Many couples want a ceremony that is meaningful to them, and is a profound expression of their commitment to each other. They want to incorporate a personal touch into their ceremonies, and do not wish to conform to the traditional wedding.Earth-centered weddings tend to be performed outdoors – in parks, gardens, woods, on riverbanks, overlooking water. Some have even been performed standing in water. Others have taken place in churches, chapels, restaurants, and little bed and breakfast inns.
The Purification of Smudging
Earth-centered ceremonies begin with purifying or cleansing by smoke, smudging, or cleansing with feathers.Smudging uses the smoke from burning herbs to cleanse the energy field of a person, place or things. Some couples offer smudging to their guests, but most often cleansing is provided for the wedding party only. Incense of the Orient and frankincense in the Catholic Church are other instances of smudging. In Japan, huge smudge pots are found outside the Shinto Shrines and the Buddhist Temples.
Another way to purify the bridal couples is to make a lot of noise. In ancient Germany, noisemaking, ‘noise evening,’ or well-wishing falls on the day before the marriage. The Chinese preferred firecrackers.
The Spirits of the Earth are called by addressing the four directions: the East (Air) is the inspiration or birth of marriage. The South (Fire) is the passion and manifestation of marriage. The West (Water) opens the couple for change, and the North (Earth or rock) teaches them wisdom and knowledge. We call to the North asking, ‘Teach this couple the lessons hidden in every leaf and in every rock.’
The question of intent and the vows are part of all weddings. Bonds carry responsibility, commitments to be honored and vows to uphold.In earlier times this question was resolved in the betrothal stage. In old England, betrothal meant to pledge one’s word, to assure, to bind, to promise, and in other words, to make out of good faith, fidelity and loyalty, a solemn promise and covenant to marry.
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