Sunday, October 28, 2007

Story Jar - Peace, Love, Flowers and Ribbon: The Wedding

Peace, Love, Flowers and Ribbon
Story Jar, November 2007

I want these words to turn to butterflies, rainbow wings floating with spicy scents amid the rich voices of a thousand violins but of course it’s not possible. Still, that’s what it would take to tell you how wonderful Emilie’s and Josh’s wedding was. I can’t pack the sights, the tears, smiles, pride, energy, love or even the colors of that wonderful day into words but their first anniversary is nearly here so it’s time to do my best.

Emilie and Josh were married. Allow me pause to smile and sigh. On that day Josh was no more our son than the day before because he’d already been in our family
for 6 years.

You might think that because you’ve been to weddings you have a pretty good idea about this wedding but it wasn’t like any other wedding I’ve seen. They were joined by Rev Connie Dutcher in an intentional, purposeful, conscious Celtic Handfasting Ceremony. Let me explain.

They were married at Peace Abbey outside of Boston. That’s where the Dali Lama and Mother Theresa stayed at times and it’s the location of a national registry of conscientious objectors. The chapel holds the holy books, prayer beads, prayer wheels, vestments and flags for all major religions – so many that it barely has room for people so Em and Josh were married in the library.

People who know Josh and Emilie realize that the library was THE place for these two readers, writers, masters of words, thinkers of thoughts, holders of ideas and histories and connections. The library was totally fitting.

Across from the entry door is a finely-crafted fireplace and seating is arranged in a U facing it. As people entered, they took a candle. Karn was there to light it for them. All the candles were placed on a table near the entry and then everyone sat and talked spreading the energy of anticipation. When the guests were seated Rick, Jay and I came in and we each put flowers in what Emilie called our “family vase.” Josh’s family (Patti, Dave and Johanna) added flowers to the vase blending our families and then it was time for Josh and Emilie.

Somewhere in the process I began to worry a bit about the vase. Emilie asked me to make a large vase but clearly I didn’t get it large enough. It was full when Em added her bunch but Josh had more flowers. How would they fit? One of them was a sunflower with a stem about the size of a broom handle. Josh paused a bit considering the situation and then grabbed the vase and shoved those stems in. His smile of triumph was well earned.

They walked to the center of the room, in front of the fireplace, within a circle of rose petals, holding hands, smiling, looking young and happy and whole.

Handfasting is an ancient tradition common in Scotland until 1939. For hundreds of years, only wealthy Europeans could afford to marry in a church. Peasants would fasten their hands together in public (“tie the knot”) as a sign of their commitment. The practice is also associated with the custom of shaking hands to seal a contract. This ceremony was an elaboration on tradition.

Emilie and Josh stood in the circle of flower petals and Connie welcomed everyone and then Emilie began reading her vows to Josh. I started crying, not that I was the only one. Emilie spoke of being a fierce friend and partner. She talked of loving and of being purposely and intentionally together.

Rick had tissues in his pocket so I nudged him but he was absorbed in the moment and ignored me. It took some powerful sniffs and a couple of pokes to get a tissue out of him and by then Josh was reading his vows. He talked of admiring Emilie for her spark, creativity, courage, compassion and sense of justice. There was a lot of crying by then.

They held hands through all of this and then the tying began. Jay was first with the blue cord representing water. He made the cord of ribbon and lace and described how it represented emotional depth, peace and security. Then he tied their hands together. (Sorry, I was crying then. Here's Jay and Em dancing.)

Johanna was next with the white cord made of ribbons and marble discs and representing air. Johanna said that the air-cord represented strength of spirit, healing and protection. (I made this cord and the others after spending hours in Joanne Fabric choosing from thousands of ribbons, cords, braids and fabrics and then sewing them together with embroidery threads and beads.)

Kyle presented the orange chord of ribbons and rope and shinny gauze. Orange represents fire and Kyle talked of passion, liveliness, kindness and encouragement while he fastened the cord.

Kjersten was next with the green cord representing earth. Green stands for energy, success and a full and happy life.

Adding to that was Patrick with the gold cord for metals. It represents activity, intelligence, unity and learning.

Finally was their friend Josh with the brown cord. Brown is for wood and represents skills, talents and love for animals. Like the others, Josh’s tying ended with hugs.

Then Connie spoke to pronounce them partners for life. People stopped wiping their tears long enough to applaud and as the fireplace log burned low, Em and Josh removed their hands from the cords which fell nicely into a wreath – now hanging on the wall in their living room.


Patti said...

Thank you for capturing and sharing this event in words and photos ... bringing back so many wonderful memories of that incredible day.

Love to you all,
aka Josh's mom

BellBookCandleSupply said...

Handfasting is definitely one of the many celebrations wherein overflowing amount of joy is sincerely shared. A wonderful way of expressing undying love to whom you wanna be with as long as you live. Unconventional for some but its meaning is so profound and deep.
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