SAMPLE SPIRITUAL CEREMONY
----- and ----- want to welcome you to this celebration of their love for one another. Each of you has given something special to their lives. Your love and encouragement will forever be appreciated. Thank you for sharing one of life's happiest moments with them. May you be as important a part of their tomorrow as you are of their today.
In times past it was believed that the human soul shared characteristics with all things divine. It is this belief which assigned virtues to the cardinal directions: East, South, West, and North. It is in this tradition that a blessing is offered in support of this ceremony.
Blessed be this union with the gifts of the East.
Communication of the heart, mind, and body.
Fresh beginnings with the rising of each sun.
The knowledge of the growth found in the sharing of silences.
Blessed be this union with the gifts of the South.
Warmth of heart and home
The heat of the heart's passion
The light created by both to illuminate the darkest of times.
Blessed be this union with the gifts of the West.
The deep commitments of the lake
The swift excitement of the river
The refreshing cleansing of the rain
The all encompassing passion of the sea.
Blessed be this union with the gifts of the North.
Firm foundation on which to build
Fertility of the fields to enrich your lives
A stable home to which you may always return.
Each of these blessings emphasizes those things which will help you build a
happy and successful union.
Yet they are only tools.
Tools which you must use together in order to create what you seek in this union.
I do not offer the old smooth prizes,
But offer rough new prizes,
These are the days that must happen to you:
You shall not heap up what is called riches,
You shall scatter with lavish hand all that you earn or achieve.
However sweet the laid-up stores,
However convenient the dwellings,
You shall not remain there.
However sheltered the port,
And however calm the waters,
You shall not anchor there.
However welcome the hospitality that welcomes you
You are permitted to receive it but a little while
Afoot and lighthearted, take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before you,
The long brown path before you,
leading wherever you choose.
Say only to one another:
Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love, more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law:
Will you give me yourself?
Will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?
Minister: It is often said that it is love that makes the world go round. However, without doubt, it is friendship which keeps our spinning existence on an even keel.
True friendship provides so many of the essentials for a happy life - it is the foundation on which to build an enduring relationship, it is the mortar which bonds us together in harmony, and it is the calm, warm protection we sometimes need when the world outside seems cold and chaotic.
True friendship holds a mirror to our foibles and failings, without destroying our sense of worthiness. True friendship nurtures our hopes, supports us in our disappointments, and encourages us to grow to our best potential.
----- and ----- came together as friends. Today, they pledge to each other not only their love, but also the strength, warmth and, most importantly, the fun of true friendship.
Judy Bielicki, Melbourne, Australia
A GIFT FROM THE SEA
When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity - in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.
The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits - islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.
Minister: ----- and ----- stand before us today to declare their promises openly and gladly. -----, will you take ----- to be your wife/husband? Will you give yourself to her/him? Will you share completely with her/him in your life together? Will you promise to be open and honest in your relationship? Will you give her/him your comfort, support and strength?
Groom/Bride: I will.
The minister will then state the following: ----- and ----- will you now turn and face one another and join hands as you pledge your love and devotion to each other as husband and wife? -----, repeat after me.
I, -----, take you, -----, to be my husband/wife. I promise before our families and friends to care for you in sickness and in sadness, and I promise to laugh with you and rejoice with you in gladness. I promise to inspire greatness in you and to listen and give to you from my heart and soul. I make this vow in love, keep it in faith, live it in hope, and share it in honesty, as long as our souls shall live. (This vow is repeated by the bride and then the groom).
The symbolism of the circular rings was explained by the great Native American leader, Black Elk, who said:
“Everything that the Power of the Worlds does is done in a circle. The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball and so are the stars. The wind in its greatest power whirls. Birds make their nests in circles. The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing and always coming back again to where they were. The life of a man or a woman is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.”
----- and ----- will now exchange rings. -----, please repeat after me:
With this ring, I wed you and pledge my faithful love. I take you as my husband/wife and promise to share my life openly with you, to speak the truth to you in love. I promise to honor and tenderly care for you, to cherish and encourage your fulfillment as an individual through all the changes of our lives. (This pledge is repeated by the bride and then the groom).
The rose is a symbol of love and a single rose always meant only one thing - it meant the words "I love you." So it is appropriate that for your first gift - as husband and wife - that gift would be a single rose.
Please exchange your first gift as husband and wife. In some ways it seems like you have not done anything at all. Just a moment ago you were holding one small rose - and now you are holding one small rose. In some ways, a marriage ceremony is like this. In some ways, tomorrow is going to seem no different than yesterday. But in fact today, just now, you both have given and received one of the most valuable and precious gifts of life - one I hope you always remember - the gift of true and abiding love.
------ and ------, I would ask that where ever you make your home in the future - whether it be a large and elegant home - or a small and graceful one - that you both pick one very special location for roses; so that on each anniversary of this truly wonderful occasion you both may take a rose to that spot both as a recommitment to your marriage - and a recommitment that THIS will be a marriage based upon love.
In every marriage there are times where it is difficult to find the right words. It is easiest to hurt who we most love. It is easiest to be most hurt by who we most love. It might be difficult some time to words to say "I am sorry" or "I forgive you"; "I need you" or "I am hurting". If this should happen, if you simply can not find these words, leave a rose at that spot which both of you have selected - for that rose than says what matters most of all and should overpower all other things and all other words.
That rose says the words: "I still love you." The other should accept this rose for the words which cannot be found, and remember the love and hope that you both share today.
----- and -----, if there is anything you remember of this marriage ceremony, it is that it was love that brought you here today, it is only love which can make it a glorious union, and it is by love which your marriage shall endure.
Minister: Now I will give the final blessing.
Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you.
May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years,
May happiness be your companion and your days together be good and long upon the earth.
------ and ------ you have expressed your love to one another through the commitment and promises you have just made. It is with these in mind that I pronounce you husband and wife.
-----and ----- you may seal your promises with
It is my privilege/pleasure to present to you ---------.