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Elfkind Wedding Rituals

Started by Edward de Johns, June 12, 2008, 01:28:25 AM

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Edward de Johns

Mae Govannen Heru Amin

Actually Elven marriage rituals are nothing like hand fastings.  Elvish wedding rituals take many forms depending on the circumstances of the wedding.  But I think what you are referring to would be called "Soul Marriage" .  Or you can use  "The Bessings by the Four Winds".....I shall explain.

"The Blessings of the Four Winds"  or   "Bile Janis oc Hul Haizeani"

In its simplest form, a representative home is set for the couple in the central area for the ceremony, harkening back to ancient times when the marriage took place in the actual house built for the newlyweds. Most clans use some version of a ceremonial cloth called "gelnutre". In many cases this is an heirloom item, handed down from one generation to the other for the firstborn daughter, or it can be made specifically for the marriage.

Guests stand in a loose arch above the northern point of this area, prepared to welcome the bridal couple into the community as a wedded pair. Before them waits the person chosen to lead the ceremony. This is usually a cleric or shaman, but can also be the clan leader or any other highly regarded person in the clan.

The cardinal points of the east and west are occupied by the witnesses for the groom and bride -- the man in the masculine position of the rising sun and the female in the receptive position of the setting sun.

From the south (the wind of the past) the bridal couple is escorted by those who stand as guardians to them. The witnesses step forward from their positions to meet them at the center of the area and request the couple be released from the bonds and responsibilities of the families who have raised them, as they are about to enter a new stage of life. The guardians assent, formally releasing the couple and seating them upon the gelnutre before stepping back to the southernmost point of the area.

Although it is permissible for the couple to chant or sing their bloodlines past seven generations, it is more proper and formal for this duty to be preformed by another. Very elaborate ceremonies are devised, often utilizing the services of bards and mages in order to emphasize the quality of the bloodlines.  (This is very important to Elfkind)

Usually, the witness for the female chants her lines and attributes first, followed immediately by the witness for the male. Two favored variations of this part of the ritual involve the witnesses singing a duet, with the marriage lines intricately interwoven into one cohesive whole. Another variation often chosen is for each witness to sing a piece that incorporates the necessary information one after another.
After the lines are declared, the witnesses return to their respective positions, still facing the couple. A sudden silence falls, broken as the guardians, witnesses and cleric all turn sharply to guard the cardinal points around the bridal couple. Four challenges are issued to the cardinal points of the winds to offer cause why the ceremony cannot continue. The cleric issues the first challenge to the North Wind for any of the flesh to speak, followed in rapid succession by the witness of the bride calling out to the god of the bride in the west and the witness for the groom calling out to the god of the groom to the East. Finally, and most importantly, the guardians of the couple challenge the South Wind, the place of the ancestors and the past.

Assuming no word has been spoken by flesh nor any ill omen displays the displeasure of the gods or ancestors all turn back to the center and approach the couple. The cleric blesses the couple and joins their right hands together before raising them up. Each declares their vows to the other and gives a symbolic element to the other to declare their commitment before the cleric declares them wed. Almost immediately, the guests and family surround the couple in cheerful celebration and the festivities start with song, dance and abundant food.

"The Soul Marriage"  or  "Gelinajaun Ruh"

This is the rarest form of all the marriage arrangements. Quite often, it is chosen after years of another marriage. This is the only marriage among the Elves that cannot be dissolved, since in this ritual the couple declares that they are no longer two separate souls, but a new creature intertwined with but one soul. It is an extremely private ceremony with very specific requirements.

For a couple not already married, this ceremony is integrated with the Bile Janis oc Hul Haizeani. The cleric does not join the couple's hands nor declare them wed. Instead, he raises them to their feet in silence and takes up the gelnutre. This is a signal to the guests to withdraw to the area of the feast and begin a rather rowdy celebration of their own, full of feasting and singing while the private ceremony is in progress. The cleric leads the couple and their witnesses to the place previously prepared for the ritual. The only requirement is that it be private and have access to a body of water. Salt water is preferred but not required. The necessary items have been neatly arranged on either a small table or a rock of unusual beauty. A large candle burns brightly with two unlit tapers lying near it in readiness, a bottle of exquisite wine awaits in an ornate decanter with two empty wineglasses before it, and a loaf of unleavened bread lies on a small platter or fine cloth.

The cleric shakes the gelnutre out and spreads it on the ground before seating the couple upon it. He speaks sternly to the couple about the degree of commitment they are about to undertake and asks them if they undertake this freely. When they reply that they do, the cleric joins their left hands together. Throughout the ritual, this grasp may not be relinquished, and the couple must rely on their witnesses for assistance as they proceed through the declarations of joining in the ancient way of sun, earth, water and air.
The cleric then asks for the token by which they will join. Depending on the clan, this token may be a torque, a ring, or ceremonial earrings. The cleric leads the couple in exchanging their vows and tokens of their love. After a blessing, the cleric returns to the assembly and announces with great cheer the impending death of the individuals all have once known.

Each member of the couple is given an unlit candle. Although the candles may be simple tapers, generally ornate ones are chosen. Most couples cherish the symbols of this ceremony and display them prominently in their home after the ceremony. With simple words from the heart, they speak directly to one another, binding themselves by fire, and light their separate candles in unison from the brightly burning central candle. The witnesses take the candles from them and set them to either side of the master candle before seating the couple.
The couple next declare themselves joined by earth and are handed the loaf of unleavened bread. Together they break the bread, each feeding a morsel of it to the other. The witnesses take up any remaining bread and destroy it by fire to symbolize the exclusiveness of the relationship.

Each witness brings forth a wine goblet of delicate workmanship and assists each member of the couple in pouring a glass of wine. The couple bind themselves by water, first sipping their own wine and then sharing it with the other. Once again, the remainder of the wine is cast away and not shared. In the strictest observance of ancient tradition, the wineglasses were also shattered along with the decanter in which the wine was served to again symbolize the exclusiveness of the relationship. However, it has become equally acceptable for the couple to retain both the decanter and the glasses as reminders of this special day for use upon their anniversaries. If this choice is made, the witnesses set the empty wineglasses alongside the brightly burning candles.
Next, the couple declare themselves joined by air, each speaking or singing their heart to the other. These pieces can be heartbreakingly simple or masterpieces of intricate work.

The witnesses assist the couple in standing and they embrace before unclasping their joined hands. Guarded by the witnesses they lose their bridal finery and enter into the privacy of the waters before them. They enter the waters as two separate individuals but emerge as a new creature sharing one soul. The witnesses turn their backs upon the water and guard the area from intruders, for whatever occurs there is between the couple only. Upon exiting, they joyfully assist them in regaining their wedding finery and run to the assembly to declare the new joining and imminent arrival of the new soul-bound creature.

Shortly thereafter, the couple rejoins their guests to receive their good wishes and join in the celebration of the joining.

Elements of both rituals may be used to make the experience more unique, depending on the marriage couples needs & time constraints.  Properly done, Elfkind weddings can be a most memorable event.

Should you have the opportunity to perform an Elven Wedding, I would be most honored to be able to help you with the preparations.

No galu govad gen

Sir Edward de Johns
Captain of The Kings Archers
Half Brother to He Who Would Not Die

Queen Bonnie

 That sounds magical and wonderous!  Grammercy for the information.
  it would be a beautiful wedding to behold!
Wingardium Leviosa!
Tis not the length of the staff- but the magick there in!