Adoration by Felix Borowski
Lanae Lauderdale, violin
Robert Fazakerly, piano
(Parents enter: Mom and Don, and David, as Peter's only attending relative. Lanae stands in center stage to play. We need the stand to put the wedding ritual on for people to read.
Pilgrims' Chorus from Tannhäuser by Richard Wagner
Robert Fazakerly, organ
(I expect the music to last about three minutes. Wait 15 or 20 seconds [four full measures] before entering, and try to take 2 minutes to reach the front. One step per measure should work fine. The music is in 3/4 time. Men enter all together, not spread out, from the regular door, and proceed to the front on the right aisle. Bob Schaibly, Antaro, Russ, Bob Sneed, Pete, then Groom. Groomsmen carry food: lemon water in glass pitcher, a bunch of bananas, bread, and cheese. Men form circle at stage right, with Rev. Bob at back and Groom in the center, facing the congregants.)
Amara's Dance by John-Michael Albert
John-Michael Albert, recorder
Kathy Biehl, guitar
(Mike and Kathy stand on the floor, not on stage, near the organ, in front of the left pews. Women enter from main door, spread out, Anita first, Tina, Carolyn, Julie, Margaret, then Bride, all carrying flowers, but Anita, who carries Velvet Vulva with rings, the Bride's with a pink ribbon tied to it for identification, the Groom's with a blue ribbon, which she places on the altar. Women form circle on stage left with Anita at back, or top of the circle, closest to the altar and Bride in the center, facing the congregants.)
CALLING THE DIRECTIONS:
Anita: From the four directions, we call the elemental spirits to bless our holy space and all who are gathered here.
Margaret (Maid #1): Hear me, Spirits of the East. Come to us, Powers of Air. Let your winds of change blow clarity and peace to our minds that all our thoughts may dance together to affirm this joyous union. We welcome the energy of the mind. Blessed be. Julie (Maid #2): Hear me, Spirits of the South. Come to us, Powers of Fire. Let your flames burn high and bright beneath the cauldron of desire where imagination creates and recreates, where passion warms us, heals us, and transforms us. We welcome the energy of the spirit. Blessed be. Carolyn (Maid #3): Hear me, Spirits of the West. Come to us, Powers of Water. Fill us with joy as the streambed is filled at Spring thaw. Let love carry us like a river. We welcome the energy of the heart. Blessed be.
Tina (Maid #4): Hear me, Spirits of the North. Come to us, Powers of Earth. May the Earth who mothers us all bless our bodies, created to give us pleasure. Mother, keep us grounded as we celebrate this union, this sacred expression of the life force within us. We welcome the energy of the body. Blessed be.
Anita: Please join me in affirming these blessings by breathing together deeply, drawing in the breath of life, and then letting the breath go slowly, letting it return to the Universal Breath that sustains all things. The circle is cast, our sacred space is affirmed.
Rev. Bob: I invoke the Spirit of Health, known to the ancient Greeks as Asklepios, the wounded healer, the bringer of dreams that heal. His symbol is the caduceus, an instinctual serpent climbing a helpful shepherd's staff up towards the sky, towards enlightenment. Bring to this couple who stand here today the attributes of healers. Bring them empathy and compassion. Help them to be vulnerable to each other. Bring them self-confidence and humility. Bring them good dreams. So be it.
Anita: I call upon the Spirit of Aphrodite Urania, the Queen of Heaven, She who is the essence of love, the essence of motherhood, the oldest of the fates. She to whom all maidens made offerings before accepting the love of a man, we bring you an offering of sacred poppy seeds, to honor Aphrodite Urania, who gives life, who blesses us with eternal youthful vigor and bodily pleasures.
I call upon the Spirit of Hera Chera, the Hera who is unbound, the aloneness that includes within it 'being with,' she who is not only the transition to marriage but also the transition to deep relationship, the strength to not pretend that some lesser gift is the fulfillment, nor to deny the longing for that greater gift. We bring this offering of a golden apple to Hera Chera that we may be nurished by her sacred tree of wisdom, and that we each may become more together than we could have alone. So mote it be!
CREATING SACRED SPACE WITH OFFERINGS OF FOOD:
Rev. Bob (for him to re-word as he sees fit): I invite everyone present to take three deep breaths. Focus your attention on your breathing, on the feel of the floor under your feet, the pews.... (This transition from women's to men's ritual should take less than a minute. After Rev. Bob finishes, there are five seconds of silence.)
