Every once in a while I meet up with a couple that makes it very clear that the wedding ceremony is not their priority on their big day.  As someone who finds a great deal of comfort, and connection, through the arts of ceremony, and ritual, it makes my heart cry a little. I also take it as a personal challenge to convince those couples that the ceremony, and the rituals within, are the most important part of their entire wedding. I usually succeed.

In simplest terms, Ceremony is when we join together in honor, or anticipation, of transformation. We call in, and celebrate spirit, or our connection with one another, for those who have a more secular world view. Ritual is when we perform actions, usually within the bounds of a ceremony, asking the universe for a specific outcome to help us create the change we seek in that moment. Ceremony is broad, and ritual is specific.

Humans have been creating ceremonies and rituals for thousands of years. Our brains are not equipped to take in the abstract without back up from our senses. We need to categorize, envision, and feel. The moment humankind sensed the existence of something vaster than ourselves, we began creating ways to try to connect to that energy. Every culture, every faith, every lifestyle, has rituals and ceremonies that make those that share that path feel closer to one another, and closer to their understanding of the vast energy that connects us all.

The magic of ceremony and ritual has nothing to do with the actions. The secret is intention. Intention is very powerful. When we send our intentions out into the universe, we are subconsciously, and I believe, spiritually, creating our reality. We are shaping the universe to suit our needs. I could perform a 3 hour puja to Shiva, Pray 100 rosaries, or dance and sing a song to power animals in a field. If the intention is from our heart, the outcome will be the same. Through these intentions what we need will be provided in one form, or another.

The rituals in the wedding ceremony, stepping from our family of origin into a family of our own, the vows, the giving of rings, all have great intention behind them, and as such are very powerful. I also believe that shared rituals take on the power of all who have performed them in the past, so the energetic consequences are multiplied. No matter how excited you are about the reception, when you look into your beloved’s eyes, and join your life with them in sacred space, you will feel the gravity of the situation.

In every marriage I officiate, I describe the wedding ceremony as the sacred container for the entire marriage. You are sending word of your commitment out to the universe, and asking for backup to help you keep it. You are declaring your love formally. The vows, and promises, you make to one another are the foundation, the backbone, for your life together. Wedding receptions are fun, I don’t deny it. I simply ask that the ceremony be given it’s due. It is the moment, after all, where the real magic happens.

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