Textual Arachne

A weaver of threads.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Ceremony

Between classes and applications (and the occasional freak-out from being overcommitted), I've let the blogwriting slide. I will not let that happen--at least not permanently. My friend Current Conductor deals with the same "law of blog procrastinating," where the desire to write an entry is inversely proportionate to the number of things you want to write about plus the time since your last post.

In early October, I attended a Pagan wedding ceremony. It was lovely and moving, drawing largely off the Feri tradition. There were invocations of the Fey, the Boatman, the Star Goddess (with the full Charge, I think), and the whole ceremony was opened and closed with the sanctification of the directions. A spiral dance in the middle of the ceremony charged the rings; the bride and groom drew Tarot cards. The whole thing was filled with spirit, from music to fire to the strong wind and the crisp weather.

(Side note: I should really get to know more about Feri. All I know about it is from reading an interview with Victor Anderson and a little casual conversation.)

Curiously, though, it made me consider how much I wanted to integrate Paganism into our wedding next summer. And the answer was a little surprising to me: Not very much. I can see creating the space with the directions, asking for Her blessing, or sharing cakes and wine together. But my lover is not Pagan, and any ceremony we share is a partnership between us.

I've asked myself a few times if my desire to 'tone down' any Pagan aspects is an urge to hide my faith, or a need to conform. It's likely that those elements are present, but what's more central to my reasoning is a need to span different faiths--possibly even to introduce what Pagans have in common with other faiths. My lover and I are an interfaith couple; the community of friends and family that we call on is made up of many different faiths. The meaning that we create together will draw on all of those, and be filtered through his agnostic-Daoist-humanist view, and my Paganism.

The other reason is almost the reverse: if I want to share my faith in a way that all the different people in the community can understand and accept, I also feel that my faith is too intimate to be displayed to the whole community. (I know, I know, contradiction. Pfah!) I'll 'tone down' some aspects for the ceremony, but other ones--the most important ones--I'll reserve for the intimacy of me and him, without an audience, with only the universe listening.

When I worship on the equinoxes and solstices, I am naked, vulnerable, and alone. Only one other person besides Her sees me in this state; only one other person receives me like this. That sheltered moment together isn't something that can be put into words at a ceremony, even if it is part of the heart of my faith and of my love.

That thing at the heart of love--it was visible in the October bride and groom, in all the weddings I've been honored to attend.

4 Comments:

At 8:35 PM, Blogger Julia Star said...

I really like your blog arachne. I stumbled on it with a keyword search, and your thoughts on a pagan wedding echoed mine startlingly. I hope you won't mind me frequenting your blog.

Always,
Julia Star

 
At 6:51 AM, Blogger Rachel said...

What you say about your faith being, in a certain way, private -- how only She and your partner see you in moments of complete vulnerability -- is really moving to me.

I do think it's possible to infuse your wedding with some elements of Pagan tradition...and I also deeply respect your intention to make it a ceremony which will reflect the both of you, and which will be comfortable for the assembled crowd, rather than something which draws attention solely to the tradition you practice.

(This is going to be so much FUN!)

 
At 7:16 AM, Anonymous Nio said...

When Wolf and I got married, we used an Apache ceremony. Like your relationship, Wolf and I had different beliefs. Now, however, they have merged together.

In hindsight I would've liked to have had a ceremony which was more reflective of my belief system because now I feel as if something was missing in our ceremony. But overall, I wouldn't change what we had. We'll just have another event, a renewall of our vows.

 
At 5:30 PM, Blogger sopka said...

I see among people of the established faiths whether they are agnostic or athiest or simply unbleiever not yet looking for a belief I never see a need to tone down the christian or judaic aspect of their ceremony. even when mixed faiths are involved no one suggests we must not be proud,not offend your guest thus toning down the ceremony. I found in my earlier marriage toning down for the wedding became a marriage full unequal compromises. My religion was not important for the wedding it was viewed unimportant for the rest my life by my ex-spouse and family members it was a phase.

 

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