I told myself I'd write a blog entry today. So, that's what I'm going to do. I sat down to write one last night, but found myself too distracted.
I am happy to say that my partner and I were handfasted on Beltaine. Weeks before the wedding got me thinking, thinking a lot about what marriage and what the ceremony itself meant to me. We did not do a traditional wedding. I didn't wear a white dress. There was no aisle to walk down. It was a small and intimate handfasting, with my folks in attendance. We performed the ceremony at midnight on the first of May, under the blanket of a starry night. There was a chill in the air as a cold front moved in, but even so, it was lovely. Bec and I wrote the ceremony out earlier during the day. We had already exchanged our rings, but we did perform the tying of the hands to symbolize our union. I wore a crown of ivy, a symbol of friendship, loyalty, and matrimony.
Before the wedding, I had considered incorporating things more conventional, more traditional. Alas, I realized -- I'm merrily unconventional. I looked at dresses. I spent several hours one morning looking through online catalogs. I found nothing, absolutely nothing that I felt suited me. Bec and I were folding blankets from the dryer when I realized a "dresser" cloth I had, (material that was used to cover a dresser that needed to be painted) -- I could wear. I went to the bathroom, stripped, and donned the material. Who knew my sarong wrapping skills would come in handy? I found a broom skirt to pair it with, stepped out, and asked Bec, "What do you think?"
And so, I wore what she jokingly deemed the, "equivalent of a tablecloth." Which is definitely more my style than a traditional white dress. ;)
One of the reasons I pulled myself away from the path of the white dress and wedding hoopla, was because to me, it detracted from the true meaning. I didn't want to get caught up in materialism (not for our wedding). I wanted to keep my focus on what was of most importance: Our union, our love -- not who could make it or who couldn't, not what we were going to wear, or eat, or drink, or where the ceremony was to be held. I didn't want to get so caught up in the details that I overlooked our intent. I wouldn't allow myself. A close friend actually told me, "Stop being so non-materialistic. You at least have to have a reception so you can get gifts."
I felt a bit like a cheese-ball trying to explain that I already had my gift: Love. And when it came to the wedding, it was all about that one word, more-so than I had even imagined. I'd been focusing on Bec and I's love for each other, but there was more than that, so much more. There too was the love of family and friends, showering us with their blessings, congratulations, and support. Bec and I found ourselves deeply touched and thankful.
And might I say, my wife looked amazing. She wore a metallic grey blouse tucked into a pair of dark slacks. As soon as I saw the outfit, I told her she looked like a pirate. A sexy, swashbuckling pirate.
One of the other things that the marriage got me thinking about was the lack of equality in areas of our country, and of course, the unfairness of that lack. Years ago, in my teens, I came across a quote by Boethius that resonated very strongly for me: "Who would give a law to lovers? Love is unto itself a higher law." I still believe that; it still resonates for me.
Equality would be a lovely thing, but when it comes down to it, a marriage is not a document, not from my perspective. Marriage is a verb. One of the things I addressed during the ceremony was that the ceremony itself is a symbol and a symbol has all the power and meaning that you give to it. Bec and I's marriage is not to be defined by a state or a religion, but by us, our own actions. It is OURS to define and OURS to uphold. The government in certain areas of this country may refuse to give us a piece of paper that declares our love and commitment, they may turn their cheeks and close their eyes to it, refusing to acknowledge it, but that doesn't make it go away, that doesn't make what we have anything less of a marriage.
This, dear readers, may be where I deviate from the norm. As a Pagan, I believe that we are all children of the universe, all daughters and sons of the Divine -- by whatever name you call HER/HIM. I believe that every human on this planet holds within themselves a thread of the Divine, whether they are good or bad people, and we have a right to make our own choices. The woman in me understands that I have a right to love as I will and to decide in what manner I will express that love. Though, I should note, I do not believe in actively seeking to harm another. There's a major difference of topics here. What you do with what you are given at birth is solely your responsibility, whether you acknowledge and embrace your inner God or Goddess is solely up to you. I believe that the capability to be beautiful or harrowing lies within us each.
There's an old Native American tale of a grandfather telling his grandson the story of two wolves: the dark and the light, the good and the bad, the selfless and the selfish, the compassionate and the cruel. The grandfather tells his grandson that these two wolves wage war within each of us. When the grandson asks, "Which wolf wins?" The grandfather tells the lad, "The one that you feed the most." How true is that? If you feed anger and resentment within yourself, is it no surprise you become an angry and resentful person? So, ever should we be careful of what we feed and nurture in ourselves, of which aspects of ourselves we choose to embrace and tend to, and which aspects we seek to transform and grow beyond.
I do not believe another human being has the right to say who (not a what, for those of you thinking about sheep, for Goddess' sake, please leave the poor sheep out of this) a person can or cannot love and marry. Love, real love, is a gift in all its forms. Is there a religion out there that doesn't highlight the importance of love? Isn't that one thread that nearly all religions carry in common? The love of family, friends, your neighbor, your pets...it's pretty all encompassing and everyone knows love isn't always sexual. Why religious fanatics try to attack the LGBT community with, "Well, if they get married what's next? Goats?" is, to me, a silly excuse.
For one, a goat can't say, "I do," and I think most people would agree with me that non-consensuality is a big-arsed no-no. Most importantly, we're talking about people here, consenting adults, flesh and blood individuals who have a soul, a mind, a body, a heart, thoughts, and feelings. Yes, feelings. An espousal of hatred and condemnation doesn't get anyone anywhere.
I remember the lessons I was taught in Sunday school as a child, and I do not, in any of them, recall hatred and condemnation being an attribute of those who are Christ-like. In fact, the last I checked, such things were the complete opposite. I'm tempted to call that kind of attitude as many things, but inconsiderate, uncompassionate, and selfish make it to the top of my list. I don't comprehend why it's so difficult for people to live and let live, to spread positivity instead negativity. Spiritual work and development are a personal journey, and sometimes, people don't always stop to do the work or to check themselves. Perhaps, many of them would realize the source of their negativity originates not from something outside of themselves, but from something within them. And that would be a daunting beast to tackle, wouldn't it?
Everyone has a right to their opinions. Diversity can be a strong suit. Just because someone's different than you doesn't mean you can't learn something from them. In fact, reflecting on the many different friends I have, from so many different walks of life, I feel confident in saying -- you can learn quite a bit from those that are different than you. Even if it's just a lesson in "tolerance." ;)
All in all, this whole thing has really shown Bec and I how many great and wonderful people we are friends with and how blessed we are. We have the pleasure of calling so many beautiful souls, our friends.