(One by one, men silently and slowly approach altar and place food offerings on it, and return. In order: Antaro-water, Russ-bananas, Bob-bread, Pete-cheese)
READINGS ON THE NATURE OF LOVE AND MARRIAGE:
Pete Cuthbert (walk to microphone): For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation. It is a high inducement to each of us to hammer day and night; to ripen. It is a great exacting claim upon us, something that chooses us out and calls us to vast things. (Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, translation by N. D. Herter Norton from the book Wedding Readings selected by Eleanor Munro, Viking, New York, 1989. p. 56
When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you,
And...his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he threshes you, that you may become bread for the sacred feast.
But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
The Prophet: Kahlil Gibran. Alfred a. Knopf,New York, 1923. (On Love, adapted)
Bob Sneed: The [poets] are rolling in slowly, those who hold to [verse] are approaching.
The lovers come, singing, from the garden, the ones with brilliant eyes.
The I-don't-want-to-lives are leaving, and the I-want-to-lives are arriving.
Those with ribs showing who have been grazing in the old pasture of love are turning up fat and frisky.
The souls of pure teachers are arriving like rays of sunlight.
How marvelous is that garden, where apples and pears are arriving even in winter!
Jalal Al-din Rumi, To be a Man: in search of the Deep Masculine Keith Thompson, Ed. Jeremy P. Tharcher, Inc, Los Angeles, 1991. p. 131. (altered)
When I'm with you, we stay up all night
When you're not here I can't get to sleep
Thank god for these two insomnias
And for the difference between them.
Rumi, twelfth century Sufi poet
Take a lump of clay, wet it, pat it
And make an image of me, and an image of you.
Then smash them, crash them, and add a little water.
Break them and remake them into an image of you
And an image of me.
Then in my clay, there's a little of you.
And in your clay, there's a little of me.
And nothing ever shall us sever;
Living, we'll sleep in the same quilt,
And dead, we'll be buried together.
Madame Kuan, Wedding Readings,: Centuries of Writing and Rituals on Love and Marriage, Eleanor Munro, Ed. Viking, New York, 1989. p. 167.
My boat glides swiftly
beneath the wide cloud-ridden sky,
and as I look into the river
I can see the clouds drift by the moon;
my boat seems floating
on the sky.
And thus I dream
my beloved is mirrored
on my heart.
Tu Fu, "On the River Tchou" Wedding Readings. p. 167
Let the earth of my body be mixed with the earth
my beloved walks on.
Let the fire of my body be the brightness
in the mirror that reflects his face.
Let the water of my body join the waters
of the lotus pool he bathes in.
Let the breath of my body be air
lapping his tired limbs.
Let me be sky, and moving through me
that cloud-dark Shyama, my beloved.
Hindu love poem, translation by Edward C. Dimock, Jr., and Denise Levertov, from Wedding Readings, p.138
Margaret Kelso: Hear now from the Story of the great Marriage of Inanna and Dumuzi:
... the horn, the Boat of Heaven,
Is full of eagerness like the young moon.
My untilled land lies fallow.
Who will station the ox there?
Who will plow my high field?
Who will plow my wet ground?
Who will plow my body? (p. 37)
[Dumuzi] put his hand in her hand.
He put his hand to her heart. (p. 43)
The Queen of Heaven, The heroic woman,...
Inanna, the First Daughter of the Moon,
Decreed the fate of Dumuzi: (p. 44)
You,...the chosen shepherd,
In all ways you are fit. (p. 45)
I will caress the faithful shepherd Dumuzi, (p. 44)
Let the milk of the goat flow into my sheepfold.
Lord Dumuzi, I will drink your fresh milk. (p. 39)
My honey-man, my honey-man sweetens me always...
My eager impetuous caresser of the navel,
My caresser of the soft thighs,
[You are] the one my womb loves best. (p. 38)
...I will decree a sweet fate for [you] (p. 44)
May your heart enjoy long days. (p. 45)
(pause) Sweet is the sleep of the hand-to-hand.
Sweeter still the sleep of heart-to-heart. (p. 43)
Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns From Sumer, by Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer, Harper & Row, New York, 1983. pp. 37 - 45
Rev. Bob: Dearly beloved, we are gathered this day to join together this man and this woman in marriage, an estate which embodies all the values which grow from human companionship and love. It is not to be entered into lightly or unadvisedly, but reverently, thoughtfully, and in the knowledge that love is both out highest achievement and life's most precious gift. Into this estate Carol Phillips and Peter Taylor come now to join themselves.
Who brings this man forward today?
Who accompanies him on his journey?
Who certifies that he is ready for marriage?
