It’s been quite some time since I’ve participated in Witches Weekly. When I checked the site on a whim and read the current questions, I felt they were well worth considering.
If you were to plan your own Wedding or Funeral ceremony, would you create two separate ceremonies for pagan and non-pagan folk, or would you just plan a ceremony around your beliefs. How would you feel if any non-pagan friends or family did not wish to attend such a ceremony?
This is a question (at least when discussing weddings) I used to ponder when I was dating Mike. In that situation, the question was further complicated by the fact that he was not Pagan, but nominally Christian. Because of that fact, I felt that a completely Pagan ceremony made absolutely no sense. So I had always envisioned a single ceremony that we both found acceptable. Because of our difference in faiths, I figured that it would probably be fairly generic, and would not bother any of our potential guests.
If I was marrying another Pagan, I’m not entirely sure what I would do. On the one hand, I’d be inclined to just do a Pagan themed ceremony and not bother with another one. After all, most of my friends would be okay with such a service, as they respect my beliefs and would be willing to respect incorporating my beliefs into my own wedding ceremony. And to be perfectly frank, those who could not handle that choice would also be unable to get over the fact that I was marrying another man. As such, they wouldn’t show up, and I see little reason to worry about their sensibilities because of that.
But as I think about it, I think that I don’t really want a “Pagan wedding” at all. I want a handfasting, and I want it in the truest sense of the word. I want a private, magical act which not only affirms our bonds with one another, but actually creates (moreso than they already exist) and strengthens them. I don’t feel that kind of magical act is appropriate for the normal participant-spectator model that most weddings involve. After all, a huge guest list does not work well with the small numbers needed to keep everyone a direct participant.
Also, such a handfasting does not lend itself to meeting the needs of the civil marriage ceremony and contract (assuming I’m ever granted access to such civil rights, mind you). And even if it did, I’m not sure I’d want to combine the two. So perhaps I will have two “ceremonies,” a civil ceremony where the papers are signed and most guests are invited, and then the magical act, which is kept between myself, my love, and those who we trust to work with us in the working of such magic. (Of course, that all assumes I have a lover open to these things, himself.)
As for my funeral, I’m not sure I care much about that one. While I see my wedding as something for my lover and myself, I see a funeral as being for the benefit of those loved ones I’ve left behind. To be perfectly honest, I’m inclined to let my closest loved ones plan the funeral service in any way that will help them to grieve properly. However, this permission will come with the caveat that if they invite a Christian minister to speak and he goes into an evangelistic spiel, I will haunt them for the rest of their lives.