As I start to prepare to officiate my first wedding, I find myself looking back at my own ceremony. We had a handfasting ceremony in the ancient Celtic tradition and we got married after 9 pm because we wanted to make sure the stars and moon were aligned. I hired an astrologer and then also went to work determining my most auspicious wedding date/time. We both came up with the same options – that was 2007 and my first foray into electional astrology – something I do now regularly for clients.
There was a raging fire in Griffith Park the days and weeks before our wedding, but I knew we chose the right date and it would somehow work out. We were the first party allowed back into the park to host an event and miraculously our venue and the surrounding greenspace was spared from the fire, only a bit of smoke still lingered in the air and we were high enough up that we didn’t really notice.
Our ceremony was not the usual. I’m such a feminist I couldn’t fathom incorporating the idea of walking down an aisle toward a man, the whole concept of being given away was archaic and icky to me. So we walked toward each other and met in the middle of a large circle of friends and family, each holding lanterns and collectively holding space for us as we married with the tall pine trees as our witnesses and under a canopy of stars on the lawn at Griffith Park in Los Angeles.
We started the reception when guests arrived before sunset with Champaign and hors d’oeuvres then moved into dinner and when the timing was right we invited the guests to follow us out to the lawn with their candle lit lanterns from their place settings to light the way and as cellos played, a few close friends were invited into the inner circle with us to help with the blessing of the four directions and elements, under the light of the moon – we were wed. It’s been 14 years since that night and two babies later. I think we picked a good one. Once the ceremony finished a five piece band with a stand up bass started the celebration calling us back to the indoor venue with some rockabilly and we all broke into celebration and enjoyed wedding cake late into the night.
We used 6 chords in our handfasting ceremony, a number that aligns with nature in numerology. We also included a ring exchange – noting the astrological significance of the ring tradition, Venus governing the ring finger. Each table was named after a Celtic seasonal holiday.
I loved our wedding and although we have very few pictures since we chose not to hire a photographer because we thought that might impede the now experience and natural flow – I hold very vivid pictures in my mind and heart.
I’m so grateful and happy for the opportunity to create ceremony for others as I step into the role of officiant here on Maui. I’m loving the process of incorporating the small meaningful ties each fiancé has with the spiritual realm, nature, the meaningfulness of marriage traditions and also honoring the aversions to spiritual or traditional ceremony from oppressive historical wounds. To create something anew.
Reverend Jen implies I attended seminary – I did not although I think the 11 years in Theocratic Ministry School I was forced to participate in as a child should count for something and apparently the Universal Life Church is happy to hand out honorary ordination titles, so Reverend Jen it is. I am also a member of a Unitarian Universalist Congregation on the mainland where I led Sunday School for many years and I enjoy attending services at a Unity church here on Maui. My path as a life long seeker raised in an oppressive fundamentalist Christian religion has taken me on a wild journey. I’ve studied many spiritual paths. Christian, atheism (yes I count atheism as a spiritual path), Wicca, Druidic ways of the Celts (my indigenous ancestors), Buddhism, Mystical Christianity, Hinduism, new age spirituality, New Thought and now Hawaiiana/Aloha and Ho’oponopono. My own knowing and awakening has shown me there is truth in all paths – I see there is no contradiction only continuity. I look to my spirit guides and angels for wisdom and guidance regularly and I respect those who hold different beliefs about the spiritual realm than I. I understand God as both father and Mother Creatrix, manifesting life from the love energy in the universe. I venerate trees and listen to frogs sing at night – knowing that we are all connected and seeing ourselves in the mirror of the other.
Talking about our ceremony today and sharing our memory of it with our children- having both grown and evolved we both still agree that we loved our Celtic inspired handfasting ceremony. It was a magical day – if we had it all to do again, we wouldn’t change a thing. Our braided rainbow tie dye hand-fasting chords still hang draped over a Congo drum in our living room, now on Maui.