Groomsmen: We do. (Groom leaves circle of attendants, and goes to center stage.)
Anita: Who brings this woman to the altar?
Who travels with her around the wheel?
Who proclaims her fit to be wed?
Bridesmaids: We do. (Bride leaves circle of attendants, and joins her Bridegroom.)
THE LAST KISS (without prompting): Peter and Carol kiss as single people for the last time.
STATEMENTS OF INTENT:
Anita (to Carol): Carol, will you take Peter to be your wedded husband, to live together with constancy and devotion? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him so long as you both shall live?
Carol: Yes, I will.
Rev. Bob (to Peter): Peter, will you take Carol to be your wedded wife, to live together with constancy and devotion? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her so long as you both shall live?
Peter: Yes, I will. Anita: If all of you here present, friends and relatives, will grant this couple your blessing and pledge them your love and acceptance, tell them so now by saying aloud, WE WILL.
All present (I hope): YES, WE WILL.
Rev. Bob: Repeat after me: (minister backs away from mike, says lines, one by one, for bride and groom to repeat in unison into the microphone)
I, __________, take you, __________,
to be the [wife, husband] of my days,
to be the companion of my home,
loving what I know of you,
trusting what I don't yet know,
with respect for your integrity,
and faith in your love for me.
I pledge myself to our relationship,
to share my life with you
to keep this love alive
from this day forward
for better or for worse,
for richer or for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
'til all our days have passed away.
BLESSING OF THE RINGS:
Anita: (Picks up ring pouch): May these rings, symbols of the eternal circle of being, remind us that as the two of you become one, You become three. You remain the two of you, and create together a third entity - your union - that contains you both. So may it be.
EXCHANGING OF THE RINGS:
Carol: (repeat after Anita) I give you this ring as a token of my love for you. May this ring serve as a reminder of my pledge to you, and of the third entity that we have created here today, our union.
Peter: (repeat after Bob) I give you this ring as a token of my love for you. May this ring serve as a reminder of my pledge to you, and of the third entity that we have created here today, our union.
Rev. Bob: You have pledged unto each other all that heart and mind and hand can give. May you ever remain faithful to the vows taken this day. With serenity of spirit may you learn to face with courage and patience whatever afflictions may come to you and to those whom you love. May the love which you have for one another grow in meaning and strength. May your love be shown by devotion to all that is compassionate and life giving. Learning to serve one another in this partnership of love, may you learn to serve the highest ends of humanity itself, and become constant witnesses to the presence of love in the midst of every common day.
JUMPING OVER THE BROOM:
Anita: The broom is a symbol of both male and female aspects, the union of the two energies. It is a very old custom to have the newly married couple jump over the broom. This action symbolizes their new start together, their new home together. I will now hold this special broom for them to make their symbolic leap together into their new life.
(Peter and Carol jump over broom.)
Anita: "Listen all ye that are present; those that were distant are now brought together; those that were separated are now united."
Pronouncement of marriage from the Malacca Straights, reported by Ernest Crawley, from The Mystic Rose; A Study of Primitive Marriage and of Primitive Thought in Its Bearing On Marriage from Wedding Readings, selected by Eleanor Munro, p. 88
Rev. Bob: By the authority invested in me by this Church, I now pronounce you husband and wife.
THE FIRST KISS (without prompting):
FIRST INTRODUCTION (Rev. Bob):
Rev. Bob: Both partners in this marriage are retaining their birth names, may I be the first to introduce to you: Mr. Peter Taylor and Ms. Carol Phillips, as husband and wife!
AFRICAN WEDDING BENEDICTION:
Anita: (pick up pitcher of water the men offered) Libations! Libations!
To the protective spirits on high!
To the wandering spirits below!
To the spirits of the mountains,
To the spirits of the valleys,
To the spirits of the East,
To the spirits of the West,
To the spirits of the North,
To the spirits of the South,
To the bride and groom, together, libation!
May the spirits on high, as well as the spirits below, fill you with grace!
Divine helpers, come! Keep watch all night! Rather than see the bridegroom so much as damage his toenail, may the good spirits go ahead of him. May the bride not so much as damage her fingernail! The good spirits will be their cushions so that not a hair of their heads shall be harmed.
And you, all you good wedding guests waiting in the shadows, come out into the light! May the light follow you!
(From one of Bob's book GET THIS ONE!)
The circle is open, but unbroken. May peace and joy go in our hearts. Merry meet and merry part, and merry meet again. Blessed be.
Theme from Canon in D by Johann Pachelbel
Lanae Lauderdale, Violin
Bob Fazakerly, piano