Non Traditional, Earth Based Wedding Ceremonies

I have fielded calls from many folks who ask if I perform shamanic ceremonies, and I realized that what they are asking for is a highly ritualized wedding ceremony, one that reflects their earth-based, pagan, or animist spiritual practices. That is indeed something I know well, and these types of ceremonies are a true love of mine… so let’s talk about what an Earth-Based Wedding Ceremony means, and what that ceremony might look like.

Many (most) couples seem to find comfort in a traditional flow for a wedding ceremony. They choose to work with me because they know I will update the tradition, making the ceremony feel more alive and relevant. But, there is comfort in the traditional flow: an officiant stands with you at the altar, and essentially, speaks many words that wrap the ceremony in a container of love, blessing, and storytelling. The ceremony builds towards the peak moment of sharing vows, pronouncements are made, kisses are given. Again, it feels familiar, though the language and context is updated to reflect the couple and their values.

Earth-Based Ceremony:
While the above ceremonies are beautiful and transformational, I do like to let couples know it is not the only way. If earth-based, pagan or nature-based ritual and ceremony is a part of your life, it can be wonderful to incorporate your practices into a ceremony. I was once taught that “ritual knows no words,” and if that feels inspiring to you, we can craft a wedding ceremony that uses mostly ritual actions to build the energy. We might use plant, herb or resin ceremonial smoke as part of your procession, or communally drum you down the aisle. We might stand and honor the elements, the directions, the ancestors, all with physical ritual, crafting a really strong container. We might incorporate a ritual cleansing away of the old in order to make room for the new. We might make offerings to the earth, to your family, or to your community. We might gather in a circle, including your participants in the ritual. Your vows may be vocal, or you may choose a ritual action like a Handfasting to express your love. Again, these kind of ceremonies might make most sense if ritual is a part of your life, and they can really be an expression of your earth-based spiritual practices.

Earth-Based Wedding Ceremony

A Combo:
Many ceremonies are a combination of both a tradition flow, and ritual action. For example, for the couples that find comfort in the traditional flow of words, they always seem to want to incorporate some rituals that express their love of each other, and their connection to community. For couples who lean more towards ritual-only ceremonies, they seem to want to include a bit of storytelling, so their communities have a deeper understanding of what the rituals mean.

Suffice it to say, this is your wedding ceremony. You get to say what it looks and feels like, and there is no right way to get married. So many beautiful options!

If you are curious about what an Earth-Based Wedding Ceremony might look like, please feel free to contact me.

Ceremonial Musings

One cannot live in the world; that is, one cannot become, in the easy, generalizing sense with which the phrase is commonly used, a “world citizen.” There can be no such thing as a “global village.” No matter how much one may love the world as a whole, one can live fully in it only by living responsibly in some small part of it. Where we live and who we live there with define the terms of our relationship to the world and to humanity. We thus come again to the paradox that one can become whole only by the responsible acceptance of one’s partiality. -Wendell Berry