By Rev. Alan Viau
A pagan wedding may seem like a mystery to some brides and grooms. To help dispel myths I reproduce here Mel and Kai’s wedding which occurred in a park around Ottawa.
On behalf of Kai and Mel, I would like to welcome you all and thank you for being a part of today’s celebration.
We will now perform the calling of the corners.
Calling the Quarters/Corners
Guest 1 – I call upon the Guardians of the North to sustain and strengthen our circle.
Towering mountains, fertile valleys, bold wilderness, gentle fields
our bodies … our strength
Guest 2 – I call upon the Guardians of the East to imbue and revive our circle.
spring breeze, summer zephyr, autumn sylph, winter squall
knowledge … imagination
Guest 3 – I call upon the Guardians of the South to rekindle and warm our circle.
glowing sun, earth’s core, radiant balefire, gentle hearth
passion … resolve
Guest 4- I call upon the Guardians of the West, to purify and cleanse our circle.
mighty rivers, subtle streams, vast oceans, tender mist
intuition … emotion
As living beings, guardian’s of Life’s spark
let us all join together to illuminate, honour and bless this sacred space
on behalf of Mel and Kai.
In perfect Love and Perfect Trust, Kai and Mel, you are circled in Love
We are here today to bear witness to the beginning of something that is wonderful and new, but also to recognize the joy and happiness that has already marked Mel and Kai’s life as a couple.
Beyond simply recognizing their love for one another, Mel and Kai have concluded that theirs is an enduring love … that they thrive and grow best by committing themselves to a loving relationship with one another.
Today we celebrate an affirmation of the essential relationship that exists between them … the formation of their love and trust into a unified emergent entity. A marriage.
It is a commitment that necessitates daily attention to flourish and brings with it a life-long responsibility to strive for the ideal of love and kindness.
There are many things to say about marriage. Much wisdom concerning the joining together of two souls, has come our way through all paths of belief, and from many cultures. With each union, more knowledge is gained and more wisdom gathered.
Though we are unable to give all this knowledge to these two, we can hope to leave with them the knowledge of love and its strengths and the anticipation of the wisdom that comes with time.
The law of life is love unto all beings. Without love, life is nothing, without love, death has no redemption.
Marriage is a bond to be entered into only after considerable thought and reflection. As with any aspect of life, it has its cycles, its ups and its downs, its trials and its triumphs. With full understanding of this, Kai and Mel have come here today to be joined as one in marriage.
Today Mel and Kai place their life into the hands of the other and do so lovingly, trustingly and openly.
Please join hands with your betrothed and listen:
Handfasting is an ancient Pagan marriage commitment ceremony. It is the predecessor to the modern wedding ceremony. The ritual itself usually includes a binding together of the hands of the couple with a ritual cord of some kind, hence the name, which means “hand fastening.” It is also the origin of the slang phrase “to tie the knot.”
Handfasting is a symbolic ceremony to honour a couple’s desire for commitment to each other; to acknowledge that their lives and their fates are now bound together.
Marriage is a bond to be entered into only after considerable thought and reflection. As with any aspect of life, it has its cycles, its ups and its downs, its trials and its triumphs. With full understanding of this, Mel and Kai have come here today to be joined as one in marriage.
Therefore, as I wrap this fabric around your hands it indicates that as your hands are bound, so are your hearts, minds, bodies, and souls.
As you both are holding your hands, please consider:
Above you are the stars, below you are the stones, as time passes, remember…
Like a stone should your love be firm;
Like a star should your love be constant.
Let the powers of the mind and of the intellect guide you in your marriage,
Let the strength of your wills bind you together,
Let the power of love and desire make you happy,
And the strength of your dedication, make you inseparable.
Be close, but not too close.
Possess one another, yet be understanding.
Have patience with one another, for storms will come, but they will pass quickly.
Be free in giving affection and warmth.
Have no fear, and let not the ways of the unenlightened give you unease,
For the Goddess and Gods are with you always.
Exchange of Rings
Kai, I have not the right to bind you to Mel, only you have this right. If it be your wish, say so at this time
[Kai] It is my wish.
Mel, if it be your wish for Kai to be bound to you, place the ring on his finger.
Mel I have not the right to bind you to Kai only you have this right. If it be your wish, say so at this time.
[Mel] It is my wish.
Kai, if it be your wish for Mel to be bound to you, place the ring on her finger.
Two rings, joined together, symbolizes eternity. The creative force that brought Mel and Kai together, symbolized by the connection these two rings, and two lives shared, is timeless.
May the blessings of the wind light upon these rings and your love, that you share communication and creativity.
May the blessings of fire blaze upon these rings and your love, that you share passion and spirit.
May the blessings of the waters saturate these rings and your love, that you share love and compassion.
May the blessings of the earth ground these rings and your love
(Mel and Kai exchanged personally written vows. Kai included a recorded song that hold a lot of meaning to them. They danced swaying to the music in bliss.)
Kai and Mel, today you join your separate lives together. You light a special candle today – made of water symbolizing you Mel and fire, representing Kai. The two separate elements symbolize your separate lives, separate families and separate sets of friends. They represent all that you have been as an individual. They also represent your lives before today. As these two are joined to create a candle, you will be joined together as one. May your love so endure that its flame remains a guiding light unto you.
CLOSING OF THE CIRCLE: Thanking the Quarters/Corners
Guest 1 – May the element of EARTH bless you with
tenderness, happiness, compassion and friendship.
Guest 2 – May the element of AIR bless you with
communication, intellectual growth, and wisdom.
Guest 3 – May the element of FIRE bless you with
vitality, passion and creativity.
Guest 4 – May the element of WATER bless you with
harmony, understanding and love.
By the North and the Earth that is Body,
By the East and the Air that is Breath,
By the South and the Fire that is Passion,
By the West and the Water that is Womb,
By the Centre and the Spirit that is Strength,
Thank you for illuminating our gathering.
Jumping the Broom
We end this ceremony with tradition of jumping the broom.
As Mel and Kai jump the broom, they physically and spiritually cross the threshold into the land of married life. It marks the beginning of making a home together. It symbolizes the sweeping away of the old and the welcoming of the new; the sweeping away all negative energy, making way for all things that are good to come into your lives.
(A Guest hands the broom to the Kai, who makes sweeping gestures to eliminate any negative energies. Kai then hands the broom to the Mel, who places it on the ground at the mouth of the circle of friends. Kai and Mel jump over the broom.)
It is my pleasure to make the following declaration:
By the power vested in me by the province of Ontario , and by the laws of the great mother Goddess Gaia, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride!