There are many beliefs and values about what makes a marriage and a family. No matter what one’s values are, each of us is joined by common beliefs that are universally human: The need for companionship of the heart. And our yearning for the awakening qualities of Love. So it is that a wedding is one of the most powerfully transformational ceremonies of all.
Never is this more clear to me than when I collaborate in ceremony with people of the First Nations communities. These are individuals, families, and communities who truly deeply value and understand that words are actions… that ceremony is a doorway to the sacred, to the profound. At a First Nations ceremony I understand that one cannot exclude a member of the community. All must be welcomed, even when there are disagreements. I like this. Though I’m sure it must be challenging at times.
Because First Nations have such rich and strong ceremonial traditions, I am always tremendously humbled to be asked to guide a ceremony with these communities. It is truly a gift in my own life. This Wedding Ceremony was a Same-Sex wedding for two very private women. They recognized that their wedding ceremony was the symbolic representation of a profound and life-changing experience. They wanted to feel changed as they promised their love and trust for each other. They also wanted their wedding ceremony to be warm-hearted, relaxed, and most of all deeply meaningful. For them, as well as for all who participated.
We began with a sister smudging us as a gesture of purification and prayer. A brother sang a traditional song while this took place. I felt transported right away. By the way, we were outdoors with tall cedars surrounding us and a lapis sky overhead. The ceremony was full of storytelling and a very lovely handfasting incorporating natural elements used for ceremonial purposes in the two different nations of the couple including Cedar and Sage.
We ended with a Friendship Circle and drumming, where one goes around the circle of those gathered to greet each and every person. Everyone takes a turn, kind of like a circle that snakes back on itself. AMAZING!!! I was struck by how there was no hint of the perfunctory in this experience. Each guest shook my hand, looked me in the eye, and said something relevant and meaningful. The eye contact was very striking. I’ve been at events where people need to shake hands and some do it like they are completely uninterested. This did not happen here. Not even close.
In closing I’d like to share a poem the couple wished to be read during the ceremony. I love it. The poem is called Eagle Poem and it is by Joy Harjo a member of the Creek Nation. I heartily encourage you to check out her website – it’s inspiring to say the least.
by Michele Davidson, Master Celebrant & Seeker of Meaning