Lithuanian Wedding Blessing
(Klaus and Audra Willeke - parents of the Groom)
Audra: We have a blessing that follows Lithuanian wedding tradition. First, I would like to ask the Father of the Groom, what do you bring in your basket for the Bride and the Groom.
Klaus: I bring bread, salt and honey-colored mead - bread and salt to sustain life and mead to bring you joy in life. What do you bring in your basket for the bride and the groom, Mother of the Groom?
Audra: I bring fire and a hand-woven sash. Fire passes from the old hearth to the new and represents continuity and renewal, and the sash signifies beauty, creativity, and a long life together.
Klaus: We bless you, our children, for your life together. Be strong in your work, so that there will always be enough bread and salt on your table. (Klaus pulled salt and bread out of his basket and put some salt on the bread, then offered the bread to Claire and Vytas. They each took a bite.) May your life be joyful. (Klaus pulled a pewter chalice from his basket and passed it to Claire and Vytas for a sip.)
Audra: We bless you, our children, for your life together. May the fire in your hearth glow brightly always. And may your life be beautiful, creative, and long, like this sash. (She wrapped the sash around Claire and Vytas’s shoulders).
Klaus and Audra placed each of their hands on each of our heads and we shared a moment of silence, embraced.
Blessings from the parents of the Bride
Claire’s Dad Freeman: Claire, you’ve met life’s challenges head-on - you’ve always done that. You’ve always marched to your own inner drum and now you’ve found someone to march with you. We’re glad you and Vytas have found each other. Whether you’re going forward in the shadow or the sunlight or through the rocks or through the sand, may you always march in love.
Claire’s Mom Betty: And my blessing as Claire’s Mother for my favorite and only daughter and now my favorite and only son-in-law: love, joy, and a life of fun and silliness.
EARTH (Anders - Claire’s close friend)
Earth, my body. The Earth is my body. As it is your body. As it is the body of all animal, plant, and mineral life. Here on the magical Northern California coast, we live amongst a species which is a symbol of Earth’s power - the majestic coastal redwood. Claire and Vytas, may your love for each other and your relationship embody the power of this symbol. May you have the patience, the stillness, and the stability that it takes for this being to go from a small seed which you can hold in your hand to the massive, thousand year old, hundreds of feet high, as wide as this SunSpiral, tree. The earth has many blessings for you Claire and Vytas, but the most important is that you are aware that you have the knowledge that you ARE the Earth, and that these blessings that may seem to come from without truly come from within. May you open to your own blessings, and may you shed and grow and shine and bring new life for the rest of your days and beyond.
WATER (Bari, Vytas’s best man)
Water, my blood. I am Water, guardian of the heart realms. I am the life-bearing waters that washed you into this world - water of tears, sweat, blood, waters of love that flow into us, into one another. I bring you fluidity of shape, of form, endless creativity and change. I am deep and timeless, teaching when to flow and when to freeze, when to evaporate into invisible mist, when to storm, and when to be still. Flowing effortlessly, finding new paths around obstacles, slowly dissolving apart stones with relentless patience, compassion, and creativity, absorbing obstacles into myself and growing richer. I bring you gifts of intuition and choice, shaping myself to every vessel, submerging, caressing, nourishing, changing everything that I touch and being changed by all that touches me. My gift to you is Water. May you together know every permutation of love - fierce like summer storms, boundless as the ocean, gentle as love’s first kiss. Let Water carry you forward towards endless possibility, bringing you compassion, patience, flexibility, and the magic of shifting shape, changing and being changed by everything you touch, everything you do, everything you dream, and everything that you are, individually and together. May the streams of your lives that carried you to this moment flow together and carry you forward into the limitless future. Water, my blood, be here now.
AIR (Betsy, Claire’s Wife)
Air, my breath. Mixing outer unseen space with inner unseen space. Carrying spirit, channeling thought. May clarity and communication bring understanding and reason to your marriage always. May clear vision guide you in the choices you will make together. When clouds of doubt and fear roll in, may the wind of faith and truth and trust blow those clouds away. May the space around you and within you be open and may your hearts be light. May the air between you ring with laughter in times of joy, and may the wind carry your spirits into the vast sky to boundless freedom and unlimited potential. May it be so.
FIRE (Amanda, Claire’s Wife and Right-Hand Woman)
Fire, my spirit. I am the element of Fire. I am passion, I am heat, I am hot! I am flame. I am the vital life-energy the flows among all of us here. I am the torch of transformation and creativity. I am the seed of change, and there is going to be a lot of change here today. I am the spark of divinity within each of you. My gift to you is the home hearth - the fire that burns in your home, that family and friends will gather around, that you will come home to at the end of each day and be happy and welcome and warm. I am the heat in your hot tub. My blessing is one of creation and of destruction - destruction of negative habits and barriers between us. I am also purification. My gift is playfulness - we all like to play, and I know you are very good at that. I am the realm of sexuality and passion. My gift to you is passion, baby, passion. May your love always be hot. May it always be warm. May it always be passionate and loving. I bless your love with the heat of Fire.
