and the spirit.
(Rev. Phil sprinkles with water)
The blessings of water upon these rings and your love, that you share
(Rev. Phil sprinkles herbs on the rings)
The blessings of earth upon these rings and your love, that you share
health and sexuality.
We humans are born of stardust and deepest oceans, of erupting volcanoes
and the bones of the earth. In celebrating love you celebrate a heritage
all these things, and of the love of all humans from the dawn of time. In
making a commitment to loving each other, you share that which is best in
us and give a moment of light to the world.
Please join hands, look into each other's eyes, and repeat after me:
As kisses are messengers of love,
"You may now kiss the bride.".
Benediction:The Irish Wedding Blessing :
road rise to meet
you.May the wind be always at your back.;May the sun shine
warm upon your
face,The rains fall soft upon the fields.;May the
light of friendship guide
your paths together.;May the laughter of children grace the halls
of your home.May the joy of living for one another trip a smile from your lips, a twinkle from your eye. And when eternity beckons;at the end of a life heaped high with love, May the good Lord
embrace you with the arms that have nurtured you, the whole
length of your joy-filled days.
Mom to three boys 7/7/00 11/20/02 and 10/29/2011
Writing at: http://paisleymama.blogspot.com/ and other places!
"Today, I choose you James to be my husband and partner for life, to walk together along this path side by side.
With you, I will be faithful and dependable, like the Earth upon which we stand.
With you, I will be open and honest, like words floating on the gentle breeze, sharing with you moments of tears and laughter.
I will be your strength, as with you I have lost all fear and have found the greatest courage, like a fire deep within my soul.
With you I have found perfect love and perfect trust ,that flows endlessly from the depths of the oceans.
Your love for me has reawakened my life, given me a rebirth; a new beginning.
With you, I am understood.
With you, James, I am home."
He is wonderful with words, so I want to write something wonderful for him
Nicole: mama to DD and DS, childbirth educator and doula. Dancing the spiral dance of life
I just read your wedding vows and they were beautiful. I am in the process of writing a book where there is a wedding involved. I would love to use portions of it in the ceremony, but wanted to get your permission first.