Our Officiant, John, speaking Words on Marriage, written primarily by Vytas
(as Claire and Vytas look at each other with googlie-eyes)
A marriage is the experience of a relationship over a lifetime, of learning to live together, and of supporting each other through change and hardship and joy and laughter and hard work. A wedding is a celebration of what is. Standing here and saying words and exchanging rings does not weld two hearts together. There is no magic that will bring commitment and acceptance of each other into your hearts. Rather, in order to be standing here today, these two are already married in their hearts. They have opened their hearts fully to each other, exposing their innermost fragile souls. The vows they make today have already been made between them a thousand times over, and the strength and commitment to these vows has been tested and pushed until trust formed. Knowing these vows and bonds of love would be able to hold them together through any storm the seas of the future hold for them. Their relationship itself is a continuum. It is an ongoing danced of joy and discovery that occurs day by day. The wedding is a ritual tool, which is used to mark a moment in this ongoing dance. Their hearts are already married and the wedding is a chance to celebrate and mark this fact.
John asks the Community to make vows to Claire and Vytas
A wedding is also a gathering of diverse communities that share a common thread. The common thread is Claire and Vytas. They ask you to be the community that provides them the base of support that every marriage needs to succeed. So if you are able to agree to these vows, you need to let them hear it. I will ask three vows. If you feel you can hold up the vow, tell them YES.
1)When Vytas and Claire are ecstatic, will you celebrate with them and share in their joy? (A resounding YES from the crowd! Followed by giggling and excitement from Claire and Vytas)
2)When Claire and Vytas are struggling, will you hold space for their love and support their commitment? (another resounding YES!)
3)Will you hold Vytas and Claire to their highest standards in their relationship to each other, in themselves, in their relationship to their families and to us, their community? (YES!)
Vytas tells the crowd what he sees in Claire
In this woman, I have found laughter, that fills the days of my life, and which dissipates grumpy moods, brings me great joy, and makes difficulties quite bearable. Her heart is so full of love, I am inspired by her every day to open my heart further to the entire world. And with this love that is in her heart, she builds strong communities around herself and infuses them with beauty, dance, and laughter. But the test of a person and the test of a relationship, I have found, is not how things go when the times are good, but how they go when the times are hard. And in Claire I have found a partner, with whom I know, from experience, that we will be able to navigate the most rocky and stormy tempests, and we will be able to do it supporting each other in turn. With Claire, I have found relationship where we can be the fullest individuals we can be, and be together at the same time. In Claire, I have found love.
Claire tells the crowd what she sees in Vytas
In Vytas I have found a giant ball of sunshine that brightens up even the cloudiest of days. He brings laughter into my every day, and has shown me the power of laughter to even out the rough spots in life. He embodies many qualities that are often not seen in one person - he is graceful and strong, confident and fluid. He knows when to be silly, which is most of the time, and when to be serious. We share a similar level of commitment to our communities and a desire to see a web woven between them, between you. In Vytas I have found my accomplice, my partner in this dance of life and my support base.
Vytas to Claire
Claire, I stand here before you as I am, strong in the ways that I am strong, weak in the ways that I am weak. You have seen me in all of my ways. It is my desire to spend the rest of my days with you and I offer to you myself, my heart, and my truth, should you choose for me to be your husband.
Claire to Vytas
Vytas I welcome you into my life and with great joy I accept your offer to be my husband. I also stand here before you as I am, strong in the ways that I am strong, weak in the ways that I am weak. You have seen me in all of my ways. It is my desire to spend the rest of my days with you. I offer to you myself, my heart, and my truth, should you choose to make me your wife.
Vytas to Claire
Claire, it is with joy that I welcome you into my life. It is with great joy that I accept your offer to be my wife. (Claire’s Aunt Jude chanels her mother, Claire’s grandma Benedict, and yelled out "kiss her!", so they did!)
Vytas to Claire
Claire, I vow to you to be the best man I can be, and I also vow to help you be the best woman you can be in this life. And I have a gift for you - the gift of this ring, which shall be a token of the unique and primary bond that we share. And with this ring, I marry you. (He placed the ring on her finger)
Claire to Vytas
I vow to you to be the best woman I can be, and help you be the best man you can be. And I give you this ring as a token of the unique and primary bond that we share. And with it, I marry you. (She placed the ring on his finger)
They hug, they kiss, the crowd cheers, then Claire and Vytas jump out of the middle of the SunSpiral and run off to have some time alone.
John's words on the rings
It is time for the rings. They are wearing golden rings - gold like the sun, to signify fire, and you know what fire is. Rings that are circles like a spiral that go on forever, as they hope their marriage to. The rings were made especially for them - they are golden mokume gane rings. Made of Earth, made in Fire, with Air, quenched in Water, with the pattern of perhaps wood, perhaps water, with the patterns perhaps of spirals - you’ll have to see the rings themselves. The rings are an old tradition even new traditionalists bringing forward can do. They tell society at large that these two have made this bond. And hopefully they can forge forward a wonderful wedding, just as they have forged for them these wonderful rings.